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Tue May 29, 2012, 10:50 AM

WOW: In No State Is a 40-Hour, Minimum Wage Work Week Enough to Afford a Two-Bedroom Apartment

http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2012/05/29/wow-in-no-state-is-a-40-hour-minimum-wage-work-week-enough-to-afford-a-two-bedroom-apartment/



The above graphic exploded on Facebook this weekend. It shows how many minimum wage hours a worker needs to work in order to be able to afford a two-bedroom unit at “Fair Market Rent” in any given state. The FMR is a figure determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The numbers don’t show any discernible trend aside from perhaps 1) states with high cost of living/rent such as NY, NJ, DC, MD require the most man hours and 2) the minimum wage is too low. The latter, of course, is the point of this graphic.

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Reply WOW: In No State Is a 40-Hour, Minimum Wage Work Week Enough to Afford a Two-Bedroom Apartment (Original post)
xchrom May 2012 OP
PDJane May 2012 #1
mopinko May 2012 #2
SharonAnn May 2012 #11
freshwest May 2012 #129
Coyote_Bandit May 2012 #157
kestrel91316 May 2012 #13
Occulus May 2012 #26
PDJane May 2012 #48
lumberjack_jeff May 2012 #64
oldernwiser May 2012 #77
Zoeisright May 2012 #112
GreenStormCloud May 2012 #116
gejohnston May 2012 #122
tclambert May 2012 #124
ArcticFox May 2012 #144
MattBaggins May 2012 #155
HereSince1628 May 2012 #3
OVERPAID01 May 2012 #125
HereSince1628 May 2012 #133
chervilant May 2012 #154
Nuclear Unicorn May 2012 #4
PotatoChip May 2012 #5
freshwest May 2012 #130
TBF May 2012 #6
Nuclear Unicorn May 2012 #14
TBF May 2012 #37
HereSince1628 May 2012 #7
JDPriestly May 2012 #19
dixiegrrrrl May 2012 #20
stockholmer May 2012 #61
SoCalDem May 2012 #153
LeftyMom May 2012 #8
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #10
SharonAnn May 2012 #12
laundry_queen May 2012 #15
Trillo May 2012 #16
JDPriestly May 2012 #17
fizzgig May 2012 #53
DisgustipatedinCA May 2012 #67
quinnox May 2012 #145
JVS May 2012 #146
dkf May 2012 #9
JDPriestly May 2012 #21
Selatius May 2012 #44
Fumesucker May 2012 #22
dkf May 2012 #33
Fumesucker May 2012 #110
smirkymonkey May 2012 #60
dkf May 2012 #85
longship May 2012 #18
jeff47 May 2012 #23
dixiegrrrrl May 2012 #24
dana_b May 2012 #40
Indydem May 2012 #25
Occulus May 2012 #27
Indydem May 2012 #29
robinlynne May 2012 #32
Indydem May 2012 #56
davidthegnome May 2012 #38
MADem May 2012 #148
pscot May 2012 #42
abelenkpe May 2012 #49
YOHABLO May 2012 #31
Indydem May 2012 #35
robinlynne May 2012 #104
Daalalou May 2012 #158
dana_b May 2012 #45
abelenkpe May 2012 #50
Indydem May 2012 #55
PotatoChip May 2012 #70
robinlynne May 2012 #105
PotatoChip May 2012 #69
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #73
Indydem May 2012 #82
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #87
Indydem May 2012 #90
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #92
Indydem May 2012 #94
Bluenorthwest May 2012 #102
Honeycombe8 May 2012 #111
Zoeisright May 2012 #113
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #161
TalkingDog May 2012 #150
Warpy May 2012 #28
pscot May 2012 #43
robinlynne May 2012 #30
datasuspect May 2012 #34
JHB May 2012 #36
Harmony Blue May 2012 #39
RebelOne May 2012 #41
dixiegrrrrl May 2012 #51
RebelOne May 2012 #75
thesquanderer May 2012 #46
haele May 2012 #58
thesquanderer May 2012 #131
davidthegnome May 2012 #59
thesquanderer May 2012 #132
Evasporque May 2012 #47
n2doc May 2012 #52
slackmaster May 2012 #54
dana_b May 2012 #57
flvegan May 2012 #121
AllyCat May 2012 #62
JVS May 2012 #147
Mairead May 2012 #63
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #74
Mairead May 2012 #86
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #91
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #65
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #76
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #101
Fumesucker May 2012 #118
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #120
PotatoChip May 2012 #149
MindMover May 2012 #128
Tsiyu May 2012 #138
Iris May 2012 #84
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #97
oldernwiser May 2012 #88
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #100
Harmony Blue May 2012 #93
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #99
Zoeisright May 2012 #114
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #115
oldernwiser May 2012 #119
harmonicon May 2012 #139
Daalalou May 2012 #159
OneTenthofOnePercent May 2012 #160
lumberjack_jeff May 2012 #66
lovuian May 2012 #71
lumberjack_jeff May 2012 #72
harmonicon May 2012 #142
harmonicon May 2012 #140
RainDog May 2012 #68
aikoaiko May 2012 #78
xchrom May 2012 #79
smokey nj May 2012 #80
sarcasmo May 2012 #126
aikoaiko May 2012 #81
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #89
Iris May 2012 #83
geek_sabre May 2012 #95
robinlynne May 2012 #106
Curmudgeoness May 2012 #108
CottonBear May 2012 #152
Mairead May 2012 #96
WillyT May 2012 #98
Brooklyn Dame May 2012 #103
harmonicon May 2012 #143
McCamy Taylor May 2012 #107
valerief May 2012 #109
DotGone May 2012 #117
sarcasmo May 2012 #123
HCE SuiGeneris May 2012 #136
taught_me_patience May 2012 #127
REP May 2012 #134
HCE SuiGeneris May 2012 #135
Fearless May 2012 #137
lonestarnot May 2012 #141
SoCalDem May 2012 #151
dash_bannon May 2012 #156

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:54 AM

1. The answer is twofold.

Increase minimum wages and tax the renters.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:05 AM

2. tax the renters?

wha?

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:35 AM

11. Renters pay tax. It's in the cost of the rent.

No landlord pays rent for unit and doesn't charge the cost in the unit's rent.

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #11)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:41 PM

129. That's right, it's an old RW lie they toss to divide people.

It's just a way to denigrate renters to the ignorant who want to think they're superior.

Taxes are part of the costs, just like the interest on the mortgages, maintenance, etc.

The owner isn't running a charity and takes a profit above all of that for his own living.

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #11)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:01 AM

157. Theoretically

But in reality the ability to pass the cost of taxes on to renters is dependent upon whether rental properties are overbuilt.

The one bedroom apartment I lived in a decade ago still rents for about what I paid in rent when I lived there - about $500 a month. The home I own is about a half mile from that apartment. There have not been any significant changes in the neighborhood. But there have been a lot of new apartments built in the city. Too many new apartments.

Local business news reports that the average occupancy in rental properties across the city is about 70% - and has been at that level for several years now. That kind of occupancy rate creates significant downward pressure on rental pricing.

While the rent on that one bedroom apartment has remained virtually unchanged in last last decade the property taxes on my home have doubled. I live in a small older home in an established neighborhood where property values had maxed out before I purchased my home. My increased tax liablity is not due to an increase in the value of my home. If I were to sell the home I'd be probably be able to get about what I paid for it.

