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LOL, artists being able to afford to live in the East Village
LOL, artists being able to afford to live in the East Village

Oh hey! You know how we’ve been fighting for quite a while to get the minimum wage up to $15 an hour? And all the Republicans have been opposed to that, and just WEEPING for how horrible that would be for the poor job creators? Well, it turns out that even that may not even be enough to cover rent these days! Fun!

According to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in order to afford a one bedroom apartment at the average fair market rate, without going over 30 percent of one’s income, a person would have to be making about $16.35 an hour. A single parent with a child (29% of all minimum wage workers) who needs a two bedroom would need to earn $20.30 an hour.

Here is a charming graphic showing how many hours a person working at the current minimum wage would need to work in order to afford an average one-bedroom apartment in each state in the US of America!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 1.04.28 PM

Call me crazy, but it seems as though anyone who works 40 hours a week ought to be able to live somewhere! Is that so much to ask? No one should actually have to work 525,600 minutes a year in order to pay the rent. And guess what? Even if you did, an apartment that cost 30 percent of your income would run you about $1587 a month, which is actually a lot less than many two-bedrooms cost!

Rent is definitely skyrocketing, there’s no question about that. It’s getting positively ridiculous. When I first moved to Chicago about 12 years ago, I had a two-bedroom, no roommate, in Wicker Park for $650 a month. Sure! It was a garden apartment and my landlord kept screwing with my heat and my water pressure, but STILL. The average rent in that area now, for a one bedroom, is $1800. In 12 years, the rent has tripled, and wages have most certainly not.

Coincidentally, I’m actually currently looking at apartments right now, and there is literally no way anyone making $15 an hour– which comes out to $31,200 a year — could possibly afford to live almost anywhere in this city without a roommate. If you’re only supposed to spend 30 percent of your income on rent, that comes out to $780 a month. You could MAYBE get a studio for that, but it would likely be in an area without a lot of public transportation. Which is a pretty necessary thing to have if you don’t have a car. Unfortunately, most of the areas in our city that are especially close to public transportation are getting prohibitively expensive, because rich people don’t want to drive either.

And yeah, you could say “Wanna pay lower rent? Don’t live in a city!” But living in a city also means saving money on transportation, so it evens out in a lot of ways. Besides, there is no way a city could even function without minimum wage workers. It wouldn’t even be a city anymore, because there would be pretty much no place to go. Without minimum and lower wage workers, you couldn’t have grocery stores, or practically any stores for that matter, you wouldn’t have fast food restaurants, or gas stations or basically anything a society needs to exist.

Also, not to be all “Oh, the poor starving artists!” about stuff — but when only the rich can even afford to have enough spare time to be an artist, we end up with Taylor Swift. And that is a terrifying prospect. I mean, have you noticed that the vast majority of popular singers these days were all ex-Disney type people? That’s because everyone else is too busy just trying to make enough money to pay the damn rent! They don’t even have time to sing about paying the rent, that is how busy they are, working.

And for those who say “Oh, but minimum wage jobs are supposed to be for high schoolers!” I feel like they might be a little peeved if none of those places opened up before 3 p.m.

The current minimum wage in my city will rise to $10.50 an hour on July 1, which comes out to $21,840, meaning you’d need to pay around $546 a month! Definitely not a thing. The national minimum wage is $7.25, or $15,080 a year, meaning you could afford $377, and good luck with finding anything for that little pretty much anywhere in the whole country. And imagine if you have a kid, and you need a two bedroom! You can’t even pull that off in West Virginia, the poorest state in the nation. In order to get a two-bedroom there, you’d need to be making at least $13.17 an hour.

housing costs

If you were to eliminate every job that currently pays a wage it is impossible to live off of, we would all be naked and starving. Including all the precious and very delicate “job creators.” That is a fact. So I think it is probably fair to say that minimum wage workers do enough for our society that they ought to not be naked and starving either. And they should be able to pay their rent!

[National Low Income Housing Coalition]

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  • I’m just going to leave this here…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg5SwyTvAHw

  • limberrat

    Well I am sure Republicans will have a serious change of heart and thoughtfully consider raising minimum wage now…

    • Blank Ron

      You’re right, they will. CEO wages are scandalously low. Raise their minimum wage to $15 a second!

      • Querolous

        Who can get by on a mere $112 Million per year?

      • Hillary charges $70/second. Not an exaggeration.

  • Spotts1701

    We’re going through a rental crisis here – rents all over the area are jumping by 20-40% because demand is skyrocketing thanks to a couple large businesses coming in. What makes it infuriating is that it’s squeezing out not only the minimum-wage workers, but also a lot of people who make well above $15/hour. And thanks to a quirk in the law, new residential property construction does not have to kick money over for things like roads or schools for the people who are going to live in all these new apartments and houses, putting added strain on already stressed budgets.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      A quirk in the law? No, it’s parasite realtors jiggering the legal system to benefit them.

      • Berkeleybear94

        Typically not the realtors as much as the developers (they used to get nailed for offsets like crazy, but first the Supreme Court said you couldn’t get non-directly related offsets (like say land for a park or a school in a blighted neighborhood in return for putting up 30 shiny single family dwellings in a cornfield) and then the lobbyists went to town on state legislatures all over the country on limiting what can be assessed on new developments.

  • Skwerl King

    Without minimum and lower wage workers, you couldn’t have grocery stores, or practically any stores for that matter, you wouldn’t have fast food restaurants, or gas stations or basically anything a society needs to exist.

    This is why $18/hour in pretty much minimum wage here.

  • Oneofthebobs

    People who don’t have any money are not good customers. If you are pro business, you should always want higher wages.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Adam Smith, that fucking communist, figured this out over two centuries ago.

    • SnarkTank

      This only matters if A) you have tangible goods produced in the US to sell, and 2) you aren’t shipping the lot overseas to sell in larger markets where they don’t have those pesky safety and environmental regulations. Otherwise, your services can go to the highest bidder, and importing shitty Chinese and Malaysian child-labor goods to sell at Wal-Mart is a better model.

      • keenanjay

        Our economic model crumbles, however, if people don’t have enough money to buy even low priced crap at Wal-Mart.

        • Oneofthebobs

          Wal-Mart probably wouldn’t make it without government assistance. A lot of their own employees rely on the rest of us to suppliment their low wages.

  • Lance Thrustwell

    I’m putting up an otherwise-would-be-homeless kid in my basement right now, for $300 a month. He has a job, but it only pays about 9 bucks an hour. This shit is real.

  • Villago Delenda Est

    The solution, of course, is to just pick up your entire life and move to a lower rents state. The market is telling you something!

    Yeah, like that will happen. Fucking tactics again, not logistics.

    /headdesk slam

    • BJW

      I live in one of those areas. And it’s largely white, super conservative Christian and GOP. Plus an hour from the good museums and shows and whatnot. So we do own a house, paid off, due to how little it cost. But you have to put up with the aforementioned shit.

  • Along with the discussion about raising the minimum wage, I never hear any candidates talking about creating GOOD jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Many of the people taking minimum wage jobs these days are doing so only because they can’t find anything else. How about creating some more higher-wage jobs? I support raising the minimum wage, but I’d love to hear candidates talking about this.

    • JMP

      Instead, we’ve got corporations doing everything they can to replace workers with either machines or overseas laborers in third-world countries who work in conditions that are only slightly removed from slavery. And this is progress! Just look at how Uber is proudly discussing their attempts to develop driverless cars; so after they drive all the legitimate taxis out of business so, they’ll just dump the “contractors” who are of course not employees because that way they’re easier to exploit.

    • No one seems to remember that Adam Smith’s idea of a healthy capitalist economy was one with good division of labor, where people could have a reasonable shot at making a living from pursuing their talents and interests, from glassmaking to designing bridges to studying Byzantine art.

      Now it’s increasingly “Oh you managed to get a part-time retail job and a freelance online gig with a Silicon Valley start-up and between them you can cover your rent and student loans, if just barely? The system works perfectly!”

    • Sanders talks about it all the time

  • SnarkOff

    Hey, if you can’t afford to rent a crappy studio on $15 an hour, then go get a job with a base pay of $100,000 a year or so. Lazy takers.

    • calliecallie

      Or just get a loan from your parents and start your own business.

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Or cash in some of your wedding gift stocks.

        • Vegan and Tiara

          Mittens, is that you? What have you been doing with yourself since America told you to go fuck yourself?

    • Toomush_Infer

      Oh, just put your dog on the roof of your car and get your ass down to Mexico….

  • Villago Delenda Est

    I remember when people in Vale were all upset that the people who actually do the work there couldn’t afford to live there on what they were paid.

    Distressed those who could afford to live there no end. They couldn’t see a solution to the problem. Because they can’t see anything having to do with an income inquality issue.

    • Painter of Goats

      My daughter was a worker bee there. She had to share a townhouse with 2 other families and her part of the rent was $800. This was almost 10 years ago.

  • SessileRaptor

    One of my sci-fi dreams involves gates or other easy and unblockable transport to alternate earths where humans never developed. (like the novel The Long Earth) Everyone who makes shit wages can just up and leave and settle one of an infinite number of new earths and all the fucking “job creators” get to deal with the fact that their entire business model is unworkable without a captive labor pool.

    I know humans would fuck it up, but I can still dream.

    • Anarchy Pony

      It makes me sad that Terra Nova got cancelled. More sci-fi wild west frontier with dinosaurs please!

    • Blank Ron

      I think they call that ‘the reverse Galt.’

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    The small town where I live has apartments that would be affordable on $15/hour minimum wage, but the wage here isn’t going to $15/hour. It’s going to somewhere south of $10/hour – in 2018. By the time we get to $15/hour you’ll need to make $30/hour to afford rent. But look! The governor has a plan to dismantle Kynect and throw all the poors off Medicaid, so one thing we’ll never be short of is people who need to work 200 hours a week to live.

  • Toomush_Infer

    In northern Michigan right now, there’s a kind of wierd split between the cost of renting and the cost of buying a house. We looked at a house in town for the grandnephew, a little two bedroom, nice little lot, quiet, a block off main street – $31 grand. Kids trying to live here after high school can’t find rent in a shitbox for less than $650/month…

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      Same thing here. Part of it is supply and demand of course, but a large chunk of it is “fuck the poorz” same as it ever was.

      • Toomush_Infer

        I think a lot of the houses got bought after 2008 by landlords hoping to make a mint on renters. Some of that rental property is a headache, but still isn’t worth anything…

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          I full expect to see a return to “as is” rentals, in a big upswing. That is the one where when shit breaks, the renter has to deal with it. I know a few people now who have gotten nailed with the sweet deal of 650 rent! and a week later the water heater blows or the roof falls in.
          Read your leases people, for real. READ them. Advice: Run from any ‘deal’ that includes the words “As is”

          • theblackdog

            Don’t just run from leases, run from any house listing that has the words as-is. When I was house hunting in 2013 there were quite a few listings for houses in “as-is” condition. As my realtor put it, there would be no inspection or if there was, they wouldn’t pay for any problems turned up. Any of those listings went in the reject pile.

