Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days: ‘Minimum Wage’

Spurlock and his girlfriend, Alex, spend thirty days living on the minimum wage (around US$7 per hour). Spurlock uses a Temp agency to do a number of jobs, while Alex is employed washing dishes in a cafe. At different times they both have to go to hospital for treatment but find that the free clinic is understaffed with only 20 patients able to be seen after 5:00pm. He talks to people waiting in the line to find that some had been waiting since mid-afternoon. They are forced to go to the hospital and find the bills unaffordable on such a low wage.

Their apartment is unclean and unsafe, they have to rely on public transport to get to work and Spurlock takes on another job to earn more money. Their relationship is tested as Spurlock decides to splurge on his brother’s children who come for the weekend (although due to the editing this seemed a little rehearsed).

According to the documentary the minimum wage in America hasn’t been increased since 1997. The politicians argue that if the minimum wage was increased (even in line with inflation) the business world would cripple and staff would have to be put off. However, wouldn’t increasing the minimum wage allow these ‘working poor’ to actually purchase products and therefore help increase employment. At the moment they rely heavily on donated furniture and basic food supplies.

Last night I watched the Glasshouse and Corrine was saying that because few people in the New Orleans area vote, money isn’t spent on the area and, even in times of disaster, their opinion of the government isn’t really important. How does the American government get away with this, and why does Australia seem to want to follow what is happening in America in terms of economic policies? The government’s IR changes and voluntary voting are currently being discussed in Australia. I don’t believe that Australian politicians should aspire to achieve the American situation. Sure the American’s are economically prosperous but at what cost?