TrueScotsman

New Study: 43% of American Households Cannot Afford Basics like Rent and Food

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http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/17/news/economy/us-middle-class-basics-study/index.html

 

While Trump and others celebrate the alleged booming economy, with the unemployment rate (by one measurement) at 4%.  Tens of millions of American households are struggling to get by.  Most of the jobs created are in fact not well paying jobs, and while those who are a part of the corporate growth we have seen, the reality is income and wealth inequality are only getting worse. 

 

82% of the wealth created in 2017 went to the 1%.  

 

When is the alleged trickle down of wealth from the rich to the poor finally going to take place?  Wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, and consumer credit has only caused wealth to go up to the top.  

 

This kind of inequality cannot last without significant problems, and I suspect it is only a matter of time before the pitch forks really come out.

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I don't believe it. That sounds like left wing extremist BS. Almost one in two housholds can't afford the basics? No way. 

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Faux stats.  If you can get a job or two part-time jobs, and watch your pennies, you can make it.  I know of a few millenials who don't have a college degree and can make it.  It isn't easy, but doable.  

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I quadrupled my pay between the late 80s and 2010. Your mileage may vary. 

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Wait!  43% of households can’t afford rent?  They can’t afford food?  How is this possible?

 

Well, like a statement from a politician (“There is no sexual relationship”), this headline has to be carefully parsed.  It doesn’t say they can’t afford rent or food;  it says they can’t afford “basics LIKE rent and food”.  

 

And what does that mean?  When you dig down, all the way to the United Way website, it means that 43% of households have income below a certain threshold.  This threshold is calculated as what is necessary to afford a list of ‘necessities’ which include ALL of the following:

- Housing

- Child Care

- Food

- Transportation

- Health Care

- Technology (aka smartphone)

- Taxes

- and an additional 10% “to cover cost    overruns”

 

So, if you make enough to cover everything  EXCEPT a smartphone, you fall below the threshold and are therefore counted among those who “cannot afford basics like rent and food”.  See what they did there?

 

And even the United Way ALICE website itself states that “95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind, and 77% own a smart phone”.  So a lot of people must be choosing smart phones over other necessities. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Geezer said:

I don't believe it. That sounds like left wing extremist BS. Almost one in two housholds can't afford the basics? No way. 

This equates to "I dont want to believe this and I want to use labels instead of actually looking into the issue, therefore it can't be true."

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If you are making that little, here's a hint, YOU DON'T PAY THAT MANY TAXES.  If you fall to a certain level below the median income, you get tax credits, hint...more than your normal tax refund.  

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15 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Wait!  43% of households can’t afford rent?  They can’t afford food?  How is this possible?

 

Well, like a statement from a politician (“There is no sexual relationship”), this headline has to be carefully parsed.  It doesn’t say they can’t afford rent or food;  it says they can’t afford “basics LIKE rent and food”.  

 

And what does that mean?  When you dig down, all the way to the United Way website, it means that 43% of households have income below a certain threshold.  This threshold is calculated as what is necessary to afford a list of ‘necessities’ which include ALL of the following:

- Housing

- Child Care

- Food

- Transportation

- Health Care

- Technology (aka smartphone)

- Taxes

- and an additional 10% “to cover cost    overruns”

 

So, if you make enough to cover everything  EXCEPT a smartphone, you fall below the threshold and are therefore counted among those who “cannot afford basics like rent and food”.  See what they did there?

 

And even the United Way ALICE website itself states that “95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind, and 77% own a smart phone”.  So a lot of people must be choosing smart phones over other necessities. 

 

 

Many Smart Phones now are super cheap, so please, this GOP argument is old and tired.  People only are able to afford those basics because they actively are subsidized by the government.  ALICE means: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. 

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14 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

This equates to "I dont want to believe this and I want to use labels instead of actually looking into the issue, therefore it can't be true."

So many people who just won't believe actual data, as if they can just look into tens of millions of households themselves and just know this this intuitively.  Americans are programmed to be dismissive of the poor.

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31 minutes ago, midniterider said:

I quadrupled my pay between the late 80s and 2010. Your mileage may vary. 

Good for you, for the majority of households this was not the case.  Should we run the country according to how you perform individually, or does the level of inequality in this country cause you any concern?

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1 minute ago, TrueScotsman said:

So many people who just won't believe actual data, as if they can just look into tens of millions of households themselves and just know this this intuitively.  Americans are programmed to be dismissive of the poor.

I agree with this, the being programmed part. There is such a stigma associated with being on welfare. Few people pause to consider why some might be on welfare, there is an automatic assumption that people are just lazy.

Those with jobs in the service sector often find themselves in situations where they work part-time, and they don't get any benefits, and a huge chunk of their income can go into things like health care as a result. I'm betting health care is much more of a factor here than owning some cheap version of a smart phone.

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2 hours ago, Geezer said:

I don't believe it. That sounds like left wing extremist BS. Almost one in two housholds can't afford the basics? No way. 