          • ryp

            Nearly every house in Los Angeles is sold as “as-is”. One can still negotiate for repairs after inspection, but it’s basically just legal cover for surprises down the road after the house is sold.

  • anwisok

    “525,600 minutes a year” Cute.

    • Come here a minute

      AOTK

  • FauxAntocles

    That’s why we always sleep 12 to a room.

    • Painter of Goats

      Whole new meaning to “Are you a top or bottom?”.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …the GOP seems to hate hardworking poor people so much. But if they all decided to stay home because they were “sick” they would have a Turd-Gasm because 90% of THEIR world would shut down

    • Vecciojohn LLC

      Ever see Douglas Turner Ward’s Day of Absence?

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    When I was in grad school in the mid-to-late 80’s, I had a very nice 2-bedroom apartment overlooking the Ohio River that was $400/month. Of course, I was making $1000 for a ten-week trimester, which meant that if I’d been trying to live only on my salary I could have afforded the apartment for all but two weeks a quarter, so long as I gave up food, drink, transportation, and all those other pesky so-called “necessities.”

  • Markuserektus
  • Toomush_Infer

    Along with low income workers, old folks who never quite made it to owning their own homes have watched their savings slowly become worthless – they saved so they could live out their years comfortably on $15,000 year….

  • x111e7thst

    In 1979 Apt 5B of 111 East 7th St cost $165/month. The building had an elevator. The bathtub was not in the kitchen. Plus you got to kick passed out junkies down the stairs for aerobic exercise.

  • Anarchy Pony

    “basically anything a society needs to exist.”
    A certain kind of society.

  • Mr. Lambert

    President Trump should give every American the same head start he was granted by his father. That’ll solve everything!

    • cynmac

      Watch lids react to Donald Trump and the looks on their faces!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0ZTKaMcqCM

      • Mr. Lambert

        This is amazing. I’m 3 minutes in and I’m heading right back to it, but I just had to thank you first.

      • Mr. Lambert

        Well that was fun! Thanks again.

      • willi0000000

        one young lady had it nailed:

        “He speaks his mind but his mind isn’t right.”

        [ for that, young lady, you get an “amen” from an atheist! ]

  • Jennifer R

    My previous place wanted to raise my lease (850 square feet) from 2505 (I lived with a Google engineer) to 2908. Now that the unit is empty they are asking 3500 for it for a new tenant. Moving to Sacramento netted me and my other roommate 610 square feet at 925. Fuck this noise.

  • JMP

    We bought a condo after our apartment complex kept jacking the rent up and up by several hundred every year, and it’s amazing that mortgage and HOA payments are lower than rent was. But that was only possible because MT got an inheritance from her grandfather – there’s no way we could have made the down payment otherwise. And our old place started jacking up the rent after it was bought by a company that bought up almost all the apartments in our old town, and in fact now owns most of them throughout the Bay Area; so without competition they can just keep raising it up and up. Fuck landlord conglomerates.

    • Yeah, I just bought a house last year. My mortgage payments + my property taxes are about what I was paying in rent (overall, my expenses are higher, but I was in a 1 bedroom apartment, and now I’m in a 4 bedroom house.)

      I, too, could never have afforded the down-payment without familial help.

  • Marla

    Not surprising. The rent is beyond absurd in Colorado.

  • Vecciojohn LLC

    There are a few good spots left under some bridges and overpasses in the greater pdx metro area. I don’t see the problem.

    • keenanjay

      How do you keep the refrigerator boxes dry in that weather?

      • Anarchy Pony

        Plastic grocery bags.

        • Toomush_Infer

          Thanks!…

        • WomanComingHome

          Which are actually banned in Portland. Synchronicity, perhaps?

          • Anarchy Pony

            Well camp dry then.

    • Toomush_Infer

      Do they have a view?…

      • keenanjay

        Yes, but most people keep their blankets and tarps over their heads to keep from making eye contact with their neighbors.

  • Odd Jørgensen

    I live as central as you can get in my smaller town, it`s basically just a stroll through the garden and across the road to the supermarket, the bank or city hall, and I pay 5100 NKR pr month, divvy by 8 and change to get the $ amount. 70 m2 (or ca 650F2)

    • Toomush_Infer

      Stop that.

    • Belasaurius

      I was told there would be no math in these comments, which are not allowed. Also, what country is this in?

      • Lily412

        I was told there would be no comments on this math, which is not allowed.

    • pstockholm

      Lekkert.

    • keenanjay

      Sweet deal, except for the part about a burger and a beer setting you back about $35 in Norway.

      • Odd Jørgensen

        Nonsense, a burger is 10-12$ and a beer 8-9$

        • keenanjay

          Okay. I was adding a tip, though I was not required.

          • Odd Jørgensen

            Tip? Like, how to make better burgers?

          • keenanjay

            Well, it was Oslo and a touristy joint, so coulda been.

        • keenanjay

          You’re right though. I misremembered the amount. But I thought it was really expensive and isn’t Oslo right up there with Tokyo as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

          • Odd Jørgensen

            Oslo is pricey as fuck, I would never live there. Easily double and triple what you need to pay rent in other places.

          • pstockholm

            Strangely, I’ve found hotels to be cheap there, anyway the one I’ve been using lately. Cheaper than Stockholm, although restaurants are a lot more expensive. Don’t get me started on the congestion fees and parking rates.

          • Odd Jørgensen

            Bacon and booze is almost half the price in Sweden of what it is here, so no wonder restaurants there are cheaper. They tax the fuck out of booze here, and smokes too. there`s even a tax on the taxes on cigarettes.

    • anwisok

      So, around $625. OK. How does that compare to the wages for an entry-level job in your neck of the woods?

      • Odd Jørgensen

        Not sure, but unskilled labor at the meatpacking plant here is ca $35 pr hr I think. On day 1.

        • anwisok

          What are the entry requirements for a work visa?

          • Odd Jørgensen

            No idea.
            Just did a quick check, and cleaning jobs which is mostly done by people from 3rd world countries has a min. wage of 170 NKR, or $22.

          • Blank Ron

            Clearly a socialist hellhole!

    • uptil I saw the bank draft four $8760… , I be certain …that…my sister woz actually bringing in money part time from there labtop. . there neighbour had bean doing this 4 only about eighteen months and resently cleard the depts on there home and bourt a top of the range Chrysler ….

      Clik This Link inYour Browser….

      ► ► ► ► http://www.dontbanhammermedok.com

    • bubbuhh

      I live in the Coffee Aisle of my local supermarket. It’s a great spot right beside the premium brands and well away from the grinder. My neighbors on the shelf below me and work the late night shift so it’s nice and quiet when I to try to sleep. I’m hoping to save enough in the next couple of years to move into the furniture store in the mall’s out ring. A real bed will be soooooo sweet.

  • Belasaurius

    Austin, TX is out of control. UT researchers released a report today that shows that black residents are being priced out of historically black neighborhoods.

    • cynmac

      That’s already happened in Atlanta and the outlying suburbs don’t want the “urbans”. In my town, the olds are allowed to waive their taxes so they can stay in their homes, but that means that the families have to sell the home/land to pay the deferred taxes upon death. We have a lot of “infill” development happening. Good news for me that my condo is paid off and the property value keeps rising.

    • Vecciojohn LLC

      Same thing in Portland.

    • Fartknocker

      I’m going to retire in about 8 years in Austin. Now I am one of those gubermint employees with a pension and I’m working on paying off Casa De Fartknocker in a middle class South Austin neighborhood. Problem is property values are going up with all my new neighbors, which increases the taxes. When I moved into the Casa my taxes were $700/year. This year its $3400/year. I’ve estimated when I hit 63, the taxes will be hovering at about $4300/year.

      Funny thing is, it’s the school taxes that fuck me without any lube in the ass because of Texas horrible school financing system. I am penalized for being from Austin so I can buy the Pig Snot ISD in Smith County a new school bus because they are too poor. An income tax could solve that but our legislature is too busy dealing with Jesus, guns and Jade Helm to worry about such matters. Plus, they hate us in Austin. Mrs. Fartknocker makes a wonderful beenie-weenie casserole and I have a freezer filled with deer meat so we’ll be OK. I worry about younger folks and I hate the gentrification of East and Southeast Austin. Heritage families who have lived here for 3-4 generations are being taxed out of town.

      • CJTX

        Don’t suppose you’re a vet, disabled vet, or disabled civilian? My mom gets a good break on her property taxes.

        You should betgetting a homestead exemption and you’ll get another exemption at age 65…I’m sure you know all this, but just in case you didn’t and it might save you a few bucks.

    • CJTX

      I’m not surprised, when I first got there in 1996, central was university students and downtown workers and capital workser, north was white, south of the river was hispanic, east of i-95 was black. In about 2000 I moved back and had to get an apartment waayyyy out in NW austin. I was geniuinely shocked when I came back in 2011 and 6th street had branched east of I-95.

  • say wha

    Perhaps more tax cuts for the wealthy would help this situation.

    • Vecciojohn LLC

      I think most economists agree that a tax cut for people who make about as much as I do is the key to this whole problem. The more $ I have, the more burgers and fries I’ll buy and the easier it will be for the fast food joints to raise their workers’ wages. Same thing for liquor store employees and weed store clerks. I’ll trickle down on all of them. Problem solved.

      • cynmac

        Cars and flat screens and clothes and shit too. This TED talk is banned from their channel. Want more fun, search “banned TED talk” in youtube.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKCvf8E7V1g

        • Vecciojohn LLC

          Is this a trick? You have to tell me if this is a trick.
          Seriously, why would anyone trying to make a profit employ any more people than absolutely necessary? Or pay any more than they had to?

          • In my small business we have perfected the game:

            Lose a little bit on each item and make it up in volume.

          • cynmac

            Because you get what you pay for and the minimum wage is a bad deal for a lot of people. Compare your shopping experience at Wal-Mart which pays the least to Costco and Target, which pay a living wage. Damn, even McDonald’s in my time pay $9-10 per hour to just get all right people to take the jobs. Think about the savings just from turnover. But for the country, if we want to grow the economy, people have to have money to spend. Especially since we don’t manufacture any longer. Henry Ford paid well, because he wanted his workers to be able to drive his cars. When people make more, they spend more.

          • Vecciojohn LLC

            We don’t want to grow the economy, we want to kill it and eat its most succulent joints, then throw the bones over our shoulders. Let our grandchildren fight the hounds for what few scraps we leave.

            Oh, and have a nice evening.

          • AlasAnAss

            Who’s “we” in that scenario?

        • CJTX

          Wait, things are banned from Ted talks? The hippy, dippy, lovie, everything is great TED talks? I love TED talks…waht gets something banned from a Ted talk? (Sorry about typos, Disqus is being a wiggy bastard today).

