Bringing that message home is the new documentary Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County. The HBO film by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, offers an arresting portrait of America's paycheck-to-paycheck life as seen through the eyes of the kids who live it.
Orange County is one of the wealthiest areas of the country. It's where Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County show off their indulgent lifestyles in their big-dollar homes. Meanwhile, 6-year-old Rudee sleeps between her parents in a run-down motel room because her father's mechanic pay isn't enough for an apartment. And Celine, age 10, and brothers Dilan and Ben, 9 and 7, are crowded into a single motel room with their parents and another sibling. Dad lost his job and mom works night shifts at a hospital making a little over $11 per hour. She can't give up working nights because the extra dollar and change per hour is essential income for the family.
The documentary features working parents whose jobs pay so poorly — though more than the federal minimum wage — that they can't provide a basic standard of living for their children. One widowed mom of four kids figured out she would have to earn double her hourly pay in the parking department of Disneyland to afford a stable home.
No one should work 40 hours and still be unable to afford decent shelter, food, transportation and health care, but this country allows it. And it's no accident. It's deliberate public policy.
First, if Alexandra is so sympathetic to these people's plights, why doesn't she employ them and pay them a good wage?
Second, if someone works making $11/hr. they can receive food stamps, subsidized housing, free school lunches, and earned income credit. With all these types of government benefits, you can easily increase your real hourly wages $5-7 an hour.
Third, this is the question I ask anyone proposing a hike in the minimum wage for the working poor. What's the amount and how do you justify it?
Let's face it, shouldn't everyone make, say $20/hr. how about $30 or $40? Wouldn't that be wonderful?
Fourth, if you really want to make life horrible for these people, try increasing the minimum wage again and you'll make life nice and cushy for a Vietnamese or and Indonesian family.
Not one media member has had the smarts to question the White House as to how making it more expensive to hire American workers will increase job opportunities for them. They just assume the American entrepreneurial engine will just rev up and make all kinds of jobs for the least of us.
They say liberals are so smart but I still challenge the notion that any of them understand the law of Supply and Demand.