Live Below The Line: Ben Affleck's $1.50-a-Day Stunt Won't Change Things For the Poor


The Oscar winner and millionaire Ben Affleck will challenge himself by living on $1.50 for at least one day next week as a part of the poverty awareness campaign Live Below The Line. According to their website, the purpose of this project is "to give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day and who have to make $1.50 cover a lot more than food."

The campaign's goal is to have celebrities raise awareness about poverty and funds for different charities of their choice. Affleck's fund-raising efforts are going towards The Global Poverty Project; celebrities Sophia Bush, Josh Groban, Hunter Biden, and Debi Mazaar are also participating. During the week, he will keep his Twitter updated with information, such as what he is eating and general insight into his experience. 

However, he is doing this fully aware that he can return to his multi-million dollar lifestyle.  Anyone doing this challenge acknowledges that they will eventually go back to their normal routines in the upper class. As of 2010, Affleck’s net worth is $65 million, and his recent commercial and critical success in the movie Argo only helped his worth grow.

This is not the first time someone of "celebrity status" has attempted to live like the impoverished. Mayor Cory Booker of New Jersey lived a similar challenge recently. In December 2012, he spent a week as a food stamp recipient and demonstrated the issues of government-assisted nutritional programs and shed light on how the United States should fix it. This struggle lasted for one week, and yet more than 840,000 New Jersey residents live on less than $5 per day.

A research paper titled "Savings Policy and Decision-making in Low-Income Households" published via the Financial Access Initiative, criticized these occurrences: "a rich person who fails to plan, or who plans poorly, may simply cut back on frivolous expenditures … The lack of slack makes the poor walk a planning tightrope: they must, in effect, be super-planners in less conducive and less helpful surroundings, lest they slip deeper into poverty."

Even though both Booker and Affleck bring attention to the problem of poverty, at the end of the day they can escape the hardships that comes with it and go back to their normal lives. Unfortunately for the lower-class citizens, whom they are trying to fight for and understand their lifestyle, they have to undergo this every single day.