          • cynmac

            I don’t know. So I looked it up.
            According to Forbes, this one wasn’t good enough. Forbes also takes the speaker to task for having the nerve to complain about rich people to their faces, at a TED Talk.
            According to High Existence, TPTB deemed it “too political”, but published it after it leaked to youtube – this site also discussed two other TED Talks that were controversial.
            But SNOPES states that the issues was somewhat in the middle. TED promotes one talk a day during the conference and this one was not selected. The speaker was offended. The reason it wasn’t promoted was because it was not seen as even handed (political) and people diagreed with the numbers (slanted/biased).
            http://www.snopes.com/banned-ted-talk-nick-hanauer/
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/05/17/the-real-reason-that-ted-talk-was-censored-its-shoddy-and-dumb/#2a2076b36f44
            http://highexistence.com/teds-controversy-3-threatening-talks-they-tried-to-censor/

          • CJTX

            Ah, thanks. I genuinely do enjoy them and they do tend to be, dare I saw, progressive – both technologically and culturally.

          • cynmac

            Yep. I enjoy them too. What is your favorite one?
            This is mine, the Marshmallow Experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0yhHKWUa0g

          • CJTX

            Oh, oh, man there are some good ones. And you give me a great excuse to avoid work! I kinda just flip around and watch ones when I’m bored – uhhh, there’s one starring a guy named apollo who’s a professional pickpocket (find the related video of him on the Today Show).
            I don’t wanna break disqus (even more), so it’s top result here:
            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+talk+apollo+robbins
            The today show one is the fourth down.

            There’s einstein the parrot, top result here:
            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+talk+parrot

            There’s the female, Muslim, comic with cerebal palsy (I made that sound awful, but she’s cool)…top one here:
            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+talk+maysoon+zayid

            And Dresden Dolls genius Amanda Palmer, first choice here:
            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+talk+amanda+palmer

            Now share yours!

          • cynmac

            Sent you one link above. Will give more after dinner.

          • CJTX

            Sure, eat eat, I wrote how good that marshmellow one was.

          • CJTX

            So I watched the marshmellow, that was cool…but watch those I submitted. And for the record, that dude is why my white ass likes hanging out with Hispanic/Latino folks…that dude is charming and funny (like the bit about the little girl eating the inside of the marshmellow).

          • CJTX

            P.S. Seriously, f#ck forbes man – they (may) have the right conclusion, but they do what they do and TOTALLY screw up the TED guy said (nevermind, I missed a piece there, but still f#ck Forbes). (and I think TED handled it poorly)..I’ll take Snopes over Forbes any day. Thanks again for the links.

        • James Christopher Owen

          I regret I have but one upfist to give…

      • parachihuahua

        One of the few things Henry Ford got right when it came to labor was the idea that his workers should be able to afford to buy what they made. More money paid more workers is more taxes paid by more people, and no need to cut taxes as the “burden” is reduced by being spread around. Less need for food assistance and housing assistance (expenses to tax revenue) because workers can pay for that themselves. And yes, if wages keep up with the cost of living, then the burger is more accessible to all.

        • Blank Ron

          Henry Ford had his faults – okay, a LOT of faults – but he seems to have cared about the people who worked in his factories.
          Many/most of today’s CEOs would think that was dangerously radical.

          • Kavefish

            I once worked for a guy who had bulletproof glass in his office windows and a sealed, drive-in parking garage directly below the office. I kinda doubt he was in the Witness Protection Program.

    • pstockholm

      Probably more important to repeal Obamacare, that’s really dragging down the whole economy.

      • just_jim

        Snark or genuine stupidity? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Jay Vaughn

      GENIUS!!1!

  • Lily412

    $15 dollars an hour doesn’t even add up to the yearly salary to put one above the poverty line. Jesus christ…

  • LeCafeAuLait

    Jeez. Maybe I should rent my house out instead of selling it after all…

    But seriously. This is what always gets me when people blow off wage and housing woes with “move somewhere cheaper, gawd.” First, there are not enough jobs in small town, low cost areas for everyone to just pick up and move out of the city. And if that happened, if people started moving en masse…the expensive cities would crumble into the new low-cost areas…

    • Lily412

      Everything you just said. Ever tried finding a job in a rural town? Have fun with that! Even the minimum wage jobs are hard to come by. And forget about public transportation…non-existent.

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        Living Rural as I do, I can assure you that if you happen to be considered a bedroom community, not only are the jobs and public transit near non existant, but the rents are not /that/ cheap unless you go further out.

  • anwisok

    We were just able to re-negotiate our mortgage down to ~$600.00/month. We won’t live long enough to pay it off, but there’s no way in Hell we could rent a decent place for that.

    • Biff52

      Mine is a little over $900, in CA. No way I could duplicate that with a comparable rental. I was trying to make the case as to how “affordable” it was here to a friend of mine in Syracuse NY, and she told me hers was $450. Deflated the fuck outta my theory, but I’m still doing OK on the equivalent of the proposed new minimum wage!

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        Hubs and I want to move, since we’re growing out of our tiny place. But the trick is, we’re paying 550. We have land, we have parking, we have nice storage shed (and neighbor dog!) all way off a busy street.
        The rents nearest our current are either as small, or only another 10 feet or so, and for what we feel we need, the rent would be about 1100, minimum. Most are more.
        We’re staying a while, in other words XD

        • Biff52

          Cheapest solution I can see for you is to expand the shed and move a kid into it.

  • calliecallie

    I just can’t snark on this. I really sympathize with people who can’t find affordable housing, and I really want Congress and/or State Legislatures to raise the minimum wage to a decent level. But this data as presented seems flawed to me, like the National Low Income Housing Coalition (no agenda there, obvs) had to cherry pick the info to make their case. Note that in the first map, for example, the data is based on the national minimum wage, but MANY states are starred because they already exceed the national minimum wage. AND it doesn’t take into account the wide variety of rental prices, just the “average” which probably includes pricey places with gates and such. And in places like LA or NY, I suspect most people spend more than 30% of their income on housing. (My mom always told me 30-50% was the rule.)

    This is a thing that liberal causes often do. It undermines their efforts, IMHO, and I dislike it. I still want the minimum wage to go to at least $15 per hour. I still want local governments to require a certain percentage of low income housing in their communities. I also want liberals to have enough confidence in what they’re promoting that they don’t feel like they have to manipulate the data to make their case.

    I am old, and it’s been a long time since I made minimum wage. But I have kids, and I know they’re scraping by, so this is obviously a problem. I just wish it was more honestly presented.

    • parachihuahua

      The point is that even the states with higher minimum wages aren’t high enough to provide the ability to pay rent, utilities, food, AND save for a house or emergencies. I’m old too (50) and 30% was when you rented, 50% was when you had a mortgage “in the old days.” Now, the information is honest, here’s the math:

      2080 hours per year (40 hours per week IF the person gets paid time off and is actually offered full-time hours every week) multiplied by the wage $7.25 = $15,080.

      I live in Salt Lake so, I will look at Utah needing 73 hours a week for this exercise, so 33 hours per week overtime for 52 weeks, at 1.5 times minimum – 1,716 hours multiplied by $10.88 is $18,670. Add the base pay and the total annual would be $33,750. Multiply that by .3 ($10,125) and divide by 12 = $844.

      In Salt Lake City, a studio is $750 in the CHEAPEST part of town. Remember most of these workers are not given consistent hours, are not even remotely given paid leave or overtime and are more likely to be earning less than $15,080. In that way, the above is dishonest, because those numbers require a “real” full-time job and those aren’t easy to come by.

      You should sit down with your kids and really have a discussion about their quality of life. They may be struggling more than you know.

      • calliecallie

        Cassie, is that you?

    • katz

      “And in places like LA or NY, I suspect most people spend more than 30% of their income on housing.”

      Right, but that’s the problem. Even if that’s normalized, it’s still an undue burden.

      And you’re misinterpreting the first map. If you go to their website and look at the individual states, you’ll see that the hours needed are indeed based on the state minimum wage, not the federal minimum wage. (But they could have made it clearer on that map.) Eg:

      http://nlihc.org/oor/california

  • lucidamente

    Can’t people just be born to wealthy parents?

    • sw19womble

      Isn’t that how you become a Republican?

      • Blank Ron

        I thought it had something to do with traumatic head injury.

    • TheBidenator

      Go home Mitt, you’re drunk….

  • Beanz&Berryz

    Portland is building apartments again, finally, and the push now is to drop parking requirements for inner-city apartments to shave the couple hundred dollars/month that mandated parking adds to apartment rental. We get some fun discussions about the value and philosophical support for parking lots and/or on-street parking. Does everyone really need a car?

    • Anarchy Pony

      Of course not, but we’re conditioned to want one.

      • sw19womble

        Put a bird on it!

    • Zango LeHoonery

      Hi, I live in Portland, on the N Williams corridor. I agree not everyone needs a car. Nonetheless, the apartment building boom on the street, which is good, need to build up, does need on site parking. Those who have cars can rent one of the spaces in the garage. No car? No need to rent a space.

      Williams went from two lanes of car traffic, one bike line, and parking on both sides of the street, to one bike lane where the buffer zones on the bike lane are a third larger than a car lane, and one car lane, and parking still on both sides of the street —-because not all the apartments have parking on site, so the tenants need street parking.

      The place is gridlock in rush hour. I like a larger bike lane, but we needed both car lanes, too. The answer would have been to remove parking on one side of the one way street, but can’t have that because developers don’t make the same coin.

      All high density housing needs on site parking. Not necessarily one space per unit, but enough for those who want a car to pay extra. I agree, it shouldn’t be included in rent for those without cars.

      • Beanz&Berryz

        I bike commute on Williams sometimes. The two lanes of traffic facilitated north-bound commuters who were trying to avoid traffic on the freeway, to the detriment of the neighborhood, pedestrians, and cyclists. Bike counts and car counts are comparable at commute times, and the two car lanes made the former bike lane untenable, particularly with buses cutting across the bike lane all the time. And many of the small shops along the street rely on the street parking, so I think it was a reasonable choice overall to convert one of the car lanes while preserving the parking.

        The issue with on-street parking, not just for renters but also for houses deeper in the neighborhoods, is whether there is a defensible reason that people should be able to store their private property (cars) on public rights of way, for free. Other than tradition, I think there are good reasons that overnight on-street parking/storage also be paid for. But that’s heresy…

        • Biff52

          Thing is, streets are paid for by taxes on fuel and tires, so the parking is already paid for by those same cars.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Nope. Gas taxes don’t even cover street maintenance, so they also can’t cover needing a street to be 30%-50% wider to have room for storing cars on there for free. Plus, since no one car pays enough in gas taxes to cover it’s share of maintenance, it certainly can’t cover a permanent free patch of street for storage. Even if one were to opt for some required off street parking, why should others get the freebie spots on the street? There’s not a really good reason why on-street storage should be free, particularly when more and more people are wanting to store their cars there for free, too.

