Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wages Are Way Out Of Whack

Huffington Post
Bleak New Figures Show Just How Unaffordable Rent Is In Every U.S. State
"The hourly wage needed to make a modest two-bedroom apartment affordable is $22.10 – more than three times the minimum wage. Given that the average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. currently stands at $16.88, it’s clear the gap between wages and affordability is stark. "

If you click on the article you will find a map indicating the required hourly wage to afford the average two bedroom apartment in each state.

Looking over the statistics I can honestly say I'd be SOL if I was starting out today right after high school. Even if I went to college I would have those extra expenses to deal with I didn't back in 1966. Fortunately I had the good sense to pay off our mortgage early years ago otherwise I'd be in a world of hurt.

If we decided to sell our home and rent it would be a disaster. After deducting the expenses of selling our home in the West End of Allentown even with Social Security income we would be out of money in 10 years at today's rents (not accounting for increases). The only way I could stretch that out is if water, cable and electric were included. We gave up my 28 year old van, eliminated all gift giving and our health insurance. Most definitely things I wouldn't be willing to do.

Currently I budget for taxes, water and homeowners insurance on this home $532 a month. For sure there's no way we could find a apartment for that price. Not to mention we have 2,200 SqFt of living space. Some may say what about repairs? Well for damn sure in no way does it cost us $1,000 a month for those.

While I consider myself lucky to lived in the era I did I can't help but empathize for these younger workers coming up behind me. Several things have changed mostly the fault of government. It allowed corporation after corporation to merge enabling them to gain advantage over workers by leaving fewer choices in the job market. At the same time government legislation failed to pass sensible minimum wage standards and reduced workers rights in a number of ways. Government failed to pass laws preventing companies from hiring "at-will" employees without restriction. Passed several laws in states crippling unions by allowing so-called "open shops". So too allowing companies to tie workers hands by forcing their complaints be settled by company appointed arbitrators.

I know there's a lot out there who are dead set against government regulations. But if you think government regulations suck wait till you see what these companies will do once totally free to do whatever they want with their workers. Disgruntled workers won't stand a chance against these huge corporations and their lawyers. Government is the only force big enough to stand in their way.

If younger workers wish to find themselves fortunate as myself they need to do what many of us did. (1) Stick together. Some of our parents in the 40's died and fought for many of the workers' rights I benefited from.

(2) Don't just yell and complain to leaders once they're elected. Get out and force candidates to commit themselves to workers. THEN GO OUT AND VOTE FOR THEM!

(3) Develop an understanding no employer is hiring someone as a favor. They need workers as much as workers need them. Somehow people have forgotten this.

(4) Add value to yourself by choosing an education which is in demand. It doesn't matter whether it's blue collar or white. Employers need another degree in journalism, art, accounting or business like a hole in the head. In today's market there's no room for those running with the herd

(5) If you're fortunate to land a well paying job plan wisely. You don't need a $1 million home when a lesser one will do. Pay it off early. Unless you own a restaurant you don't need to be in one nearly every day. Chances are your home came equipped with a kitchen. Use it. Don't need a $40,000 car either. A $15,000 one will move your ass around just as well.

(6) Most importantly don't think for a minute government or businesses have your best interests at heart. Act accordingly.

Published on Jun 12, 2018

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