Meanwhile, voters here have elected to use property tax funds for several purposes other than the traditional ones related to public education. The tax funds are used to help fund public parks, a museum, the costs of litigation and settlements against the county, a community college, a technical school, a minor league baseball park, health care services, emergency services, emergency warning systems.

These are the kinds of costs that all taxpayers should share. But they don't. And the reason they don't is because those who own rental properties are largely unable to pass on any increased tax costs in an overbuilt market with significant downward pressure on rental pricing.

Property taxes here are a factor in depressing property values and encouraging those with resources and money to move even further out into suburban areas in other counties. I can move across the county line (20 minutes from downtown) and have a new and significanly larger home on a one acre lot with a considerably higher assessed value - and pay less in property taxes than I paid on my current home when I bought it a decade ago (before my current taxes doubled).

Someday (hopefully soon) I'll do something like that. And I will not be particularly concerned about recouping the initial cost of my home. If I am reasonably certain that I will experience a $5,000 annual reduction in property taxes and cost of living and if I am reasonably certain that I will be able to recoup that savings for two or three years then I can comfortably accept an offer on my home that is $10,000 or more below its purchase price a decade ago. I will fairly quickly recoup the funds elsewhere.

Both the tax rates and the way property taxes are used here encourage those who are able to flee the metropolitan area to do so. Oh, well. Whatever. The city/county metropolitan area can and will reap the consequences of its policies. My first obligation and priority is to myself and my family.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:36 AM

13. Wow. Meanwhile, make sure the landlords don't have to

pay any taxes at all, I suppose.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:06 PM

26. We already pay property taxes through out rents, thanks n/t

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:03 PM

48. The renters, not the rentees.......the property owner. And make sure he pays it, not the rentee.

In other words, tax the property owner, not the person who uses it for short periods.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #48)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:00 PM

64. The landlord passes the costs through to the tenants. n/t

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Response to PDJane (Reply #48)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:37 PM

77. And you do this..... how?

 

We - the consumer - pay every tax associated with every facet of every object we consume. Charge the landlords and they simply fold that cost into the rents WE pay which further inflames the situation.

To rectify the disparity in the graphic, we can only do one of two things:
Leave the minimum wage where it is and cap the rents - which will kill the housing market completely, and those who would normally rent will have to find a cozy 2 BR cardboard box.
Let the FMR for housing do what it will and adjust minimum wage accordingly - which will translate back into the costs of goods and services which will bring about another graphic on FB showing how little minimum wage earners can afford.

Does anyone else see where this takes us?

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Response to oldernwiser (Reply #77)

Tue May 29, 2012, 08:57 PM

112. No, increasing the minimum wage does NOT increase costs of goods and services.

That is a right wing talking point.

Increasing the minimum wage is good for everyone. It's only opposed by assholes like the Chamber of Commerce and repukes.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #112)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:35 PM

116. Then were does the money to pay the increased wages come from?

The business has to pass on increased costs to the consumer. The money doesn't magically appear in the business bank account to pay higher wages from.

Most business operate on a net profit margin of about 5%.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #116)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:00 PM

122. cuts in the profits a little bit.

If you adjust for inflation, my $3.10 after school in 1977 would be the same as $11.50. In other words, people are raising families on less than what I made putting bikes together at Ace Hardware.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #116)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:08 PM

124. Increases in minimum wage get spent, then spent again. The money multiplies almost like magic.

According to a study by Moody's, every dollar the government gives out in food stamps results in about $1.73 of economic stimulus. Minimum wage increases probably create a similar stimulus. I can't find a study that provides any numbers, though.

And every dollar of tax cuts for the rich results in about $0.39 of stimulus.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #116)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:11 AM

144. The secret is to simultaneously increase income taxes, on investment income especially

It's all about incentivising investment over profits and investment income. Tax policy is unfortunately not being utilised as it should be.

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Response to oldernwiser (Reply #77)

Wed May 30, 2012, 10:00 AM

155. No one else see it because you are using kindergarten level economics

Raising MW or a slight increase in tax base does not have the snowball effect you right wingers dream of. In the real world the tax cost comes from the profit side since they have to remain competitive.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:08 AM

3. 1998 was my first year in Russia, they asked me about the US, I asked them about Russia

They were greatly enamored of American incomes, including mine, which at the time was in the high 30k's. They were quite sure that I was very well off. At one point the conversation turned to the price of housing. I asked what percent of their (mostly staff members of the Russian Academy) incomes was spent on housing. The answer ranged between 5% and 10%. They found it incomprehensibly ridiculous that Americans like me spent ~30% of our incomes on our housing.

I wonder what they will think about the goodness of American capitalism as a socio-economic model when they run across this on the web.








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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #3)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:08 PM

125. 50% minimum

 

NO successful business can stay in business without a 50% mark up on all goods and services. The only way small businesses can compete with this model is to have the owner and his family work longer hours for little to no extra pay. The larger businesses buy in bulk, get a larger break on products and charge less thus forcing small business to cut even further into their profitability as such working even longer hours for less profit. The average small business owner sees overall profits of 120,000 but the owner generally works 70 plus hours per week, does their own accounting & managing, as well as staying open weekends and holidays to play catch up.

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Response to OVERPAID01 (Reply #125)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:52 PM

133. Yahoo! Welcome to DU buckeroo.

Hahahahahahah!

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #3)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:34 AM

154. More like

40-45%, these days...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:10 AM

4. Why would 1 wage earner need 2 bedrooms?

Honest question.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:13 AM

5. Single parent of

different gendered teen/adolescent children?

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Response to PotatoChip (Reply #5)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:46 PM

130. That's required by some landlords.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:14 AM

6. Single mother. nt

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Response to TBF (Reply #6)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:41 AM

14. That I'll mea culpa

Not being a mother -- or intending to -- I saw no further than my own experience of having a roommate in college and then getting married.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #14)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:29 PM

37. Yes - I thought of my sister right away.

Single mom to 2 girls. But she actually lives with my mom in a duplex. They have a pretty good arrangement. But I could see folks in her situation.

I lived both alone (I did have a one bedroom/den once - but I wasn't working minimum wage) and with roommates prior to getting married. When you're young roommates can be a good situation both for saving money and having company.

In any event, this OP is not the argument I'd use to argue for better conditions. Few recent high school/college graduates need their own 2-bedroom apartments. They do need job opportunities and some relief on student debt (I wouldn't say wipe it out - but I would argue for lower interest rates).

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:15 AM

7. Because in the US it's typical not to have everyone in a household sleep in the same room.

This is a perspective on how life looks for a low income single parent.

Now the question will be why should a low income single parent have one or more children?


And the answer would be, because they haven't been able to do the proper vulture capitalism thing. Which is to say they haven't yet sold said child(ren)--either intact, or as medical replacement parts.


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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #7)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:52 AM

19. Thank you.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #7)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:00 PM

20. Gulp.....

shades of Jonathan Swift.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #20)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:44 PM

61. +1

 

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #7)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:08 AM

153. and because children are forever, while life-circumstances are always subject to change

There are LOTS of women who are "left behind", or who have to leave a bad marriage.

