Half of all US workers made less than $26k

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Ugg, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #1
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    The Federal Poverty Level for a family of five is $26,170

    For those who view the above figures with caution.

    For further clarification.
    So, it's pretty clear that the average worker spends a lot of time at work but if he's married and has 3 kids, he just earns poverty level wages.

    How can that person afford to buy a house? The average car price must be close to $20k. Rent alone is probably almost half that wage for a 2-3 bedroom apartment. Not only that, this wage level hasn't been seen since 1999 so in other words, the average American worker has actually lost ground in the last 12 years.

    Sure, I know the routine by now. The head in the sand brigade will come along and say, "I pulled maself up by ma bootstraps, (with a free college education, heavily subsidized mortgages, lax business morality, etc, etc) they can too!"

    That post WWII world ain't coming back anytime soon.
     
  2. 184550 Guest

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    #2
    I fall into that half. I'm very lucky that I'm able to live at home, have absolutely zero daily/ monthly/ yearly expenses and am able to save most of my earnings.
     
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #3
    Those tax breaks sure did create a lot of jobs, didn't they? :rolleyes:

    Seriously- this is disturbing.
     
  4. 184550 Guest

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    #4
    This what bums me out. A recent college graduate will some grad school earns about the same as a person with a high school diploma and ~5 years experience in the field.
     
  5. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    They can't. Period. Now the question is: should they? Should every American be able to afford a house or is it reasonable to assume that most can't and will rent for the rest of their lives?
     
  6. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    That's pretty much it.

    Living day to day, pay-cheque to pay-cheque, no longer looking forward to "achieving" something in the long term. Except kids to feed the system.

    Charming, eh.

    Republicans say (in private) "Grunts will be grunts, and nothing more."
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    The Republicans can now say "Mission accomplished" for sure. They have transferred all the wealth for sure.
     
  8. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    Welcome to the third world... why is it that it was achievable before, but not now? there are more rich ppl with more money, where has it all gone wrong?
     
  9. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    I actually don't believe that homeownership is all that desirable.

    At the end of WWII, 40% of Germany's housing had been destroyed and they faced an influx of 9 million ethnic German refugees from eastern Europe. There's no possible way that private citizens were going to be able to build their own housing, much less afford it. Germany created laws that favored renting rather than owning and they are more or less intact today. I know a few Germans who own rental housing and in fact rent the house they live in because it's cheaper. It also has the advantage of avoiding real estate bubbles.

    It's time the US put to rest the myth of wealth through home ownership. Real estate speculation does the US no good at all and has only impoverished vast swaths of Americans and some would argue that it has only increased the Balkanization of the US. It has its origins in the wild west and the Homestead Act of 1862. Those days are long gone.
     
  10. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #10
    The only wealth you get is when you sell your house 30 years later. Taxes and repairs cost more in the mean time. High property values are only good when you want to sell otherwise they are a determent.
     
  11. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    Was it though? I know the "american dream" means home ownership but certainly there was a lot of renters in the previous generation, too. I think the problem is that every generation thinks they will do better then the previous, which is, impossible.
     
  12. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    No entirely sure, would have to look up home ownership % in the 60's,70's, etc and see where the US stands now, but i'm too lethargic from the flu.

    I does seem like it's going downhill, thankfully for "Americans" it's going slowly, but i'm afraid it might pickup speed, and then we're all screwed (I'm in Guatemala)
     
  13. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Through the 60's and 70's, home ownership hovered around 63%-65%. In fact, it stayed in that range all the way until about 1995. Then it quickly shot up until a peak around 69% around 2004. Since then, it has fallen steadily to about 66%.

    It's definitely not reasonable to expect that every American be able to afford a house. Obviously, some will have to rent forever. But I think to many, it's just a way to feel like they've accomplished something through their years of work.

    Also, many people see renting as throwing away money, while a house might be at least a stable investment, or at best a lucrative one. Unfortunately for me, it was the direct opposite. I'm out almost what I would have paid in rent after nearly 6 years of home ownership, due to housing prices seeing such a sharp decline. If I had known that, I would have gotten a pimp apartment instead and not worried about a house.
     
  14. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #14
    Hmm, now that is disturbing.

    $26k USD -> $32,390.68NZD -> $622 weekly

    That's about $180NZD less our weekly median income. Thats like food for a child or 2 here for a week. Hate to be a family in the good ol USA right about now.
     
  15. macinnv macrumors regular

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    #15
    Sadly,of those making less than $26,000, a good many of them are suckered out of about $1200 a year in ATT bills :(
     
  16. Eraserhead, Oct 22, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011

    Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #16
    The UK median wage was £20,800 in 2008 or $33,000 at the current exchange rate.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8151355.stm

    Lets be fair. Its not a life requirement for living in the US to be able to afford to buy a new car.
     
