Almost half of Americans work in low wage jobs.

Jump to Last Post 1-3 of 3 discussions (76 posts)
  1. Eastward profile image93
    Eastwardposted 13 months ago

    CBS News reports that the Brookings Institution [1] found, "America's unemployment rate is at a half-century low, but it also has a job-quality problem that affects nearly half the population, with a study finding 44% of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000." Many other important facets touched on in the article:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/minimum-wa … wage-jobs/

    What do you make of this?

    [1] Brookings Institution, research institute, not-for-profit, founded in Washington, D.C., in 1927 by the merchant, manufacturer, and philanthropist Robert S. Brookings and devoted to public service through research and education in the social sciences, particularly in economics, government, and foreign policy. It is one of the most influential think tanks in the United States.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Brookings-Institution

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      I'd have to question that - that's less than $9 an hour.  It's starting wage for fast food workers, completely unskilled, in my area of Idaho - a notoriously low wage state.  I think you'd be hard pressed to find wages that low (without tips or other compensation) in any large city anywhere in the country, plus many areas have even higher local minimum wages.

      *edit* There is another problem as well: the median for the low wage jobs in the article is $21,257.  That very effectively makes the claim that the 44% mentioned only makes $18,000 fallacious.

      1. Eastward profile image93
        Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        It's been a while since I've been in the US job market, but starting under $9 seems very possible for Wisconsin (tried to look up fast food jobs specifically, but unsurprisingly they don't advertise the wage rates).

        Here's a link to the study the article refers to where they claim, "More than 53 million people—44% of all workers aged 18-64—are
        low-wage workers by our criteria. They earn median hourly
        wages of $10.22 and median annual earnings of $17,950."

        https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/up … pdf#page=5

        I guess in my perspective, even if the median is $21,257+, that's a really low bar to set for an industrialized nation.

        According to World Population Review, the median per capita income for the US is $15,480 http://worldpopulationreview.com/countr … y-country/

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

          "Per capita" income includes all the people that don't work.  Elderly, disabled, children (although your link denies children) - all of them.  It can be found from total wages divided by total population.

          It has become fascinating, to me at least, to see how data is skewed and spun to give an impression that it is far different than what the reader is led to believe.

          But, from your link: "The highest median income can be found in the nation of Luxembourg. Here, the median income is $38,516. Next on the list is Norway with a median income of $37,129. In third place is Switzerland with a median income of $34,608. Falling only slightly behind Switzerland is the United States, which has a median income of $34,514.".  That's a far cry from $15,000.

    2. Credence2 profile image80
      Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

      I don't question it at all, there is your income inequity in a nutshell. An entire society as minimum wage employees? What happened to the good jobs, the Rightwinger will want to insure that only the wealthy will prosper in such an economy and the rest of us remain vassals at their beck and call well into the future. Whose saying we need to compete with China, we are not even close to meeting the challenge. The American century was the 20th and obviously that is over.

      1. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Median income for US full time workers is $48,000 per year.  That means 50% make more than that and 50% make less than that amount.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/wkyeng.t01.htm

        Yet 44% make only $18,000 per year?  Only 6% make between 18,000 and 48,000?  You should be questioning that!

        1. Credence2 profile image80
          Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

          Interesting point, hopefully Eastward could help clarify...

        2. Eastward profile image93
          Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

          I think we're getting into the devilish details of who is sampled and how definitions are made, which is a good thing. When I visit the US and look around, it certainly doesn't look like a country where people make $48K median per year with so many homeless, crumbling infrastructure, etc. Granted, not all problems are exclusively economic. The truth may lie somewhere between these figures.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            I have to wonder if the study didn't include millions of part time workers earning only $18,000 per year from not working 52, 40 hour weeks while giving the impression they were discussing only full time workers.  Even then I would question it because the numbers quoted are not that far from reality.  The 53 million workers, for instance, is not that far removed from 44% of full time workers.

            1. Eastward profile image93
              Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

              I think you are correct in that the study isn't exclusive to those working 52, 40 hour weeks. From the study:

              "Fifty-seven percent of low-wage workers work
              full time year-round, considerably lower than the
              share of mid/high-wage workers (81%). Among
              those working less than full time year-round, it is
              not clear if this is voluntary or involuntary, or if
              it reflects part-time work throughout the year or
              full-time work for part of the year. For some low-wage workers, such as students and caretakers,
              part-time work is probably desirable. But given
              the disproportionately high rates of churn in the
              low-wage labor market, it is likely that spells of
              involuntary non-employment play a significant
              role, suggesting a more tenuous connection to
              the labor market."

