Further, "while average pre-tax income for the bottom 50% has stagnated at around $16,000 since 1980, the top 1% has experienced 300% growth in their incomes to approximately $1,340,000 in 2014. This has increased the average earnings differential between the top 1% and the bottom 50% from 27 times in 1980 to 81 times today."
The Financial Times recently published this, which may also be of interest: https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2018/01/04/2197227/eight-charts-...
Granted, it's not the case in reality, but all the numbers in the the post you're responding to are compatible with a world where the wealth of the poorest members of society has doubled (or even increased tenfold) over the same time period.
Greed is a weird thing, if you listen to 1% bankers you can hear after a point it's not actually about making more money for the money's sake, it's making more money than your peers.
Toxic hypercompetetive culture.
Before you were the best artist / programmer / chef in your small town. Today you or your company sells to the world. #1 / #2 takes most/all, everyone else loses.
Sorry but that's just the nature of the world today.
It doesn't have to be. The historic balance of power is that the rich need rule of law to stay rich. And rule of law requires participation of the majority. So the rich have to appease the mob in order to keep their riches (and their heads). I don't think we're anywhere near the tipping point of this equation in the U.S. But it's always there as an option of last resort for the disenfranchised.
What about jobs people get in developing countries and get them out of poverty?
For one sibling, I'm the safety net when crises happen that they can't afford. E.g. can't come up with their car insurance deductible, water heater broke, etc. They don't ask but I always offer when it's clear that a small outlay would spare a huge amount of stress for everyone. Because what am I going to do, let these very minor issues send their financial life spiraling out of control? Of course not.
Other sibling is more financially responsible and trying to work through college part-time. I'm paying the car payment and car insurance while they go because I am 100% on board with this self-improvement plan. I proposed this because these expenses were keeping them from enrolling and I think it's in my own financial interest to invest in broadening the base of financial stability in my family.
Other context: My dad has a decent job (government job paying ~$80k/yr in small town America) but mom is a lunatic when it comes to money so they have nothing saved. Her idea of being able to afford something is being able to afford the payments. So far I haven't had to bail them out but only because my dad is too proud to ask and would rather go to his mother whenever there is a budget crunch.
Edit to add: I see lots of people saying things along the lines of "keep money and family separate". That is a very privileged attitude. It's very hard to enjoy money when people you love are going through hardships that would be solved by an infusion of cash. Obviously it's important not to give more than you can afford but you would be surprised by the number of people in tech who are sending money home in one way or another.
I was afforded the "luxury" of doing a PhD instead of getting a job out of college because my older brother was working and assumed the financial responsibility of the house. Now I work too, and if the occasion arises, I am happy to part with reasonable sums of money without even thinking of whether it is meant to be repaid or not.
Could you share the untranslated phrase if I wanted to read more about it?
I also loaned my dad basically my life savings to bail out his company which the great recession ended bankrupting him anyway. This caused a strain with our relationship mostly because he felt and continues to feel extremely guilty about it even though I was able to rebuild my savings since then. Now I pay half his rent and try to avoid tying my finances too closely to him to try and avoid his creditors and possible future medicaid clawbacks. Money and family can be tricky.
Then if the loan is paid back, you will be happily surprised. But if it’s not you won’t be bitter about it, and it won’t ruin your relationship.
Corollary: don’t lend your family members an amount of money that would cause you hardship if it’s not paid back. (Obviously extreme circumstances call for careful consideration of the particulars. This is not blanket advice)
Because at the end of the day, I'm not going to let money destroy a relationship, and I gave her that money to relieve her stresses, not to contribute to them. So from now on, if I give money to my family, I let them pay it back according to their conscience and ability. People who need money really don't need more things to worry about.
Maybe, but on your death bed which one do you think you are going to have the most regrets about?
(This is the generic “you”, not you in particular).
I would say don’t let family or anyone else borrow money. If anyone is going through hardships, just give it to them. It makes things a lot easier on them and you both. If you can’t afford to give it to them, don’t put yourself in a position that you are depending on getting the money back.
I’ve found that often, if they can, they will pay you back anyway.