They can't afford it on their own, and are therefore subsidized by the federal government through various local and federal programs.  This is not extremist left wing BS, this is the reality in America and it has been like this for sometime.  Wake up!

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10 minutes ago, TrueScotsman said:

Many Smart Phones now are super cheap, so please, this GOP argument is old and tired.  People only are able to afford those basics because they actively are subsidized by the government.  ALICE means: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. 

 

What argument are you referring to?  Which statement of mine was incorrect?  

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1 minute ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

I agree with this, the being programmed part. There is such a stigma associated with being on welfare. Few people pause to consider why some might be on welfare, there is an automatic assumption that people are just lazy.

Those with jobs in the service sector often find themselves in situations where they work part-time, and they don't get any benefits, and a huge chunk of their income can go into things like health care as a result. I'm betting health care is much more of a factor here than owning some cheap version of a smart phone.

People in certain communities can just go about their existence, seemingly clueless that some in their cities may be struggling.  There is a long untold history of class in America that is subconsciously written into our culture that hideously perpetuates to the present and not only causes people to go through their life ignorant of this inequality, but dismissive of it and blames the individuals wholly for it, if it is acknowledged.  

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Just now, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

What argument are you referring to?  Which statement of mine was incorrect?  

Your argument that they should simply forego smart phones and solve their problems.  Some Smart Phones go for super super cheap, especially when you look at markets like Craiglist, where you can own older models for almost nothing.  Your statement was literally given by a GOP congressman dismissing poverty in this nation, and also fails to understand how consumerism has changed in the last decade.  Capitalists WANT everyone, regardless of income to own a smartphone, that way we can atomized advertising, and monetize their free time.

 

The dismissivenss of the plight of some of your fellow countrymen in this thread makes me absolutely sick.

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7 minutes ago, TrueScotsman said:

Your argument that they should simply forego smart phones and solve their problems.  Some Smart Phones go for super super cheap, especially when you look at markets like Craiglist, where you can own older models for almost nothing.  Your statement was literally given by a GOP congressman dismissing poverty in this nation, and also fails to understand how consumerism has changed in the last decade.  Capitalists WANT everyone, regardless of income to own a smartphone, that way we can atomized advertising, and monetize their free time.

 

The dismissivenss of the plight of some of your fellow countrymen in this thread makes me absolutely sick.

 

Where did I say they should forego smart phones?  Quote, please. 

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4 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

Where did I say they should forego smart phones?  Quote, please. 

You said that these households are choosing smartphones over necessities, that is false and assumes they should forego such.

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10 minutes ago, TrueScotsman said:

You said that these households are choosing smartphones over necessities, that is false and assumes they should forego such.

 

You assume incorrectly.  

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2 hours ago, Burnedout said:

Faux stats.  If you can get a job or two part-time jobs, and watch your pennies, you can make it.  I know of a few millenials who don't have a college degree and can make it.  It isn't easy, but doable.  

 

I agree that the stats in the OP don't sound right and are suspect, but appeal to survivor's bias isn't really a valid argument either.

 

It's no different from a Lotto Jackpot winner saying that the path to success is to buy lottery tickets every week using their own jackpot winnings as proof that it works.

 

We're gonna need to see some more evidence of that claim than a single study. I don't trust the United Way much to be honest. They're pretty underhanded as an organization and will strong arm donations whenever they can.

 

Just because some people do make it, doesn't mean everyone else can make it. Even if they are doing the exact same things to succeed that doesn't mean that there isn't a greater failure rate than success rate.

 

I'd also question exactly what "Make it" means, that's pretty nebulous, and these "people who are making it" you speak of could easily be supporting their lifestyle with credit debt, or just be lucky enough to land a good paying job against the odds.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

You assume incorrectly.  

Okay whatever, then your comments were pointless and added nothing.

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6 minutes ago, ContraBardus said:

 

I agree that the stats in the OP don't sound right and are suspect, but appeal to survivor's bias isn't really a valid argument either.

 

It's no different from a Lotto Jackpot winner saying that the path to success is to buy lottery tickets every week using their own jackpot winnings as proof that it works.

 

We're gonna need to see some more evidence of that claim than a single study. I don't trust the United Way much to be honest. They're pretty underhanded as an organization and will strong arm donations whenever they can.

 

Just because some people do make it, doesn't mean everyone else can make it. Even if they are doing the exact same things to succeed that doesn't mean that there isn't a greater failure rate than success rate.

 

I'd also question exactly what "Make it" means, that's pretty nebulous, and these "people who are making it" you speak of could easily be supporting their lifestyle with credit debt, or just be lucky enough to land a good paying job against the odds.

 

 

How does it sound suspect?  Based on what?  

 

The figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE -- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This group makes less than what's needed "to survive in the modern economy."

 

With 66% of the jobs in America paying under $20/hr how does it figure that this is not the case?  Not all people who are struggling economically are living in poverty, that is only a third of the total figure involved in this study, and the only reason why they get by is due to government subsidy.

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11 minutes ago, ContraBardus said:

 

I agree that the stats in the OP don't sound right and are suspect, but appeal to survivor's bias isn't really a valid argument either.

