Don’t these people ever think?

Thanks to decades of trickle-up economics, nearly half of American workers don’t earn enough to afford a one-bedroom rental, let alone buy a house.

There are some 130 million workers in he US. So the country has 65 million homeless?

Well, no, clearly not.

The actual number:

Rents in the US continued to increase through the pandemic, and a worker now needs to earn about $20.40 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom rental. The median wage in the US is about $21 an hour.

That is, the average single and only worker in a household would find it difficult to rent a one bedroomed apartment for 30% or less of his or her income. That’s before any help or aid that comes through government or the tax system of course. Like, you know, Section 8 rent subsidies, or tax credits, or the EITC, or food stamps or whatever.

Or, you know, a lie in pursuit of the piece of political propaganda.

7 thoughts on “Don’t these people ever think?”

  1. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    There’s a lot of people earning less than the median wage you know. Exactly half of them in fact.

    Whatever smug answer there is to my smug answer, you really can’t expect people to be supportive of capitalism if they are excluded from the possibility of accumulating capital. The Greenspan-initiated lost decade-and-a-bit of unquestionably trickle-up interest rate policy has increased that proportion of society to an intolerable level.

  2. Not sure that talking about rent is about accumulating capital.

    I’m also not sure that talking about purely market incomes tells us anything very much useful about the actual incomes of the poor.

    The particular detail here that has me shouting is their definition of he median wage though. That’s the median of all wages – part time, seasonal and full time etc. Yet whenever someone starts talking about how the minimum wage should be 50%, or 60%, of median wage they use the – higher – full time full year only median wage which is currently more like $29 to 30 an hour. OK, maybe that’s only me that gets enraged at that but there we are.

  3. BiNK: if people won’t support capitalism if it doesn’t allow them to obtain more capital, then should they support Socialism — which also doesn’t allow them to accumulate capital?

    The weakness with “half earn less than the median” is in thinking it is static. My younger daughter is below the median now — but she won’t be forever.

    My wife earns less than the median — but I don’t, so we live quite well. (For one year we were technically able to claim poverty benefits based on income. But we did have half a million quid in the bank.)

    So, in general, most people over their lives do accumulate capital. There’s a small fraction of feckless and useless — but that’s true regardless of your system.

  4. @ Chester Draws
    In the UK we have something called a Pension, which provides an income, or a lump sum which can be drawn upon, to those who are deemed too old to work. So almost all people accumulate capital until they retire/reach pension age (whichever is the later) and then decumulate until they die. The only exceptions are those who start off with large amounts of capital and spend more than their income and those who find a way (quite difficult) to disqualify themselves from a pension

  5. @ Tim, surely you should have filed this complaint under “feminism”.
    The answer to the first sentence is “because their husbands pay the rent” – so why should they work extra hours, if they can pay for their shoes and hairdos from a part-time job? I thought you regarded jobs as a cost not a benefit.
    Obviously a problem if an independent adult (someone not supported by a partner nor living with parents) working full-time does not earn enough to pay the rent, but I beg leave to doubt that rents are $816/week.

  6. Also, especially in cities like New York, it would be helpful to see how many of these people are sharing apartments.

    I, myself, live in a flex room, so a 2-bedroom apartment that was turned into a 3-bedroom. There is no way I could afford a 1-bedroom (of this quality) in Manhattan, but with roommates it’s completely manageable.

    Anytime I see the phrase “X amount of people can’t even afford Y,” I take it with a huge grain of salt.

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