              Which I think is there is fair argument for as much of the labor market is moving away from 52, 40 hour week employment. Hence the term "gig economy" being commonplace.

      2. Eastward profile image93
        Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        I'd recommend that anyone concerned about competing with China look at all the programs they are initiating to make sure that the vast majority of the country is on board and has a real stake in the direction of the government. Of course you have to accept mass surveillance (we're not exactly strangers to that), Internet restrictions, and being unable to speak out against the party.

        Beyond that, they have programs like a housing account that whatever an employee contributes to, the employer must match (up to something like 10% of the employee income). As a benefit, employers can contribute more. Certain regions are restricted to first time buyers to prevent gentrification, though one can be a "first-time buyer" once in every province.

        There are minorities which I'm sure have no love for the powers that be, but nearly 92% of the mainland are Han Chinese and a homogeneous population like that possesses a depth of unity that most Americans would struggle to conceptualize.

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

          I've seen studies showing that same kind of homogeneity in much of Europe (although likely not to that degree).  You're right - Americans don't truly understand it OR how it can simplify a society.  When a large majority share a common heritage and belief it becomes so much easier to make decisions for a nation!

          1. MizBejabbers profile image91
            MizBejabbersposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            You're right, Wilderness, but you aren't being politically correct. Shame on you.lol

        2. Credence2 profile image80
          Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

          You mentioned a similar statement in another thread. Education/trade schools have to be inexpensive to make them available to all that wish to go so that potential talent is not sent to the wayside just because one Cannot afford the cost of school. That means investing in our people. We cannot mimic China in a Democratic system, but we are going to have to do better.

          Leveling the opportunity playing field is one of the attacks on income inequity that I approve of as worth the effort.

          I can't blame it all on our antiquated Capitalist approach, technology is an unavoidable factor in the changes of the nature of labor today.

          Bezos is clocking how much time his employees spend in the bathroom, comparing human beings to machines on the assembly line. This is just the beginning. Education through higher level training will become a necessity for anyone hoping to earn enough to survive. I have the ominous feeling that the American standard of living will fall under the status quo economic attitude and models.

          The government acts as partner to help encourage interest and training into more profitable careers, where anybody can be a part.

          This problem is not going to be solve from the top down, but from middle outward. Everybody must have a stake and a path or it won't work.

          Warren gets it, understanding this sort of thinking and reasoning that is why she continues to have my support

          1. Eastward profile image93
            Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            The idea of creating more widespread opportunity through trade schools is an interesting one. In my community, a significant portion of my property taxes go to funding our local trade school. I gladly contribute because, on one hand, this is for the betterment of all society. However, I grit my teeth when people that attended the trade school that property taxes funded rally against other social programs with a barrage of sentences that focus on extreme individualism and survival of the fittest.

            And you are right, just as not all problems are exclusively economic, they aren't exclusively capitalistic either. China and countries with other types of government systems will have to address the human worker vs. machine phenomenon as well. I'm not entirely opposed to exploring ideas like Yang and Gabbard's UBI, though I don't think a $1,000 check is a strong enough solution to be the focus of a current political campaign.

      3. GA Anderson profile image93
        GA Andersonposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Oh gawwd Cred. You and your "Right-winger" screeds. Eastward introduces a very, (in my opinion), legitimate concern that is a very real issue in our current U.S. employment picture, and your only response is some Right-winger criticism? Come on bud, you know the issue is deeper than that.

        First, a job is worth what it is worth to the person paying for the job. You might demand that a certain wage is a minimum that should be paid for a job, but you ignore the actual value of the job itself.

        If you need $15 p/hr to provide for your family, I think it is on you to earn that $15, not the employer to provide it. So there, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

        If it is true that most of our good-paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas, then what is your validation that the remaining, (and previously not good-paying jobs), should now automatically be worth that good-paying $15+ p/hr?

        When we had manufacturing jobs, (and just to pick a number - they were paying $20 p/hr), and a burger flipper was making $9 p/hr did you have a problem then?

        Now, since the $20 p/hr jobs are gone, but folks still need to eat, you want to upgrade those previously $9 p/hr job to $20 p/hr. What changed in the job market?

        Did flipping burgers suddenly become a demanded skill? Nope. What happened was you decided that any job should pay a family-supporting wage. Regardless of the value of the job, the value of the family is more important.

        Well, who the hell made you that arbiter? What great wisdom do you possess that determines the value of work to the one that is purchasing it? Are you willing to pay $10 for your current $3 burger?. $40 dollars for your current $20 grass cutting job?

