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Old 12-17-2015, 02:54 PM   #1
footfootfoot
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Food for thought :eyebrow:

First, hi to everyone, My internet free lifestyle has been somewhat successful, but lately I've been needing to use it for job seeking. (Another thread for another time.)

Maybe this belongs in politics, it seems like a political issue, if Bernie Sanders is anyone to go by.

Doing some numbers crunching: figuring my monthly nut and trying to find how much I need to earn to make things work. I've already cut everything to the bone, e.g. My only expenses are mortgage (ins and tax escrowed) electricity, trash, water, oil heat, propane cooking, car ins, gasoline, food, health ins. No entertainment, meals out, internet, cable, new clothes, vacation, savings or RMR (repair, maintenance, reserve).

Being that I am at, or somewhat below, Federal Poverty Level (FPL=$20,090./yr) I am eligible for and avail myself of these federal programs:

Food stamps
HEAP (heating and energy assistance)
Medicaid

Wanting to get off the federal tit and raise my standard of living, I decided to calculate how much I'd need to earn to actually meet this standard of living and then to go above it.

My food stamp benefit is roughly $500 a month or $6,000/yr.

My HEAP benefit is about $1500 for the heating season, so $1500/yr.

Medicaid, in case you aren't aware is by far the best health insurance available today. $0-$5 copay for office visits, therapy, and other treatments, $0 copay for surgery, lab tests, MRI, X-ray, or hospital visits, $0, $1, $3 copay for prescription drugs. Vision and dental also covered, although you can only get the cheapest frames and lenses, no upgrading, but still, $0.

If you see a therapist regularly, or have a chronic medical condition requiring ongoing treatment, or frequent tests, or require an expensive medication regimen, all that can get expensive. $0 on Medicaid.

The closest plan to medicaid would be a Platinum plan and even then, you'd have copays and about $1500 out of pocket before your plan kicked in. Yearly cost of a Platinum plan in my state would run about $700/mo. or $8400/yr plus the $1500 out of pocket = $8900/yr

Adding all that up comes to $16,400 in legal benefits for a person with two kids who is earning at or less than 130% of the poverty level. (As your income goes higher, your benefits diminish slightly. My figures are based on my benefits at my income, such as it is.)

So I would need to make $36,490 a year to achieve a comparable standard of living, and that does not even include putting aside money for savings, buying a car or a house, or going shopping for clothes.

Federal minimum wage is now $7.25/hr or $15,080/yr. Where I live, minimum wage is $8/hr or $16640/yr. In either case, below FPL. Employers are letting the government (i.e. taxpayers) make up for the inadequate wages but for any small business they aren't in a position to do better. Big corporations are benefiting greatly from the federal aid programs and from the reluctance of people who are eligible for the programs to use them out of pride or fear of stigma, or maybe not even realizing that they are poor.

The upshot of all this is the disheartening realization that unless I can earn about $40,000 $45,000 a year, I'm better off in a minimum wage job. And even at 40-45k, it isn't very much money at all considering the cost of living, $67,246 for one adult with two kids, in my area. (According to the Living wage calculator: http://livingwage.mit.edu/ )

I wonder what the current income distribution looks like these days now that the middle class is finally gone.

Here's a chart from 2013, Pretty much a plateau there. For comparison, if $1000 was an inch, the 50th% would be about 6'-8" tall, the 1% would be 656' tall. The figures for 2015 are wider still.
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
glatt
 
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Slacker!

Seriously though, you are brave to put your personal situation out there so clearly. We talk about this stuff in general terms but actual personal factual stories are much more compelling.

Health care is the killer expense. It's ridiculous.

I understand that we are supposed to be worried about the terrorists now, but this economic situation is far more real and personal.
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
My only expenses are mortgage (ins and tax escrowed)
When my particular shit hit my particular fan, I wound up not paying a lot of this and... it wound up... fine. The back insurance and taxes were even just... somehow dealt with. It remains frightening, like it should have not been so easy and there will be hell to pay, perhaps when I die.

But I may or may not have been the recipient of a lot of hidden assistance, in the form of the lesser-known Federal "Hey Banks that Fucked Everything Up, Please Solve It Without Too Much Mess" program.

I was previously a benefactor of the bank's wildly successful, "Give Shitty Mortgages To Idiots Getting Divorced So We Can Game the Market To Its Breaking Point" program.

If you are not intending to leave your house and move to a shithole, your mileage may vary wildly. Also I found out that Pennsylvania requires banks to pay all sorts of wild legal dues before actually foreclosing, so if you are not living in PA, the rules may encourage them to terminate you without prejudice.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:29 PM   #4
footfootfoot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
When my particular shit hit my particular fan, I wound up not paying a lot of this and... it wound up... fine. The back insurance and taxes were even just... somehow dealt with. It remains frightening, like it should have not been so easy and there will be hell to pay, perhaps when I die.

But I may or may not have been the recipient of a lot of hidden assistance, in the form of the lesser-known Federal "Hey Banks that Fucked Everything Up, Please Solve It Without Too Much Mess" program.

I was previously a benefactor of the bank's wildly successful, "Give Shitty Mortgages To Idiots Getting Divorced So We Can Game the Market To Its Breaking Point" program.

If you are not intending to leave your house and move to a shithole, your mileage may vary wildly. Also I found out that Pennsylvania requires banks to pay all sorts of wild legal dues before actually foreclosing, so if you are not living in PA, the rules may encourage them to terminate you without prejudice.
Similar boat here. It seems like foreclosure might take the banks a lot longer than a year, but it is hard to say whether they start the clock with the proceedings or back date it from the first missed payment.