My parents combined make roughly 30k/yr with little to no retirement savings. They are immigrants (including myself) and neither of them attended high school. They have four children including myself: three girls, one guy (me). My dad, the person who brings in most of the household income, is close to retiring, at least I think he is: he's in his early-mid 60s and has his own gardening business with his own workers. I assume his body is taking a toll or even more so, can't handle the 6am to 7pm, 7 days/wk work days. My mom, on the other hand, is in her late 40s and works as a part-time elementary school supervisor - looking after kids, etc. She recently, as we were joking around this past holiday break, mentioned that I should already get my degree and that fancy new-grad gig so she wouldn't have to work anymore. I laughed it off, secretly wishing I could so immediately.
We, as in our 6 person family, live in a two-bedroom apartment in the Orange County area. My parents have been edging to move to some place cheaper like Perris, to finally be able to achieve that ol' American dream of owning or renting a home. I'm not too fond on the inland empire, and prefer the southern coastal cities of Orange County, etc. I've been wanting to say, "Wait a few years. I'll have a full-time salary job, and I can definitely help you rent a lovely house in a nice, quiet area I think you would all love. I'll send 2.5k/mth and maybe my sisters can help out too." But that's a big commitment to make.
It's difficult. Thinking about this adds a load of pressure on my shoulders, and it's even convoluted with a deep rooted sadness because I think about life and death and their respective lives and feel this what my parents need/want and I can't help them immediately. This might be part of the reason why I've been engulfed in eastern religions and eastern mysticism these past few years, maybe as a coping mechanism. I mean, these are just "cultural" problems. After all, a bed and roof over our head is all that will do fine and dandy. But I don't want to tell my parents that, they probably know it, and despite it, they just want their own perception of a little happiness. Alas, all is well. I hope I play my cards out right these next few years. If not, that's okay too.
This issue is a very important one because it can strain or break marriages if your spouse does not agree with how money should be treated among family. How one treats money is a part of how they implement their values and morality in general, after all.
I've seen this time and time again, especially with PoC, who (statistically speaking) have much lower net worth as family units and thus are more susceptible to financial ruin when going through times of hardship
It’s also privileged to assume family = people you love. My relatives are OK. Some are nice people but I have no interest in them for the most part. Just because we’re related doesn’t carry any obligation to love them or do anything for them.
I can see if it’s your little brother or little sister and helping out with some tuition though.
Also hand-me-downs are okay.
I really don't like your implication that it's just "their fault" if they're worse off than you. In a system that is designed to exploit "low skilled" labor.
"Codependent" is a really weird choice of word too.
Some people do have a good head on their shoulders and just need _some_ help, but not a “subsidy”. Like I said, younger sibling needs some help? Sure. Need some money to tide over rent this one time, ok. No recurring stream though.
However, you probably could interview a few hundred people a label some “earnest,” others “grifters,” and find there are many more of the former.
My sister and her family were struggling so badly. Underwater mortgage, lost the house to foreclosure, could barely afford to rent a place. They were discussing having to leave the area (Southern California) moving hours away from grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends, and of course me and my family.
In the end, I bought a house in 2010 specifically for her and her family. I continue to rent it to them at below market rate (They don't cover the morgage payment, but come close), and although we've had a few close calls, they have yet to miss a rent check, and have recovered significantly on their own without further help from me or other family.
There has been zero co-dependence.
Since they pay rent, and take good care of the house, it really has helped them maintain a sense of dignity. I let them treat the house as if it was their own, and they take excellent care of it.
I think this was a better option than just bailing the out. All parties really get something out of it, not to mention the emotional aspect of having close family continue to live close by.
Yes they might become codependent, but if you look at the situation realistically there's not a lot they can do to change the situation. Being there as a safety net can take a lot of mental pressure off of them.
Decentralized, sure. Robust? No way. Unless they are wealthy and economically independent, your family are a small number of failures away from not being able to support you. A locally correlated failure ( i.e a plant or industry that employs many of them folds) can knock out the support system. Not to mention that unlike government programs, your family are under no legal obligation to help you.
It's apples-to-oranges to compare a biological definition of robustness at the species level over eons to the definition we use to evaluate the current condition of people in modern societies. They are completely different metrics, operating over different timescales, and measuring totally different phenomena. Your usage measures the survival of humans as a species on biological time scales. The version of robustness that is relevant to the article is the chance of destitution or suffering faced by the typical member of a modern society, given modern society's standards for measuring those.
Wild animal species experience extremely high mortality rates compared to humans, due to a number of factors, including predation, disease, displacement, and environmental changes.
The whole experiment of human "civilization", from animal domestication, to agriculture, to the development of technology and the societal structures needed to support all of those, has been about protecting us from the risks nature poses to our existence.