        Are you willing to pay that 14-year-old kid $40 to mow your lawn because that is what a 30-year-old family man needs you to pay for him to cut your lawn?

        Eastward's point seems to be that our economy is facing a major change. The dichotomy of our youth is not the one of today's youth, yet your response is some anti-Right-winger screed? Geesh. You know better than that.

        Pick your battles bud, this isn't one you can come out on the right side of. If you want to rail against income inequality, then you should be more careful about the arrows you choose to loose.

        Your comment that the American century is over is very troubling to me. I agree that we face greater challenges because of our "20th-century" policies, but I heartily disagree that our century is over. Do you feel your opinion is representative of today's 21st-century progressives? Is our time really past? Do you think we are the 'buggy whip' nation of the world?

        To answer one of your questions; I am saying we need to compete with China for the economic domination of the 21st-century. Are you so ready to cede world power to another nation? Are you so cynical that you are ready to bow to another leader?

        GA

        1. Credence2 profile image80
          Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

          Of course you don't like to hear my tirades on the Right, because you do have an affinity for much of what they believe in.

          This is where I am at

          https://finance.yahoo.com/news/minimum- … 48519.html

          I note in the graphic that many states have taken the initiative to correct the problem within their purview, but that does not change the fact that Republicans and conservatives hate the very concept of a minimum wage.

          Regardless of what conservatives claim, purchasing power has been lost and where did the money not paid to workers find itself, why don't you guess....?

          Yes, it IS deeper and I said as much in a later post regarding technological innovation, specifically and off shoring to a lesser extent.

          There was a time in this country, check out Jacob Riis and his photo essays of 19th century free market capitalism, where capital was in complete control. I guess someone else was the arbiter of why it took entire working family including children to support a household based upon virtually slave labor. Only the progressive spirit during the first half of the 20th century brought these greedy robbers to heel.

          Their counterparts today are no better  and would revisit the 19th century model, if they could get away with it.

          Yes, I still rail against extremes in income inequality as an ultimate source of unrest and instability in this country.

          Conservatives are content with the status quo and prefer to take us backwards, I am not.

          With the inflationary tendency, GA, it may well cost $40.00 to have your lawn cut in the future, so the value of lawn service goes up with the corresponding cost of living, any surprise there? I was paid $5 over 50 years ago as a teen ager in such a task.

          I say the capitalistic model here is woefully inadequate to address the challenges ahead. The things that Warren proposes goes in the right direction toward correction.

          History has shown me the reality of this society and culture and I simply cannot afford to be the optimist that you are. If we are going to win and not cede global hegemony, some changes are needed in our current economic model. That is what I think, anyway.

          I lament about the cynicism that comes with just observing the world and this country, I like to think we can better. Who knows? Maybe we will...

          1. GA Anderson profile image93
            GA Andersonposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            Sorry about my previous bludgeoning Cred. You just happened to push my Minimum wage/Living wage hot button.

            You are right that we do have different perspectives. I believe a wage value should be tied to the value of the provided labor, whereas it seems many folks believe a wage value should be tied to the needs of the wage earner.

            I think I may hold a view similar to yours regarding businesses that would fit the Standard Oil-model of the late 19th and early  20th century. And I do support a new business model, (I forget the current buzzword description), that includes also doing social good as a component of their goals—besides just having a goal of making the most money possible, but I think that goal must be a voluntary one, not a socially demanded one.

            So we disagree. Big deal. I shouldn't have been so strident. Sorry bud.

            GA

            1. Credence2 profile image80
              Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

              It's all good, GA, it would be painfully boring if we did not have any differences to discuss or debate.

              It just seems like the "invisible hand of the free market" ends up slapping middle class and labor on the face. To allow this to solely determine the value of labor is the case in point that I make.

              Our disagreements regarding perspectives results in my support for a change in the way things have been done within our current economic model. That does not necessarily mean adoption of a Socialist model.
              The "goal" will NEVER be voluntary, it will always be a contradiction in terms, endless avarice as opposed to social responsibility. It is not in the nature of the big money changers.

          2. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            "...the fact that Republicans and conservatives hate the very concept of a minimum wage."

            Shame on you Credence - I highly doubt that you can find anyone at all that supports the removal of minimum wage.  Not even a reduction in it. 

            "Regardless of what conservatives claim, purchasing power has been lost..."

