Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Short-hand explanation for $50K minimum needs (poverty) line for a family of three

My short-hand, shore up of $50K minimum needs (poverty) line for a family of three -- detailed in chart 3-2, on p.44 of the MS Foundation book Raise the Floor 
(You may want an inflation calculator -- I possess the 2001 book:

My quick look:
$11,000 Obamacare for a family of four (not three), $498 a month (after $541 subsidy) + $4900 deductible (from Brill, p. 346, close enough);
$4,000 payroll taxes (not even counting all those regressive taxes that we take for granted in consumer prices);
$15,000 rent and utilities for any place decent;
leaving a big $400 a week to feed, cloth, transport (entertain?; MS does not allow a cent for entertainment) four people.  I would call that minimum needs. 

Meanwhile the median income is $26,000. 

3.5% shift in income would pay for a $15 minimum wage (half the workforce is seriously treading water between $300 a week (assuming min wagers get 40 hours; most may not) and $500.  If the 16% of income that shifted to the top 1% after the mid-seventies had instead shifted to the bottom 90% (the top 10% mostly held on to their income share until recent years) the latter would be swimming in money (and FICA collections would be going through the roof -- would stop diverting funds to over bloated TF at some point).

1 comment:

Denis Drew said...

My personal decent into the much lower middle class because of complete lack of American labor market bargaining power AND concomitant political muscle:

In 1980, arrived in Chicago to support myself driving taxicabs. Between 1981 and 1997 Chicago allowed one 30 cent rise in the mileage rate — at which 1990 midpoint it started building subways to both airports, opened up unlimited limos, began putting on free trolleys between all the hot spots downtown (e.g., the Aquarium) AND adding 40% more cabs. By early 1997 I had emigrated 2,000 miles to San Francisco to get an (American?) job driving a cab.

NYC, same story: in 2004 dollars: after last successful taxi strike in 1976 (rug then pulled out by lease system) meter raised to $2.25 a mile. By early 2004 had dropped to $1.50 a mile (lease meant shortfall totally on drivers) before raises back to $2.00 — after over 50% increase in per capita income, in the only place on earth (lower Manhattan) where wealth is a plateau not a pinnacle.

PS. As long as we are on the "taxi driver" topic — I’m Irish and I can’t shut up — allow me to explain the decent of Times Square from being the Great White Way into becoming Robert DeNiro’s hell. One-two punch: the Supreme Court said porno was First Amendment protected which for some reason caused the area to fill up with naughty shops, which is what attracted the lowest side of the street business — simultaneously the heroin epidemic hit — synergistic combination, unhinging Robert to blow away the whore house. :-)