DFL Rep. Jason Metsa seeks to understand poverty by living on minimum wage... for a week

Jason Metsa rect.jpg
Rep. Metsa is preparing to endure "an economic situation most of us have never been exposed to" -- namely, being broke for a week.
As the legislature considers raising Minnesota's minimum wage, Rep. Jason Metsa, D-Virginia, wants to better understand what life is like for the working poor. So he's pledged to live on the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour... for a whole week.

SEE ALSO: Mark Dayton doesn't want to raise minimum wage as much as bill advancing in House would

That should be just enough time to get mildly sick of Hot Pockets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and, if he's got enough dough left over to treat himself, the McDonald's dollar menu.

In a Working America press release about Metsa's acceptance of the "Minimum Wage Challenge," he says: "I can't possibly know the reality of the day-to-day struggles faced by people living on minimum wage... But as [a minimum wage increase] is considered by my fellow lawmakers, this is an attempt to better understand an economic situation most of us have never been exposed to."

The release also provides some specifics about the challenge:
Using the JOBS NOW Coalition's cost-of-living expenses breakdown for an individual with no children living on minimum wage, Metsa will spend the week going to work, planning a budget, grocery shopping, meeting with constituents and figuring out how to budget his transportation costs. His experiences will be documented through regular updates on social media and elsewhere.
In other words, he'll be riding the bus (maybe) and eating cheap food. Welcome to my world, dude.

But in all seriousness, we applaud any attempt made by a legislator to better understand the plight of the working poor, even when they are somewhat half-assed.

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50 comments
senatortombstone
senatortombstone

Instead of pretending to live off minimum wage for a week, Metsa should use his personal assets to begin his own business, and pay his employees a wage equal to at least as much as the proposed DFL minimum wage.

t_adlesich
t_adlesich

do what i gov. has doneand still does    f&ck the ppl supporting you, and deal sum drugs.

aimlow
aimlow

I agree with ivanabitchslapu

tom026
tom026

It'll take more than a week for problems and expenses to crop up (rent, groceries and other ongoing costs). Minimum wage would seem to be impossible to decently live on. But at least he's doing something to draw attention to it.

Smits1231
Smits1231

No worries... He will make up for the loss when he votes to increase his salary later this year!

dawnbugs_1
dawnbugs_1

I think that he should have two kids in tow,  also.

keny1
keny1

Why don't we raise the minimum wage to $30/hr? 

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Having actually lived on minimum wage for a while (it was a long time ago, and before I had many obligations), I both appreciate this gesture, and see the futility and unreality of it.  As Metsa himself says, he isn't really going to understand what it's like to live on that end of the spectrum.  He says it's "an economic situation most of us have never been exposed to."  I don't know if that's true or not.  I've certainly been exposed to it, as have many people of my acquaintance.

When Rep.Metsa isn't going to get out of this is the corrosive effect of always living one miscue from disaster.  Not being able to pay for car insurance, or to pay to have a car properly maintained so it breaks down when its needed.  Not being able to pay rent on time, so getting hit with late fees.  The late fee being enough so you can't pay the full amount of the electric bill so that gets shut off. On and on it goes.  It grinds you into the dirt, to the point where you just don't care any more and you might think about a crime you could commit to get some breathing room, or you just want to get really wasted to have a moment's not worrying about this stuff.  The choices you end up making; the people you associate with; the people you let live in the same apartment with you because you can't pay for it yourself.  Rep. Metsa isn't going to get that.

But I do appreciate his attitude and the gesture, instead of the more typical condescension and patronization, not to mention the outright vitriol and contempt or simple resolute non-acknowledgement.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Well duh... Not staying in school, mindless breeding, spending money on dope, smoking, gambling, drinking - yeah maybe that's the cause.

keny1
keny1

Instead of doing this pointless "experiment", maybe he should donate a week of HIS salary to a charity or homeless shelter. The bottom line is that raising the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $10/hr is not going to bring people out of poverty. Sure, it may put a few extra dollars in their pockets, but that's about it. If people want to earn a living wage where they can support a family, have a decent place to live, have a reliable vehicle, have food to put on the table and to save a little for a rainy day (not to mention retirement), minimum wage jobs are not going to cut it.  