            Now, this one is interesting.  In conversations with my nephew (a strong liberal believing the same thing) we decided to find out and built several spreadsheets comparing wages and prices of specific items from the mid 60's and today.  It turns out that, in terms of hours worked to purchase a product almost everything is cheaper today than it was then.  Using only wages and published inflation rates, or calculators producing modern values for dollars, that wasn't true, but when looking at wages (whether minimum or median - we did both) it was an eye-opener.  From groceries such as hamburger to milk to macaroni and cheese, from household items such as vacuums, refrigerators and toasters, from houses to cars, very nearly everything is cheaper today in terms of hours worked to purchase.  One notable exception was housing...until the cost per square foot was used rather than the cost of a house, and that didn't address the large improvements in construction, materials and amenities.  Reasonable as house sizes have nearly doubled since the 60's.

            "With the inflationary tendency, GA, it may well cost $40.00 to have your lawn cut in the future, so the value of lawn service goes up with the corresponding cost of living, any surprise there?"

            No, it's not a surprise at all.  Nor will it be difficult, for just as you point out inflation happens and your (future) $80/hour job can handle a $40 lawn mowing.  Of course, that also widens the income gap, but that's one "price" of inflation.

            1. Castlepaloma profile image78
              Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

              "Millennials and other generations have benefited from a 67 percent rise in wages since 1970," Things I find is cheaper and guality is better is technology in computers and household appliances. 

              Today, everything from movie tickets to college tuition is more expensive, and not simply because of inflation. Ina new study, Student Loan are much pricier today's young people than their predecessors, in many cases, costs have spiked.

               Student Loan Hero reports.  These gains have not been enough to keep up with ever-inflating living costs. Rent, home prices and college costs have all increased faster than incomes in the U.S." All this indoctrinations to turn out more robots into zombieland.

              The quality of life in food air and the ever increasing pollutions. Poverty and natural environment is the top killers. The Boomers will outlive the life expectancy of the today's generation. No wonder Greta Thunberg is getting world record protest response.

              As SLH's data shows, housing prices have gone way up. In 1960, the median home value in the U.S. was $11,900, which is the equivalent of around $98,000 in today's dollars, and in 2000, SLH notes, it rose to over $170,000. And it has only kept rising. As of April 2018, the median home value has ballooned to over $210,200, according to Zillow. Adjusting for inflation, that's a 114 percent increase since 1960.

              Attending a public university in 1987 cost around $1,490 per year, the equivalent of $3,190 in today's dollars, Student Loan Hero reports, citing data from College Board. For the 2017-2018 school year, students forked over an average of $9,970 in tuition and fees. That's an increase of 212 percent.

              To attend a private university, students paid an average of $7,050 in 1987, or $15,160 in today's dollars. In 2017-2018, that price had grown to $34,740, an increase of 129 percent.

              Since the 60s, we are working longer hours and for less pay. Majority of Women are working full-time too.  Rarely ever overtime and huge cuts in benifits. Worst thing of all, is over 80% of people dislike their job for most waking hours of their lives. Nothing is more wasteful of time in life, than that.

              Add on $65,000 national debt to every man, women and child. Prisons cells have increased 10 ten since 1980s and military spending have an open check policy and don't do proper body counts.
              In the US they have more guns than people, it may not be a peaceful revolution.

              1. wilderness profile image97
                wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                "As SLH's data shows, housing prices have gone way up. In 1960, the median home value in the U.S. was $11,900, which is the equivalent of around $98,000 in today's dollars, and in 2000, SLH notes, it rose to over $170,000."

                Now calculate the price per square foot of homes.  I mentioned that: comparing homes from the 60's to homes today is apples and oranges because they've doubled in size.

                Work weeks have not increased; it has fallen pretty steadily.  https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=Ut%2fq%2bu7v&id=2029E19C305C21D789E2D92A0DEA5E9A2591ADFB&thid=OIP.Ut_q-u7vmCpZoB6Fzeqm1QHaEc&mediaurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.mybudget360.com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2013%2f12%2faverage-weekly-hours-worked.png&exph=360&expw=600&q=average+work+week+in+1960&simid=608005400911283894&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

                "Rarely ever overtime and huge cuts in benifits."

                Not hardly.  As the cost of medical insurance has risen dramatically, so has the contribution by employers.  Paid time off has risen considerably since the 60's.  We also see bennies such as day care and education being offered.  Overall, benefits are much higher than in the 60's.

                What has increased is our greed - we demand more and more out of life but at the same price we earned long ago.  Which is why so many families are two-earner couples.

