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Minimum wage and Living

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posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 10:40 AM
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I wasn't quite sure where to put this, but general seems like a decent place. After re-reading I decided that this could have fit in the rant section as well.

Well, my friend and I were thinking about our current situation. She's working and makes a decent amount of money. But she can't find a place to live because either the apartments (or prices of home currently on the market, for that matter) are over her budget and the supposedly low-income housing's maximum income is just under what she makes. I think they make an exception if you have a child, though. We got to talking and we noticed how it seems that around here it seems that you have to have had a child when you were in high school to live out here. With section 8 and other programs out here, it really seems that way. My friend went to one of those nurse training schools and has a decent entry-level job, but its still not enough to get a place to live. Especially in this area where efficiencies can start at $900-1000 a month.

We went on to talk about price of living and jobs in our city. Right now, I'm in school but I'm out of the summer. After taxes I make about $1200 a month (14,400 a year should I stay) and that's at $11/hour. A person working full-time at the current minimum wage would make about $600/month and $7,200 a year. If I recall correctly the minimum needed for most of the low-income apartment we looked at hovered around $22,000 and the minimum for some of the pretty good appartment communities were 40 times the rent, which is about $50,000+ a year.

Now, I've said all of this to say. Can normal people make it? When I say this, I mean people who are not do not have any dependants or any other eligibility for any programs and who are recent graduates from high school and are diving feet first into the working world, recent college grads, full time minimum wage earners, etc?

I remember having a similar discussion in my Anthropology class last semester. Someone pointed out that it was a conspiracy to get more work hours from the working class, or something similar. For example, minimum wage isn't sufficient to live off alone, so it pushes people to work overtime or seek part-time employment. But, if the minimum wage was to increase, the price of living would increase with it. So basically, nothing would change. I really wish I could remember the rest of what it said or could find the books he referenced. I really did sounds like some interesting stuff.

Well that brings me to the reason why I actually posted this on this board. I can be a complete dummy when I comes to economy. I'd like to research the subject, but I have no clue where to start and learn a bit about this during summer and I figure this would be good place to start. I'm also up for a bit of discussion if anyone else is interested.

EDITed: Because a quote lead me to a few mistakes that I missed.


[edit on 9-6-2006 by Shaione]




posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by Shaione
Now, I've said all of this to say. Can normal people make it?

If you can't afford to live in an area, then you're supposed to move to a location where you can. I agree, its odd that, if you have a kid, then you can be granted money to live in a place where a person without a kid can't afford to live. BUt, at the same time, we don't want kids raised on the street.


But, if the minimum wage was to increase, the price of living would increase with it.

To a degree I suspect that that is true, although in many areas the cost of living has increased dramatically while the minimum wage has increased only slightly.

Then again, the minimum wage is really for crappy jobs anyway. Its perhaps not reasonable to expect to live in the neighbhorhood of choice while making the minimum wage.

Part of the reason for why the cost of living increases with average wage (as opposed to the minimum legal wage) is that price, in a free market, is dicatated by, whats the most a consumer is willing to pay for the product? As the consumer's wealth increases, they're more willing to pay a higher and higher price for a product.


but I have no clue where to start and learn a bit about this during summer and I figure this would be.

Thats a complex subject, money, society, wages, the market, etc. Also has a long long history. I am sure that there are people better qualified to recommend sources on these things than I. But as far as I understand it, the basic theories start with guys like Adam Smith. Marx, for all the political hysteria over his ideas, also is recognized as a big economic theorist.

Personally, I liked, yes, actually enjoyed, Max Weber's "The Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilizations".