Those kids do not cease to exist when a family moves from 2 incomes to 1 income

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:16 AM

8. *facepalm*

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:17 AM

10. Perhaps that person has accumulated possessions?

 

Our great space takers are the books, we have every available wall filled with bookcases and I still can get the car in the garage. We have three bedrooms because we also have an office here.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:35 AM

12. Children.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:48 AM

15. Let's see

Single parents. Couples who have children where it's cheaper to have one parent at home than to pay childcare. Couples with a disabled family member who needs special equipment. People who are caring for a parent. People who work out of their home and need an office. People who have lots of friends who visit or stay while they try to find jobs.

A little imagination please.

BTW, where I am there is very little difference in price between a 1 and 2 bedroom. I have a feeling minimum wage would still be insufficient for a 1 bedroom in most places.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:49 AM

16. Storage and archives.

You know, all that paperwork and product that our system says we need to keep. Every receipt (for 7 years), a place for archives. Accounting and bookkeeping. Gotta keep the boxes and styrofoam from every purchased item, the boxes can sometimes be folded.

You could also throw all that stuff away and do without, but good luck proving you purchased something should someone special signal notice.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:51 AM

17. Because the wage-earner has an invalid mother or a teenaged son.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:22 PM

53. don't forget about couples with only one wage earner

my husband and i have to keep our dressers in the second bedroom because the rooms are so damn small.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #4)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:06 PM

67. One bedroom to sleep in, and another as a shrine to military heroes

.

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Response to DisgustipatedinCA (Reply #67)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:12 AM

145. ...

 


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Response to DisgustipatedinCA (Reply #67)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:17 AM

146. Their sacrifice made it all possible!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:16 AM

9. I'm not sure a person can afford a two bedroom rent by themselves with a college degree.

 

Maybe the point is the government should stop propping up housing values which are still unaffordable.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:01 PM

21. The government props up housing values for the same reason it subsidizes

gasoline and farm products. The subsidies and prop-ups are incentives to the rich to produce and provide.

Personally, I would prefer it if the government would offer low-cost, decent housing subsidized by taxpayers for low-income people. In addition to really helping low-income people while raising inflation very little, it would provide some competition for greedy private landlords. Of course that won't happen because it would mean that the bankers and very wealthy would lose a cash cow -- renting at exorbitant prices to the poor.

Right now, the wealthy spend a lot of their extra money from the Bush tax cuts gambling in the rental housing market. It's a pretty sure thing. Everybody has to have a place to live. A renovated rental unit is a cash cow.

And since, the rich think that housing prices are low, they figure housing is one investment that will gain in value over time. In fact, who knows? Americans may just get used to living in cramped spaces. As I mentioned, it's another gamble.

But a lot of right-wingers do not trust the dollar, so property investments look good to them.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #21)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:43 PM

44. The government does offer subsidized housing or public housing.

The problem is those programs are woefully underfunded and inadequate. If they spent money on those programs like they do with the Pentagon, I'm sure they'd look very nice and be very safe, instead of something found in a crime-ridden ghetto.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:02 PM

22. Rather instead that government stopped depressing wage earnings which are still insufficient..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #22)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:18 PM

33. How does government "depress" wages?

 

Isn't that more a problem of too much supply of labor?

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Response to dkf (Reply #33)

Tue May 29, 2012, 07:39 PM

110. By allowing the velocity of money through the financial system to drop too low..

When extremely wealthy people pile up more and more money that they don't spend then the velocity of money drops, it has now dropped so low that it's really hurting the consumer economy that drives the job creation cycle.

Take the money away from those who are just piling it up to no use and put it back in the consumer economy.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:43 PM

60. I can't even afford a ONE bedroom apartment in New York

or Boston (I am moving for work) and I have a master's degree and a lot of experience. Unless, of course, I wanted to live somewhere that was an hour or two hour's commuting time away.

In New York I have a roommate and in Boston I'll have a studio that's almost 50% of my income. It's ridiculous. I can't imagine how anyone on minimum wage can afford to have a roof over their heads.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #60)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:20 PM

85. Yes. It's ridiculous.

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:51 AM

18. Minimum wagers never get to work full time

Doesn't 40 hrs == benefits? At least some places?

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Response to longship (Reply #18)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:05 PM

23. No.

Benefits are a different issue. Most minimum wage jobs do not offer benefits, no matter if you are full time or part time. Or if they do, the employee pays 100% of the cost.

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Response to longship (Reply #18)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:06 PM

24. Depends on your classification nowdays.

It is my understanding that lots of jobs nowdays simply do not offer benefits.
It is my understanding that some jobs can lable you a "manager" and thus make you exempt from any overtime wages while paying you minimum wage "salary".
and it seems that minimum wage earners can and do work 2 "part-time" jobs, each one at 20 hours a week.
So they are working 40 hours per week at minimum wage.
If they are lucky enough to get mimimum wage.

I could be mistaken tho...

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #24)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:38 PM

40. no, you are correct

I have worked in those capacities and have worked with lots of people who made minimum wage. I was a manager who made a salary BUT I was required to work 45 -60 hours/wk. So then when I would work - oh say 55 hours/wk., I made little more than the minimum wage workers who I was managing. I did, however, get medical/dental benefits.

The workers rarely got close to 40 hours and most had 2 -3 three minimum wage jobs to total 40+ hours/wk. None of them had benefits. I remember driving a couple of workers home late at night when the restaurant closed and they lived in a 1000 square foot house with 10+ people. It's a hard life.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:06 PM

25. Sorry to point out the glaring facts, but:

We don't pay rent on a weekly basis. So in most of those states, there is plenty of income left over in the MONTH to afford utilities, food and other necessities. At 88 hours for rent there are still 72 hours at minimum wage (approximately $522 before taxes) to make ends meet. Unless you are eating steak regularly or having 20mbps internet, you can easily do that, even as a single mother.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:10 PM

27. My rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in a very old house (no grounded outlets!) is $615.

Tell us another story, please. That one was a good good one!

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Response to Occulus (Reply #27)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:13 PM

29. There are a lot of factors that play into rent.

When I was a renter, I had a 2 bedroom townhouse (2 floors) that was 1000 ft sq and had been recently renovated with new appliances for $497 per month.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #29)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:17 PM

32. more than 10 years ago is my guess... We renters are all downsizing now to smaller places, paying m

more rent....

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Response to robinlynne (Reply #32)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:27 PM

56. I rented from 2004-2007

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Response to Indydem (Reply #29)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:29 PM

38. Could you please elaborate a bit on those factors?

There are places where housing is more affordable - Maine, particularly the more rural parts, being one of them. However, in every other State I have lived in or been to visit for a length of time, the cost of renting so much as a studio apartment is well above the means of the minimum wage, 40 hour a week worker. I think it needs to be acknowledged that, for the most part, renting a home or apartment in the USA throughout the vast majority of our Country is absurdly expensive and more than most workers can afford (unaided).

My best friend went to grad school in Boston, studio apartment, 950 a month. My girlfriend lives in a suburb of MA, average cost of a studio apartment (the few that are rented out in her town) is about 800-850. Generally, this does not include utilities.

It is also clear to me that many college grads, some of whom I know well, cannot afford the rent on a half decent apartment either. Perhaps with rental assistance, a partner or a room mate... a spouse. Alone though? Unlikely.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #38)

Wed May 30, 2012, 06:01 AM

148. Rents in rural ME are VERY affordable--of course, the jobs are few and far between. nt

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Response to Indydem (Reply #29)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:40 PM

42. more than 20 years ago is my guess

I once paid $70 a month for a 2 bedroom house, but hamburger was $.25/lb and gas cost $.29 a gallon.