          • Biff52

            You are correct, but it didn’t used to be this way. Better fuel economy means more miles driven with less fuel tax collected, added to the No New Taxes drumbeat from a certain party means that less than half of what it costs is actually paid for by the users. reagan ingrained deferred maintenance into their ideology, and it has certainly come back to bite us all in the ass.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Fuel economy, plus also pennies per gallon fuel taxes that were set when fuel cost 1/3 or less than it does now, when a major road maintenance expense is petroleum-based asphalt that costs 3 times or more than it did when those fuel taxes were set…

            Yup. We inherited a first-world road system and we’re turning it into a second-world road system…

        • WomanComingHome

          Hello Beanz and Zango. I also live in North Portland, and I work on Williams. I would be honestly surprised if at some point in the near future there isn’t a program like there is in NW – two hours parking unless you have a sticker showing that you live there. I think that there’s a fee?

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Hi WCH, It’s fun to see other PDXers here. I’ll wave to you next time I’m biking up Williams…

            It looks like there are a few neighborhoods with parking permits. It’s called the Area Parking Permit Program (APPP). PBOT (Ptld Bureau of Transpo) has all the details on their site. It looks like the annual resident permit fee is $30, which would really just cover the cost of administering the program, I would think. My heretical thought is that on-street parking fees could/should be more like $100/month… at least…

          • WomanComingHome

            I agree with that in theory, but there should be a way to grandfather/mother in the long time residents who are already being priced out of the neighborhood. Perhaps a quiz – what business was once at the site of the New Seasons? How do you pounce Couch Street?, What was the slogan on Bud Clarks famous poster? Get those right, it’s 30 bucks. Get them wrong, it’s 100. One final question on this entirely hypothetical quiz could be Are you from California? Answer yes, and it’s 200 dollars and a complimentary car keying.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            ah ha… a Portland oldster…

            Hostess Bakery and outlet (the latter there by its own self for a few years), pooch, Expose yourself to art.

            And plus also, what was Bud’s signature call, Portland’s old big run called, and where at pioneer square do you get a surround echo?

          • WomanComingHome

            Whoop whoop, l pay no attention to fun runs – viewing them as stunts to lure in the rubes from Beaverton and Gresham (see also the Rose Festival, Providence BridgePedal, etc.), the round space near the Starbucks on the street where the west-bound Max runs (I’m blanking on the name)

            Where was Vanport? Who was Vera Katz? What was Portland almost named? Bonus for knowing why it wasn’t called that.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Vanport – Delta Park – or, more famously, under the Columbia when a railroad grade that was being relied on as an actual dike finally figured out it wasn’t one, Vera is the short lady statue sitting along the Esplanade, Boston, but for Francis Pettygrove winning 2 out of 3 coin flips with Asa Lovejoy.

            I was thinking of the Cascade Run-Off, kinda more an actual real run than a mere fun run. And I can tell you, Bruce Springsteen Born to Run really loud 4 times the morning of the Cascade Run-Off is not enough training for the whole 15k. Even if you are in your 20s…

            And, at pioneer square, there’s a second surround echo spot, on the manhole cover, facing the whole big arc of seats/steps…

          • WomanComingHome

            Damn you’re good! Perhaps Running on Empty would have been more effective? If I were to go insane and sign up for a 15k, it would certainly be my (all too accurate) song.

            And I’m sure you are aware that Vera led the movement to make the City Club accept women, and later became mayor.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            After she was a Damn Fine Speaker of the House… In retrospect as I sit here, in kinda sorta a Nancy Pelosi sort of way…

          • Beanz&Berryz

            As it turned out, Born to Run was good for about 10k…

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Oh.. Here’s one… what was the classic diner at NW 23rd and Marshall, or so?

          • WomanComingHome

            Quality Pie! I loved that place! Every time I went, there was always lonely guy in a suit at the counter, two or three performers from Embers in a booth, and the obligatory AA group camped out at a table. My friends and I used to speculate that they were on salary just to give the place atmosphere.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Hamburger Mary’s?

            Cookie Cabana?

            And, two names I can’t remember, great old coffee shops, one in the Galleria (north side) and another in Old Town, up on a second floor, I think.

          • WomanComingHome

            Thank god(ess) for Tom’s and the Overlook, still waving the flag against rampant gentrification. Is it just me, or does everything seem so shiny now? Please excuse me for a minute, I have to go chase some kids off of my lawn.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            The lawnz the problem… Now I grow beanz and berryz instead, and other thingz too, in the yard.

            Many things are shiney, but there are still a few places with 80-year old concrete or wood floors, at least. Not like there uzed to be, though, but some of us appreciate them alot…

            Or, instead of god(ess), might it be god(ette), here?

          • WomanComingHome

            Good for you – every year I think I should just get rid of the damn grass, but its so much work, and truthfully I am the Queen of Procrastination.

            I do love the old stuff as well. Sometimes when I am walking my dog, I’ll see the imprints in the sidewalk from 1911 (I love you K C Conley who I assume was the person who poured the cement). Then I’ll get to my 90 year old house, and smile.

            I’m still waiting for god(ette).

          • Beanz&Berryz

            Though, a couple yearz ago, someone stole the butternut squash I was growing instead of lawn, but I figured anyone who stole some squash probly needed it more than I did. And, I think I saw that “waiting for…”, once, but I think it went over my head…

          • WomanComingHome

            If anyone felt a deep, burning need to steal my lawn, I would actively cheer them on.

            And many things go over my head, which is why I wear a very attractive hat made of tin foil. Protection, you know?

          • Beanz&Berryz

            I always wondered if there ever really was TIN foil… so there must be!

          • WomanComingHome

            Well, aluminum is so damn bourgeois.

          • Beanz&Berryz

            That must be why we don’t call it aluminium…Of course, getting some aluminum foil on a Wensday in Febuary would be a perfectly appropriate thing…

      • Beanz&Berryz

        Oh, and please pardon my manners, Zango. Hello…

  • MaiaAZ

    Damn you, Robyn, for that image uptops…now I have to dig out my RENT! soundtrack.

    • Robyn Pennacchia

      YOU ARE WELCOME.

  • I would be okay with it if a large number of Jerb Creators ended up naked and starving for a while…

    • Villago Delenda Est

      One would hope they’d learn something from such an experience, but I’ve learned not to expect much of them.

    • Crystalclear12

      They can clothe themselves in votes!

  • btwbfdimho

    Thank you!!!!
    Sanders promises a political revolution, including $15/hr minimum wage. Really? Then, another +$10 in the next 10 years, maybe.

    A revolution today would be: $200/hr? Why not? or what about $ 2000/hr?

    In Switzerland, people will soon vote to extend social security to everybody: a monthly check of $3,000 euros /citizen, because of income inequality, unemployment, etc.
    http://www.basicincome.org/news/2016/04/swiss-poll-40-percent-favour-referendum/

    Q: Can I propose a similar referendum in the US, or at least here in Texas?
    (I wonder how many would vote NO…)

    • Anarchy Pony

      Aot,k.

    • MrBlobfish

      That’s Communist Socialism. Or possibly Socialist Communism. I have to go back and read the party handbook.

      • btwbfdimho

        There is socialism in America. Where?
        In the typical rich and small American town, very common in New England, where people pay higher taxes and receive the best services, including the best public schools, such in Mansfield County, CT.
        Over there, where America is more like Norway
        (Norway: the best socialism in the world: a socialist country where everybody is a millionaire http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/04/oil-tax-norway-could-teach-australia-a-thing-or-two-about-managing-wealth).

        Real Meta-Paradox: socialism for the rich…capitalism for the poor, including wages of $4/hr paid to indocumentadas for cleaning hotel rooms in Texas, because of Freedom and the Constitution.

        • Anarchy Pony

          Socialized cost, privatized profit.

          • James Christopher Owen

            B to the I the NGO.

        • mailman27

          In HR Dist.1 in Maryland we have a tea party rep. Crabbing is big bidness here, and the processing houses are currently shitting themselves because there is a shortage of Mexican (read: undocumented) workers to do the picking. After spending his career shrieking about Demonrats letting in too many “illegals,” our Rep, Andy Harris, blamed President Obama for the shortage of “illegals.” These Republicans should hire somebody to compose a new, more dissonant national anthem.

    • yyyaz

      How many billionaire contributors you got lined up who are willing to outspend the billionaire liars lining up and licking their chops to fight you at the ballot box?

  • onedollarjuana

    Just being a curmudgeon, but when I started working for the minimum wage in 1972, I couldn’t afford to live alone, either. I have always had roommates, and eventually a wife, to share the costs. Harrumph!

    • Toomush_Infer

      That’s because you were on the Fat Freddy Plan: Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope!….

      • Serai 1

        * LOVE *

    • ryp

      Minimum wage has always meant roommates or at best a small studio apartment, the difference between then and now, is that few expected to making only minimum wage or thereabouts for very long.

  • Steven M. Harries

    Housing? I thought that was what the subways were for!

    • sw19womble

      Subways are for eating, silly.

      • Anarchy Pony

        If you can call that food…

        • JMP

          The sad thing is, in the bay area Subway is actually generally the best place to get a hoagie. I miss all the good local delis back east, and even Wawa.

          • Jen_Baker_VA

            Subway does not sell hoagies. BLASHPHEEEEEMER!
            Serious though, what is wrong with the way everyone makes hoagies anywhere not best coast east, specifically around Philly? Do they just not care? Do they not know how good they can be? Is it the elevation difference that makes the bread shittier?

          • mailman27

            It’s all about the roll. Crusty on the outside, soft, roll-in-a-ball inside. A good roll can hide a host of shortcomings. Subway’s not even in the frame.

          • JMP

            Chicago also had plenty of good hoagies, they just called them “subs” instead, and I thought they were common everywhere but just went by different names; but no, on the West Coast or at least northern California (I haven’t really been to south of the state) it’s almost impossible to find a place that does a good job. How is it so hard to make a decent sandwich?

            There’s also very few places that make cheese fries out here, which I had also thought were universal.

      • Biff52
    • ThePuckStopsHere

      Are there no workhouses…

  • Scooby

    Why don’t they just cover the difference with thier dividends?

  • OneYieldRegular

    There is a one bedroom renovated apartment in my not-tony neighborhood in San Francisco that is right in front of a loud streetcar stop and is the local drug-addict gathering spot. There are people sleeping in the doorway half the mornings I walk by. Someone was murdered in front of it last year. It is being advertised for $6500/month rent.

    I see you on that map, Montana. Make some room in that thar Wonkabago.

    • sw19womble

      SF is even more insane than London. A friend gave up a rent control unit for around $650 a month a long while ago, to buy a place. Subsequent property crash and divorce meant he ended up losing that too. Poor bugger:(

    • Jenny

      I found Missoula and Billings to be expensive rent wise, and buying a large enough house even in the great recession was difficult with what the local economy paid. Middle of nowhere might be less but honestly it isn’t much better there than some place like Houston.

