William A. Gralnick
For a thankfully brief period of time, I didn’t have enough money. What I did have was a wife, a new born, a mortgage, and a car payment. You can’t eat any of those so there were others items like food, formula, doctor’s bill, gas for the car. Shouldn’t be a total loss, my wife lost her job, and then so did I. Maybe the scariest part of it was that for the life me of, I couldn’t balance a check book so I never really knew how much money we had. Checks bounced, the fees went up, the credit score went down. I began to bite my nails again and the amount spent on liquor began to creep up. That was a long time ago.
It came flooding back today whilst listening to NPR. The two guests dealt in somewhat different ways how to keep your head afloat. We’ll start with Amy Glasmirer, Ph.d from MIT. Her study is about the living wage. Talk about some intensive research, this woman calculated for almost every city, suburban, rural area in America what a family of two adults, one being the wager-earner, and two children, living together would have to make an hour to live. Not live comfortably, just to have enough to get to the next pay check without having fallen behind.
Let’s begin with Reno, Nv. The magic number in Reno is 33, that’s thirty-three dollars an hour. If we go due north and hang a left, we come to Seattle. If you guessed that the magic number would be higher because it is a bigger city with more places to work, you’d be correct. The magic number is 36, thirty six dollars an hour.
Now let’s look at some random figures: the average income for an American family of four, the usual salary in fast food restaurants, and the average salary in those same restaurants, for those who do the labor. The average annual income is $80,000. Most FF restaurants are not in the $7-8 dollar range. THe laborers make minimum wage. Few, very few have any benefits. So add that to expenses columns, if they can afford it.
Now one can understand the hemorrhaging of employees leaving these jobs, or not even applying for it.
Let’s do some math. We’ll say the average number of hours worked is seven. Multiply seven hours by six days and we get thirty-five (7×6=35), multiply thirty-five by $7.00 and we get We’ve seen that number before, no? Yes, but it was attached to hours per days not pay per week. Now let’s take the weekly salary, just short of 50 bucks a week (less taxes, of course) and multiply it by 50 weeks worked a year. This magic number is $15,000! We could say both adults worked at the same salary level. Now they are up to 30 grand a year but now we have to add to the ledger the cost of child care and transportation costs. And you know what? They’re short, way short. Here’s how short.
In Reno the estimated amount needed to meet the cost of living is $3225 WITHOUT RENT? And rent? It averages for a 3 bedroom apartment $2,500/month. If we are having both adults work subtract $730/mo.. These are government statistics figured before the current explosive jump in rents across the country averaging about 30%. So before we look elsewhere, let’s figure this up for Reno. Subtracting the COL with rent factored in that leaves the good people with $725for the rest of it. Knock off children care and they’ve got about a fiver to play with. Welcome to America, folks 2022.
Now let’s look at Coral Springs where the cost of living is over $62000. year and the average home price is roughly a mil and a half, which is higher the the median cost nation wide. In Coral Springs, a Boca Raton/Ft. Lauderdale bedroom community know for being family-friendly, The median household income is north of $66,000, which is almost $14,000 above the national median. Just short of $17% of the poplation makes half the COL (8% between $15-20,000, 3% $15-$20,000, and a scosch over 6% make under $15,000.) If we take 15% of the total population (133,519) we get 2,250 of of the population makes below the COL to live in the Springs.
From June 20-June 21 rent increases $12%. Two bedroom apartments went up 4.7 %, Instead of weighing you down with more stats let me share this. These statisics on Coral Springs were compiled by the Zumper Miami Metro Area Report is which it said, “…Coral Spings…(is) on the more affordable end of the report.”
That’s a bell-ringer, at least from my perspective.
Bill’s sense or being worn down by COVID is growing. Here he tries to paint another picture of of how low one can go during times like these. We must keep our brothers and sisters more than in our prayers but in our actions.