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Response to Occulus (Reply #27)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:07 PM

49. My rent for a two bedroom one bath in a home built in 1927

is 1600 a month. I'm a working mother with two small kids. And I have a deal given that a similar apartment in my neighborhood goes for 2100 and up. Thank you rent control.

Rent is ridiculous. Buying a home more ridiculous. Wages have been stagnant for 15 years. Yay, love this economy......

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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:17 PM

31. Just Hold On A Minute

What about care insurance, maintenance on the car, and also health insurance premiums, cost of food etc.. I think you've miss-spoke without thinking.

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Response to YOHABLO (Reply #31)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:22 PM

35. No, I didn't.

My car insurance was $35 per month.
My food bill (albeit, just for myself) was $30/week. =120
My Gas and electric were $65
My Internet and cable was $80.
Gas was about $20 per week = $80

That's $380. If you used public transportation, got rid of cable, worked more hours, or got a room mate, you'd be doing quite well.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #35)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:59 PM

104. food for 30.00 a week for oe person is impossible, even sticking to spaghetti and eggs.

I stopped being able to buy meat or special things a long time ago. Even so I spend 70 per week for very very simple food. milk, bread, vegetables, the basics.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #35)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:11 PM

158. IF those are options

That's a huge if.

In many parts of the country, public transportation is very limited or non-existent.

Many people can't work more hours, because the work (in the form of a second job, or extra hours at their current job) is unavailable.

Roommates bring a host of other issues, as it can be hard to screen for someone you can truly live with. What you can tolerate in college or your 20s--a roommate who might smoke, drink, smell, party--can be intolerable when you're older and need a decent place to sleep and de-stress. And if you have children, you have to worry about their safety from either the roommate, or friends the roommate might bring by.

Getting rid of cable is the only genuine option for many people (and many people have dropped cable over the last few years; I've seen articles about it), but that only nets you an extra $50 a month.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:45 PM

45. ?? your calculations are off

Where I live in California, a two bedroom apartement is approximately $1200.00/month (http://www.showmetherent.rentlinx.com/Listings.aspx?State=CA&County=Contra%20Costa&MinBedrooms=2&MaxBedrooms=2)

The California minimum wage is $8.00/hr. 40 x 8 = $320/wk. 320.00 x 4 = $1280.00/month

How can someone afford a two bedroom on $1280.00/month if it costs $1200.00??

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Response to dana_b (Reply #45)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:09 PM

50. They can't. nt

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Response to dana_b (Reply #45)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:27 PM

55. I used the OP

The vast majority of the country is <88 hrs.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #55)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:52 PM

70. No.

They are using a hypothetical amount of hours that a minimum wage worker would need to work in order to reasonably afford a 2 bedroom apartment based on the state they live in. The question then becomes what kind of calculation did they go by to base what "reasonable" is?... Chances are, they used the type of income to debt ratio (or income to 'cost' -as in the case of an apartment) that banks typically use (or used to use) to determine if a prospective home buyer is a safe bet for a mortgage loan. IIRC, it was 33% for my SO and I back when we bought our place in 1997.

As an aside, most people do not work 74 hours a week (or whatever it is in your state). Not saying they don't want to; often they can't get that many hours, even IF it is 1, 2 or 3 crappy minimum wage jobs combined... For example, job-A) may give 22 one week, job-B) 30 and job-C)16.

Here is why: Most people who work minimum wage jobs are beholden to their employers to work whatever shift and how many hours the employer needs out of them. It's very common for these employers to rarely offer any sort of consistent set of hours or even any consistent day, or time of day--- Therefore to get those 74 hours in, a minimum wage worker has to try to juggle their 2 or 3 job schedules the best they can or face termination.

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Response to dana_b (Reply #45)

Tue May 29, 2012, 07:01 PM

105. where I live, in los angeles, a one bedroom is a lot more than 1200! I ahve rent control, and they a

are going to tear our buildings down next year. I am hoping that there is a possibility of finding a one bedroom an hour out of town for around 1000 or 1200 in a place where I wont feel afraid. There are hardly one bedrooms available for 1200 in good neighborhoods.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:15 PM

69. Might want to factor in childcare costs (among other things)

Considering the fact that the OP is referring to a two bedroom apartment chances are that it's for a good reason- as in one of more children living there with this minimum wage worker. Not some single person household w/expenses related to only a single person. That would mean higher food costs, higher utility bills, higher car insurance (if a teen w/a license is in the house, ect.) school related expenses- On and on... And then there are childcare costs for people w/young children.

I wanted to know what people pay these days, so I did some googling on 'Average cost of childcare in Indiana'. Unfortunately, reliable sources were hard to find for your state, so I broadened the question to include the entire US and chose from what appears to be one of the better sources. It sounds about right to me based based on #'s I've heard anecdotally from nieces and nephews w/children of varying ages.

Average Cost:

The U.S. "average" seems to suggest that for one toddler, in full-time day care, on weekdays, the cost is approximately $600.00 per month. But, that figure can rise to well over $1000.00 per month in major metro areas, and fall to less than $350 in rural areas.

Factors Impacting Cost:

•Number of children in a program
•Rates for siblings in the same program
•Ratio of staff members to children,
•Private or public facility
•Geographical location
•Teaching certifications and licenses
•Meals
•Tutoring
•Speech therapy or occupational therapy
•Amount of day care needed (hours per week)
•Early/late drop-off and pick-up fees


http://www.care.com/child-care-day-care-cost-p1145-q165824.html


In summary, there are many variables that ought to be figured in to the OP's minimum wage/housing cost map. The fact that it's a 2 bedroom place very likely means that there are more costs associated then just the single-person scenario that you outlined.






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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:15 PM

73. You really should have read more carefully, as you completely missed the facts

 

reported. The chart represents the minimum number of hours one has to work @ minimum wage every week in order to pay FMV rent.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #73)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:09 PM

82. The graphic is wrong

Designed to be sensational and distort the facts.

Follow the link, visit the HUD statistics and do your own math.

Those are total hours required to pay the Fair Market Rent amount in each state, not weekly.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #82)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:26 PM

87. This came out over a month ago (apparently it didn't find it's way here) and I have.

 

There are three graphics like this and the accompanying data, and you're just wrong.

Go here and see for yourself. Start with this 39K .PDF, How to use the numbers/Where the numbers came from.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #87)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:43 PM

90. The numbers are bullshit.

"Multiply the FMR for a unit of a particular size by 12 to get the yearly rental
cost (2BR: $949 x 12 = $11,388). Then divide by .3 to determine the total
income needed to afford $11,388 per year in rent ($11,388 / .3 = $37,960)."

The whole study is based on the idea that you can only spend 30% of your income on rent, which is regoddamndiculous and has no basis in the real world. If you are starting out and making minimum wage, you are going to have to spend a hell of a lot more than 30% of your income to afford a 2 bedroom apartment.

"2012 Renter Household Income
Estimated Median $33,363"

So the estimated median income of renters is $33,363, but they can't afford $11,388 in rent? Bullshit. That leaves $21,975 annually or $422 per week, which is a fuck ton more than minimum wage.

These numbers are meant to be sensational, and the hurt the argument for a fair wage. When you can do the simple math to make a household work on minimum wage, it makes all these bullshit analyses where rent can only be a certain amount look stupid and unrealistic.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #90)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:48 PM

92. If you have no interest in learning, but merely want to argue,

 

at least use the same numbers to argue with. I've given you the links.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #92)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:52 PM

94. Those numbers are from your links.

Hence the " and ".

