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(The Atlantic)   When you read about "The Poverty Line" in America, keep in mind the line was originally set in 1963 and it assumes all houses have a full-time housewife who is a "skilled cook" and "careful shopper" to stretch their budget   (theatlantic.com) divider line 233
    More: Interesting, abstract concepts  
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10032 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2014 at 2:11 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-09 08:31:12 PM  

mike_d85: WTF are you eating? Soylent Green and chicken feet? I get fresh veg, canned foods in bulk, meat in bulk, and cook most everything from scratch and I can't do much better than $80 a WEEK.

FFS, just getting dried rice ($1.29) and beans ($1.30) for 7 days a week is $20 ($18.20). And that's assuming you only consume one bag per day. I'm shopping for 3 full grown adults so I assume we'd eat more.


Where are you shopping, Neiman Marcus?  I buy a lot of rice.  I grab a pile of it when I find it for no more than 40 cents/pound.   Occasionally I'll see cheap brands at 30 cents/pound.

Our most recent shopping trip was purely produce.  8 bags worth (7 were in the 7-8 pound range, the last was light because it was broccoli) for $15.

mike_d85: Loren: And you missed one category of poor but not idiots--immigrants with limited English.

I'm glad you mentioned them because I have nothing but respect for those people.  Any one who thinks I'm being sarcastic should learn to install plumbing without instructions while someone is shouting at you.


I'm married to one of those immigrants (although she no longer has limited English) so I've seen quite a few and they impress me.
 
2014-01-09 08:37:32 PM  
"...and it assumes all houses have a full-time housewife who is a "skilled cook" and "careful shopper" to stretch their budget"

Yes, so what is the problem? Its not the government's fault if someone is the self centered type that didn't marry and/or if they were not smart enough to pick a good woman and/or are one of those extreme progressives that forces their wife into the workforce.  If someone does any of those things then any poverty is of their own doing and should be left out of the poverty stats.
 
GBB
2014-01-09 09:05:15 PM  

Phil McKraken: GBB: buzzcut73: That's really what the poverty level and the minimum wage should be tied to. How much does it take ONE person, working full time, to pay rent on a modest home with lights and heat and keep the average family fed.

The problem is that rent is partially based on the actual value of the home and the cost of upkeep to the landlord, and probably more based on the ability of the tenant to pay.

If you are getting by paying $500 a month on minimum wage and suddenly you are making an additional $300 a month because of an increase in minimum wage, your landlord is going to want a piece of that.

In 2007, rent for my apartment was $750.  In 2006 is was $730.  When the lease came up for renewal in 2008, just before the housing market collapse, they wanted $900.  I moved.  In 2011, I looked on their website and that floorplan was $8XX.  Landlords will always be greedy bastards that will base their rent schedules on the income potential of their tenants actual or prospective.

Bosses and landlords are often disparaged like this. Having been both and also on the other side, I promise that bosses and landlords are no more or less greedy than other parts of the population, anecdotes notwithstanding. But i have horror stories about tenants and employees if you need some balance.


When you get down to the root of all human decision making, we're all greedy.
 
2014-01-09 09:09:38 PM  

Magorn: and this one, combined witht he ones above, should inspire you to dust off your torches and pitch forks:


Please adjust that last graph for inflation first. I don't want to needlessly prep that pitchfork.
 
2014-01-09 09:21:40 PM  

Chummer45: Magorn: Which actually tells you how bad things have really gotten in America
look at this graph:
[www.doctorhousingbubble.com image 436x351]

now look at this one:
[www.davemanuel.com image 400x300]

See the Problem?   Yes the median HOUSEHOLD income has risen slightly, but only because DOUBLE the number of people per household are working in most of them.

Those numbers are particularly appalling when you look at charts like this:
[2.bp.blogspot.com image 725x537]

and this one, combined witht he ones above, should inspire you to dust off your torches and pitch forks:
[graphics8.nytimes.com image 511x452]

The tide is rising but only some boats are benefiting while others are taking on water so fast they can barely stay afloat

It's because the vast majority of employees have very little bargaining power with their employers.  We have seen a concerted effort to undermine and eliminate unionization, and have failed to enacted other laws that grant rights to employees.

The reason why wages have been falling isn't a mystery - our legal system (including right to work laws, "at will" employment, and very few mandated benefits) results in management having the freedom to pay employees low wages and benefits, and hire and fire them for whatever reason they want.  The typical employee is not in a position to negotiate with management for better job security, better pay, more benefits, etc.

It's just ridiculous for people to desperately try to explain the stagnation of wages as being primarily caused by anything else.