                1. Castlepaloma profile image78
                  Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                  They were comparing a house with the same square footage. There were many smaller houses back then for 4 or 5 thousand dallors. The house our family brought in 1962 with 2100 square feet, cost $9,050. The average house today in Toronto is $750,000. Vancouver average one million.

                  From the 70s from what I have experience inflation has more than doubled over the minimum wages of differential. Plus People spend way beyond their means because they have been brainwashed to. They bought double the space for more cheap junk they can't afford. The toxic air is 9 times worst than outside.  Then with taxes, mortgage, matinance and rehook ups every ten years average. So triple that cost for the life expectancy of 50 years of a house.

                  1. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                    *shrug*  My folks bought a nearly 4,000 sq ft house in 1966 for $12,000.  That does not mean that was a normal purchase for the times or that it was a normal sized house.

                    Perhaps houses only last 50 years in Canada, what with the nasty weather.  That isn't the case in the US.

            2. Credence2 profile image80
              Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

              Nice to have you weigh in, I knew that you would have something to say about all of this. We discussed much of this in previous sessions.

              Who is it that has always said that raising the minimum wage would result in job losses? That perspective has certainly not come from the left. Anyone who wants to look could see that over the 75 or more years of the minimum wage provision, resistance to the program has come from conservatives/GOP. I would be glad to get a few stats, but I don't think that I really need to do that

              But, you have to ask the question if the minimum wage is adaquate in the face of today's cost of living, why have so many states found it necessary to supplement it?

              I appreciate the research that you have done regarding this question. But something did jump out at me. Do you think that cutting a lawn is worth 40 dollars, I mean considering the value of the service, not what the needs are of the wage earners, etc.

              I checked on some of your notes and focusing on basic staples particularely food and found indication that food, for example has risen in price 53 percent since 2000, the minimum wage has risen from $5.15 to $7.25, roughly comparable. So your position has merit. Factors like technology and quality changes are harder to compute when comparing costs to value, but food costs are pretty basic.

              But, I will keep looking into tangential information to delve into this further, so I am not done with you yet.

              Perhaps, I should know better, it was not any easier trying to subsist on the $2.10 rate of the mid 1970's.

              1. wilderness profile image97
                wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                "Who is it that has always said that raising the minimum wage would result in job losses?"

                No person; history says that.  One has only to look at Seattle and the employment picture there of the low end employers when they raised the minimum wage. 

                But that has zero to do with "...the fact that Republicans and conservatives hate the very concept of a minimum wage." as it concerns raising minimum wage, not doing away with it.

                "But, you have to ask the question if the minimum wage is adaquate in the face of today's cost of living, why have so many states found it necessary to supplement it?"

                Implicit in this is the idea that minimum wage, intended for kids and seniors wanting a few extra bucks, should support a family of 4 (or more).  A major fallacy on the face of it.

                Lawn mowing is worth whatever a person will pay for it.  Personally, I mow my own lawn (it isn't worth anything to me), but many of my neighbors pay to have theirs done.  But the comment was intended merely to point out that raising the cost of products and services simply raises the income necessary to purchase them, thus the $80/hour wage mentioned.  It is not intended to be taken at face value.  The question was really "Will my neighbors pay $40 for lawn mowing when they have a $30 salary?" and the answer is probably "No.".  But they would when their salary is $80: that puts it square where it is now in terms of hours worked to buy the service.

                Yes, food costs are pretty basic.  Which is why I spent more time looking at that then other things.  When I checked, I found prices from the 60's (several sources) and compared them to WalMart prices under the theory that there is a WalMart everywhere and it was fairly easy to fill an order and get actual, current prices from their website for ordering groceries to be picked up.  Interestingly, my nephew commented that using my local  WalMart probably wasn't fair, so I also checked from another half dozen locations, from north to south, east to west and big to small locations.  They were all about the same (with some local variations in specific products), which surprised me considerably. 

                But, Credence, one major flaw that you insist on ignoring is that while minimum wage was fairly common in the 60's and 70's it isn't now.  Something like 2% of the population earns only minimum wage, down from 13% in 1980, and many of those are restaurant servers making more from tips than from a wage.  Then subtract all the teens earning that, and the elderly looking for a few more dollars, and the number of families trying to subsist on minimum wage is very small.  I might note that in this manner capitalism is self-correcting - when wages fall too low there are no takers for the jobs and the wage rises automatically.  As opposed to artificial intervention by government that never seems to work.

