The Real Cost of Living

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Current Events, politics, Statistics and Lies


I was having one of my usual deep discussions with some friends this afternoon on the state of the world.  They were arguing that some kind of major economic collapse is needed, that families in the U.S. have huge debts and that some kind of major economic adjustment catastrophe is just plain inevitable.  The assumption is that this debt is a result of greed and living beyond one’s means, to which there may be some truth.

But there is another factor and interpretation.  Consider the following facts:

Increase in real value of the minimum wage since 1990: 21%

Increase in cost of living since 1990: 67%

One year’s earnings at the minimum wage: $15,080

Income required for a single worker to have real economic security: $30,000

And the following chart:

Looking at this information it becomes clear that at least part of the problem is the effective subversion of the middle class.  A 46% gap between cost of living and wages over the past 20 years will do much to force families into debt.  It is not so much that they are living beyond their means, but rather that the ability to live within their means has been undercut!!

Undercut by what?  Well, the chart shows you.  Productivity in the U.S. has increased significantly over the past 30 years.  I’m sure that not all of the credit goes to the 1% who seem to have benefited.  I’m sure that hard working, middle class workers have contributed to that productivity.  And yet their wages (adjusted to cost of living) don’t seem to have budged at all.

Given these two statistics, it is clear that the struggles of the middle class may be totally justified.  Can you blame them for going into debt in order to sustain a reasonable quality of living?   It is also clear that the top 1% is doing quite well.  They’re certainly not hurting, -themselves, at least.

I’m all for the top 1%.  I think that they are a critical element of our society and that they deserve to reap the benefits of their toil and their intelligence.  However, what we’re seeing here goes well beyond that to an irresponsible greed which threatens the fabric of society.

For these and some other very enlightening statistics, check HERE.

I particularly like the one below.  Check out the Canadian stat.


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