    • Serai 1

      Oy, too fucking cold for me.

  • Steven M. Harries

    Kill the Rentiers!!!! (Just kidding, loathesome Capitalists, just kidding . . . )

    • sw19womble

      Hey, I can’t do much about market forces, but I’m one of the good guys, honest! :(

      • Anarchy Pony

        Capitalist pigdog!

        • sw19womble

          *blows cigar smoke in Anarchy Pony’s face before crumpling up a fifty dollar bill and flicking it off AP’s nose*
          “Away, Jeeves! And don’t spare the horses! I’m late for my weekly game of baccarat with the Governor.”

          • Anarchy Pony

            That’s when you meet Mr. Votefork.

          • sw19womble

            Sadly, Mr & Mrs Votefork are currently enjoying their all-expenses paid holiday fact-finding mission in the Caribbean while their home is accidentally being remodelled.

  • Steven M. Harries

    I guess all the comments indicate people would rather live in a $5,000 blue-state slum apartment than live in a $250 red-state “paradise.”

    • BeachBum

      Oh god yes! Those people will drive you CRAZY, and life is too short to waste it on people who are completely opposite on religion and/or politics. Houses and materialistic crap end up owning YOU in the long run.

  • natoslug

    DAMMIT!!!! How the fuck am I ever going to get the kids to move out now?

    • Psychological warfare seems to be working! At least that’s what I think my housemate/mother is up to.

      • Bad Granny

        I’ve resorted to trying to sell my boomerang kid, so you should feel lucky that you’re only being tortured.

  • This is what I called home for a couple of years out in Cali to beat the rents.

    I couldn’t afford a ’65 Westy now that they too have fallen prey to the freaking rich.

    • willi0000000

      never should have sold my ’71.

      [ the ex insisted ]

    • Serai 1

      Ah, Westies. Those were great cars. An old boyfriend of mine had one, and he used to park it outside my parents’ house for us to spend the night in.

      I tricked out a Datsun pickup with a big camper shell and as many amenities as I could cram into it, back in the 80’s. I used it for traveling to craft shows, but I could have lived in it in a pinch if I had to. It was pretty cool, actually. Combined with a storage garage where I could go to switch my stuff out, it would have done the trick quite nicely.

    • Bad Granny

      Hell, even an ’85 Westie is too cool to be cheap. That was my retirement plan. Was. *sigh*

  • YourNameHere

    That’s what I make ($31,000 a year) and I have to have a roommate.

  • efoveks

    If minimum wage jobs are for high schoolers, how come we have a disproportionately large number of jobs geared toward high schoolers , and not the responsible adults most employers (claim they) want? There are many of these “minimum wage” job creators who only want to hire over-18 or over-21 people: definitely not high schoolers (going for your GED is NOT being a high schooler, btw)

    • Biff52

      A town near me is currently advertising for bus drivers at slightly less than $15/hr, minimum age 21. I wonder how much they’ll raise that salary when minimum wage goes to $15?

      • efoveks

        Only slightly on topic, but my teenage niece rear ended a bus. She was on the way to the eye doctor’s. My brother could not stop laughing when he told me about it. I doubt my niece will ever live it down.

  • Biff52

    My pension nets me roughly the equivalent of $15/hr. Now that minimum wage will be the same as my pension, I feel much poorer.

    Thanks, Obama.

    • willi0000000

      minimum wage in MA is $10/hr ($11 on Jan. 1st) and it’s already more than SS pays me . . . and my IRA evaporated years ago.

      [ time to help enpurple some southern state i fear ]

      • Biff52

        That sucks. Hope you can find something suitable without having to move too deep into it. I do have librul friends in WV and NC, so I know it can be done.

        • willi0000000

          WV looks promising . . . son and his wife moving to PA (eastern side) so would still be within striking distance if i ever decide to become The Giant Hovercraft Dad.

          still torn though . . . might try westish NY to stay near daughter and her husband . . . extra added attraction there – – 3 grandsons.

          [ decisions, decisions.. ]

  • Robin

    I’m not saying all the billionaires (gates and buffett, I’m looking at you) should subsidize a wage hiking strike by paying every striker 15×40 a week until it’s raised. But they should subsidize a strike until people make a reasonable wage.

    I’m guessing it’ll take 3 weeks until things change.

  • My rent is 2100 times my current income, dividing my freelance work over the whole year. I’d move but landlords won’t lease to $1 a month earners

  • TheBidenator

    Robyn, this nakedness….do go on :reclines:

  • TheBidenator

    Alright, show of hands…who all gets paid for telling dick jokes?

    • Doug Langley

      What, there’s money in it? Why didn’t someone tell me?

      • Serai 1

        Go over to Cracked. They pay for dick jokes there. (Though how much, I have no idea.)

    • Jerry Noneofyourbizz

      What about sucking dicks?

    • Jenny

      The artist formerly known as Bidenator. I do not know why but I find this unsettling!

      :/

      • Hairstrike Alpha

        I’ve just emerged from my cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. I’ve got the best wings. People tell me this. Smart people. The best. I’m terrific and my avatar is inspired.

  • TheBidenator

    Look here….I am rich, I’m really rich. I don’t need your $15 an hour job! I get paid a lot of money just to blab on the radio for three hours a day and/or put my repulsive face on television where I bolster the views of mean, racist, paranoid white people daily. Possibly I get paid money to work at a “think tank” where all I do is try to add manipulated numbers to right wing agitprop. The point is, I don’t NEED that job so people who work that job shouldn’t get paid that much for it because fuck ’em.

    • Iam Reading

      To the bone. Nice!

    • James Christopher Owen

      Upfisted for the snark AND the avatar.

  • Jenny

    Rent is too damn high! In Austin the rental and housing market is working super hard to screw both over big time. Too poor to buy, to poor to rent. Yay liberal paradises!

    • I’ve lived in two mid-sized cities in two different states and regions of the country (Columbia, Missouri and Lynchburg, Virginia) the past few years. Both were seeing out-of-town real estate companies eating up space for small businesses and local renters to offer tons of new condos and lofts no one I knew could afford.

      Granted in Columbia’s case it was a little different since the new developments were marketed to families of students who could afford to rent out a place for their darlings, but the similarities were a bit unsettling.

    • CJTX

      Yep, I was shocked at how high rent was last time I was in Austin 2011 or so.

      • Jenny

        I managed to buy but only because I beat the very small window from where a potential lease was as much as a house payment if I moved 20 miles out of Austin. Now the place I bought in has climbed. My neighborhood average a year ago when I bought ranged from 135k to 215k. Now, the prices are 170k to 245k.

        The property taxes jumped so high since the previous owner had exemptions, so assessments on me were closer to actual market than what the preview owner was paying in taxes. Raised my mortgage by another 270 a month to pay the taxes this year.

        All in all it’s mostly even because rent is still going up.

        • CJTX

          I getcha – since I do real estate for work, the property appraiser in my work’s home area makes it VERY clear that people shouldn’t rely on the previous owner’s tax history to estimate the new tax. Exemptions are one thing, plus in this area (outside of TX) it triggers a new appraisal.

          Hopefully you’re also getting IRS deductions (i don’t know them all too well) and any exemptions you may qualify for.

          P.S. (I”M STILL NOT A LAWYER), but you can always try to argue your valuation down…it’s my (vague) understanding some people do that often, if not every year.

          • Jenny

            I went with a valuation of the neighborhood taxes and it was mostly on par with what was reported on the listing. I expected it to go up some because of the loss of exemptions but loss of exemptions and a huge increase in values, and a raise in tax rates were the kickers. I have my own exemptions now so now they can’t be raised by more than 10%.

            Most appraisal districts appraise yearly because that’s more money coming in. Plus mass appraisal is fairly easy in my neighborhood so quick & easy money.

            There’s not much to protest. I wasn’t treated differently than my neighbors. Their properties values are similar (minus exemptions), and the assessment values are slightly less than paid for price. It was an arms length transaction so all in all, it’s fair, I just don’t like it. :-P

          • CJTX

            ah…let’s just say, (I’M STILL NOT A LAWYER) that as I understand it, a valid protest and a convincing protest are not necessarily the same thing. It just might be worth your time.

            Best of luck, and have some Magnolia’s Cafe chips and queso for me…and a little bit of stubb’s BBQ, and a ton of Shiner.

          • Jenny

            I do property tax related stuff at work. It’s a tight knit community. If I walked into the appraisal district office with a bullshit protest they’d swat me down. Bad Jenny! Bad!

          • CJTX

            Ahhh, sorry sorry. I’m apparently in pedantic mood today. Never do 4 straight coffees and immediately switch to beer.

            Very sorry, I sincerely apologize. Just doin’ it out of affection for the Wonketteer community.

          • CJTX

            P.S. As I understand it (STILL NOT A LAWYER), it’s not necessarily how your neighbors were taxed, but the actual worth of your property. If, for some reason, your property were in a different condition as your neighbors, let’s say a busted foundation, you could and should get a decrease in the valuation. They’re taxing you on fair market value…not necessarily what the appraisals are. Now, we were taught that appraisals are typically lower than fair market value, but if the appraiser doesn’t know about a busted foundation, or some other condition that decreases what you could get on the market, than you deserve a lower valuation.

          • Jenny

            They’d discount it some but not much, and they don’t like doing it because one is it really fair that your neighbors get to pay more taxes than you then because you’re a shitty homeowner?

            Second you might own the biggest dump in the nicest neighborhood. The average value of the neighborhood is still going to have bearing because the value is in the great neighborhood.

            Third if you discount one, you’ve now created a slope where another neighbor says well that’s not fair. You’re giving this guy a break, that’s an unfair appraisal. Then suddenly the entire neighborhood is filing a protest because shitty homeowner Jim is shitty.

            Four repairable shit is repairable. There’s credit given usually at the time of appraisal for functional obsolescence. It’s much more likely to get a break on something you can’t control like an eroding lot than peeling paint.

          • CJTX

            Typical liberal, caring about your neighbors and whether you’re paying your fair share. ;)

            But seriously, I didn’t mean to insult…I was just thinking, I was such an ass about it because, a. I’m an ass, and b. because I hate hardworking people giving up money that they’re owed, especially when the wealthy have ZERO problem taking what they’re owed.

            By the way, do you know about the Walgreens prescription discount card? It’s great if you’re self-employed/without insurance/poor. Mine pays for its yearly cost the FIRST time I use it. And I have one, two, three, four, five prescriptions. And no I’m not paid by Walgreens, but I like to help people save money. (Seriously, there’s a job opening at the TX consumer financial protection bureau, but I’m not qualified…yet).

