reply to post by OldThinker
Yes, but 'cost of living' is calculated on the necessities and not 'new' necessities. In some ways, CoL is out of date in how it is calculated.
First of all, an understanding of what Median Wage means is necessary:
Here is a .pdf which explains it in the simplest terms:
On pg. 9 is a graph which details the trend towards the growing gap between the top third and the bottom third of wage earners during the period 1979
Back in the 60's, a gallon of gas, the cost of a new car or a house was very inexpensive, but incomes were also low. What I'm saying is that the
cost of living has increased more than the general income of the average family. Food, education and mortgages are the the things which no-one can do
without, but there are other 'new' expectations as well and that's what I meant about iPods, laptops and Playstations. The new generations have
come to accept such things as a necessity and would rather not do without them.
These expectations are adding to the cost of living while not listed as a factor in calculating the median wage. They are considered luxuries and yet
most could not abide doing without them. In a way, they are
required, since most jobs require some expertise in online communications. In my
own experience, the job I had changed dramatically during the last 10-15 years and everything had to be logged into a software program which the
company (energy production) had purchased.
Also, consider the cost of commuting. Living in a city center where most jobs are situated has become unavailable to most incomes and employees are
required to travel long distances daily between their place of work and their residence.
When a person considers a job in the city (which may pay more) against a job in a local setting (suburbia), they may find that flipping burgers in a
Mickey Dee might be better or equal to a job working for a large corporation downtown after the cost of the commute is factored in.
During the last few years, we have seen a frantic amount of apartment and condo building in city centers as a result of the cost of commuting. Even
though this building boom has gone on for some time, I would say that the incomes of the bottom third of wage earners cannot in any way afford to make
that move, causing the divide between the top and lowest thirds of wage scales to grow even further apart.
Hope that helps explain some
Now, consider yourself a 20-something who is just emerging from the educational system and looking to the job market for a place to make a living. He
or she has, by this time, found a partner and is considering marraige, a family and, perhaps even a house. What opportunity exists for them in this
current economic disaster? Not much.
Looking to mom and dad for help? Well, if parent's are fortunate enough to not have lost their jobs or their house yet, they certainly haven't much
left of their 401K.
That spells hopelessness. It wasn't great before
the bottom fell out and it certainly isn't wonderful now. One thing is for sure, though,
just about every young person is 'connected' to the web and they are letting their voices be heard. We see the discontent here as well as on the
street, on the job and at the family supper table.
The youth today are not amused.