You forgot to add in corporate Americas love of befuddled, poorly motivated, work just hard enough to not lose my job middle management.
 
2014-01-09 09:28:23 PM  

Loren: mike_d85: WTF are you eating? Soylent Green and chicken feet? I get fresh veg, canned foods in bulk, meat in bulk, and cook most everything from scratch and I can't do much better than $80 a WEEK.

FFS, just getting dried rice ($1.29) and beans ($1.30) for 7 days a week is $20 ($18.20). And that's assuming you only consume one bag per day. I'm shopping for 3 full grown adults so I assume we'd eat more.

Where are you shopping, Neiman Marcus?  I buy a lot of rice.  I grab a pile of it when I find it for no more than 40 cents/pound.   Occasionally I'll see cheap brands at 30 cents/pound.

Our most recent shopping trip was purely produce.  8 bags worth (7 were in the 7-8 pound range, the last was light because it was broccoli) for $15.

mike_d85: Loren: And you missed one category of poor but not idiots--immigrants with limited English.

I'm glad you mentioned them because I have nothing but respect for those people.  Any one who thinks I'm being sarcastic should learn to install plumbing without instructions while someone is shouting at you.

I'm married to one of those immigrants (although she no longer has limited English) so I've seen quite a few and they impress me.


I thought that everyone knew that the less you buy, the more you are going to pay per unit...    if you want to buy rice on the cheap, you have to buy the big bags...
 
2014-01-09 09:33:34 PM  

Phinn: ikanreed: The overwhelming problem in the U.S. is that the hardest working people are among the poorest.

Work is not valuable merely because it's hard.

Work is valuable to the extent that (a) other people desire it, and (b) the difficulty in their obtaining it through some alternative.

This is not true just because I say so.  This is an inescapable feature of objective, universal, economic reality.


For the people arguing that people are being paid what they are worth:

Why do you believe that the value of work has diminished over the years?

If people are being paid according to their value, why are profits higher than ever, worker productivity is higher than ever, and worker's wages are stagnant?

Worker's today are better educated as well..... though much less valuable.

And now the really important question..... If this pattern continues (I'm sure that it will), SHOULD the government get involved to try to turn it around?
 
2014-01-09 09:48:00 PM  
My impression is that the ones calling the shots, left and right both, are working to make the USA more like India or Mexico.  A small, elite ruling class with all the wealth, and masses of undereducated, working poor with no hope of bettering their lives.  Keep labor cheap, give them the barest of essentials, and make sure to hatchet out the middle of the ladder so they've got no way to climb out.
 
2014-01-09 09:48:31 PM  

Maul555: I thought that everyone knew that the less you buy, the more you are going to pay per unit... if you want to buy rice on the cheap, you have to buy the big bags...


Usually, although I have hit my target price on 5# bags once.  Generally I buy the 20# bags, though.
 
2014-01-09 09:49:02 PM  
I make a good living, but after buying beer, liquor, cat food and liter, there's very little left for food.
 
2014-01-09 09:50:02 PM  
And now, homes with full time house wives are usually the financially strong homes.

My wife would love to quit her job and just stay at home to be with the kids.
 
2014-01-09 09:58:17 PM  

umad: ikanreed: telejester: The overwhelming problem in the U.S. is that the hardest working people are among the poorest.


wtf?  Can you give some examples of such an "overwhelming" problem?

You've never met anyone who's genuinely poor, have you?

I have. And they were stupid and lazy motherfarkers to a person.


There are people who have several kids and work hard full time, but don't make a high enough wage to support their family without assistance. There are also people who are mentally ill, but not lazy or stupid. And being stupid doesn't mean you're lazy.
 
2014-01-09 10:03:12 PM  

GBB: When you get down to the root of all human decision making, we're all greedy.


If casual and unnecessary destruction of property count as greed, you're right.
 
2014-01-09 10:46:00 PM  
With 50 million Americans on SNAP and 100 million receiving some level of Federal assistance can we just admit that Capitalism won and move back to Feudalism or some other system where the solution to rich people is storming their houses with pitchforks?
 
2014-01-09 10:46:51 PM  

meyerkev: meyerkev:
Ah. Grasshoppers.

"Liberals Believe in the government the way (the religious lady) Believes in the Lord. It's almost a disservice to refer to such people as liberals. They were, in fact, aristocratists. They were very Old country in that they felt that beyond their little fence it was the King's duty to fix things."

/Keep in mind that this is a direct quote from someone who believes that they are an ant, but you've seen it where something is broken and no one fixes it, because "it's not my problem".