Argue with them now.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #94)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:31 PM

102. Good gravy, the median income of all renters has no implied relationship to

minimum wage. Where do you live? You seem to assume 'renter' means low income. This is not the case. In many cities, most people are renting and leasing and some of those rents are six figures a year and up. The top 'renters' in the US make millions a year, and the median of that group reflects that.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Tue May 29, 2012, 08:19 PM

111. If you have 2 bedrooms, don't you have 2 wage earners? Either spouses with kids, or roommates?

I lived in apartments for many years. I always lived in tiny one bedroom apts, unless I had a roommate.

If you are single with kids, and you're that poor, don't you qualify for food stamps and Section 8 housing or other assistance with housing? It's a long wait, but I think it's there, IF you are employed but don't make enough to pay for rent.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #111)

Tue May 29, 2012, 08:59 PM

113. No, sometimes you're a single wage earner with kids.

And just try finding Section 8 housing, or living there.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #113)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 07:57 AM

161. It's a long wait to get Sec 8 housing, like 2 years.

So before having that last kid, get on the list. Better yet, don't have that last kid until you are able to afford it. Then try to get a better paying job. This may mean learning a skill. For a woman, learn office skills, and you will likely never be unemployed. You won't get paid a lot, but you'll get benefits. Then the longer you stay there, the raises will rack up, and in 10 years, you'll be in a much better financial position.

I've been very poor. I got tired of it, so learned how to do something that would pay better. It's hard, but worth it.

If you have one child, you can live in a 1 bedroom apartment easily. When an infant, the crib is in your room. Then the child can sleep with you or in a sep single bed in your room. When even older, by then you'll have a better paying job, if you've been working at accomplishing that. If not, the child can sleep on the sofa. If you've been signed up for Sec 8 for all that time, you should have a sec 8 apartment by now. What I would not do is rent a 2 bedroom apt if it meant I had to scrimp on food on other necessities. Or have a 2nd child.

Few things are more important than learning a skill or vocation in order to earn a living. People who don't know how to do anything are always going to have trouble making ends meet, esp if they have children. Helping them to learn a skill would help them more than increasing their meager wages for non-skilled work. Free classes in office skills, after hours, where they can bring their kids, would be a good start.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #25)

Wed May 30, 2012, 07:52 AM

150. You are a (unprintable) (unprintable). Who are you.... Mitt Romney's mouthpiece?


Let's lay out a budget for you so you might understand what they are actually saying. We'll assume a single parent and child.
And my sources were found on the fly, so if you can find more accurate numbers, have at.

Let's pretend you are "lucky" enough to work 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job: 160 hours per month = $1160 Income


Expenditures:

Rent = $638.00 (source: You)

Lights = $95.66 (Source: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Energy-Matters/Average-Electric-Bills.aspx)

Water = $51.00 (Source: http://www.leakbird.com/running-toilets/the-average-monthly-household-water-bill-5100-water-facts-and-running-toilets-leakbirdx)

Food (on the Thrifty Plan) = $354.00 (Scource: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2009/CostofFoodDec09.pdf)

So our bare minimum, absolute basic necessities. No clothes, no personal products, no frills, no car, no transportation, no doctor's visits, no dentist, no cable, no phone, no internet = $1138.66

Which leaves you with $22.00per month to do all those things beyond the bare minimum.

Now, 'splain it to me Mittens, like I'm 12.

How exactly you can eat steak or have blazing fast internets on 22.00 PER MONTH? Better yet... tell me ANYTHING 2 people can do for $22.00 goddamned, fucking dollars a month?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:12 PM

28. I left Boston because of that

I loved living there, loved loved loved. Unfortunately, it was incredibly wearing paying 40+% of my pay on rent every month and this was for a one bedroom apartment in a sketchy area. I wasn't low income, I have no idea how they coped, I was making an RN's wage well above the poverty line.

While the city offered some amazing cultural amenities, I was rarely able to take advantage of any of them because I simply couldn't afford those and rent, too. I might have been living in the midwest in a suburb.

Now I live in the desert southwest, own a house, and usually had enough paycheck left over to buy the occasional piece of art for the walls or go to the rare concert.

When I think of what could have been had wages kept place with inflation in rent and health care, I get very angry. All of us who have been working since the mid 70s have been robbed in every paycheck. I hope we find a way to grab it back. If we don't, this country is over.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #28)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:42 PM

43. Word!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:16 PM

30. of course.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:19 PM

34. a new world awaits you in the offworld colonies

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:22 PM

36. Was it ever? n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:30 PM

39. Old new is old

This has been known for quite a while for those that work 2 min wage jobs.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:38 PM

41. A solution to the housing problem is what I did.

I bought a 2-bedroom mobile home. I have to pay lot rent of $367, but garbage pickup and water are included.

I am living on social security, but my expenses are low -- car and home insurance, gas and electric, Internet, cable and phone. I have no credit cards, so no monthly payments.

I have a few thousand stashed in the bank, which I try not to touch, as that money is for emergencies only.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #41)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:10 PM

51. You are in a smaller town, perhaps?

check this out for insanity.

Lot rent for a 2 bedroom mobile home in South San Franciso= 950.00 a month, increases by 50.00 a month every year.
PLUS any payments for the mobile home itself, which are selling for 200 K or more.
Plus utilities.
The mobile home park I am thinking of has a LOT of retired people in it, who moved there 15 or so years ago and did not look too far into the future of increasing lot rental prices.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #51)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:33 PM

75. I am just northwest of Atlanta and my town is considered

part of the Atlanta metro area. I have lived here since 1994. At that time, the lot rent was only $190, but I can handle the $367 rent as I could not even rent an apartment for that and I own my home.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:45 PM

46. Does a student's first job have to be enough for him to get a 2BR apt?

What's wrong with a studio?

Also, if this is based on the same data as what I read a while back, this is based on using only 30% of your income for rent, which is an ideal.

So to rephrase, are we really expecting that 30% of a student's first job should be enough to pay for a 2BR apt?

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Response to thesquanderer (Reply #46)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:34 PM

58. Not all minimum wage workers are 2/4-year degree students that just graduated.

And not all 2/4 year degree students that just graduated are young 20-somethings that can start out in a Studio apartment.

One also has to consider that if the degree is above an associates, or if they got some sort of clerical or trade training, they are probably stuck with student loan debt, as well as all the other costs that come with supporting oneself - perhaps insurance (medical and auto - and renters), basic utilities, basic food - just basic utilities and the coupon-clippers trips to the market costs at least $500 a month in almost all states - perhaps more depending on how hot or how cold it can get. Transportation - unless you already have your bike or walk everywhere, even with public transportation, that's a good $50 to $350 a month. And if you get sick, you need to have savings and medical insurance - even if you're making so little eligible for food stamps and state supplimental insurance - so as a minimum wage worker, you should be putting at least one week's salary aside for the emergancies that come up.