It covers the development of economy and market through history. He has written a lot of other books on the history of the development of economies, that might provide a nice introduction to the general topic and give you a bearing within it, without getting into an economics class or a primer on the stock market or housing market.



posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 01:03 PM
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Originally posted by Shaione
I'd like to research the subject, but I have no clue where to start and learn a bit about this during summer and I figure this would be good place to start.
[edit on 9-6-2006 by Shaione]


Start here at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

I'm desperately trying to find the source, but recently some organization reported that a worker making the federal minimum wage, can not afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment at the national rental average. Obviously there are regions where that is not true, but nonetheless, it is a scary statistic.



posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 01:40 PM
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Unfortunately the reality of the wage per hour is no, a person can not make it on Min wage. The system is viscious in this aspect as a person who works a full time job, making somewhat decent money, which would mean that they would have to make above min. wage, would fall in the category of making too much money for the system to justify helping, but not enough to make it on their own. I know for my own self I get, and please excuse the word, but there is no better one for it, raped on taxes every pay check. Just because I am male and single. The main problem is that the priority of what should be expensive and what is not, is going the wrong way and the way that the congress looks at the economy is also a bit out of synch with the country. I do know, that when they were running it or I could catch it, there was a program from the same person who filmed, Super Size Me, called 30 days I think. One of the challenges that he did was seeing how he and his girlfriend could survive for 30 days on min. Wage. IN short they could not. At the end of the month they were in debt, and that was only cause they ended up having medical bills to go and deal with. There needs to be a revamping of what would be constitued min wage and it needs to be area based, to include what it would cost for a person to Rent an appartnment, food, utilities, clothing, the necessities of life to survive. Anything else is just not going to make it. Right now, where I live, on the west coast, I see alot of people having to come together to make ends meet. Usually 4 people per 2 bedroom apartment, with the possibility of someone else sleeping on the floor or the couch.

Hopefully something will be done soon.

that is my thoughts.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 02:47 AM
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This is an interesting topic you've come up with and one that hits home with me. I used to earn $50k a year at my job, which had a lot of overtime, and now, only earning $2 less an our with no overtime, I earn $24k????

Anyway, I pay child support, so immediately my income is cut in half to $12K.

I rent, and if it werent for my dad owning a sling of houses, I wouldnt be able to make it. I live in an area where rents for houses are about $4-5 hundred a month. I get rent for $350 but this is because it is family. So, it is good to find a city or area you can afford, and basically find a roomate to split the costs of rent and utilities.

Keep working on it and you will do fine



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 02:56 AM
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I agree because I'm in the exact situation. I haven't been knocked up, therefore I don't qualify for a lot of nice govt programs, like some of my 'friends' seem to do. Pop out a baby every year and you get more govt money. Bleh, even with my college education in IT doesn't seem to do much. I currently work two jobs, one is my own business, which surprisingly gives me the most income of the two, but because it's a 1 person business, it doesn't produce -enough- and I realize starting a successful business is not only difficult but requires quite a bit of your own investments.



posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 03:14 AM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
Then again, the minimum wage is really for crappy jobs anyway. Its perhaps not reasonable to expect to live in the neighbhorhood of choice while making the minimum wage.


This seems to be the mainstream response to a growing national problem.

Except that the majority of Americans work on those 'really crappy jobs.'

Except that, when low- income people find a low-rent enclave in a city (where, concidentally, the majority of these 'really crappy jobs' are), well-off people run them out with gentrification.

Why would poor people move to Iowa, or wherever rent is low, when the 'really crappy job,' the ones for which they qualify, are clustered in the cities?




posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 09:38 AM
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Sorry for abandoning my post. I've been soo busy since I posted it.

But thanks for the links guys. Also, I found this book while in the store called Nickled and Dimed, or something similar. A journalist started with about $1000 and got various jobs such as Walmart, a cleaning service, etc. She got an apartment and tried to survive on only what she made at the jobs (At one point she had to get another job, which I think was a second full-time job.) She interacted with other people and wrote about how they survived.

I'm thinking about picking up the book, but I'm not sure if its exactly what I want. The problem I may have with the book is that the journalist will always have the idea that she can just quit the crappy jobs, then go back to her own life in the back of her head. Also, from what I've read, she only stays in each job for a month. To me, it seems that she wouldn't get a good feel for the life for only one month.



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