          • Jenny

            Ha. I’m not offended :)

            I’ve got about 3 classes to go to finish my registered appraiser license, but it probably won’t get done til next year.
            Then, I too will get a big ol raise!

            I do know about the Walgreens card. My brother has one. It’s a help. I’ve also used good Rx when a medicine for my son wasn’t covered. Saved a ton over the retail price.

          • CJTX

            Awesome! I know from my real estate license classes that the appraisal licenses are a b*tch…y’all gotta be smart and thorough to do that stuff. Good for you… that’s one of those jobs/industries that is never going away and can earn $$$ for the good appraisers. (yea yea, nurses and doctors makes more money but damn, they have to deal with poop). I’m stoked for you.

            Also apparently Albertson’s (i think) has a good script plan.

          • CJTX

            P.S. I told my mom how your brother feeds chicharones to the dogs…she had a good laugh.

          • Jenny

            Ha covered in tapatio hot sauce. Dogs love it. They hear him open a bag and they go running to him.

            It would be more impressive I think if one of them didn’t eat everything I put down. Phones, remotes, tablets, pencils, shoes, possible my glasses.

            They’re missing from my nightstand. I caught the problem dog sneaking off with them the other day. so I think she really did eat my glasses. But probably not with hot sauce.

          • CJTX

            Ah, a new twist! Tapatio, that’s the one with the dude in the hat, right? I see tapatio out here on the tables sometimes, but rarely use it.

            Both mom and I had a weird chicarones phase a few months ago, I blame it on the mold in the woodwork.

            “It would be more impressive I think if one of them didn’t eat everything I put down.”

            Pfft, dogs. The cats won’t even eat the (cat) food they’re given. One boy cat will get a plate full of fresh food and look up at me like, “really, this is what you’re giving me?!?”.

            In honor of your brother and my cats, I present this (why yes, I have been looking for a cheap excuse to post this. Why do you ask?):

          • Jenny

            Yup that’s the hot sauce.

            Ha I’m not sure what’s up with this dog. Sometimes she’s the best dog and other times I wonder how I picked her because she’s kind of nuts. Then again, pets take after their owners eventually so maybe she’s just like me! ?

          • CJTX

            You’re telling me! I have a kitten (she’s not a kitten but she’s smaller than the boys) and she likes what I call “the feets”. She doesn’t like to be petted with hands. But if I put my foot out, she likes to get “petted” by my foot. VERY WEIRD. Always reminds me of Mort, from Penguins of Madagascar, hence my name for it (if you don’t know).
            Aww, I can’t find a decent youtube video.

  • tehbaddr

    Someday, most ‘Merikans will be living out of mass communities of garden sheds in the middle of nowhere, but squeaking out a living. Who will toil for the oligarchs then?

  • MausFeet

    My rent is 50% of my income and based on several current life factors plus the insane rental market where I live, even moving to a tiny box of a place wouldn’t help. Currently planning to switch states altogether because I”m too old and tired to keep this up where I am. Crazy thing about that is how moving several states away? Not cheap, even though it’s a one time expense. Hello, Catch 22! Those of us entirely on our own with no familial financial safety net know you well.

    • CJTX

      Yep, and not to be cruel, but because it’s happened to me – whatever you make up in lower rent will probably be swallowed up by a reduction in salary. Rent’s cheap here – but then again, so are wages.

      • MausFeet

        Usually yes, but if I can work things out in the right way, for my specific job with my specific employer, I could move to an office in the midwest (current in CA) with little to no decrease in pay but about 3/4 of the cost of living. There are other factors in my specific situation that make the current place I live harder, and the potential place easier, but you’re not wrong. It takes being in a few select fields that pay almost the same in most states and picking the right smaller area to move to for it to work. Plus obviously we can’t all move to the same cheap place and most people are just getting majorly boned by oh, the entire economy. It. Is. So. Soul. Sucking.

        • CJTX

          Ah, great! Yeah, I’m a tele-commute worker as it is, but then I went from salary to hourly and I don’t do shit (cause I’m here commenting on Wonkette). I just try to share my experiences if somebody else can use them.
          I’m in community college at the moment, hoping to bridge that gap between income and living expenses…if I can even find a job here. Ironically, the state and federal gubbiments seem to pay the highest.

          But soul sucking is right…I’m totally with you on that one. Best wishes to ya stranger.

    • sw19womble

      “Things you own, end up owning you”

  • uniquename72

    If only there were multi-room places where people could share a dwelling with some other person, like they do all over the world. /s

    I’m all for a higher minimum wage, but “you can’t afford to live alone in most places” is a pretty weak argument. Maybe it’s because I’ve always — both when I was poor and when I made great money — had roommates.

    • …and you end up multiple families with babies all sharing a two bedroom. Most people do cram 3-5 people in spaces designed for one in big cities, but 4 people squeaking by as “contractors” or “freelance” — or sub-minimum wage workers– from employers when the landlord can charge thousands because no one’s stopping him is as weak & dated an argument as “I paid my way through college painting houses in the summer, why do lazy kids today have so many student loans?!”

  • Funny enough, I caught this article just after Matthew “David Brooks of the Left” Yglesias posted on Twitter that Obama’s approval ratings are high, ergo Americans aren’t unhappy.

  • James

    So what’s the solutuion to this national dilemma of outrageous living expenses?

    • Beanz&Berryz

      Any solution needs to address homelessness, also too, and that’s a whole other layer of mess… I saw recently a story correlating some part of the rise of homelessness to the near shut-down of Federal housing assistance during one codger’s Presidency in the 80s, but I never looked up to see if that was true.

    • Serai 1

      Rent control.

      • James

        I’ve been thinking about starting a rent control drive in my city for a while now – or at least getting the conversation going.

        • Serai 1

          Be sure to include the idea that landlords are NOT allowed to skyrocket the rent every time someone moves out.

          • Robyn Pennacchia

            YEP, because then they try and make living conditions especially horrid so that the people are pressured to move out.

      • h4rr4r

        Not to sound libertarded but then no new housing is built.
        Back to the commie you know and love:
        The government should tax the hell out of empty housing and build housing if needed. That way homes don’t sit empty and new housing gets built as needed.

        • Serai 1

          I don’t buy that, sorry. It’s like all those business owners that scream about raising the minimum wage – their business will NOT fall apart, no matter how many tantrums they pull. Making money from rent would happen, it just wouldn’t be INSANE money.

          • h4rr4r

            In this one case they do stop. This is because these shitlords buy apartments and land in loads of cities. Now if all metros would do it, yeah you would be right.

      • James Christopher Owen

        I can dig it, but high rent is only part of the problem. The other problem is that people just don’t make enough money, and only part of THAT problem is the minimum wage being too low. One other part is that more and more we’re competing with for jobs with workers in other third-world countries. Remember the fifties, when marginal tax rates on the wealthiest were near 90% and one man working one job could own a furnished home and a car, feed a family and send kids to college. What happened to that?

    • BeachBum

      I don’t know, but I for one am very much in favor of Trickle Up Economics. Min wage, loans, subsidies, all of it. We tried the other way, didn’t work IMHO.

      • James Christopher Owen

        Silly. Haven’t the Republicans taught us that if your plan didn’t work, you just didn’t try it enough times?

  • Julz Cat

    It’s also about WHERE you live in the city that you live. We pay $735 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment in Charlotte, which isn’t TOO bad, but we also share our apartment with about 300,000 German cockroaches, and the little bastards refuse to help out with the rent.

    • Beanz&Berryz

      And of course with the German dig …

      • Julz Cat

        I honestly didn’t know roaches had a nationality until the useless exterminator told me.

        • Serai 1

          At least they’re not AMERICAN cockroaches. Those fuckers are HUGE.

          (Not a joke – there really is a cockroach designated as “American”)

          • Suttree

            Those fuckers fly too! My first night in my first apartment in Louisiana, I walked in and was trying to find the light switch when I got smacked in the face with one. That was over 20 years ago and I still cringe when I think about it.

          • sw19womble

            Hey at least you weren’t yawning at the time.

            *gulp*

          • Julz Cat

            I found out about those after I had the ultra-fun task of studying up on roaches to try and get rid of mine. German cockroaches are smaller but CRAZY resilient. I watch one of them just walk the hell on after I sliced off half his body, oozing his entrails behind him.

            Dinner, anyone?!

          • Incoming Ham

            The American cockroaches are easy to get rid of. The little German fuckers are near impossible.

            I just gave you all an opening you could drive a truck through – go.

      • therblig

        if we were at war, they’d be called Alsatian Roaches. like Freedom Fries.

    • Erik Lonnrot

      Serves you right for naming your apartment “The Sudetenland”.

    • cheetojeebus

      Turkey baster and a pound of boric acid. Armageddon their asses.

      • Julz Cat

        My entire apartment is covered in boric acid…they walk through it like it’s powdered sugar while giving me the finger (feeler?). I swear, I saw one of them do the ickey shuffle….

        The only luck I’ve had is with the old-school Black Flag Roach Motels. It’s pretty grody watching them squirm around in the glue, but on the upside my entire apartment smells like pancake syrup.

  • clubseal

    I know this is something of a satire site (where I get a shocking amount of my national news, actually), but the headline does seem a little misleading. But then again, my rent has always been at least 30 percent of my income, so maybe I just thought that was normal.

    • Serai 1

      When I lived in Santa Cruz, I was paying over HALF my salary for rent. But then again, 1) I wanted to live by myself, not with roommates, 2) Santa Cruz is still one of the most expensive places in the country, and 3) it didn’t matter to me, because a) Santa Cruz is one of the most BEAUTIFUL places in the country (sandwiched between the forest and the Pacific, and chock full of laws like NO BILLBOARDS and NO BUILDINGS TALLER THAN TWO FLOORS) and b) it’s incredibly easy to find things to do there that are free or cost almost nothing. So the rent is really high, but I never felt the pain much.

  • While minimum wage should be increased that won’t solve the asset inflation problem. That is caused entirely by Wall Street. And when they’re done with houses they’ll move on to student loans. But there is no democrat or republican who is interested in doing anything about it, so, fucked.

  • Serai 1

    “Oh, but minimum wage jobs are supposed to be for high schoolers!”

    NO, you fuckwit. The minimum wage was established to support A FAMILY OF FOUR.

    Jesus, I hate it when people dredge up that stupid line. It shows just how ignorant most people are about the economy and life in these here United States.

    • clubseal

      That is the one “argument” that causes my head to nearly explode every time I see/hear it and its similar counterpart “Those jobs are only meant for high schoolers.” Jesus Christ, then, just tell that to those people who only have the option of working there, and their lives will instantly improve, and other jobs in their economically depressed area will magically appear!

      • I don’t even remember the last time I was at a fast food joint and the average age of the employees didn’t look closer to 30-60 than 18-25.

  • Paperless Tiger

    … no way anyone making $15 an hour– which comes out to $31,200 a year — could possibly afford to live almost anywhere in this city without a roommate.