In some states, a full-time minimum wage worker can't even afford an unfurnished studio apartment or to share an apartment/rent a room. When I owned a house, I had at different times two "rent-mates" working both a full-time and a part-time shift job to an average of 60 hours a week that could only kick in utilities and food they used, because they were trying to pay off all sorts of bills - medical bills, child support, college, bankruptcy - and it was just eating up their wages as they were trying to get back on thier feet. They ended up paying rent by helping out around the house (basically housekeeping for the room) and watching it while I was on travel, but still - minimum wage doesn't get you very far.
t usually took them two or three years before they got their outstanding debts paid down and/or they could get a better job and afford to move out - and this was in the late 1990's/early 2000's. It's even worse now, as the cost of living has gone up and creditors have been less forgiving.

The stereotype of the minimum wage worker being a teen/twenty-something starting out or a housewife taking in "pin money" has been unrealistic for quite a few years now. Many minimum wage workers are laid off with professional backgrounds or graduate degrees that can't find a job or can't afford to re-locate and are supporting someone else, so a cheap 2-bedroom apartment in a relatively safe area of town that is also close to mass transit, etc, is be a necessity - especially if one is on one's own and is looking at room-mates to help pay for that apartment.

The other issue with affordable housing (for minimum wage or just above) is that the standard in most places is the two-bedroom, which is only realistic for professional singles or couples, or a young family. There needs to be more three and/or four bedroom residences that are affordable for more established families and households where there are more than the "two to a bedroom room" members (that's the usual fire code requirement in most municipalities) - but since those types of residences aren't "cost effective" when it comes to community planning, there are not enough of them around.

Haele

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Response to haele (Reply #58)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:48 PM

131. True, not all minimum wage earners are people starting out, but...

... that, in itself, doesn't make a great argument for raising minimum wage.

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Response to thesquanderer (Reply #46)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:35 PM

59. Expecting it? Nope.

It would, however, be ideal.

As I mentioned in an above post, my best friend spent 950 a month for a studio when going to Grad school in Boston. Now Boston has very expensive rent, this is true - but so do most other Cities. 30% of his income? No, during Grad school he worked for Block Buster... rent would have been actually a little more than the total of his monthly income if he didn't also have a work study. Even so, a conservative estimate - I'd say it cost him at least 90%. That left him 10% plus whatever he had left over from student loans to pay everything else.

He ended up doing rather well for himself in the end, the issue is that most people do not have his fortitude, his resources, or the high GPA that got him into a decent school to begin with. Do I expect that he should have had a 2 bedroom apartment with his first job? For 30% of his total income? Not at all. I'd settle for it if he could have gotten a studio, once completing undergrad, for let's say 55-60% - which is still very expensive.

I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make here. Rent is way too expensive whether it's a studio or a 2BR you're getting. Few people can afford it, period, regardless of whether they're students, professionals, retired, or anything else.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #59)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:50 PM

132. the point

Last edited Wed May 30, 2012, 02:14 PM - Edit history (1)

re: "I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make here."

My point is that there are lots of good points to make about minimum wage and about housing. Saying that minimum wage (or 30% of minimum wage) doesn't buy deluxe housing is not one of them.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:58 PM

47. Republicans WIN!....

again....

I have met one rental property owner that isn't a conservative....

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:21 PM

52. Repubs see no problem in that

Poor people shouldn't get married or have kids. They deserve only a studio apartment or a room in a shared use house. And they should be grateful, because poor people in other countries have nothing!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:26 PM

54. Has there ever been a time when minimum wage was sufficient to rent a 2-bedroom apartment everywhere

 

...or anywhere?

I doubt that has ever been the case where I live (San Diego, CA.) The STATE minimum wage has always been higher than FEDERAL minimum wage.

I remember the state minimum was $1.65 per hour when I took my first job in 1973, just under $400 per month.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:33 PM

57. 30 Days: Minimum Wage

anyone in this thread who is questioning why people can't make it on minimum wage should watch this: http://www.tv.com/shows/30-days/minimum-wage-425972/

Two people trying to live on minimum wage in a one bedroom apartment can barely make it (actually they came up way short on money). Some here are lucky enough to be able to make it by sharing with others but the thread topic is about one person getting a two bedroom place. As we can see that is nearly if not totally impossible.

Some people DO need a two bedroom place. Why? They have children or other dependents.

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Response to dana_b (Reply #57)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:43 PM

121. I loved Spurlock and this series.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:48 PM

62. But if we get rid of the minimum wage, businesses will add jobs, and everyone

can afford to buy a McMansion and vacation property. And car elevators. Right? That's what the GOP and the Baggers say.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #62)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:19 AM

147. Think of the jobs that people will get evicting people who can't pay the rent.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:53 PM

63. What I want to know is why isn't housing

 

provided by the community, with tax monies, the way roads, sewers, street lights, etc are? Why should shelter be a luxury?

Is there any generally-accepted principle that supports making shelter a luxury item but not roads or sewers?

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Response to Mairead (Reply #63)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:28 PM

74. Because the Kings of Europe were granted ownership of the earth, by God Himself,

 

a thousand years ago. So since everything is owned by them, only they have the power to grant ownership to their faithful backers. And so they, in turn have the power to demand a portion of their tenant's lives in exchange for shelter.

It was this Divine largess that has justified stealing other people's land and resources for millennia.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #74)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:23 PM

86. How many, d'you reckon, think that's a good enough reason?

 

Of those who've actually thought about it, I mean.

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Response to Mairead (Reply #86)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:44 PM

91. I can only guess that not enough have thought it through, or if they have,

 

have come to the conclusion that there is no way to unravel so much tradition, regardless of the criminal origins of that tradition. Same with the banking system.

Better the Devil you know and all that.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:02 PM

65. IMO, not all jobs should earn living wages.

 

There a number of jobs that are pretty menial in nature and probably shouldn't warrant a living wage. I think minimum wage laws are just fine as a safeguard against true exploitation of workers... but I disagree that minimum wage should reflect a living wage.

I remember growing up with jobs in high school and doing alot of jobs in the summers. Had employers been required to pay living wages then ALL of those jobs that we see young people (under 18) working would basically disappear. I think it's important for young people to work jobs and get used to the world of working while still not yet living on their own. If employers were required to pay all workers $11 or more per hour (even the trivial jobs held by teens) then those jobs would certainly dry up for the young workforce.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:33 PM

76. You're either very old or have been living under that rock for too long.

 

That you already have accepted the premise that being born indentures you to toiling away to accomplish another person's dreams (unless you are born into the right family) makes it unlikely you will ever see the absurdity of your statement.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #76)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:28 PM

101. That's not what I said. The point I am stating is...

 

The value of labor a person provides must be at or less than the value of their wage or the system fails. Unfortunately, the value of sweeping floors and bagging groceries (or any number of other menial tasks) simply isn't up to par with the cost of the average american cost of living.

I think we can do without your misinterpretation in the future.
Thank you for your concern.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #101)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:40 PM

118. Then those jobs don't really need doing..

If it's not worth paying someone enough to live on then the jobs aren't worth doing, just eliminate them because they're not necessary.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #101)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:41 PM

120. Try reading this book.

 

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, There are many on this topic, but this is the most engrossing and avoids the technicalities of economics.

There are no unskilled jobs, there are no easy jobs, and there is no rational reason for the gross disparity in earnings among nominally equal citizens.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #120)

Wed May 30, 2012, 06:44 AM

149. Excellent suggestion. Everyone should read that book.

I read the book when it first came out sometime in the late 90's. I knew things were tough out there for low wage workers, but had no idea just how tough. And just think, Ehrenreich (sp?) had no children involved in her year long experiment. It was a real eye-opener.

