Thursday, May 15, 2008
I'm reminded of a quote attributed to the late senator SI Hayakawa who became famous for allegedly saying that rising oil prices (during the gas crisis of the 1970's) do not affect the poor, saying: "the poor don't need gas, because they're not working." Cited in a Washington Post obituary posted here. It would therefore follow that this summer's gas prices won't do the poor any harm either.
I am tempted to write a math problem of this nature.
A young high school drop out is looking for a job. Due to the poor state of the economy and high unemployment the only work she can find is a minimum wage job at McDonald's. The restaurant is 5 miles from her house. She can't take the bus because she has to work a lot of night shifts and the store is in an unsafe neighborhood.
If gas costs $4 a gallon, her car gets 20 mpg, she earns $7.50 an hour, and works 30 hours a week over 4 days, should she take the job?
(a) Yes, and buy lottery tickets with her first paycheck.
(b) No, she should apply for welfare; she will make more and not need to pay for gas or car insurance.
(c) No, she should get pregnant and hope her boyfriend will marry her and support her.
(d) No, she should get pregnant and remain single. The state will support her and her child.
(e) Yes, she should take her first paycheck and buy stock in Amoco.