                "In 2018, 1.7 million workers, or 2% of all hourly paid, non-self-employed workers, earned wages at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25."

                https://usafacts.org/reports/facts-in-f … nimum-wage

                1. Credence2 profile image80
                  Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

                  Wilderness, what you conveniently ommited is that almost all of the states require a minimum wage over the federal standard, so your 2 percent figure at or below the 7.25/hour today compared with 13 percent in 1980 is misleading when one takes into account the few states that pays the federal standard or less. one just have to look at the charts to see why so many more are paid over the federal standard. And obviously the idea that people could subsist on it did not fly within the vast majority of this country. So, the only explanation for the higher wage is that states made certain through legislation that workers are paid more and they had to do that for a reason.

                  1. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                    That would be true...except that the states that didn't raise the minimum still show very few people working at minimum wage.  Wages rose without government intervention in those areas, albeit not as high as the excesses of places like Seattle. 

                    But do you agree that those earning minimum wage (whether federal, state or city) are very likely those that are still living with parents, those that are looking for some part time work to have some spending cash and those earning tips PLUS minimum wage?

                    There is another problem with mandating a minimum wage sufficient to support a family, though, and that's that those kids and part timers will be shut out of a job - those jobs will be filled by family men and women that find it easier than working to produce a salable skill.  IMO we don't want that either - it is important to get kids into the workplace and get some experience before they have to depend on themselves for support.

                2. Castlepaloma profile image78
                  Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                  Credence

                  According to your chart wages went up 32% apx. since 2000 and food up 54%.

                  The biggest items gone up more than 50% to over 100% compare to wages, like cars, homes, schools,  sky rocketing debt and taxes .  A new car costs $31,252 while that 1975 car adjusting for inflation would cost $16,578.  This is a true doubling of cost here.  Public college costs are up over 150% while private college costs are up over 160%.  And you wonder why we have over $1.3 trillion in student debt outstanding.

                  What is more affordable relative to inflation?  Milk, eggs, and a postage stamp.  Unfortunately these are tiny line items on your household budget.

                  What you need to look at is the median income here.  US households overall are simply poorer.  They have less to spend relative to the cost of goods and services.  Money is only as good as what it can purchase. Most people are a few paychecks away from homeless, and homeless did not exist when I was a young man, except odd drunks in an alleyway.

                  1. Credence2 profile image80
                    Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

                    Hi, Castle, I think you were direct this reply to Wilderness. I basically can't deny what you are saying here, this problem is of multiple dimensions.

                  2. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                    You forgot to factor in that the car today (and they are much cheaper than $31,000) includes a raft of goodies (power windows, mirrors, climate control, AC, navigation, etc.).  It also gets twice the mileage and lasts half again as long, while requiring much less maintenance; tune ups, new plugs, rotor and wires are no longer required every year.  Bottom line is that it is cheaper to operate now than it was then (insurance is another matter, though).

                    Homes are the same: the cost per square foot of a new home is down since the 60's...and includes more insulation, more and fancier appliances and amenities, more bathrooms, central air conditioning, longer lasting roofing and siding, etc. 

                    Public colleges are up...but again a lot of that cost is the "extras" that colleges didn't used to have.  Massive, expensive student centers with video arcades, bowling alleys, etc.  Quiet space for students upset over a political election.  A huge increase in the costs of sports activities and other entertainment.

                    Food is not a "tiny line item" in most budgets, particularly that of the poor.  It is often second on the list, following only housing.

                    No, US median households are not simply poorer.  If they were we wouldn't have a computer (or two or three) in every house and a cell phone in every hand, even children.   
                    We wouldn't see stores dedicated to video games and movies.  We would't see expensive coffee joints on every corner and fast food on every other corner.  We wouldn't have our roads clogged with massive SUV's getting 20 miles to the gallon when smaller cars getting double the mileage and costing half the money satisfy our needs quite well.  We wouldn't have grocery stores dedicated to high priced "organic" foods and pleasant decor.

                    These things are not paid for by the rich - it is the massive middle class, and often the poor, that are buying them.  Buying them out of that "falling" income.

      4. Sharlee01 profile image85
        Sharlee01posted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Your response is food for thought... It provokes the question --- We have had great job growth over the past few years due to Trump's tax plan that does favor big business. Would it not be risky to raise taxes on big business as the Dems are proposing? Could it revert quickly to jobs being cut, due to the fact that as a rule the workforce is cut to keep up the bottom line - profit.

        This concept is historical... Funny the Dem candidates do not realize that when making their campaign promises to tax big business?

        1. Castlepaloma profile image78
          Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

          Taxing the wealthy more won't Hurt their record breaking profits each year. Why do so many worry about hurting the wealthy's loopsided
          and unbalanced greed disease?

