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The Oligarch Recovery: Low Income Americans Can't Afford To Live In Any Metro Area

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

We were told we needed to bail out Wall Street in order to save Main Street. Well the results are in…

Wall Street has never done better, and Main Street has never done worse.

From the Huffington Post:

Low-income workers and their families do not earn enough to live in even the least expensive metropolitan American communities, according to a new analysis of families’ living costs published Wednesday.

 

The analysis, released by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, is an annual update of the think tank’s Family Budget Calculator that reflects new 2014 data. The Family Budget Calculator is a formula designed to determine the income “required for families to attain a secure yet modest standard of living” in 618 different communities across the country that the U.S. Census Bureau defines as metropolitan areas. The formula uses data collected by the government and some nonprofit groups to measure costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, “other necessities” like clothing, and taxes for families of 10 different compositions in these specific locales.

 

The updated Family Budget Calculator shows that even the most affordable metropolitan areas in the country are beyond the reach of millions of American families with incomes above the official federal poverty level. The official federal poverty level for a family of two parents and two children in 2014 was $24,008, according to the EPI. But the least expensive metropolitan area in the country for this family type is Morristown, Tennessee, where a family needs an income of $49,114, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s budget calculator.

 

The Economic Policy Institute also estimates that minimum-wage workers — who almost universally earn less than the federal poverty level — lack the income needed to make an adequate living in any of the communities surveyed, even if they are single and childless. The think tank notes that this includes minimum-wage workers living in cities or states with a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, or $15,080 a year for a full-time worker.

 

Even families with incomes closer to the middle of the earnings spectrum lack the means to maintain an adequate standard of living. The nation’s median household income was $51,939 in 2013 — the most recent year in which data were available — not much higher than the cost of living in the relatively inexpensive Morristown.

Where’s our hero when you need him?