Kinnell Tackett
Kinnell Tackett

A week?! He seriously needs to see how min wage impacts you over multiple cycles of rent and car breakdowns

Lisa Overby
Lisa Overby

Doesn't matter how long...Just living the "minimum wage Lifestyle" for will never give you the true picture of living behind the 8 ball everyday scraping by. Knowing there is money there will never allow you to live in the real fear of one small extra expense (like a dead battery in your car) being catastrophic to you. (New battery to get to work or food?)

Mark Whalen
Mark Whalen

You cant pay rent on 7.45 hr, whats not to get..LOL

Doug Grahn
Doug Grahn

He should really step up and go for 6 months. See if he can manage his car insurance, rent, bills, food, gas & other expenses.

Janet Eileen From
Janet Eileen From

If it is just one week he needs to really live where those making minimum wage live. Not able to dip into other money, food, or use his high tech (cell phone, computer, cable, etc).

Jen Crowder
Jen Crowder

If that's his first week making $7.25 an hour, he still has another 2 weeks before he even gets a paycheck so he should be living on...um...nothing. This requires a do-over.

Lisa Seliskar
Lisa Seliskar

"In other words, he'll be riding the bus (maybe)"... as a native Iron Ranger, I can tell you, there is NO bus. There is "Dial-A-Ride" that is mostly used by people with needs, and it could take HOURS for them to show up on a scheduled pick up. Just sayin'...

Michele Andrews
Michele Andrews

To me it doesn't really count if he is still living in his home...can he pay the weeks equivalent of his mortgage on minimum wage?

Ryan Wachtel
Ryan Wachtel

One week? That's not even a "half assed" attempt. That's little more than a token gesture.

Grant Zinkl
Grant Zinkl

Dont forget ramen noodles. Huggington post story, good for you Rupar, you finally broke a story.

Sandra Fredine
Sandra Fredine

I think this should be mandatory for all serving officials appointed or elected - but with a minimum of a month to 45 days to go through a rent cycle. A week is wimpy...but I suppose a start.

keny1
keny1

Because for a single person to have a "livable wage" (in Minneapolis, anyway) they would need at least earn $30/hr to afford a luxury apartment, a BMW 3-series (on lease), and the ability to dine in the finest restaurants in Minneapolis at least 3 times a week. How dare the people who actually have to work for their money be able to afford these luxuries? We need to stop this tyranny! Cashiers, Stock people, and fast-food workers need to be paid at least $30/hr considering the amount of education and training that it requires to work these highly skilled jobs. How fucking dare a person who got a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering expect a salary of anything more of $10/hr. Tyranny!! 

keny1
keny1

@swmnguy Well, see, this is the plight of losers in America. They blame others for their shortcomings. 

keny1
keny1

@East_Coast_Doug Yeah, but that is common sense. The DFL do not use common sense. Instead, they brainwash their constituents into believing that their woes in life are not due to the bad choices that they made themselves, but rather to the evil, greedy, conservative business owners who employ them so that they can blow their entire check on booze, smoking, gambling, and drugs. It is the typical DFL agenda. Blame the GOP for all the evils in the world, and promise their voters that they will give them a utopian world where they can just sit on their asses all day long and watch Oprah and Povich, while collecting a check or an EBT card, while working Americans bust their asses of off, and when their welfare check runs out, they just blame Bush. DFL= SCUM. They need to go away. AND NOW. Wait until the Revolution begins. The pansy assed Liberals will be shaking in their pants. We will be armed with guns.....and they will be armed with Glitter!  LOL!!  Guess who wins?

adamlongfield
adamlongfield

@keny1 Yeah, and not to mention inflation will go up, right along with any minimum wage increases. Pointless.


aimlow
aimlow

@Kinnell Tackett Impact you by motivating you to get off your ass and better your life? 

_Joe_
_Joe_

@keny1 You're a fucking toolbox, you know that?

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@keny1 It's funny how a racist dumbfuck like you thinks he knows one thing about the economy.   You Republican idiots killed the economy the last time you were in charge.  No one takes racist idiots like you seriously.  You are a joke. 

green23
green23 topcommenter

@keny1 @swmnguy  Get a dictionary and look up the word "empathy". It won't even cost you anything; you can find one in the library. 