I've been careful to tip generously ever since. Hotel maids, waiters, waitresses, taxi drivers, basically any of the 'silent' behind-the-scenes workers that many people take for granted. And if I'm dealing w/someone who may not be allowed to accept a tip (such as a fast food worker) I will often go out of my way to tell whoever is in charge that I appreciate their employee. I get strange looks from manager types sometimes, but what the hell- other than temporary embarrassment, it doesn't hurt, and may help.

Too bad it has to come to that though. If I, as a consumer of services, am helping the worker at all, it's only in a small way. The worker should have been paid properly in the first place.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #101)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:39 PM

128. Be clear initially and people won't jump on you for making an....

ignorant statement....like...

"the value of labor a person provides must be at or less than the value of their wage or the system fails." ...

just what the hell does that mean......??

I will let you try to answer that question first.....because the rest of your words don't make sense either....

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Response to MindMover (Reply #128)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:31 AM

138. "The value of labor a person provides....."



One wonders how these apologists for suck wages can swallow whole the ENORMOUS bonuses that CEOs earn.

They strain at a gnat but swallow a camel.....as the saying goes.

Not to mention that most large corporations couldn't do any business at all without the benefit of tax breaks, subsidies and other freebies from the government. Nobody says, "Well, if you can't afford to do business without government help, don't go into business."

But they'll sure as shit say, "Well, if you can't afford housing without government assistance, live on the frickin' STREET."

Amazing. Every day I am amazed at those who can't see the forest for the goddamned trees.






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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:16 PM

84. Yeah. I've heard that argument before.

From Republicans and Libertarians whenever the topic of raising minimum wage comes up.

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Response to Iris (Reply #84)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:01 PM

97. I have no problem with raising minimum wage... employees rights should be protected.

 

I just believe that minimum wage and living wage are distinct and separate things... and should remain separate. This is not to say that there should be no minimum wage.

It takes a certain amount of value of purchasing power to sustain one's lifestyle - AKA cost of living. There is also a certain amount of value that a person's task or job imparts onto a good or service sold by their employer - AKA value added. If someone adds value to a product or service they are paid a wage and that wage must be less than the value added or the business looses money by paying employees more value than the product's value. For any business model to operate the wage can be no bigger than the value added. This is all true and simple economics.

It's a simple fact of life that some tasks and jobs add less value to a product/service than a living wage can be valued. The value of the cost of living simply exceeds the value added of those menial jobs. To artificially drive these wages up to living standards by fiat would cause one of 2 things:

a) The value added to the product is now higher by decree and the price of the product must increase proportionally to maintain margins. If the product has an inelastic demand the prices will raise. Now, because prices and thus cost of living have risen, employees wages are once again substandard to sustain cost of living... until the government raises the minimum wage again. As you can see, it is an unsustainable inflationary cycle.

b) If the business sells a product which has elastic demand or competes with international products then the business will be outsold by companies operating cheaper labor forces. The business will eventually go bankrupt and the employees now make $0 in wages... well below the living wage.

This is precisely why you see young teenagers working certain jobs almost exclusively... because the teenagers aren't dependant on those jobs for survival. People dependant on jobs for survival need to either look for jobs with more valuable qualifications (non minimum wage jobs) or work more than 40hrs per week.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:28 PM

88. and therein lies the crux of the problem

 

We work because we need more cash to feed the supply and demand machine. Demand increases and we need to pay more for the limited supply. It's supposed to balance itself out eventually, but in the case of basic human needs - food, water, shelter, health, clothing, etc - as our population grows the demand will always outstrip the supply. You're stuck with the fact that only those with infinite resources will be able to maintain the cost of living indefinitely.

If you look around today, you'll see that all those menial jobs which didn't warrant a living wage a few (tens?) years ago are now staffed by older people trying to make the ends meet so they can afford to continue feeding the machine. And this problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the less menial jobs which used to be fairly plentiful and paid a decent wage are now situated in other countries where the cost of living is much lower, and the workers can be paid accordingly - keeping overall prices lower, but widening the gap between what we need and what we can afford to have.

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Response to oldernwiser (Reply #88)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:19 PM

100. Bingo - yours might be the most succinct description of the problem I've ever heard:

 

"...as our population grows the demand will always outstrip the supply. You're stuck with the fact that only those with infinite resources will be able to maintain the cost of living indefinitely."

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:49 PM

93. In Europe

you can live off of "Min wage" jobs with respectability and honor. Too bad it isn't same in the U.S.

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Response to Harmony Blue (Reply #93)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:16 PM

99. Yeah ... and how are some of those countries doing (fiscally) nowadays?

 

Greece comes to mind as an example of why this doesn't work. That and all sorts of talk about the imminence of EU's euro collapsing (reverting back to older systems).

The EU is simply a macro scale model of what I'm taking about. Countries that are floundering over there require more value to sustain a standard of living than the value which they supply to the international economy. Countries that are productive and provide more value than they require to subsist are currently unable to make up the value deficit created by the unproductive countries.

In the US, if the minimum wage was lawfully forced to be a living wage then the system would experience massive unemployment and/or rapid inflation. The value of labor a person provides must be at or less than the value of their wage or the system fails. Unfortunately, the value of sweeping floors and bagging groceries (or any number of other menial tasks) simply isn't up to par with the cost of the average american cost of living.

I support minimum wages wholeheartedly... to a point.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:00 PM

114. That has to be the dumbest post I've read on this board in years.

Honestly, really, really, REALLY stupid.

Nice: playing right into the hands of the robber barons.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #114)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:14 PM

115. What do you suggest, oh wise one?

 

Pay all minimum wage jobs about $11+ an hour and witness inflation so rapid that congress can't keep raising the new minimum wages fast enough? The proverbial inflationary cycle?

Or how about pay everybody $11+ an hour wage and then watch all domestic goods get utterly demolished in the marketplace versus foreign imported goods while simultaneously witnessing the whole world laugh at our new higher export prices?

Seriously... how do you propose to remedy the fact that if minimum wage any employee earns is anywhere near living wages that many of them will be getting compensated FAR more than the value that their labor is worth? Where will you get the money to close that gap? How will you keep domestic products competitive here and abroad?

Explain to me why it's stupid, Zoe.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #115)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:40 PM

119. Point well made

 

Honestly, minimum wage can NOT pay for our needs. And if the majority of the available jobs happen to be minimum wage or just slightly higher, the American family can't stay afloat - simple as that.

OneTenth speaks fairly, if minimum wage tries to keep up with the cost of living, then the cost of goods and services HAS to rise in order for the few remaining manufacturers to sustain their profits and feed THEIR families. Their costs are YOUR prices. This doesn't just affect us but the rest of the world as well. If our prices aren't in line with, say, China's prices for the same goods, then we'll all be shopping at KMart and killing off our own suppliers since they stop being competitive.

On the other side of this argument, we simply can't rely on minimum wage to take care of basic human needs. Our current economic situation is showing that even fair wages are lagging behind the cost of living. I don't know where you folks live, but the only new industry I see in my neck of the woods are stores and restaurants. Good jobs at decent wages to be sure, but still not enough to actually live on.

This is a tough problem with a tough answer. Maybe capitalism isn't all it's cracked up to be after all.

wow - more than 88 hours of minimum wage in CA just to rent an apartment, and that doesn't even factor in the commute time.