 

It's no different from a Lotto Jackpot winner saying that the path to success is to buy lottery tickets every week using their own jackpot winnings as proof that it works.

 

We're gonna need to see some more evidence of that claim than a single study. I don't trust the United Way much to be honest. They're pretty underhanded as an organization and will strong arm donations whenever they can.

 

Just because some people do make it, doesn't mean everyone else can make it. Even if they are doing the exact same things to succeed that doesn't mean that there isn't a greater failure rate than success rate.

 

I'd also question exactly what "Make it" means, that's pretty nebulous, and these "people who are making it" you speak of could easily be supporting their lifestyle with credit debt, or just be lucky enough to land a good paying job against the odds.

 

 

 

My point is that if those folks can scrape by, as most young couples who are of no less than average intelligence, since the end of WW2, and I mean eat, keep a roof over their head, keep themselves clothed, etc., and transportation, then anybody of average intelligence and nothing out of the norm hindering them. 

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1 hour ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Wait!  43% of households can’t afford rent?  They can’t afford food?  How is this possible?

 

Well, like a statement from a politician (“There is no sexual relationship”), this headline has to be carefully parsed.  It doesn’t say they can’t afford rent or food;  it says they can’t afford “basics LIKE rent and food”.  

 

And what does that mean?  When you dig down, all the way to the United Way website, it means that 43% of households have income below a certain threshold.  This threshold is calculated as what is necessary to afford a list of ‘necessities’ which include ALL of the following:

- Housing

- Child Care

- Food

- Transportation

- Health Care

- Technology (aka smartphone)

- Taxes

- and an additional 10% “to cover cost    overruns”

 

So, if you make enough to cover everything  EXCEPT a smartphone, you fall below the threshold and are therefore counted among those who “cannot afford basics like rent and food”.  See what they did there?

 

And even the United Way ALICE website itself states that “95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind, and 77% own a smart phone”.  So a lot of people must be choosing smart phones over other necessities. 

 

 

 

 

I would argue that a smartphone is a necessity for many today.

It's required for many jobs to have one, including a lot of low wage jobs. Particularly since texting and e-mail are often the preferred form of communication and it is assumed that employees are reachable anywhere and at any time these days.

This isn't 1980 anymore. You actually do need a smart phone to integrate into society and the workforce in many cases.

Also, it's worth pointing out that cheap smartphones are actually less expensive than flip phone style phones. Old style cell phones are considered something of a novelty now and hipsters have made them expensive.

What you don't need is the latest Iphone or to upgrade every year. A cheap throwaway android is really all you need if you're on a budget and it can last you several years if you take care of it. You don't need mobile games or really the ability to run most apps for a good enough phone for work purposes. In many cases you don't even need a data plan, just the basic service as that usually covers texts and e-mail.

It really comes down to your service plan more than the phone itself regarding how expensive your phone actually is. Smart phones can get expensive, but also come in dirt cheap and good enough flavors.

 

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9 minutes ago, Burnedout said:

 

My point is that if those folks can scrape by, as most young couples who are of no less than average intelligence, since the end of WW2, and I mean eat, keep a roof over their head, keep themselves clothed, etc., and transportation, then anybody of average intelligence and nothing out of the norm hindering them. 

 

Again, they might be managing now, but that doesn't mean that they aren't in up to their eyeballs in credit debt to maintain that.

 

You'd be surprised how many of those people who are "making it" have no savings and are one major unexpected expense away from the entire house of cards falling down around them.

 

That isn't saying that they definitely are in such a situation, but you wouldn't really have any way of knowing if they were. It's not something people announce to the world and tend to keep close to their chest if possible.

 

Again, I'm not arguing that the OP statement is correct, as I also find it suspect, just that your anecdote really isn't a very good counter argument due to it being pretty much entirely survivors bias and assumption.

 

Unless you're these people's personal accountant, you don't know what those people's finances are like. They aren't going to come out and tell you about it if they are struggling. Most people will do their best to put on the outward appearance that they are stable and fine even if they aren't, especially if they have children living at home still. To some, this can mean taking on additional debt they can't really afford to keep up appearances.

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1 minute ago, ContraBardus said:

 

Again, they might be managing now, but that doesn't mean that they aren't in up to their eyeballs in credit debt to maintain that.

 

You'd be surprised how many of those people who are "making it" have no savings and are one major unexpected expense away from the entire house of cards falling down around them.

 

That isn't saying that they are in such a situation, but you wouldn't really have any way of knowing that if they were.

 

Again, I'm not arguing that the OP statement is correct, as I also find it suspect, just that your anecdote really isn't a very good counter argument due to it being pretty much entirely survivors bias and assumption.

 

Unless you're these people's personal accountant, you don't know what those people's finances are like. They aren't going to come out and tell you about it if they are struggling. Most people will do their best to put on the outward appearance that they are stable and fine even if they aren't, especially if they have children living at home still. To some, this can mean taking on additional debt they can't really afford to keep up appearances.

So what evidence do you have to suggest the OP is suspect?

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