Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Price of Gas


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.


The price of gas


Kathe said...

She'd be lucky to even have the car. I'd be just as amazed if she had legal plates and insurance for the car. I was going to say more, but will bite my tongue (and fingers) instead.

JL said...

She should take the job, ride the bus, and buy a pistol off the neighborhood gun dealer and keep it in her purse, and be absolutely willing to use it.

While technically a felony, the police (personal experience)will not mess with her for arming herself in order to be employed.

She should also get pregnant, have the child, and get state aid, and have her momma help watch the baby while she works.

This is my observation of how reasonably successful people make it in those kind of environments.

Just my observation.

Jud said...

Working to me is the better alternative. Maybe it is my white bread protestant upbringing, but I think there is some measure of personal gratification in work, even if the pay is low and is not sufficient to provide all the wants or needs in life.

Misplaced said...

I'm chiming in late but I can't believe the price of gas!!! I've been out of the loop for too long which might be a good thing.

Your character could always work the pole. I did it and met some really great people and was in the best shape of my life. She'll need to invest in a rag and some windex because you're gonna want to wipe that pole down before you start- believe me on this one.