> Whereas the oldest extant government are only several hundred years old. And many aren't even as old as my grandparents.
Whether it's an extant government is irrelevant. Governments come and go, but their function doesn't remain unfulfilled for long. We know that governments of some kind or another have existed since at least 3000BC, and importantly, that these governments had mechanisms for redistribution of their society's productivity (regardless of the direction of that redistribution).
EDIT: fixed the fallacy name
In context though, they did the same for me when I was poorer than all of them and I do it in return now that I am doing well. I also have an open offer to family to help their first month or two of rent in an expensive area if they are looking for a job there, so that they become part of this safety net.
E.g. discretely offer to pay X years of tuition, or for a trip, for a nice dinner for the family, or opening and funding an IRA for a year
Disagree with the 'never' remarks. Family is family. If they were there for you, it's laudable to be there for them. Just tread carefully and quietly.
PS: Just to point it out, if someone works hard and you give them more than they would normally make... don't trivialize it, because then you're trivializing what they do every day.
My parents can't work, for example. They're both disabled and rely on food stamps plus medicare just to survive. This puts a rather large financial burden on me at times to say the least, because I would rather not see my parents starve to death.
If only we had a government that took better care of people in poverty. Imagine that.
Have they tried getting SSDI? No one gets rich off of that, but it is one of the major government programs to help support those with disabilities.
And then there's the difference between loaning and gifting money.
Or do you mean they might resent you if you do that?
Note: I'm an ardent capitalist, not particularly partisan by nature, and probably would be a Republican at this point if my life had the Republican party remained what they were 50 years ago. Nonetheless, I'm often stunned at what we've become thanks to modern GOP-inspired propaganda. What would my dear (and communism-hating, btw) grandparents think of such comments, when it was a dear sibling's help that allowed the family to survive the depression?
had the Republican party remained what they were 50 years ago
As an anecdote, I saw a somewhat opposite situation: all siblings but one got their degrees and are now school teachers. The remaining one joined a railroad maintenance team and makes twice as much.
not leading with this feels like poor reporting
Which City is Adding the Most Jobs in Your States in CA? San Bernardino. Oh wait, it is percentage mapped to region size, not to population - so going form 1 to 2 employees in a hypothetical empty but vast region would be a 100% growth, and nice peak on the map.
Percentage of people living in extreme poverty in Russia and Kazakhstan? 0.0% (hint: it is actually no data)
It is either a troll site, or a good example of data misinterpretation.
The IRS specifically defines earned income as what your employer pays you.
We're talking about the US workforce, not the whole population.
Median salary: USD 34270.
If you take a hard step back, like way back. And take a moment to look at the "situation" with an outside perspective, don't you think it's a little ridiculous that the debt keeps growing, and somehow the numbers get adjusted, and more loans are given.
And it makes me wonder, if this is not being actively resolved now, then when? In a 1,000 years? I have a hard time believing that society is going to survive that long with all the idiocracy that's going on.
I recommend reading up on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)
If it sounds too good to be true then it is.
There have not been issues with high inflation.
Not sure if it's a good thing.
Also, it's important to note that strictly speaking, growing debt doesn't matter as long as the GDP grows by the same amount. Of course, that's not happening, so there is a problem. But as long as there is some leeway for inflation to increase (which there currently is), the debt is ultimately manageable.
Total household debt as a % of net disposable income is 109% in US. European countries with higher levels (in increasing order) are Greece, Spain, Belgium, France, Portugal, Finland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, and Denmark.
In Denmark, household debt is 280% of net disposable income.
Isn't that how math works?
This is assuming that bonuses, commissions etc. count as compensation, but not wages.
If you look at the SSA data, It also highlights that the mean net compensation is about $48k. And 67.4% of wage earners have net comp below that figure. Which is in line with the graphic.
This probably could have been done well with a steam graph. Maybe a slope graph. I'd have to see the data and it depends on what they're really trying to show.
Amarillo TX population: 265,000
NY, LA, CHI, DAL, HOU, DC, MIA: 70,000,000
Some of them might be working, of course. For the kids, this is not likely to be more than 10% (which would be _all_ the 16 and 17 year olds, pretty much). For the seniors, let's guess 33% (pretty much everyone under 70). That leaves 28% of the population in the kid-or-senior age range and not-working and 7% in the kid-or-senior age range and working.