In any case, I'd like to stay, but if I have to leave I'm ok with liquidating everything I own and starting over from scratch. To that end, next week a buddy of mine is coming over and helping me get set up for an enormous indoor tag sale while tons of high ticket specialty shit is going up on ebay/craigslist.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:34 PM   #5
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I've read some banks have taken up to 6 years to evict, figuring the market to sell it is bad, and it's safer to have somebody living there so it doesn't get stripped and trashed.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:38 PM   #6
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Well, don't hold the place in any sort of emotional "this is where I/we need to live" spot in your brain. If you can get out, and live somewhere else cheaper, do it...
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:41 PM   #7
footfootfoot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
Slacker!

Seriously though, you are brave to put your personal situation out there so clearly. We talk about this stuff in general terms but actual personal factual stories are much more compelling.

Health care is the killer expense. It's ridiculous.

I understand that we are supposed to be worried about the terrorists now, but this economic situation is far more real and personal.
Terrorism, gay marriage, abortion, while all important, they are convenient red herrings. Recycling? Bullshit. It's a way to keep you busy with make work. Working 40 hours a week
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.mybudget360.com/how-much-do-americans-earn-what-is-the-average-us-income/
The median wage in the US per person is $26,695. This tells us a lot since the median household income is at $50,500. Since the Census data looks at households, this data hones in on individual wage earners. 66 percent of Americans earn less than $41,212.
Do you have enough energy left over to write your congressman (as if that would do any good) or try in any way to make a change in the status quo? Of course not and I don't blame you. a) it's pointless. The game is rigged. b) you are too busy trying to survive.

There is a series by the BBC I think, called "The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear" well worth a watch when you are done sorting the recycling and helping the fundraiser for your school so they can buy books or lab equipment or something. Or read the synopsis on wikipedia.
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
The upshot of all this is the disheartening realization that unless I can earn about $40,000 $45,000 a year, I'm better off in a minimum wage job.
Those are hard to find, would you settle for something that pays more? Now that the labor market has returned around here, see the dregs, Philadelphia Craigslist for General Labor. The lowest I could find there is $8.50 for "standing around helping" type work. $10 for part time factory work. If you can pass a drug test, and have a minimum skill such as driving, the low wage is around $13. Your market may vary wildly.

Word on the street is common laborers, hauling 2x4s and shit, get $100 cash per day. that's also what pawn shops pay

you can collect gummint bennies and still do a cash job. not that i did but the rules of the game are different down in the dregs
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:50 PM   #9
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$13 is only $27,000.
There is plenty of jobs paying big bucks in North Dakota, but your need to take your own living accommodations suitable for a ND winter or all the money goes back into rent. The job market is scattered and variable, and usually volatile because steady factory jobs have fled.
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Old 12-17-2015, 11:13 PM   #10
footfootfoot
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Yeah, it's seven shades of fucked up in this country.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:43 AM   #11
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Thanks for keeping it real footie.

I had hoped we'd learned from terror 1.0 not to fall for lying politicians but they seem to know which buttons to push to get the media in pee your pants scared mode.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:02 AM   #12
Spexxvet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footfootfoot View Post
...Employers are letting the government (i.e. taxpayers) make up for the inadequate wages but for any small business they aren't in a position to do better....
Just curious as to why you think this. Is there evidence?
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:50 AM   #13
xoxoxoBruce
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Forbes...
Quote:
Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.

Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state-level progressive groups, made this estimate using data from a 2013 study by Democratic Staff of the U.S. Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“The study estimated the cost to Wisconsin’s taxpayers of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” reads the report, available in full here.

“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”

Americans for Tax Fairness then took the mid-point of that range ($4,415) and multiplied it by Walmart’s approximately 1.4 million workers to come up with an estimate of the overall taxpayers’ bill for the Bentonville, Ark.-based big box giant’s staffers.
Here's a state by state breakdown.pdf
That's just walmart, the little guy use that model too.
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:55 AM   #14
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SPOILER ALERT

Footer you were not supposed to give away the fact that, in the US, if you are poor and do not have insurance, and show up at a hospital, you are treated and given a $8,900 plan.

And here we were all amazed that in Finland they were thinking of just giving you $10,000. Ugh, Socialism! You ONLY get $10,000. In the US, you get $16,400. America, fuck yeah!
U-S-A! U-S-A!
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:00 PM   #15
footfootfoot
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Originally Posted by Spexxvet View Post
Just curious as to why you think this. Is there evidence?
For now, I'll just base this on my personal experience as a small business owner and an employee at various small businesses over the years.

an example might be your business; are you able to pay your receptionist $45,000 a year?

A CEO making 500 times the average salary of his workers, not the lowest paid worker, is probably in a position to take less money for himself, let's say 10 times the average, and use the remaining 490x to either increase all his employee's wages or perhaps to create more jobs. I'm not advocating wealth distribution, but suggesting that raising the quality of life of the group would actually raise the QOL of the CEO rather than diminish it.

(see long spoon parable)

In some ways the greed is a higher stakes version of the crab in a bucket phenomenon.

My point is that unless employers pay a living wage to employees, the government has to take up the slack and small business owners are usually not making the kind of money where they can pay employees 45-65k a year. Most of the small business owners I know in this area are not making that much.

I also think it would be possible to pay workers a living wage in this country if we didn't send all our jobs overseas. My position is, if your workforce is not based in the USA, and your corporate offices are not in the USA, then yours is not an American company and therefore not entitled to any type of government subsidy, tax relief, or any other type of benefit and you are subject to import tariffs and so on.
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