Am I understanding you correctly that you're stating it's liberalswho have the "not my problem" attitude towards others? Liberals don't think of anyone beyond their front door? Dude, I respect your opinion and maybe I misunderstand you here, but that's exactly what  conservativesthink, not liberals. Conservatives are the ones who seem content to let other people suffer and die since they themselves have "got theirs" as the saying goes. Conservatives are the ones who are actively fighting to remove the paltry safety net we still have in place (for now). Conservatives are the ones screaming that they can't even fathom the idea of people having basic healthcare and would rather some for-profit insurance company runs it instead of the people.

This innate mistrust of the government (which is supposedly made of us - the people) and wanting to make it smaller to the point of nonexistence is irrational. The idea that private charity or communities should take on responsibility for administering aid and alms to the poor is such a cruel, Dickensian "not my problem" attitude that it alone puts the lie to your assertion that liberals are the "not my problem" crowd. I hope I've misunderstood you here and, if so, I apologize.
 
2014-01-09 10:59:50 PM  

Magorn: "...Those numbers are particularly appalling when you look at charts like this:

img.fark.net"



WTF? Do you not recognize that manufacturing machinery has gotten WAY more advanced over the 38 years covered by this chart, and that the increase in worker output is due primarily to the tools used in manufacturing and to process efficiency? Or do you actually believe that manufacturing employees are working 3.5 times as hard as whey were in the 1970s?

This chart, especially in the context you presented it in, is equivalent to saying that since people are traveling much greater distances today than they were in 1895, it means that they're running faster, getting more exercise, and have less time to spend at their destinations.
 
2014-01-09 11:01:28 PM  
if its one thing I can count on fark for, its a complete misunderstanding of conservatives...
 
2014-01-09 11:18:26 PM  

TV's Vinnie: The right wing really does want poor Americans to be POOR-poor. Like, starving skinny orphans poor.

[www.thelondoneveningpost.com image 700x466]

And then instead of food, all the right wing will offer are bibles and a hob-nailed boot to the face.


they should be, might make them work.

There are no poor people in America. Our poor live damn good lives, and have no stress because they get everything free.
 
2014-01-09 11:19:18 PM  
And by the way, poor kids are the fattest, so don't give us this starving crap. They are fat and lazy like Mom and absent Dad.
 
2014-01-09 11:55:00 PM  

Thunderpipes: And by the way, poor kids are the fattest, so don't give us this starving crap. They are fat and lazy like Mom and absent Dad.


images.zap2it.com
Monster's Ball (2001) Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton
 
2014-01-10 12:06:35 AM  

HoratioGates: Phinn: ikanreed: The overwhelming problem in the U.S. is that the hardest working people are among the poorest.

Work is not valuable merely because it's hard.

Work is valuable to the extent that (a) other people desire it, and (b) the difficulty in their obtaining it through some alternative.

This is not true just because I say so.  This is an inescapable feature of objective, universal, economic reality.

You are picking something you disagree with and making an argument about something else.  Value is not the only thing you can pay someone for (it's what it makes sense for a company to pay for under Capitalism, but that's why we have governments, to look out for the welfare of people when Capitalistic forces don't align in the public interest.  Pure Capitalism may put a premium on 'value' but at the same time is doesn't put much of a premium on fairness.  If two people bust their ass at work and one takes home 10 times as much because his work had more value that's only fair because we say it is and because we live in a society that has set that up as a rule.  (Capitalism does have some things going for it in the realm of wealth creation, but when people start calling it 'fair' it's questionable).

Unfortunately, since money and free speech go hand in hand, you get a government bought by the people it's supposed to be regulating.


The word "fair" needs to be eliminated from political vocabulary. It means nothing. The way you're using it, it means something like "good" or "right." That's not the issue. The issue is HOW you define what's good and right--how you choose between competing goods.

A guy "busts his ass" and gets one-tenth the income of someone else? What if this ass-busting behavior is making donkey porn? Is it good or right or FAIR that he gets paid so much less than a film producer who makes wildly popular entertainment with one-tenth the effort? What if this porn producer makes 10 times more than a guy who makes obscure art films in archaic languages that a small coterie of elite academics love but are completely unappealing to everyone else? More importantly, who decides what these various producers get paid? Based on what methodology? Effort? Social value? Determined how?

Or what about a guy who "busts his ass" by fashioning exquisite hand-made large-scale replicas of office buildings from sugar cubes and old grocery bags? It could be the most grueling, time-consuming, highly refined work imaginable, but socially worthless. By what possible means could his income be determined by reference to his effort? Who should make that determination, in your ideal society? Using what criteria?