          1. Sharlee01 profile image85
            Sharlee01posted 13 months agoin reply to this

            We have a history to prove when taxes and regulations work against big business, Big business decrease overhead. I must agree with you it won't hurt their profits. Because they will take the necessary steps to make sure the increased taxes would not touch their profits. First, to go are the employees.

            1. Castlepaloma profile image78
              Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

              One good thing, more people realize from being a working stiffs, is that with large corporations you are going nowhere rarely. Corporation in the pass have also strong at divide and conquer the small businesses. Like Walmart used war tactics.

              The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Survey found that 84% believe their company’s financial situation “will be either very good or somewhat good one year from now.”

              I have had serious problems with pioneering for 15 years three different companies with large corporations crushing them. I have won today all 3 companies by means of love and sticktoativeness. The main reason, I am half staying in my country.

        2. Credence2 profile image80
          Credence2posted 13 months agoin reply to this

          Thanks Sharlee,

          When one looks at the statistics, the job growth has not been so remarkable relative to what occurred during Obama's term of office. But, what we have now are rising deficits due to increased government spending and tax cuts for the wealthy.

          Big business would resist paying ANY tax. The reality is that technology and the sheer economics of Capitalism would have them ultimately do anyway what it is everyone is hoping that they won't. In the meantime, they will take what they can.

          I simply disagree on the correlation that highly business taxes will have them all "running for the hills" in response.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            It is possible that raising the already double dipping of taxes on big business will actually increase the number of jobs...as business hires more tax lawyers and lobbyists to reduce that excessive tax burden.  We would likely lose some to outsourcing as we're already among the highest business tax in the world, but it might be overcome with lawyers.

            Is that what we want, though - an army (or two, considering we already have one smile ) of people working to reduce the tax paid?  Doesn't sound reasonable to me as it produces nothing of real value to the nation - that money is there either way, and there are no new products or services to buy from the work being done.

  2. Castlepaloma profile image78
    Castlepalomaposted 13 months ago

    Wiki says

    In 2017, an Oxfam study found that eight rich people, six of them Americans, own as much combined wealth as half the human race. I sure it is worst more recently.

    Equality and democray are loosing grip in the US. Call me when the Revolution starts, so I can stay in South America.

    1. Eastward profile image93
      Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      I've seen those numbers and while I'm fine with people becoming wealthy for innovative ideas that benefit society, as with most things, some kind of middle ground is healthy. Allowing large multi-national corporations to pay wages so low that full-time employees need to apply for social benefits for basic necessities is too far to the extreme end for my tastes. The pressure is on the poor, and working poor. If we don't do something, I think we will start to see more serious repercussions (perhaps people out in the street in yellow vests). I'm rooting for more amicable solutions even though I'll likely be out of firing range big_smile

      1. Castlepaloma profile image78
        Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Canada economy is close to the US. My area minimum wage is $14.50 an hour and more than half that gose to rent.  How in the world dose anyone make ends meet?

        In the 70s, I made $20 an hour as a brick layer. Paid rent $45 a month for an apartment with two boarders. A bus was only 25 cents. Everone  I knew had jobs. I also worked in the US and no problem getting a jobs within a day.

        Today Trump claims in the US, he has the best economy there has ever been in the US history. He must of forgotten nearing 100 million baby boomers ever existed.

        When Trump is fracking that oil, they will be drinking that oil mixed with their water. I suppose that will be a hoax too. Or he may sell it as making you a better well oiled machine.

        I dare Trump to raise the national wage to $15 an hour. Then complete with the rest of the world cheap third world or Western countries immgration cheap labour.

        1. Eastward profile image93
          Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

          That's the thing about saying that wages are up. If they are slightly up from where they were a year ago but the costs of living, housing, healthcare, education, etc. are up drastically, it doesn't hold much weight.

          I wouldn't believe for a second that the economy, all things considered, is as solid as it was during the peak years for the baby boomers. The days of single income families with a house, 3 kids, 2 cars, and a white picket fence are effectively over. I'd like to see that kind of economic strength return. We won't get there with a $15 minimum wage, but it's a start!

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

            You will never get there with large numbers of people working at wages designed and intended for youngsters without skills or work ethic.

            Minimum wage is neither designed nor intended to support a family. It is a beginning amount paid to individuals that are just learning to exist in the work world and that cannot be paid more while still using the results of their labor to produce a profit margin.  It is also useful for those that just want a few more dollars in their pockets - the elderly on SS, for instance, that don't want a full time job.  It is not, nor should it be, sufficient to support a family.

