The "poor" people seem to get fat in this country eating bags of Cheetos, boxes of Twinkies and off the Dollar Menu.
That menu she showed looks like something the McWealthy with a common sense diet would eat.
Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
I've lived on the equivalent of America's new minimum wage. I was so tight with my money I used to get teased about it. Seriously, I could make a dollar last for days. I had the cheapest living accommodations that were even marginally livable, I had no extras -- my phone often had no credit on it -- and I never bought anything. Instead, I mended my clothes repeatedly until they just wouldn't take another pass. When my shoes gave out beyond my ability to mend, it took me a couple weeks to put together the money to get the cheapest pair I could find that would somewhat serve my needs. I never really ate meals so much as I ate ingredients, because I couldn't afford enough diversity of food to put a meal together. I lived on bread and rice.
I never had $77 left over for food and life. Ever.
You can't just multiply by 40 and assume that's what you're gonna have. It's not.
First of all, a lot of people working minimum wage rarely have stable hours. I might have had 50 hours one week, and then 20 the next. So your realistic income is unpredictable.
Second, the cost of being poor is high and unstable. Because you have to skimp on everything, you experience failures more often, and have unexpected expenses more often. You bought a cheap car, so you have constant break-downs. You got cheap shoes, so they wear out quickly. You got cheap everything, so everything breaks all the time.
Third, a lot of these people are working multiple jobs to try to make ends meet. Often 7 days a week at unpredictable and conflicting parts of the day. A lot of people develop exhaustion, and what would ordinarily be minor health problems tend to plague the poor -- dental issues, repetitive stress problems, etc -- and they put off treating it until it's becoming catastrophic, because they either can't afford the treatment, or can't afford the time off. When they finally can't function anymore and have to do something about it, the black hole of debt comes to meet them because they mostly likely don't get sufficient health coverage, and they lose a lot of hours (I was fortunate not to experience this one -- I was in a place with public health care at the time).
In reality, being poor is incredibly expensive. It was way more expensive to be poor than it is to be well-off.
Now, I can afford to buy quality things, so things rarely break, and if they do, I can replace them quickly. My hours are predictable. I'm able to take time off if I need it. I'm able to have a normal sleep schedule and unwinding time and sufficient amounts of high quality food, none of which I had on minimum wage, so my body breaks less as well.
They need to be in it before they can say what their budget will be, and they could if they wanted to -- do it for real in a rented room for a month. She's choosing not to. Oh, no, you might inconvenience yourself! Pity. If you really want to understand, then do it for real. This is an empty gesture.
She has no idea what it's really like, and while she may think having to put a couple items back in the store is "horrible," she should try the reality of the expense of being poor. Forget having to put some stuff back -- in reality, our minimum wage pushes you so close to the red line that you won't need a cart at all. Everything you can afford will fit in your arms.
The truth is, people stuck in minimum wage are not all teenagers and college students. In an economy where much of the country is still mired in unemployment, older people are having to live on it as well. Some of them have no choice, even though their skills would bring them more money if they could find any opportunity to utilize them. And not all of them can afford to abuse their bodies and ride out the storm like I did -- they're older, or have kids, or whatever.