To get to 50% overall working with those assumptions, you need 43% of the population to be prime age and working. The prime age population is 65% of the total. So you need 43/65 = 66% of the 18-65 age population working. But in 2017 (yes, I know, a year later; I haven't found the 2016 equivalent) https://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/economic/labor-force-tre... claims a labor force participation rate of just about 60% for NYC (see page numbered 14 in the document, page 17 of the PDF). And that's the rate for 25-64, which should be higher than the 18-64 rate, because as the document notes "people between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to be in high school or college".
Page 15 of the document (page 18 of the PDF) does show labor force participation rates for 16-24 and 65+ in New York State and our "33%" above for seniors was likely a significant overestimate based on that, though it's hard to tell: NYC labor force participation may not match the overall state very well, obviously.
Anyway, under the (imo optimistic) assumptions above, something like 45% of the overall population of NYC is in the labor force. Or in other words if you ignore the 18% of the population that is children under 15, it's about 55%. So your estimate was pretty close if you ignore the existence of kids...
Or put another way, if the prime-age labor force participation rate is 60%, there's no way that 60% of the overall population is working. Just not possible.
Most of the kids in NY state are living under the care and support of their parents and aren't working, therefore they shouldn't even be a factor in population/labor force participation metric.
Additionally, many of the old people who aren't working shouldn't be factored in either because they are receiving quite high pensions to live from, as well as social security.
When you factor this in, my initial ratios still stand. Out of the 325m people living in the USA, 45% are working (145m). When subtracting the 30% of Americans who are retired or under the care of parents, you are removing 100m people.
Therefore, as you say, the "prime age" labor force participation rate is 65% (145m/225m).
Applying this ratio to my original numbers, 45.5 million people are laborers in the Northeast. The other 25m either used to be laborers or are protected financially by laborers.
We cannot possibly say that an area like Amarillo TX, with just 100,000 laborers, is indicative of some nationally sustainable trend where cost of living is cheap and wages are still high.
This denies the existence of an extremely large block of humans, who are struggling despite earning decent money.
We're trying to estimate this in all sorts of indirect ways, when the real questions, which I am sure we should be able to find answers for, are:
1) How many workers are there total?
2) How many workers are there in high-cost metro areas?
What we can't easily do is derive the answer for #2 from the total population of said metro areas; it's heavily dependent on the age structure of said metro areas and the specific workforce participation rates for those areas by age.
> Therefore, as you say, the "prime age" labor force participation rate is 65%
On average across the US, plausible.
> Applying this ratio to my original numbers, 45.5 million people are laborers in the Northeast
Yes, but even in the northeast not everything is in an expensive metro area, fwiw.
> We cannot possibly say that an area like Amarillo TX, with just 100,000 laborers, is indicative of some nationally sustainable trend
On its own, sure. But there are a lot more areas like that (by count; how the population totals look is not obvious to me) than there are big expensive metro areas.
That is, you might be right in your original claim that "half the country" are in the high-cost situation, but your data is not showing that very conclusively.
That said, I would be shocked if less than 1/4 of the country is in that situation. And yes, we should be aware that these tens of millions of people exist and of their situation.
It sounds like we could ball-park the number at 33% of Americans being in high cost of living areas.
Additionally, it sounds like we agree that that percentage might change based on if you're looking at urban, suburban, or rural areas, and if you are factoring in dependents or retirees.
I think the question we ask from here is, "how do we increase the number of people who are able to have a large chunk of discretionary income coming in?"
For this the answer is probably political, contentious, and complex. Not everyone can be a programmer, as there's only 4 million computer professionals in the US right now. Not everyone can be a licensed employee either, who tend to make more money (health care, law), because labor supply is strictly regulated for these professions.
I think if we were to somehow reduce rent-seeking behavior in the economy (real estate and health insurance prices are pretty good indicators of state-enforced supply restrictions), then prices and salaries would begin to approach the mean again, which is around 50k per person.
I guess what I'm saying here is I think the roofer who makes 37k a year in Newark NJ is being underpaid, and the physician's assistant who makes 100k a year in Scottsdale AZ is being overpaid. I would wager their labor is of equal value, but is being artificially disrupted.
Believe me, I want all of us to be like Texas.
The price of rent/mortgage is directly affected by property tax.
However, I would urge you not to discount the existence of 50m people in the Northeast megacorridor. I am not particularly aware of what services are received that directly benefit people living here other than the ones that I have personally experienced, which are unemployment income and pension income for teachers (my parents).