Deciding if work is "in the public interest" is another one of your weasel words. What is the means by which these public interests are identified and their relative importance determined? By what method are they to be prioritized? How does one decide how resources are to be diverted from (or to) the infinite number of things that people could be producing?

Your propositions are vacuous to the point of being meaningless -- all you've said is that we should be "fair" to people who "work hard" doing things that are in the "public interest."

Well, whoopdie-farking-doo, but if you're going to propose a new GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM, you're going to need to be a little more thorough.
 
2014-01-10 12:46:08 AM  
Meyerkev...you kind of went off the derp end there, but my point is that quite a few people want those programs reduced or eliminated, like the 90k people who are losing health insurance in WI this year, and the answer is always "If you don't want to starve or go to a doctor or etc. don't be poor." That is not a valid position as it ignores the segment of the population to which I referred previously. If someone wants to eliminate or reduce these programs wholesale, they should be honest about why. What do they propose to do with people unable or unwilling to live above income levels that need aid for survival?
 
2014-01-10 12:57:58 AM  

roc6783: Meyerkev...you kind of went off the derp end there, but my point is that quite a few people want those programs reduced or eliminated, like the 90k people who are losing health insurance in WI this year, and the answer is always "If you don't want to starve or go to a doctor or etc. don't be poor." That is not a valid position as it ignores the segment of the population to which I referred previously. If someone wants to eliminate or reduce these programs wholesale, they should be honest about why. What do they propose to do with people unable or unwilling to live above income levels that need aid for survival?


I know of no conservative that wants all, or even most social safety nets to be eliminated...
 
2014-01-10 02:21:42 AM  

GBB: Good luck finding a woman that's either a skilled cook or careful shopper these days.  Don't even consider finding one that's both.

/my experience.
//YMMV


I'm both. We've managed to make it on one modest income long enough for both our kids to get into school. I cook and balance the budget and shop wisely. I've got maybe three nice outfits to my name because the kids come first, but we did it. And I went back to college and finished my degree. Last kid just started kindergarten this week and it's back to the workforce for this mother. ;)
 
2014-01-10 02:47:02 AM  
good cook and careful shopper may be mutually exclusive requirements.
 
2014-01-10 03:40:34 AM  

timujin: flak attack: So, in reality, the only thing I want to dust off my torch for is to burn down whatever school you went to because it clearly didn't do it's job.

Can you burn down whichever school also taught you this?
 a ~20% increase (I'm estimating $41k and $45k as household income numbers here, since your graph doesn't give exact numbers).

Going from $41k to $45k is a 10% increase, not 20%.


And that's over 40 years, without accounting inflation or cost of living.

That 41k should be over 100k now.
 
2014-01-10 11:34:43 AM  

itcamefromschenectady: umad: ikanreed: telejester: The overwhelming problem in the U.S. is that the hardest working people are among the poorest.


wtf?  Can you give some examples of such an "overwhelming" problem?

You've never met anyone who's genuinely poor, have you?

I have. And they were stupid and lazy motherfarkers to a person.

There are people who have several kids and work hard full time, but don't make a high enough wage to support their family without assistance. There are also people who are mentally ill, but not lazy or stupid. And being stupid doesn't mean you're lazy.


Yeah, I should have said lazy and/or stupid.
 
2014-01-10 11:53:02 AM  

spmkk: WTF? Do you not recognize that manufacturing machinery has gotten WAY more advanced over the 38 years covered by this chart, and that the increase in worker output is due primarily to the tools used in manufacturing and to process efficiency? Or do you actually believe that manufacturing employees are working 3.5 times as hard as whey were in the 1970s?

This chart, especially in the context you presented it in, is equivalent to saying that since people are traveling much greater distances today than they were in 1895, it means that they're running faster, getting more exercise, and have less time to spend at their destinations.


Exactly.  I used to work for a factory.  Over the years I worked there I watched production go up 20x while the staffing might have gone up 4x.  It's not that the workers were working any harder, it was that machinery was taking more and more of the load.  If anything the workload got easier as the computers did more and more spoon-feeding.

The extra money didn't go to the factory floor workers because they weren't doing anything more.  It went to the bigger building, it went to the equipment suppliers, it went to people like me (the guy who wrote the software that made it work) and a few guys who built some of the equipment.
 
2014-01-10 01:23:58 PM  

Thunderpipes: And by the way, poor kids are the fattest, so don't give us this starving crap. They are fat and lazy like Mom and absent Dad.


