Writing Contest: Semifinalist

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Sarah Ercegovic, Columbia High School, Columbia Station, OH (Teacher: John Sheridan)

Television is full of economics, with themes ranging from government spending to poverty, taxes to supply and demand. One particular show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, shows a couple of themes throughout its purpose or plot. These particular themes include poverty and the issue of taxes/property taxes. These themes describe how people cope with the cards that are dealt them in the game of life and sometimes with what happens after their house is rebuilt. This particular show has a cast that is only complete with the bullhorn-blowing host Ty Pennington. Other cast members include Michael Moloney, Paige Hemmis, Paul DiMeo, Tracy Huston, Constance Ramos, Ed Sanders, Preston Sharp and Edward Xol. These individuals each work on separate tasks ranging from carpentry to interior design. The purpose is to surprise a family in need with a "home makeover." Oftentimes this makeover involves a complete demolition of the home. The design team takes into consideration the needs of the family, whether it is wheelchair ramps, special air filters, whatever, when designing the new home. The team has a few hundred workers and laborers helping with the house in order to complete it in a week. That week the family vacations in spots such as Walt Disney World while their house is rebuilt. As the house is rebuilt, there is always Ty's "special room." This room often is a project for the children of the family or a special relaxation area for a family member who deserves it. Whatever it may be, it is always a very special surprise that only Ty works on. Many times when the house is revealed, it brings tears to many peoples' eyes. It is to be expected when a deserving family gets rewarded and receives a fresh new start in life. This show, through all the happy feelings and tears, is in fact tied to some economic values. These include poverty and taxes. According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, poverty is "the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions." In 2002, nearly one out of every eight Americans was at or below the poverty line. Reasons for poverty include lack of application skills, lack of funds for education, lack of motivation, or growing up in a family that suffers from poverty. Recessions in the American economy only make poverty worse because people in the bottom third of the population lose jobs and money in those years. Not only is poverty an important economic theme in this show, but also the idea of property taxes has an even larger impact on the receiving family. A property tax is a tax levied on real or personal property. When one's property taxes become too much to handle, whether it be the size of their parcel or their house, sometimes individuals are forced to give up their land. Today in America, many people are seeing property taxes rise because of a continual increase in subdivisions and township/community/city expansion. Taxes in general are causing upheavals all over the country, even in Columbia Station. The idea of building a new school scares most citizens because they do not want their taxes to double or even triple to fund this new building. These two themes are very crucial to the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and are ironic at the same time. The people and cast of the show only want to help people make their lives better and free them from debt and pave the way for college education. As the same time they are increasing the property taxes of the landowner horrendously. With a larger house, many times twice or three times the size of the old house, property taxes will increase, sometimes putting the owner in a lot of trouble. Reviving people's lives from a level of poverty and giving them a second chance in life is a positive point to the show. Some of the families are suffering from severe trauma, special needs not taken care of sufficiently, and even a severe job loss. Ty Pennington and his crew try to comfort the traumatized families, install special home systems for the handicapped and chronically ill, and make possible job interviews for underemployed or unemployed individuals. Because of these events, many viewers of the ABC show experience tears for those whose suffering could possibly be over. In many ways, this show has transformed the hearts of Americans by showing what happens to those less fortunate or enduring hard times. I will mention that I myself have felt that way before, not realizing the danger earlier mentioned that taxes could potentially have on the family featured on the show. Rising property taxes and poverty are two important themes of the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Each is as important as the other, and the relationship between the two is ironic. The cast tries to end poverty for a family, but, at the same time, they could be creating an even worse scenario regarding property taxes. I really feel bad for those who have to suffer from the high taxes. Sources http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/index.html Economics: Today and Tomorrow. Glencoe/McGraw-Hill