            1. Eastward profile image93
              Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

              Agree 100% there. $15 is barely enough for a high school kid to start saving enough for college in 2019. We need broader solutions that bring people who want to work full-time into the middle class. That's the backbone of our society and we need to nurture it.

              1. wilderness profile image97
                wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                Unfortunately our own greed has prohibited that "backbone" from growing as we farmed out our manufacturing jobs to cheaper labor (and cheaper prices at home) overseas.

                There is another problem as well; while it is only an impression, a "feeling", it looks to me like the younger generation today is not willing to start at the bottom.  They want to start life where their parents are after decades of effort.  No roommates to share costs, no clunker car to get to work, no shopping at Goodwill for used clothing, no eating burned food because that's all they have after they messed up the meal.  These things are so foreign to their view of life that it just isn't on the radar - instead, a wage that prevents an employer from earning a profit is necessary just to "survive"...in the lifestyle they demand.

                1. Eastward profile image93
                  Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                  That's another good point, Wilderness. Our greed is exactly what caused this. Not only did rampant outsourcing harm our middle class, it also was a major contributing factor to the rise of China (which now it seems we are scrambling to compete with on the global stage).

                  I don't think it's a major problem, but would agree that the younger generation does depend too heavily on conveniences. No matter what they do, it's not likely they'll reach the economic security their parents or grandparents had (which is demotivating in itself), but they should realize the sacrifices their elders made to keeping making progress. Every generation has to do the best they can with the cards they are dealt.

                  If they want real change, they'll need to be the most politically active young generation we've ever seen.

                  1. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                    I have to disagree with the inability to become financially secure as their parents.  When I watch my children (gen X) they're doing fine and so are their friends.  The only exceptions to that are those that simply aren't trying; the "hippies" of Gen X that refuse the lifestyle of work.

                    And if they can become financially stable, so can their kids.  The process will not be the same, most likely, but it can be done with no more effort than we baby boomers put into it.

            2. MizBejabbers profile image91
              MizBejabbersposted 13 months agoin reply to this

              I agree with you. I think one big fallacy in our unemployment numbers is created by counting teenagers who don't work and representing them as "teenagers out of work." I think only emancipated teenagers should be counted as unemployed when they actually have to support themselves and their families. Families headed by teenagers were very common in the Dark Ages when I was young, but teenage heads of households are not so common today. I don't think high school students living at home or college freshmen in dorms should qualify.

              1. Eastward profile image93
                Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

                Trump was correct in calling out the fallacy in unemployment numbers, especially in that they don't count people that have not actively looked for work in the 4 weeks prior https://ballotpedia.org/Fact_check/Are_ … yment_rate

                Although, at other times it seems his administration tries to use these same numbers as a talking point.

  3. Eastward profile image93
    Eastwardposted 13 months ago

    Again, as with most subjects, it depends on the definitions. It's great that your kids and their friends are doing well, but that's quite a small sample size to represent an entire country (with so many variables coming into play from the schools they went to, the neighborhoods they grew up in, the mentoring they received from you and other important figures in their life). A lot of Americans end up on the bad size of those variables. Becoming financially stable and becoming as stable as their parents could be quite different as well. There are factors like education (one aspect we seem to be doing worse on https://www.forbes.com/sites/aparnamath … 892b316a7b) and healthcare that have increased in price far beyond any gains that have been made in wages.

    1. Castlepaloma profile image78
      Castlepalomaposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      How do you know so much about America, living in Thailand?

      1. Eastward profile image93
        Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        I do try to stay in the loop. I travel back and forth occasionally and also listen to the experiences of others when they travel to the US and what their impressions are. I appreciate forums like this to make sure I'm not missing anything as well big_smile

    2. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Oh, absolutely it can be no more than a feeling, simply because of the small size.  But it is, I think, indicative.

      Health care is another topic.  When I look at the health care available to me as a child, and readily available to me as an adult, there is almost no comparison.  Yes, prices have risen beyond anything that wages have done, but so has the quality and quantity of health care.  In that respect, our expectations and demands have progressed far faster than our ability to purchase what we're demanding - is it truly reasonable to expect the same effort to purchase double, triple or more both the quantity and quality of healthcare?   Especially as we put less and less effort into our own part in maintaining our health?  I question that.

      1. Eastward profile image93
        Eastwardposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        A fair point on healthcare being of greater quality, thus justifying a higher price. Although, Americans are certainly getting a raw deal on some things (like prescriptions drugs) that are priced drastically higher than they are abroad.

 
working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)