In fact, 90% of property taxes in NY are sent to our school districts. I don't have kids, so I can only benefit from this in the abstract.
Additionally, I think it's important to note that in the last 20 years, wages have not risen in NY more than a dollar or two per hour, yet property values have risen from 100k to about 300k on Long Island.
I think these are serious headwinds for anyone pulling in 30k a year post tax, such as myself.
Sometimes there are situations where a senior citizen wants to stay in their home but the assessed value has gone up so much over the decades (plus some tax rate increases) that they can't afford the property tax. They may not value the financial windfall of selling the home and downsizing but there are worse problems to have. Anyway, the original topic was about wages and people of traditional working age.
This hardly sounds like a steal to me because it is exactly what I am paying in NY. I make $2200 post tax per month, which is bang on the median income in this area. Half of my money goes to rent, the other half to car/food/health insurance and so on.
Were I to lose my job or have kids, the situation would be completely unaffordable in a matter of months as opposed to years, which is the type of cushion the earlier generations had.
You could put $30K down and have a monthly payment of under $1,000 per month for mortgage, insurance and taxes.
- Sequential income brackets are not adjacent. The wage of each blob can only be understood by reading every number
- Irregular shapes make it impossible to gauge size by eye
- White text on green and pink backgrounds does not score well on WCAG. At least they had the decency to make the text bold.
So...what do the statistics look like if we remove part time teenagers and students? I suspect much less attention grabbing than the headline.
The end result? The people in the middle ground, aka most children, will be left behind.
Where you live
>$14.71 per hour. That's below minimum wage in New York City right now
Federal minimum wage is 7.25 and that is the minimum wage for many states as well, mine included. 30k is actually doing decent, after 12.5 years on the job I only make 33k with good reviews every year. If I was suddenly unemployed and had to go work retail I might get lucky and hire in at 8$ an hour.
How many people live in Wichita vs New York or a similarly expensive city? If half the country lives in metro areas then 14.71 is a low median wage
How much do Americans earn?
2015 data : median household income was $52K. If you're white. If you're black, the median is $34K. So, only like, 1/3 less. Or if you're asian, the median is $72K.
2017 data : median household income apparently jumps to $62k. If you're white it's $65k, black it's $40k, asian $81k.
Then the Social Security data (from 2013) shows the median net compensation for individuals is $28K. And according to tax data, the bottom 50% of taxpayers make less than $34K.
Since the poverty level for a family of 4 (in 2017) is $25k, that means a majority of families of 4 (which, again have to pay 4x for more food, clothing, transportation, education, and miscellaneous) have a bit more than subsistence level money.
2017 data : Census claims the poverty level for a household of 1 is $12k. What? Who the fuck is living in America on $12k a year?
Adding up all the people making less than $15k comes to ~28% of Americans, or 92 million people, just above to below poverty level (SSA data for 2017 ). But Census poverty data  says only 12% are in poverty. There's a huge gap between the SSA's numbers of people and their net compensation, compared to the Census's formulation of how many people are in poverty. How is there a gap of 52 million people in calculating the poverty rate? Can someone point out what's going on?
GDP is also higher than median household income, which doesn't take inflation into account.
 http://www.mybudget360.com/how-much-do-americans-earn-in-201...  https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/p60/263...  https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-ser...  https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-26...  https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2017  https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-26...
edit: in the Census report (https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publicatio...) they mention that you have to adjust all pre-2014 numbers by increasing them by 3.14 percent, due to changes in reporting....
Many Asians who immigrate have little to nothing except an education, some don't even have that. We brought many over during the time frame of the Vietnam war who had nothing at all.
Are Indians included in Asians?
Lol, that single fact makes the "white people oppress everybody else" nonsense fall on its face. I wonder why it's not often used as a rebuttal.
Here's that list for anybody who wants to take a look:
First off, it's not in any way accurate to refer to groups of people by skin color. I know "white" Mexicans and "brown" Caucasians.
Second, the parent comment is misguided for a number of reasons.
Anyone suggesting "all white people do <x>" are misguided because they're trading in racist stereotypes. But there is a trend that they are trying to point out, which is an inherent bias of the majority population who receive a greater share of opportunities than any other group in this nation, which is shown by things like overall increased income, increased job opportunities, increased representation in government, increased representation on corporate boards, increased representation in the media and entertainment, etc. It's not hard to see that it's been a "white man's world" for a long time now and it's only starting to be rolled back. Unless you're white, in which case it's very hard to see.
