the new poverty: $68K a year or less - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-01-2011, 04:08 PM   #1
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the new poverty: $68K a year or less

yes, if you make under $68K a year, you're not making enough to get by:

Quote:
Many Low-Wage Jobs Seen as Failing to Meet Basic Needs
By MOTOKO RICH

Hard as it can be to land a job these days, getting one may not be nearly enough for basic economic security.

The Labor Department will release its monthly snapshot of the job market on Friday, and economists expect it to show that the nation’s employers added about 190,000 jobs in March. With an unemployment rate that has been stubbornly stuck near 9 percent, those workers could be considered lucky.

But many of the jobs being added in retail, hospitality and home health care, to name a few categories, are unlikely to pay enough for workers to cover the cost of fundamentals like housing, utilities, food, health care, transportation and, in the case of working parents, child care.

A separate report being released Friday tries to go beyond traditional measurements like the poverty line and minimum wage to show what people need to earn to achieve a basic standard of living.

The study, commissioned by Wider Opportunities for Women, a nonprofit group, builds on an analysis the group and some state and local partners have been conducting since 1995 on how much income it takes to meet basic needs without relying on public subsidies. The new study aims to set thresholds for economic stability rather than mere survival, and takes into account saving for retirement and emergencies.

“We wanted to recognize that there was a cumulative impact that would affect one’s lifelong economic security,” said Joan A. Kuriansky, executive director of Wider Opportunities, whose report is called “The Basic Economic Security Tables for the United States.” “And we’ve all seen how often we have emergencies that we are unprepared for,” she said, especially during the recession. Layoffs or other health crises “can definitely begin to draw us into poverty.”

According to the report, a single worker needs an income of $30,012 a year — or just above $14 an hour — to cover basic expenses and save for retirement and emergencies. That is close to three times the 2010 national poverty level of $10,830 for a single person, and nearly twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

A single worker with two young children needs an annual income of $57,756, or just over $27 an hour, to attain economic stability, and a family with two working parents and two young children needs to earn $67,920 a year, or about $16 an hour per worker.

That compares with the national poverty level of $22,050 for a family of four. The most recent data from the Census Bureau found that 14.3 percent of Americans were living below the poverty line in 2009.

Wider Opportunities and its consulting partners saw a need for an index that would indicate how much families need to earn if, for example, they want to save for their children’s college education or for a down payment on a home.

“It’s an index that asks how can a family have a little grasp at the middle class,” said Michael Sherraden, director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, who consulted on the project and helped develop projections for how much income families need to devote to savings. “If we’re interested in families being able to be stable and not have their lives disrupted and have a little protection and backup and be able to educate their children, then this is the way we have to think.”

or, as aptly, and snarkily, summed up by Wonkette:

Quote:
Have you been laboring under the delusion that you’re still part of the tiny, rapidly vanishing Middle Class? Happy April Fools Day! A new study proves that a family of four needs $67,920 a year (pre-tax) to survive in America. And that’s basic: no vacations, no fancy dinners, no wine tastings, no fun-box deliveries from Amazon or Zappos or whatever every couple of months to break up the crushing monotony of work and eventual death. You will, however, spend an average of $12,000 a year on car insurance and payments on your crappy mid-sized sedan, because we don’t have much in the way of public transportation in this country. And you’ll spend another $12,000 a year on child care, because we don’t like to provide socialism in these parts, ha ha. Freedom isn’t free, after all.

Not much left after $12,000 a year in rent and utilities, either. Don’t forget to pay $9,000 in taxes on that $67,920! Who do you think you are, General Electric?

The median household income in the United States is $52,029 — nearly $16,000 shy of what it actually costs to keep your head above water if you’ve got a two-income two-child household.

[...]

Yes, families of four are most certainly living in abject poverty at $22,050 a year. And they’re still a few paychecks away from disaster at $50,000 or $60,000 a year. Of course there are regional variations here, with big city housing costing the most and energy bills highest where the weather is extreme and the cost of living often being lower where there are, uh, no jobs or schools or anything. As for you single people, the government says anything beyond $10,830 means you’re not in poverty. This new study gives a more realistic number, based on the actual cost of basic shelter and food and electricity and getting to your shitty job if you’re lucky enough to have a shitty job: $30,012 a year. It almost seems like enough until you start paying for groceries and rent ….

If you’re in the top 20% of income earners in this country, you’re doing better with $180,000 in annual income — but not so much better that you feel especially comfortable, and you’re relatively free from the danger of being “rich.” We reserve that special category for the 1% who control 70% of the wealth in this country and have household incomes above $400,000. (And because it’s a day of such mirth and fun, we will not even type the household income levels for the top tenth of a percent.)

So we are now officially living in a country where more than 60% of households are not making enough money for a basic household — the bottom three quintiles of American household income top out at $62,000.