  17. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    You sound like a Republican, "oh, well, that's life" when really it's not something that was just happenstance, but something orchestrated by Corporate America and politicians. I can't speak for your standard living in the UK, but I grew up in a period in the US where buying a new car was not that hard for the average person or even purchasing a house. For the last 30 years, the U.S. population has been on a long slide down in standard of living. I admit that globalization is partially to blame, but it's been magnified ten fold by greed. I wonder at what point will the U.S.economy become completely unglued? There are merchant sales all over and extended periods of interest free purchases/loans because average people can no longer go out and support the local economy, at least not like they once could. The Middle Class is the engine that powers the economy and it's just about gone in in the U.S. I'm sure a few at the top will make out no matter what, the the majority will suffer and hopefully rebel against the status quo.
     
  18. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #18
    So say the government refused to help your family period. What would you do if you were the guy supporting his family off $26k?
     
  19. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    Work a second job and not see my family. End up so tired physically and mentally that I was a shell of my former self. In the long term I wouldn't be able to work both jobs as my health would wane. My relationship would likely fall apart under the pressure. My kids would continue to grow up in poverty with their (and my chances) of suffering from chronic medical conditions, crime, and suicide would soar. The cycle would perpetuate.
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    I think the world has changed over the last 30 years, I'd say now for example that a mobile phone was definitely a life requirement to live in the US but it wasn't 30 years ago. I don't think owning a new car is anything more than a luxury - especially as cars last much longer now - and one that not everyone needs to be able to afford.

    I would say that owning a car, owning a washing machine/fridge/oven/TV/computer, probably getting towards owning a smartphone and having access to reasonable healthcare are things that you should be able to afford on the median income (if not significantly less).

    I am genuinely surprised that the US median income is lower than the UK's as well - especially by over 20% - I would have expected it to be the same or higher.
     
  21. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21
    Have you been to the US?

    Most affordable housing is in the suburbs. Suburbs are rarely walkable. Used cars can be hard to get financing for especially if they have lots of miles which many do, and here in California, they have to pass smog inspection. Similar to your M.O.T.

    $20,000 isn't going to buy much of a car here in the US but you have the advantage of not having any initial maintenance expenses. A new car shouldn't be a right but in car-centric America, a car that runs well is an absolute necessity.
     
  22. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

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    What do you mean $20,000 isn't going to get you much of a car? You can find E46 BMW 3-series in very nice condition for under $20,000.

    $3,000-$5,000 will get you a very useable, reliable and driveable used commuter car. It won't have leather interior, but it will certainly get you from your home to your job and back.
     
  23. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #23
    He also spoke to initial maintenance expenses, which a car under warranty will have covered. Your solution probably won't.

    Still, a KIA is under $20,000, with a 5-year/100,000 km warranty and 5-year road-assist.

    Others may also be close to these numbers.
     
  24. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #24
    Here's what I'd do
    Cut expenses:
    - Move to low income housing for a couple years, something where rent is about $400/month
    - Sell the car if I didn't need it to commute. If I did need a car, I'd buy a pre-owned low mileage >4 years old, not brand new.
    - Cut down on non-essentials
    - All this goes to eliminating debt first, then savings
    Up earning potential
    - Preferably without doing 2 jobs since that's torture. $26k means the wife isn't working. If she can work, she'll have to do her part. If friends and relatives are around, I'd ask them for help babysitting, otherwise see if I can find a cheap babysitter. If they're old enough to be in school, that's even better. If I can work nights so she can work days, we can tag team the kids.
    - If she can't work, maybe she can go to school at night. Take out loans. Healthcare is a stable field. I'm thinking CNA or LVN. CNA doesn't take that long. If she became a CNA and worked full-time, the household income is practically doubled. If we sacrificed for 2 years so she could become an LVN, she could be making $40k a year by herself.
    - If she can't do work or school, maybe I can do night classes. Take out loans. Find something to make myself more marketable, increase chances for promotion if I have a decent job. If my industry sucks, find something to help me jump into a different industry. If I'm in a dead end job or glass ceilinged, apply to other companies within the industry. Including those out of state.

    If you're assuming you can find a second job to help you weather the storm, I'm gonna assume that some of these ideas would also hit and they're a lot better.
     
  25. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #25
    Yes, and while outside cities like New York a car is required it doesn't need to be new.

    You can get a Toyota Yaris 3 door with a 1.5 litre engine for $14k - a perfectly adequate car for commuting and taking a couple of kids around. Maybe for longer distances and longer than a day or two trip you need to hire a bigger car, but hiring a car once a year isn't that expensive. If you need a bigger car you can get a 1.8L engined Toyota Corolla for $16k - which is a family sized car and perfectly good for even longer trips.
     

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