Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘median income

In no US State can a minimum wage worker afford rent at even 60 hours per week.

If you contemplate this map, you’ll realize that in no US State can a minimum wage worker afford rent at even 60 hours per week. States in dark blue require a worker to find at least two full-time jobs, and won’t locate a decent place to sleep in privacy.  Sunny States, all year round are the preferred destination for those knowing full-well that homelessness is their lot…

What is the current minimum wage in your country? Do you think all cities are equally affordable for whatever  minimum wage was promulgated, even with yearly “inflation adjusted expenses”?  Do you think that a Federal  minimum wage law is meant to be fair to all working people, or another clever gimmick to excluding the poorer citizens from flooding targeted cities? Frankly, isn’t the minimum wage meant to exclude “unwarranted” people from overcrowding “VIP cities” without imposing explicit discriminatory laws prohibiting entrance to the “sacred cities”?

What is the minimum survival salary per year in your country? For example, if it is $15,000 a year (you don’t have to pay a dime in taxes at that level) do you think this evaluation was meant to be able to survive in New York City?

It is about time to figure out the meaningful minimum wage by States and cities by considering the reverse process:  What is a sensible maximum yearly revenues for any individual?  What criteria should differ between the rich and the poor for enjoying fair levels of equal rights?

Do you think that the Occupy protests is against liberal capitalism, or because people can no longer afford to rent for the work they are doing?

You will be hearing statements such as this:  “Don’t tax the rich. Tax inequality” or that the max. revenue should be set at 36 times the median income.  (The median revenue is the cut-off line between 50% of population income:  income lower than the median represent 50% of the poorer citizens).

Suppose the median income is $35,000 per year. Can you rent a condo in any major city (since renting is far more economical than purchasing properties…)? Can you own a second-hand quality economical car and maintain it adequately?  Can you buy fresh fruits and vegetables and once a week steak meal?

How many houses, cars, and luxury items can someone generating $15 million a year spend on? That what 36 times median income amount to!  You do the math if you know the current median income.  Suppose the max revenue level is $15 million a year, how many houses, cars, and luxury items can someone spend on with all that money? Do you think “perception of inequality” would vanish if the government set this limit?

Do you know that in 1918, individual revenues surpassing one million were taxed 77%? That in 1944, Congress imposed 94% on incomes above $200,000?  Even during Ronald Reagan the tax break was 50% for the rich classes, before reaching 28% in 1988. What is the tax break now on high income?

It is 35% with a stitch: All profits resulting from transactions in capital gains, shares, obligations… are taxed 15% only.  Basically, the ultra rich are plainly paying 18% tax rate. What is your tax bracket?

Do you know that in 1955 the richest 400 people in the US gained only $13.3 million (after factoring in inflation) and paid 51% in tax rate?  That in 2008, the 400 richest generated $270 million and paid only 18% in tax rate?

Do you know that the same alternative suggested in the New York Times article was proposed a century ago?  Felix Adler, founder of National Child Labor Committee, had launched a vigorous campaign demanding that individual revenue be limited to $100,000 (about $2 million in current dollar)?

Back then, Amos Pinchot, chairman of American Committee on War Finance, declared to Congress:

“Two percent of the richest American capture 65% of the total wealth.  If the State has the right to confiscate the life of a citizen for the general interest (dispatching him to war battle fields), shouldn’t the State enjoy also the right to retain the wealth of the richest class in critical periods?  How can a state go to war and pretend to defend democracy and plutocracy in the same vein?”

Suppose the community or State provides quality public schools for free, cover healthcare expenses, secure jobs, and cover apartment rent…How much an individual should earn maximally in order to reduce the sense of inequality among th citizens?

Note 1: Post on max revenue limit was inspired from an article by Sam Pizzigati in the French monthly “Le Monde Diplomatique” # 695

Are you poor? Raise your hand! (January 20, 2009)

            If you are in a situation that prevents you to participate in social life then raise your hand: you are considered materially and morally poor.  It follows that you are poor if you are stuck in your “home” because you cannot mingle with people, in a society that expects standards in elegance, in frequency of eating out, of taking vacations, and of transportation means.  In a culture of “fitting in” you are poor if you were raised not to incur debt that your hard earned job cannot cover.  You are the poorer if the standard of living in your country is expensive and the facilities of support are not suitable in times of emergencies, for health coverage, for children well being, for continuing education, and for opportunities to work. 

If you feel ashamed to invite “friends” home because it is in shamble, the furniture and appliances outdated, or the walls needing another layer of paints then you are poor in such a society.  If you feel inclined to cancel invitations to weddings because you cannot afford a decent gift for the married couple then you are poor in such a society. If you are unable to enroll your kids in private schools because public schools are considered not equipped for the education “performance” standards then you are poor in such a society. You got the gist of my definition; except in situations of basic survival necessities, then the concept of being poor is specific to the culture and tradition of a society.

            There are many definitions of belonging to a “poor status”; it ranges from daily nutritional quality, to the minimum hourly labor rate, to the minimum amount for renting, and leading an independent living; to the bare subsistence for survival such is the condition of over two billion people around the world. 

            The European Union has come up with a statistical limit for being classified as poor. The office of statistics in the EU (Eurostat) adopted the median income for a State (the dividing amount of income that splits two equal number of earners) and then categorizes the poor whose income is within the 60% of the lower median income range.  Thus, it does not matter how the State’s economy improved, or the standard of living improved, or your income improved there will always be 30% of the population considered as poor (for example, 60% *50% = 30%).  Consequently, an EU State member has to allocate budget and plan to support 30% of the needy population.

            The EU definition for being considered poor is an operational categorization for a consumer economy.  If your income or the financial facility structure in your society prevents you to fit in a consumer society, to purchase an outfit that is the fashion of the year, to participate in the cultural and artistic activities, to visit a bar once a month, to go out and see the latest movie, or to buy tickets for festivities and sport events then you are not promoting the internal market economy and you are poor and need serious support to fit in as a citizen.

            The life of the hermit in a remote location is certainly hard; the life of a forced hermit in towns and cities is by far much harsher.  The hermit in cities has to construct his own model or philosophy to life and death; he has to build his specific character to survive the harsh facts within his society.  I have this theory: a poor State economy combined with poor financial credit facilities and high consumer standards the higher the odds for frequent civil wars.




May 2023

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