Household Income Short of $68K? Welcome To the New Poverty



have a great weekend!
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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I thought they meant for a single person with no kids, and I was all Holy shit, I'm poor!

I do all right for myself (although I should save more), but it frightens me to think of trying to support a family (or even one other person) on what I make.

Very scary.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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That sound you hear is the free-market economy shitting itself.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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It's $30,012, the $68K is for a two-parent home with two children.

The $30,012 doesn't sound that surprising to me. I don't know how you'd live on that around here in the first place. Maybe if you had 5 roommates and lived in the ghetto.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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No wonder I feel so strapped.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:54 PM   #6
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I'd feel like a billionaire if I was earning 68k
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:27 PM   #7
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and they wonder why so many people relied on credit cards for so long.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:51 AM   #8
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I'd feel like a billionaire if I was earning 68k
Haha I know. When I went up to about $40k, I felt like I was living like a king.

Also, this small comment in the article really leapt out at me:

Quote:
the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
I mean holy shit, really? That's all? It's $15 in Australia ... or on today's exchange rates, that's US$15.58.
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:15 AM   #9
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yep. about four states have minimum wage below the federal limit, plus waiters earn a lot less. it varies by state (damn state governments) but in tennessee at least, they earn $2.13 per hour - everyone else earns the federal minimum.

i've worked a lot of jobs in america but i never earned $15.58 per hour. sure as hell never made enough to live anywhere decent on my own. apartments in memphis ran approx. $1 per sq ft (roughly 0.9 sq m) in any area not overrun by crime which was just too expensive with only one salary. i can't even imagine what it's like for those who live in bigger cities where cost of living is even higher.
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:17 AM   #10
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those wages are downright insulting. isn't the place better off with epic capitalism*?









*=capitalism probably is still the best alternative, but jesus fuck.
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Old 04-02-2011, 02:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by KhanadaRhodes View Post
yep. about four states have minimum wage below the federal limit, plus waiters earn a lot less. it varies by state (damn state governments) but in tennessee at least, they earn $2.13 per hour - everyone else earns the federal minimum.
$2.13?! Woah, that's obscene. I suppose it's offset a bit by the culture of tipping there that is simply non-existent in Australia (though I think it's abhorrent that workers can be paid such non-wages in the expectation tipping will cover for the employer's stinginess).

I must admit, I don't quite understand how states can be allowed to set minimum wages below the federal limit, but I'm guessing it's part of the "states' rights" thing that makes US states much more powerful than Australian states?

Also, I suppose it's worth noting that back when the Aussie minimum wage was around $12-13 a decade ago, our exchange rate with the US$ was so utterly shitty that the comparison would've been much less flattering than what I can post today - indeed, around 2001-02, even AUS$15 would have been worth barely any more than US$7.25.
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 04-02-2011, 02:19 AM   #12
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$2.13?! Woah, that's obscene. I suppose it's offset a bit by the culture of tipping there that is simply non-existent in Australia (though I think it's abhorrent that workers can be paid such non-wages in the expectation tipping will cover for the employer's stinginess).

I must admit, I don't quite understand how states can be allowed to set minimum wages below the federal limit, but I'm guessing it's part of the "states' rights" thing that makes US states much more powerful than Australian states?

Also, I suppose it's worth noting that back when the Aussie minimum wage was around $12-13 a decade ago, our exchange rate with the US$ was so utterly shitty that the comparison would've been much less flattering than what I can post today - indeed, around 2001-02, even AUS$15 would have been worth barely any more than US$7.25.
yeah, exactly. i've known several waiters and if it's a good night they make really good money. but i also know what it's like on their bad nights where they can lose money staying around. i must admit though at least for nz, while it is refreshing to walk in, see something's $12 on a menu and only pay $12. no tip or anything. but my god the service is so crap here, so while i do wish employers paid waiters more, at least you generally get good service there.

and i know! i haaaaate the whole federal vs. state thing. maybe they thought it was a good idea in the 1770s when we were trying to basically not be like the uk, but jesus. or maybe it's just my opinion, i dunno, but to me the federal government is the big cheese, the ruler of the land. plus it's just fucking confusing that laws can differ from state to state and all that shit. i hate it.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:15 AM   #13
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Khan, I'm worried that in replying to your post, I'll steer this thread wildly off-topic into a discussion on tipping and restaurant service!
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 04-02-2011, 04:05 AM   #14
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I was more shocked by tax not being a part of the item's cost in the States. Like here, a $20 jacket is $20. Over there a $20 jacket could be $22 or something.
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:10 AM   #15
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I was more shocked by tax not being a part of the item's cost in the States. Like here, a $20 jacket is $20. Over there a $20 jacket could be $22 or something.
Oh that drove me fucking insane. I expect the price on the label to be the price I pay!
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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