Two weeks ago, Gov. Pat Quinn joined the long list of politicians who have taken the “Live the Wage” challenge to illustrate the difficulties tied to surviving on minimum wage.
And in an op-ed published by Huffington Post, he details his experience.
Much like when Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, took the challenge and admitted she failed, Quinn says it wasn’t easy trying to live off less than $79 for food and other expenses (which is the estimated amount left for minimum wage workers after transportation and housing costs).
“For seven days, I lived without many of the small things in life that I often take for granted,” Quinn writes. “Like giving my niece a birthday card with money inside. Enjoying hot tea from Dunkin Donuts. Having oatmeal for breakfast. And when I ran out of aspirin during the week, I had no choice but to go without.”
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Quinn says he cut corners by having bananas for breakfast. Graham crackers were on the menu for dinner.
“Yes, I was hungry,” he writes. “Can you imagine the difficult choices a minimum wage worker makes every single day? What about their kids?”
Quinn says raising the minimum wage is about “dignity and decency.”
“I know that the minimum wage challenge I took and the tight budget I experienced over a mere seven days doesn’t hold a candle to the battle for economic security so many Illinoisans face every day, in the face of an economy that too often puts the bottom line over our fellowman and woman,” he wrote.