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Wed May 30, 2012, 04:46 AM

139. Wow... (nt)

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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #65)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:26 PM

159. This can be worked around

For instance, the City of Boston has a living wage law that was (in 2008, when I last lived there) more than $11/hour. But full-time students are exempt from that law, and can be paid at the lesser federal minimum wage. As far as I know, it didn't result in a rush to fire adults and hire less expensive student workers. Instead, it made it possible for young people to get summer jobs. The city made funds available to hire youth during the summer; the city would pay half the federal minimum wage, and the employer would pay the other half.

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Response to Daalalou (Reply #159)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:37 PM

160. Interesting and progressive work around to this problem... I like it.

 

Thank you for the input, that was a solution I had not ever seen. Instead of a blanket law approach it's sort of hybrid law that separates the types of workers.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:03 PM

66. Wages are not keeping up with the cost of living.

This is especially true of the minimum wage.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #66)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:03 PM

71. yep

The worker will rise up ....Karl Marx is right

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Response to lovuian (Reply #71)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:14 PM

72. I think the basic point was lost in the rent vs. wages discussion.

The problem isn't that rents are too high, it's that wages are too low.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #72)

Wed May 30, 2012, 04:59 AM

142. That's not to say that rents aren't too high.

My brother, with some help from our father, recently bought and renovated a house as a rental unit. My brother priced it at a point that he felt was fair. From the responses he got, it was clear that it was really an incredible deal in the market. I think there are a number of landlords charging rents far above what is fair, simply because the market will support it.

Back when I lived in LA, I remember a friend telling me a story about two developers arguing over what rent to charge for a new building. One had a price in mind, and the other just wouldn't hear it, because that price was lower than "market". We just live in a world now where fair isn't good enough - it's maximum profit or bust - the very same reason that wages are suppressed.

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Response to lovuian (Reply #71)

Wed May 30, 2012, 04:51 AM

140. He was wrong.

He was right in his analysis of capitalism, but wrong about the workers revolting. It's rarely happened, and great pains have been gone to to make sure that it won't happen.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 02:10 PM

68. k&r n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:48 PM

78. I must be missing something: 40hrs x $7.25 x 4 = $1160

You can get a one-bed apt for half that. I understand that minimum wage is not sustainable for an adult let along one with a family, but the numbers in the Original Post don't make sense to me.

Original Post thread title:
WOW: In No State Is a 40-Hour, Minimum Wage Work Week Enough to Afford a Two-Bedroom Apartment


In my state and in my city (which is pricey for the state) this is not true.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #78)

Tue May 29, 2012, 03:55 PM

79. you know that was the title of the article -- so why you said xchrom -- well, i can guess.

2nd - what else is paid from that 1160?

car insurance?

groceries?

child care?

utilities?

the list can get lengthy -- again -- a fact i'm sure you know -- and are omitting for a purpose of your own.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #79)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:01 PM

80. That's not even their take home pay. After taxes, they'd take home roughly $940/month.

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Response to smokey nj (Reply #80)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:08 PM

126. +1

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Response to xchrom (Reply #79)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:02 PM

81. I agree, that 40 hours a week is not enough to live on for very long (did you not read that?).


And I apologize for cutting and pasting your username with the OP subject line. I was not intending to indicate that those were your words, but that they were the numbers in the Original Post.

I'll edit it to be more clear.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #78)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:37 PM

89. Yes you are. The poster put up the graphic for a two-bedroom, not a one.

 

The graphic and data was gathered from here, where you can find all kinds of cool stuff about working poor in America.

And your $1160 is wrong as well. You have to subtract taxes to get take home pay and 40 hrs @ $7.25 X 52 / 12 = $1256 average gross income per month, or a decent dinner for two over $15K annually.

Subtract the minimum withholding tax and FICA and you will find that the assertion is true.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:15 PM

83. Yep and it's been that way for some time.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 04:55 PM

95. What percentage of households are making minimum wage, with single earners?

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Response to geek_sabre (Reply #95)

Tue May 29, 2012, 07:03 PM

106. Mine is now. I was earning 40 or 50,000 per year (gross) 8 years ago.

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Response to geek_sabre (Reply #95)

Tue May 29, 2012, 07:29 PM

108. Next time you go to a restaurant,

talk to the waitress and see if she is making a lot of money, and if she has children, and if she is raising the children on her own.

Next time you go to a retail store, talk to the clerk. Don't talk our word for it, find out for yourself.

There are a large number of households hanging on by a thread with single earners working for minimum wage....and most of them are single mothers (although there are plenty of other examples).

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Response to geek_sabre (Reply #95)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:05 AM

152. Me. I have a child and part-time $7.50/hr work.

I used to have a professional, salaried career job with insurance and full benefits.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 05:11 PM

96. Dr Ehrenreich exposed that shortfall

 

in Nickel and Dimed ten years ago.

I bet it's become worse since.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:08 PM

98. K & R !!!




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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:33 PM

103. They need to stop calling it "minimum wage" and call it what it really is:

"bare subsistence wage." A person may survive on it but will never thrive from it.

http://borderlessnewsandviews.com/2012/05/the-bare-minimum-wage/

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Response to Brooklyn Dame (Reply #103)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:02 AM

143. I think it's below what someone can subsist on. (nt)

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 07:14 PM

107. That is why so many families have two bread winners.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 07:37 PM

109. Duh. Everyone knows that. It only happens in the movies.

It amazes when someone can get a job as a dishwasher and have a two-room apartment (not 2 br, but 2 rooms). And afford food.

Only in Hollywood.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:37 PM

117. The Rent Is Too Damn High!

Ok someone had to do it.

I can attest to the fact you are not living near the Boston area on a single 40 hour min wage job since all of your take home pay will go to rent for a tiny apartment. Forget about eating, heat, electricity, water, a car, gas, clothing, health & dental insurance, toilet paper, or anything else. That's what the second and third jobs are for. That's been my life. I live in a pretty bad neighborhood and the cheapest apartments nearby are $800 but that's in a really slummy building where you expect visits from the police at least once a week. Not a building I want to live in w/o body armor.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:04 PM

123. The best example of why so many twenty and thirty somethings are still living at home.

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Response to sarcasmo (Reply #123)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:43 AM

136. Too true. n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 10:14 PM

127. I was a college grad working as a consultant and couln't afford a 2bd

But I could afford to rent a room in a three bedroom condo. Minimum wage was never intended to cover a two bedroom apartment.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 11:30 PM

134. Making UNION wages in California, I could just afford a studio

True, it was in a very good area and I have cats and if I had looked more, I might have been able to find something bigger for the same price, but still.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:39 AM

135. And so it goes,

Pauperville is the goal.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:19 AM

137. Western MA here... I pay $500 a month for 1/6th of a house.

(Six of us rent the house individually.)

That does not include utilities. With electric heat (kill me in the winter please), internet, and so on I pay about $720.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 04:52 AM

141. Slave labor is not a very well kept secret. Try arguing a livable wage and see what it gets you.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:05 AM

151. Most jobs these days are considered "full time" with 30-35 hours IF you can get that many

Many many ,many companies "manage" to schedule employees just BELOW the threshold where benefits (if they even offer them) kick in.

Many people only get 20-24 hrs a week.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 10:13 AM

156. Sadly, this has been true for some time

It's been a while, but I researched what minimum wage should be if it kept up with inflation. It'd be around $15/hour.

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