    Maybe we’re communists and just don’t know it.

    • Plushinobi

      Oh, I think a lot of us know it.

      • sw19womble

        *checks under bed*

  • I Only Like Cats

    Can we also talk about how are people going to afford the deposit, and first and last month’s rent? how are they going supposed to pass income verification? And lastly, when did rent become so expensive?

    • Serai 1

      Oh, that’s easy! They should get it from their parents, of course!

      As to your last question, when rent control became A Very Bad Thing.

  • Serai 1

    I just thought of a solution. Remember “A Day Without A Mexican”? We should do that, except instead of Mexicans, it should be everyone who works at any non-salaried job. EVERYONE. We all call in sick, just for one day. It would bring the country to its knees.

    • Jonny On Maui
    • Robyn Pennacchia

      I love the idea of a general strike, actually, and have always thought it would be the smartest thing people could do. Way more effective, frankly, then begging politicians who get their money from rich people to raise the minimum wage to something people can live off of. The problem is, we live in a society where we can’t even get unions together anymore, because everyone thinks being out for themselves is the way to go.

      • Serai 1

        It’s going to take a pretty enormous fucking upheaval to get Americans to stop with this “fuck you I got mine” bullshit. That stupid “rugged individualism” myth just pisses me off so fucking much, I can’t even.

        • BeachBum

          I blame Reagan.

          • Serai 1

            I blame John Wayne, myself.

          • AlasAnAss

            I blame John Locke.

        • James Christopher Owen

          I wonder how many people realize that “humanity” itself is a gift from other people: the people who kept you alive when you were nothing but a mouth and a sewage plant, and who taught you how to use language and reason and do all those other human things. Humanity is a social phenomenon.

        • Ayn Rand has left a toxic legacy. There should be a warning sticker on her books stating you are a selfish and deluded arsehole if you like the book and she died using both housing and medical welfare.

      • AlasAnAss

        IWW, for the win.

    • h4rr4r

      You do know that salaried folks who are not paid overtime often end up making less than $15/hour, right?

      • BeachBum

        When I started my first “management” job (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) I was the lowest paid person working there. Truth. My wife laughed, but not too long!

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      The problem being that many people who work min wage or near it can’t afford to take a day off.
      Some bosses will just fire you and replace you, yes even for missing one shift, some people are living that close to the edge. Nice idea though!

      • Jerry Noneofyourbizz

        How about a “go slow”? They have those in England quite often-show up to work but just work v e r y slowly.

        • sw19womble

          Nah, most places now the employees have had the shits put up them with “workplace mobility” aka job insecurity. Very few unionised sectors left now.
          Transport sector do a very good version of everyone turning up sick coincidentally on the same day tho, to be fair.

      • Serai 1

        They can’t fire and replace their entire staff, not for just ONE DAY off. That’s the beauty of it.

        Perhaps a collection could be taken up beforehand to pay those people who can’t take the day off.

        • Jen_Baker_VA

          That could help. I know a few of my coworkers can’t afford a half a day let alone an entire day.

        • MizzMazz

          They used to call that unionizing.

  • CJTX

    For frustrated renters, like Robyn, I love this site: rentjungle.com

    Makes things WAAAAAY easier. (No they don’t pay me, but I like sharing things that make life easier….and I refuse to call them “life hacks”.)

    • Serai 1

      and I refuse to call them “life hacks”

      OMG THANK YOU. I fucking HATE the term “hack” when it’s used as a synonym for “tip”.

      • therblig

        if you were a mohel, you’d hack the tip all day long (rimshot)

        • James Christopher Owen

          Nice one.

      • Bitter Scribe

        Seconded.

  • CJTX

    “In order to get a two-bedroom there, you’d need to be making at least $13.17 an hour.”

    Meanwhile, in my city, I occasionally see job ads for accountants, legal secretaries and other not-minimum wage jobs that pay $12/hr.

    • Annie Towne

      This is true. In the early 90s I paid $15/hr to two assistants in the office. I see those same kinds of jobs now being advertised at $12. And I’m doing now what I did then, but for less, because I can’t charge 90s rates. I’m in a different, poorer state now, which should explain why I can’t charge more, but it doesn’t explain why I have to charge less. At the very least, I should be able to charge the same in 2016 Oregon as I did in 1991 Bay Area, California. And my rent is about to go up. This is insanity.

      • CJTX

        I was thinking that in my very average town I was making more doing data entry back in ’96 than i was doing data entry in 2014…but I kept thinking, “that can’t be right!” But I’d swear it’s so. Wages go down and the rent goes up (along with the gas, the food, the electrical bills, the health insurance)

      • CJTX

        P.S. The part that really blew my mind when I was last looking (a year or two ago, no more) was the certified accountant job that paid $12/hr. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!? Accountants were right after doctors, lawyers, and dentists in earning power when I was younger.

        • Jenny

          Accountants have been outsourced. You really have to specialize now. Mostly auditing and forensic type accounting to get anywhere near the money of the past.

          • CJTX

            I had a neighbor in florida who was a disabled vet who used his GI bill to get a masters or PhD in forensic accounting….

            Sadly, MOST jobs (don’t) get “anywhere near the money of the past”. I don’t expect my AAS in paralegal studies will get me a great job, but hopefully my CERTIFICATION in such will earn me a few extra bucks…luckily my community college program helps us study for the exam. Even then, this city has pretty damn depressed wages.

            Things suck all over for everybody but the millionaires.

  • Incoming Ham

    I remember years ago that a lot of photographers and artists had their studio spaces in Wicker Park – because it was dirt cheap.

  • ladylazarus

    Although not as bad as other major metro cities, aAtlanta is like this. I have a friend who makes like 13 an hour. We really struggled working together to find a place she could live.

    • cynmac

      True. My daughter and her friends shared houses. She and 2 friends shared a 3 bedroom house.

  • Courser

    This has been the case in Denver for quite a while now. I’m fortunate in that I landed in my current place about 5 years ago, before things got really crazy. For the last 2 years they’ve been building a huge new complex across the street from me. The one bedrooms *start* at twice what I’m paying now and the units are smaller! Of course they have gobs of amenities that I don’t have, but they don’t even get a parking space with all that rent. I have a very rare off-street slot.

    I’m looking toward retirement in 10 or 15 years and I have no freaking idea what I’m going to do. Yikes!

    • Vegan and Tiara

      I’ve got you covered! I’m planning a small development. It’s kind of in a rural area on the East Coast, but it’s near two pretty cool cities. I want to make the rent affordable, or make the houses affordable to buy.
      All Wonketeers are welcome to come and live with me – in my neighborhood, not in my house!

      • CJTX

        But will you occasionally make pie? Fat dudes like me need pie.

        • Vegan and Tiara

          Every damn day!

          • CJTX

            I’m in
            EDIT: I’m in your neighborhood, not your house. ;)

          • Vegan and Tiara

            Thank God, I was starting to wonder what that noise was, and then I realized it was the sound of the refrigerator groaning under the weight of all those pies.

      • handyhippie65

        i’m in. every neighborhood needs a handyman.

        • Vegan and Tiara

          Ha! I’ve been thinking “I really need a good handyman.”
          So far I’ve got me (I like to garden, do carpentry, paint houses, make pies and ice cream), you (handyman), and a big guy who likes pie. We probably need someone who is good with animals, since I want chickens, a cow, and maybe some goats. Also, I may need help growing food. Can you think of any other skills we will need?

          • handyhippie65

            i grew up on a pig farm, and worked at a dairy farm. and at the present moment in time, i build, and sell animal cages, for chickens, rabbits, and other farm type critters. and have a half dozen chickens for the eggs.

          • Vegan and Tiara

            You’re definitely in! I wonder what other skills the Wonketeers have? A lot of them seem to mainly have degrees in Chinese Literature and things of that nature.

          • handyhippie65

            well, sad to say, but we will need some sort of diplomat to resolve disputes. and then there’s medical, and dental. finding professionals who aren’t consumed by greed might be an issue.

          • Vegan and Tiara

            We can always go to town for the medical stuff, or maybe just get one of the nurses on Wonkette to come and patch us up. As for the dental, I’ve got a clean pair of pliers.

    • Iron Monkey

      The Iron Monkey solution: Work until you drop. Actually its not too bad as long as you don’t have to work too hard or too long.

    • Jonny On Maui

      At least you’ve got the “Yikes!” That means start planning now. You could end up on an island or with something like Vegan and Tiara has in mind.

      Can you picture yourself in 20 years? Where are you and what are you doing?

      • handyhippie65

        hopefully dead and gone. i really don’t want to still be swinging a hammer, and running a nail gun in my 70’s.

  • Iron Monkey

    I don’t see the problem. Just move to Nebraska or South Dakota where the rent of a one-bedroom is only the equivalent of 50 plus hours at minimum wage (plus what they don’t say).

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Trump just promised to bring back coal mining jobs to SD, so things ought to work out swell.

  • Callyson

    A single parent with a child (29% of all minimum wage workers)

    Holy. Fucking. Shit.

  • boll ocks

    Rich get richer, poor get poorer. This is not news to a lot of us. But it does suck giant anteater testes.

  • Annie Towne

    And it’s supposed to be 30% AT MOST, for housing. It’s not ideal, by any means. It just allows something left for gas in the car, and the occasional big night out at one of those places I don’t even know the name of…Chipotel or something.

    • Coquettish

      A little while back there was a graphic that showed how much you’d need to make to live “comfortably” in different cities. Not rich or extravagant, just enough to get by, put a teeny bit away, and occasionally eat out once or twice a month. For my city it was $68,000 or more. You would literally need to work more than you sleep, eat, or do anything else to make ends meet here.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        $68k, after taxes, will just barely pay the median rent in Manhattan. If you want to eat, you’ll have to earn more.

        • Jamoche

          San Francisco likewise. Local news promos keep talking about how public transit workers get, with much overtime, “6 figures”, with a subtle hint of disapproval in their voice. As if I’m supposed to be upset that people working on a vital service make a living wage in San Francisco.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Maybe sleeping tubes will be the next big thing.

  • Bitter Scribe

    I bought a condo to get away from rising rents. And of course I bought at exactly the wrong time and watched the value drop nearly in half. You can’t fucking win.

  • URQ196

    My house almost paid off costs me 640 coconuts a month two nearby identical homes rent for
    1400 coconuts a month

  • Jeff in the desert

    What the hell do you lefty bleeding heart commies think that these quality corporate managers should pay these untrained, unskilled welfare sucking low lives? A living wage? Goddam, you do that and these people will next expect decent health care, maybe a pension program, a little job security. Y’all sound like union shills, trying to break down the social structure of things where the Waltons are filthy rich guys and the “associates” live on the street….as it should be. The End…..

    • Hear! Hear! American exceptionalism and all that.

    • handyhippie65

      it’s a good thing my snark-o-meter was just calibrated. that’s the same shit my ultra conservative, old farmer boss says. i was ’bout to lose my shit, and go spastic.