Once again, thanks for making all conservatives look bad. And thanks to all the conservatives who *never* take keny to task for his stupid remarks. Because you don't have the courage to criticise your own kind, you let jackasses speak for you every day.

jo1glex
jo1glex

@keny1 I can't decide whether you work in irony the way Rembrandt worked in oils, or the way a chimpanzee works in fecal matter.

You are, of course, the only person in the story or the comments even suggesting that people in poverty are blaming everyone else. You feel compelled to go out of your way to call them "losers," and imply that they are in the situation they are in due to "their own shortcomings."  

You provide an excellent example of "swmnyguy's" "outright vitriol and contempt."  I just can't tell if you're doing it ironically, in which case #golfclap, or seriously, in which case, #smh.

jontkernel
jontkernel

@keny1 @East_Coast_Doug The revolution?  That's a good one.  There will never be a revolution in this country.  Every one is too busy shopping at the mall and eating at McDonalds.  They've grown too fat and lazy to even go for a walk, let alone fight a battle.  You are kidding yourself if you think the wealthiest and privileged people in the world are going to revolt.  Revolt against what?  Jersey Shore got cancelled?  The mall ran out of the sneakers they wanted?  Get a grip.  These preppers are living in a fantasy world.  Even if you did muster up a few million people (and that would be a miracle), the mlltary (that the GOP has been funding relentlessly for the past 50 years) would crush you in about 5 seconds.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Ya know the US has been through some tough times, two great world wars, and the Cold War.  But these have always been external.  Now we are faced with an internal socio-political-economic threat.  I don't think the current liberal mindset can be corrected (read defeated) at the polls.  I believe it's going to take something similar to the civil war to get rid of this creeping socialism and hyper-expansion of government.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@tom026  He has a history of constantly using racial slurs on this site.    He is the type of person that made fun of a little 5 year old black girl that got shot.  He's scum.  

aimlow
aimlow

@keny1 @green23 I agree, sorry you have a shitty job, but it's your own fault. Work harder, study harder, don't make poor decisions, and maybe you'll make a decent wage. No pity for these minimum wagers. Someone has to mop the mansion. 

keny1
keny1

@green23 Empathy for whom? Minimum wage jobs were never meant to fully support one person, let alone an entire family. I'm sorry, but when I see a 27-year old with 2 kids who is working a minimum wage job and is bitching because he doesn't make enough money, I don't question the issue of the minimum wage, I question the decisions that he made in life. Yes, I have worked at a minimum wage job.....when I was 16 and in high school. But see, I did something that you may never had heard of: I went to college and got a degree in a field that pays good money and is more or less recession proof. Instead of going out and partying every night, I actually attended classes and tried to get the best grades that I could. I cannot say the same of the circle of friends whom I hung out with at the time. Now, at the age of 39, I live a comfortable life, actually get to go on a vacation once a year, and never have to worry about going without. In contrast, one of my college buddies who was a "rock-star partier", dropped out of college because he got 2 girls pregnant, has been working $10/hr jobs since he was 23, and today works at Target as an overnight "logistics team member", which is fancy word for saying "stock boy". Does that make him lesser of a person than me? No. But do I (or should I) have empathy for him due to the fact this his situation is solely due to the decisions that he made in life? Absolutely NOT. The ironic part? You never hear him complain about the wage that he earns. In his words, "I made my bed year ago, and have been laying in it ever since."

keny1
keny1

@East_Coast_Doug You forgot to mention that Obama is now encouraging banks to give out mortgages to people with sub-par credit to "stimulate" the housing market. We all know well how that turned out last time.


Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

I know, I know, a Revolt?   I'm not saying it will happen.  I'm just saying that it is what it will take to turn things around.

However, Bernanake is printing $40B a month, in fiat currency.  And the student loan debt has now exceeded $1 Trillion dollars (more than the consumer credit card debit).   And there is coming up a mini used-car financial bubble.

Otherwise, we will continue down the socialist path until the wheels fall off.  I'm glad I'm 63.

Mean while let's talk about them Vike's and them Twin's.  Let's drink some more Kool Aid.

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