In addition, the statement that this one metric alone proves that white people don't oppress other groups is silly! It's one year's median household income in the US! Even if asians as a group make more per median household, that doesn't mean they don't face discrimination, it just means they're well compensated. Show me all of the leading asian men in American movies, and all the asian men on boards of directors, and asian men as leaders of political parties, and so on.
Taking one arbitrary economic metric and using it to try to disprove an obviously problematic multifactored cultural norm, is really reaching.
These ethnically-focused statistics are so incredibly pointless and misguided, I don't know why anyone would want to bring them up other than to be purposefully divisive. What's the "median household income" among blue-collar, poor whites in the Midwest? In the Rust Belt? What about their "share" of national "opportunities"? You're focusing on what's literally a tiny bit of information about an individual (a handful of bits, at best)-- namely their racial/ethnic heritage-- and treating it like it's the One thing that Explains Everything about our society, or at least our "cultural norms". That makes zero rational sense, the only reason such an argument might appeal to us is cognitive bias.
Money, i.e. resources, is the ultimate score. Ultimately, power (politics, corporate management) is primarily about managing resources (money) within companies, and within society at large. So, given that Asians are doing better as a group than white people, it's really nonsensical to say that they're opressed by them. It looks more like that are actually thriving. You could maybe make a convoluted claim that they are opressed and would be doing even better if they weren't, but that's stretching it.
They're not. They have higher median household income. Median household income does not determine whether one ethnic group does better than another ethnic group. It only determines if their median household income is doing better.
And if you think money is the end-all-be-all, white people are the tops. "96.1 percent of the 1.2 million households in the top one percent by income were white, a total of about 1,150,000 households. In addition, these families were found to have a median net asset worth of $8.3 million dollars."
One thing, the median amount of money that a household has, is different than another thing, which is aggregate political, social, and economic power.
That said, Asians are starting to get elected to political office. There are three Asians in the U.S. Senate (making 3% of all senators) and there are 14 Asian members of the House of Representatives (making 2.6%). That might seem low, given that Asians make up about 7% of the U.S. population, but over half of Asian Americans are foreign-born. I think the fairer comparison is to American-born Asian Americans (after all, it's hard to get elected when you're not a native speaker of English and you're missing shared cultural references). And that shows an attainment of political office in line with their representation in the population at large.
I can't find decent stats on Asians in the 1% of income, but if you have a source you like, I'm happy to dig in. The link you provided just has an "Other" category at 1.6%.
My stats are from these wikipedia articles:
I'm surprised. I expected that 50% of wage earners would make less or equal to the median wage. If for no other reason than the definition of median.
Treat and solve it as a systems issue. Attributing maligned motives to small discretized sets of people doesn't solve problems.
However, thanks to court decisions like Citizens United, the sheer amount of money in lobbying, and revolving doors between government decision-making jobs and industry executive positions, wealthy business owners have never been in a better position to propagandize.
Look at Sinclair's ownership of television stations for instance.
Dems used to protect the working class till the 80s, they used to be anti-globalists (till Clinton) then they got the fever for corporate money and sold them down the river and only half heartedly pay lip service to them. The only one left caring is Bernie, but he’s too far left for traditional labor.
A few decades ago, at what was arguably the peak of the US middle class, relatively few adult married women worked outside the home. But of course, they did work. It's just that they didn't get paid.
Or rather, they got paid through sharing their husbands' income. What's happened since is that both partners often work, but aggregate inflation-adjusted income (aka household income) has stagnated. Maybe even declined.
Anyway, the point is that, a few decades ago, maybe 30%-40% of workers earned nothing. So to get meaningful results, you need to look at aggregate household income over time. Including both partners, and children. And you also need to net out childcare expenses.
Also, I note that TFA relies on W2 data. So what about consultants, whose income is reported on 1099s? But maybe they're a minor factor, and can be ignored.
And finally, it's my impression that executive incomes are typically capped at a $million or so. With the rest paid as stock options and such.
A different, but simple comparison would be to take minimum wage in 1968 ($1.60), adjust for inflation ($11.62 - 2017) and then compare to our current minimum wage ($7.25). So had minimum wage been tied to inflation, it would be right around $12/hr right now.
I do think that the US middle class is shrinking. But there's a lot more involved than TFA addresses.
