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The Cost of Living

Eight dollars is the cost of admission to Greenwood Beach.
Seven dollars and a quarter is the federal minimum wage
for hourly workers under certain circumstances.  The state’s
minimum is eight and a quarter.  These are the wages
beneath which it is considered no worker could be justly paid,
unless that worker is a tipped employee dependent upon
the largesse of drinkers and diners sated with food
and beverage.  Or unless the worker is an intern—
interns can be had for free—or a migrant farm worker,
shuffled from field to field, sleeping in a shack, drinking
tepid water from a rusty bucket—or an illegal immigrant
shoehorned two dozen to an apartment, never let out except
to be taken to the job, working sixteen hours a day
for room and board, exhausted sleep filled with American dreams.

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