Fat is just as malnourished as ribs sticking out.
From a medical view, not an emotional one.
 
2014-01-10 01:26:08 PM  

spmkk: Magorn: "...Those numbers are particularly appalling when you look at charts like this:

This chart, especially in the context you presented it in, is equivalent to saying that since people are traveling much greater distances today than they were in 1895, it means that they're running faster, getting more exercise, and have less time to spend at their destinations.


Jeez, all this time, I thought it was pirates, but that graph!
I see the light!
 
2014-01-10 01:34:51 PM  

Magorn: Tricky Chicken: ikanreed: Tricky Chicken: Phinn: ikanreed:

The fact that you think YOU made any decisions as a child that affected your future outcomes as an adult , and your success is a result of your innate virtue and wisdom in making life choices as a 7-year old is pathetically, laughably, delusional.    But a delusion all to common among those who ridiculously think of themselves as "self-made"


Oh, the self-made are so cute.
Not even if you were raised by wolves in the forest is any farker "self-made".
Not sure where such a delusion comes from, but it is usually accompanied by douchbagyness worn like Emperor's Clothing and ALWAYS announced by self.
Exception proving rule, sycophant "journalists" proclaiming the "self made man".
Delusions.
 
2014-01-10 05:43:23 PM  

Phinn: A guy "busts his ass" and gets one-tenth the income of someone else? What if this ass-busting behavior is making donkey porn? Is it good or right or FAIR that he gets paid so much less than a film producer who makes wildly popular entertainment with one-tenth the effort? What if this porn producer makes 10 times more than a guy who makes obscure art films in archaic languages that a small coterie of elite academics love but are completely unappealing to everyone else? More importantly, who decides what these various producers get paid? Based on what methodology? Effort? Social value? Determined how?

Or what about a guy who "busts his ass" by fashioning exquisite hand-made large-scale replicas of office buildings from sugar cubes and old grocery bags? It could be the most grueling, time-consuming, highly refined work imaginable, but socially worthless. By what possible means could his income be determined by reference to his effort? Who should make that determination, in your ideal society? Using what criteria?

Deciding if work is "in the public interest" is another one of your weasel words. What is the means by which these public interests are identified and their relative importance determined? By what method are they to be prioritized? How does one decide how resources are to be diverted from (or to) the infinite number of things that people could be producing?

Your propositions are vacuous to the point of being meaningless -- all you've said is that we should be "fair" to people who "work hard" doing things that are in the "public interest."

Well, whoopdie-farking-doo, but if you're going to propose a new GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM, you're going to need to be a little more thorough.


And I guess we'll bounce to another argument then, since you don't seem to want to actually argue the point you started with, so, well, how about a negative income tax then.  The countries that use it have blown past on most measures of standards of living and it doesn't distort the job market as much as   Land Value Tax.  It's one of the best ways to get people to actually pay tax and spend on improving property (and thereby the net worth of the country).  Sign more treaties to cooperate on tax issues- don't let countries get away with being tax havens.  Pass an amendment that says money and free speech aren't the same thing. 

When you start citing donkey porn arguments, you might want to look to see if you are about to run into Godwin's Law.  I took issue with your Weeners because you complained about one thing and then created an argument for something else.  What I'm saying is that, unless you want to long term civil unrest that some balance of wealth is desirable.  Middle class levels of wealth mean good school districts for everyone, and an opportunity to at least see the ladder of upward mobility so you can start making choices about how to go about getting out of the cycle of poverty.

Pure capitalism is good at creating GDP growth, but it's a lousy at distributing it.  Communism, (even in it's mythical form) is lousy at creating GDP growth.  It is possible to balance the two.  There are countries that do it much better than we do, and in the long run, when generations roll over and replace the current work force, they do better at GDP growth than we do.

We frame the argument over the 'self made man' in terms of 'did you go to a good school that gave you a foot up' and people reject that because of biases built into the human brain.  The truth is that you even need to take it a step further.  If you want to sell a computer you've built to someone you need someone smart enough to use a computer to sell to.  You need someone smart enough to build it for you.  You need roads to ship it over, and people smart enough to run distribution networks.  You need a country with resources to enforce trade treaties, and back them up.  Pure Capitalism, in the long run, doesn't provide you with that.  Some mix of Capitalism and a social safety net is needed.

But, no one is going to convince a self made man that.
 
2014-01-10 10:39:14 PM  

HoratioGates: But, no one is going to convince a self made man that.



Certainly not YOU, and certainly not with facile, shallow platitudes like that recycled "balancing" crap.
 
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