In reality, $30,000 is a pretty decent income for a young single person in Atlanta, where a 1BR apartment near a subway stop can be had well under $1,000. It's tough for someone trying to support a family of four, but by and large those people don't make $30,000. The median income for people 35+ is $50,000. And the median household income of a married couple with kids is $85,000.
There is also the fact that, even if there were zero income inequality (everybody got paid the same), the median income would be about $50,000 (13 trillion in personal income divided by about 250 million working-age people).
30,000 is far from a decent income considering people get gouged on health insurance, which effectively functions as another tax on their post-tax income. When you start adding in the costs of food, internet, phone, utilities etc the end result is much more dire. This is not even counting the fact that Americans work more for less, considering people in Sweden, your example, I guarantee you get far more time off, have more job security and considerably better benefits.
These statistics are not "improbable"--they are fact: https://dqydj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/average_median_....
Your point about health insurance also contradicts reality. Excluding people covered by Medicare and military health care, 70% of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance. That covers, on average, 86% of premiums for the employee and 75% for dependents. Many Americans don't have health insurance, of course. But the median American does. The person making $30,000 and getting "gouged on health insurance" out of that amount is far below the median.
> This is not even counting the fact that Americans work more for less
That's simply false. The median income in the U.S. is about 10% higher than Sweden (and much higher than the U.K. or France or Germany). Do Swedes get 36 extra days off each year to compensate? (No they don't.) Disposable income at the median is even higher in the U.S. because Sweden has extremely high tax rates on the middle class. The poor in Sweden, on the other hand, are much better off thanks to those taxes on the Swedish middle class.
TIL I should start magically making an extra 17k a year in 14 months, yay! I guess the 100ish people in my office (and the fact that no one at my level, anywhere in the country, for my employer makes anywhere near 50k) over that age, not making that much, are anomalies.
The 'median American' doesn't make over 50k$, the median household income in my state is only 54k.
I would certainly hope you would agree that each American in those age groups is going to have experienced different job prospects and different stages of the economy, which is why it can be misleading. For example I would easily make the argument that the average American below the age of 35 would also have considerably more debt than Americans age 35+. This is just one measure of how median income can be entirely misleading.
And my arguments against your statistics was more about the fact that you linked to a highly partisan outlet seemingly known for heavily cherry-picking statistics to prove a hard-right bias.
>Your point about health insurance also contradicts reality. Excluding people covered by Medicare and military health care, 70% of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance. That covers, on average, 86% of premiums for the employee and 75% for dependents. Many Americans don't have health insurance, of course. But the median American does. The person making $30,000 and getting "gouged on health insurance" out of that amount is far below the median.
Premiums are only one half of an equation; with HDHPs even if your employee covers a large amount of the premiums a medical emergency still leaves you stuck with over 6k in debt, something a lot of poor families cannot afford considering how little they have in savings 
> Do Swedes get 36 extra days off each year to compensate? (No they don't.)
Yeah, about that.  Sweden gets 34 total days of paid leave per year, guaranteed. America has no such provisions and it is entirely up to the discretion of the company. For developers, we can probably expect to get around ~10-15 days off, plus occasional holidays.
Those "occasional holidays" amount to nearly two weeks (10 business days) in the U.S. And the person you're responding to was saying that Swedes would have to get 30-something additional days off to make up for the earning discrepancy.
How many days off per year do you think people in retail get? Not just time off they get on paper either, but time off they can take without being shamed. Hell, look at the 'unlimited pto' scam some software companies employ in order to reduce the amount of time off a developer can take.
Have you ever worked retail? Or do you know anyone that has?
Rent - 800
Food - 400
Power/Water/Gas - 300
Internet - $50
Cell - $50
These are all reasonable numbers for Atlanta.
It would be a stretch and you should probably have a room mate to give you some breathing room but it can be done. Also if you have roommates, you could afford a car and insurance.
My son is living on his own in Atlanta so I know the expenses are accurate.
We keep him on our family insurance and we can until he is 26.
You really buried the lede. Will you also pay the health insurance for all the other hypothetical Atlanteans that you're claiming can get by on 30k?
One good way to find our about why it's so difficult to get by on ~$30k is to talk to someone (or multiple people) who make that little. You'll find that the vast majority of the time the fantasy that they blow their money on iphones and drugs evaporates, and the reality that healthcare, housing, childcare, student loan payments, etc are all much more expensive than you've estimated shines through.
The poorest states it would seem to me are also the ones most stringent with offering Medicaid.