      • 451 Byrnes

        Performance art at its finest!

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Raise incomes, and landlords will quickly raise the rents and take the bulk of the money. It’s typical to spend 50% or more of your income on rent in NYC – 30% is a dream.

    • Rowen

      50% of $1000 is $500. 50% of $3000 is $1500. I get what you’re saying but I can live much easier on the rest of 50% of $3000 than I can on 50% of $1000

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        They’ll charge what the market will bear … which means leaving you with $500 no matter what.

        • HazooToo

          Seriously, though, who is supposed to be regulating that?

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            The invisible hand, obvs. If somebody is willing to live on $500/mo, and they outbid you for the apartment, that’s just the free market in action. (Same way they got the job you wanted by being willing to work for $4.99/hr.)

            Oh, and there’s also whatever rent control board exists in your city. NYC has one, which only manages to slow down the process of squeezing out the middle class. The city gets “affordable” apartments built, but you still need to make about $50k to “afford” them – and they get something like 500 applications for each apartment. (City employees were given priority, so you can see how well that’s working for the proletariat.) We actually have people commuting from Pennsylvania, 3+ hours each way.

          • HazooToo

            Yeah, I used to live in Rochester. Had a roommate and still had to basically ask my Dad for money every single month to pay rent, because I also had a kid, and we were both only making minimum wage and only working 40-50 hours. I was on food stamps, eventually, and it was the first time I felt even slightly good about what I was feeding my kid. Myself, I ate at work, because the manager looked the other way while I stuffed abandoned whoppers in my bag. Do these rent control boards have a larger system over them, or are they all independent?

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            In NYC, the Rent Guidelines Board is in charge of compliance with a whole raft of state and city laws, and also setting percentage increases from year to year. Nine members, all of them (!) appointed by the mayor.

            One of the most thankless jobs in the city, unless you really like having everybody hate you.

          • HazooToo

            Maybe they wouldn’t hate them so much if the rent didn’t go up every year, despite the apartment and their pay not having changed at all.

  • Puts me in mind of Barbara Ehrenreich’s excellent book, “Nickle & Dimed.” If you haven’t lived it, then it should be required reading. She lives for one month as minimum wage worker in three different cities. She never really makes it. But she writes meaningfully about her co-workers and the daily struggle their lives are. Seriously, if you’ve never existed as a minimum wage worker, it is the next best thing.

  • Rufus T. Firefly

    See! Capitalism works!

  • Stein Olsen
  • freakishlystrong

    I live in a small, formerly charming town in FL. I lived ON THE WATER in a spacious 1 bedroom 20 years ago, for 450 a month. Those are unattainable condos now. As are the FIVE new “luxury” condos and apartment complexes being developed now. It used to be an artist community. No mention of affordable housing as far as development.

  • Satch87

    My uncle was living off disability (after a car crash severlely injured him) and could barely feed himself. So he and his wife packed up for her homeland (Macedonia). Their SS checks go a much longer way there.

    So there you go American retirees on the verge of drowning, just find a poor Eastern European country and you’ll be living comfortably and then some.

    Barf

  • “Workers of the World Unite!”

  • akita96th

    Republicans dont give a shit if you cant afford an apartment or if you can afford to feed your child or health care for you and your family….They are the party of ..I Dont Give A Shit Not My Problem…..They are complete douchebags….Their base voters dont realize that the republicans dont really love them at all.

  • Rebecca Johnson

    I have to say that $15 an hour seems like an excessively high minimum wage for the area I’m currently living. Skilled jobs are often payed less. Still, I have to ask, why should rent be no more than 30% of income? Who came up with that rule? That sounds arbitrary to me.

    • Uzza

      Raising minimum wages isn’t all bad. At the current $7.25 an hour a
      studio apartment here rents for $1000 a month. If wages more than
      double, to $15/hr, we can increase our rental income to $2,069/month,
      per unit. Without that arbitrary 30% limit it could be even more.

      • Rebecca Johnson

        Cost of living skyrocketing definitely what would happen if the wages suddenly doubled. I currently make minimum wage working for a shitty retailer, and there’s no way they could afford to pay double wages with their current staffing. They might cut staffing and raise prices but I think it’s more likely they’d go out of business. So instead of making $8.05 an hour, I’d be making $0.

        My partner has a skilled job but still makes less than $15 an hour, and if his employer had $15 an hour as a base wage, I don’t think he’d currently have a job honestly. They’d cut staff to save money and probably hire more contractors.

        I’m all for raising the federal minimum wage – the state I’m currently living in (FL) has a higher minimum anyway – but $15 is much too high for some areas of the country. I don’t live in Chicago, San Francisco or New York, and we don’t have the same cost of living here.

        • Uzza

          Here, after paying your rent you’d have $120 left to live on. If they doubled your wages and rents also doubled, you’d have $331 to live on. Big whoop. You get an extra $211 and your landlord gets an extra $1000.
          IF, instead of that, wages stayed the same and they halved your rent you’d have $620 dollars to live on–twice as beneficial.

          What I’d like to know is what immutable gravitational law says profits must always go up for investors who sit on their ass and own things, but not for people who actually work? Why should the feds give scraps to workers instead of reining in the gougers who take all the scraps?

          • Rebecca Johnson

            The place I work isn’t making any profits.

          • Uzza

            Is your landlord?

          • Rebecca Johnson

            Well, they’re selling the house we rent, so I have no idea. Apparently they live in Guam or some shit.

            All I know is that we spend like $1400 a month in rent and a mortgage would cost us about half that per month, but it was a bugger of a time getting approved for a mortgage because they didn’t want us to spend more than 40% of our income on total debt and they couldn’t take overtime pay into account for income. Housing is complicated.

          • Uzza

            So your landlord bought the house a while back when he undoubtedly got a mortgage for less than $700, and he charges you $1400. Why exactly does he need that extra $700/month? You don’t seem offended by it. Why not?

          • Rebecca Johnson

            Why would I be offended by that? My partner and I have very few expenses after rent and we could afford it. We chose to live in this house. I don’t know my landlord at all and I’m in no position to say what they need. We’re actually in a pretty good position right now; we’re the lucky ones, I know.

    • HazooToo

      My question is, why is rent so high? And why does it go up every year? Did the apartment somehow get better without your noticing? That seems excessive, really. People NEED shelter, a place to live, bathe, eat, sleep, and store their things. I’m not saying that some places aren’t nicer than others, but even the simplest places are getting incredibly expensive. The reason the “Tiny House Movement” is getting so much attention is because so many people are living in tiny little homes, not because they want to downsize their lives, but because it’s all they can afford. The 30% rule isn’t really a rule, it’s a guideline, and the reason it’s set at 30% is because you also need to pay bills, buy food, and pay for transportation, whether that’s public or private. You also should be putting some money aside each month, in case you have emergencies or want to save up for a big expense, and you should be able to spend a little to enjoy your life. You can’t really do all of that if you’re spending 70-80% of your income on rent alone.

  • Bennie The Bouncer

    One problem here is the presumption that “30%” is the right number. That depends on several lifestyle choices, and it’s not set in stone by any means. Could be higher; could be lower. It’s a little weird to speak in absolutes over some kind of average / aggregate data set.

    • HazooToo

      The problem is that it IS higher than 30%. When I was growing up, my Mom had temp jobs all over the place just so she could make more than minimum wage, and child support, and we were still spending more like 60% of her income on rent alone. Many times, she had to ask my Dad for more money. He gave. Lots of single Moms aren’t that lucky. Hell, some intact families aren’t that lucky, but at least there are two adult workers there, provided neither of them get injured or sick or lose their mode of transportation. Then they’re both screwed.

      • Bennie The Bouncer

        The problem is that it IS higher than 30%

        I understand that. I also understand that for some lowish-income lifestyles, 25% is a problem, and for some higher income lifestyles, 40% or 50% isn’t a problem. That was my point. Speaking in absolutes about circumstances that don’t adhere to absolutes leads to wrong assumptions.

        If I’m taking home a million dollars a year and I spend $500k on housing, if I’m not financially secure and doing well after that expense, it’s not that it’s 50% that’s the problem, it’s that I am a moron at managing money.

        If I’m taking home $15,600 a year and I spend exactly 30% on housing, which leaves me with $10,920, the mantra that “30% is ok” is utter BS.

        We are not a collection of averages. We are unique individuals with unique situations. Averages have their uses, but making these kind of “30% is the right number” assumptions is not one of them.

        • HazooToo

          That was kind of my point, but I concede I might not have made enough sense. My own numbers have varied over the years, but until I moved in with my Dad a couple of years ago, I never felt safe. I’ve been evicted from places. I’ve been terrible with money. And not actually making enough of it on my own was always one of my biggest problems, the other was not knowing how to do anything about it. You can say that $7.25 an hour is nowhere near enough to live on, and that’s true. You can say that rents are still far too high in areas where people make even $15 per hour, and it’s true. Both things can be horrible at once, and both things need fixing, and I’ll give you a third thing: Money management and understanding credit should be taught in high school, before the kids get out from under their parents and start receiving predatory credit card offers and taking on crippling amounts of student debt (which is it’s own horrible problem).

  • No snark, just want to throw this out for anyone who wants a real explanation of all this (asset inflation) and why … Hudson is the bomb.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/michael-hudson-on-debt-deflation-the-rentier-economy-and-the-coming-financial-cold-war.html

    • HorseChestnut

      Upvote for Naked Capitalism

  • The rich are putting all their money into real estate. When they can no longer control the prices they will dump and everything will go back to normal. A new normal, that is, much, much worse than the old one.

  • Moar Wordz

    ” In 12 years, rents have tripled, and wages have most certainly not. ” Bingo.
    I made $ 14 an hour in college in 1992-’93.
    I’m 45 now and employers frown if you request that wage in an interview. This is in Food service. ” I can’t start you on that, but maybe in three months time, we can discuss a raise of 50 cents. ”
    I ask high to throw them off.
    ” I need $18.00 p.h. ” They find this amusing. Their eyes twinkle at my AUDACITY. When I say ” $25.00 p.h, ” we both laugh. HaHa, I’m serious.
    When I worked as a personal Chef, this was the wage I earned ( $25.00 ) I was much happier then and worked really, really, really hard because I felt a lot more freedom & control over what I was doing. Creative control. A lot more enjoyment. It was quieter and I wasn’t being ground down under some one’s thumb. (O.K, an x-coworker was stalking the house I worked in and catcalling me as I emptied the trash, along with leaving creepily scary gifts on their front lawn which terrified the rest of the staff and nearly got me fired. This is being a woman in a woman – hating society, n’est ce pas? It wasn’t all perfect. I had busted him for cyberstalking me and he was a little pissed. )
    Did my tax returns and realized I made the same amount of $ working a third of the hours as a Personal Chef than I did working 48.00 hours per week in a restaurant.

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