Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Live Well

 I heard that in San Francisco those who make 100K or under are struggling and considered low income.  Can I say so fucking what?  Seriously this is your bed and you can make it with Frette sheets or not.  Where this income discrepancy matters is to the working class professionals and working poor that do the heavy lifting in the region.  These are the Teachers, the Bus Drivers, the Maintenance workers and all the service staff that drive the trains to keep their latte's hot and their craft cocktails cold.  I can see why they are keen in the Valley to get those robots up and running soon, cheap, obedient and always available. Yes that is why they love AI as slave labor takes on new meaning.  And yes slave labor still exists it is just rebranded and called forced labor and that is the real problem with regards to human trafficking not just the sex industry.

And labor issues define the American economy and in turn the issue surrounding Immigration.  To be frank a reduction in immigration contributes to this from the low paying sector with regards to  staffing restaurants but it includes finding school bus workers, support aids in schools and hospitals; And that too expands into  Nurses, Teachers to Bus Drivers  and other professions that require education, licensing, training and certification that costs money and  places them into the idea that these are middle class jobs and elevate them to supposedly a better quality of life on the rung of life's ladder.  No they are now the working poor and the poor are just poor and they are those cab drivers, bussers, cooks, cleaners and others relegated to the invisible sides of service providers.

Nashville is having massive problems with the latter as that is the biggest driver of the community when it comes to generating money, the largest employer however is Vanderbilt in the private sector and the largest in the public sector is the Municipal Government of Nashville which includes Teachers, Police Officers, Parks etc.  In other words all those jobs that enable a city to run efficiently and that may be why Nashville was listed as 111th worst run city by WalletHub.

This was in the Tennessean and the only thing that shocked me was that the median wage has risen and that has to be incorrect as wages are utterly stagnant here and no one in the city has gotten any rises due to the 35K deficit and there is no imperative to raise service gig ones past the minimum as that is a major issue here and across the country regarding costs and profit in a low margin industry as hospitality, and lastly the lack of education and credentials across the  city enable wages to remain low.  So I am simply guessing that this increase is due to an uptick in private sector jobs that are related to the medical and entertainment executive gigs that are the white collar jobs here. What about your city? Where do you stand or fall in line with the reality of being working poor?

What does it cost to live comfortably in Nashville?
Sandy Mazza, Nashville Tennessean Published  July 24, 2018

With 50 percent of Millennials living from paycheck to paycheck, owning a home is a daunting financial commitment. Your new property comes complete with a load of maintenance costs, taxes and bills. So how do you know you if you're financially ready

Nashville's tourism and development explosion hasn't been easy on wallets.

The annual price of living comfortably in Music City soared to $80,548 this year, according to a new analysis by personal finance management website GoBankingRates.com.

Nashville, the priciest city in the state, is home to Tennessee's most expensive real estate values. It costs an average of $745,800 for a home in the city's most expensive 37215 ZIP code, including Green Hills and Forest Hills addresses.

For average residents, the cost of living has skyrocketed since last year by nearly 15 percent. In 2017, GoBankingRates.com estimated that residents should earn at least $70,150 annually.

Actual median household income lags far behind, at $49,891.

In contrast, the national median income is $55,300, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

GoBankingRates.com surveyed residents in the 50 largest U.S. cities to estimate monthly living costs for mortgages and rents, car payments, groceries, clothing and household expenses.

The price of living in Nashville was found to be higher than in New Orleans. There, residents earn a median income of just $37,488 but need $70,413 to be comfortable.

Here are how other cities compared:

Minneapolis median income: $52,611. Cost of living: $77,512.

Portland, Oregon, median income: $58,423. Cost of living: $79,397.

Raleigh, North Carolina, median income: $58,641. Cost of living: $69,656.

Philadelphia median income: $39,770. Cost of living: $73,005.

San Francisco median income: $87,101. Cost of living: $123,268.

Washington, D.C., median income $72,935. Cost of living: $90,811.

The only city where residents earned more than the estimated cost of living was in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Average annual income there was $67,719, while residents needed $67,568 to live comfortably.

But costs are rising quickly in Virginia Beach, too. The city was identified as one of the top 20 cities with the fastest-rising costs of living in June. Topping that list are Colorado Springs, Colorado; Austin, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio.

Real jobs need real wages and the reality this is larger scale problem than those in the "it" cities.  It is everywhere and why the concentration of population may end up confined to eight states.  There is some density for you.

Why Real Wages Still Aren’t Rising

By Jared Bernstein
Mr. Bernstein is an economist and a former adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.
New York Times Opinion
July 18, 2018

The United States labor market is closing in on full employment in an economic expansion that just began its 10th year, and yet the real hourly wage for the working class has been essentially flat for two years running. Why is that?

Economists ask this question every month when the government reports labor statistics. We repeatedly get solid job growth and lower unemployment, but not much to show for wages. Part of that has to do with inflation, productivity and remaining slack in the labor market.

But stagnant wages for factory workers and non-managers in the service sector — together they represent 82 percent of the labor force — is mainly the outcome of a long power struggle that workers are losing. Even at a time of low unemployment, their bargaining power is feeble, the weakest I’ve seen in decades. Hostile institutions — the Trump administration, the courts, the corporate sector — are limiting their avenues for demanding higher pay.

Looking at the historical relationship between working-class wages and unemployment, wage growth should be rising about a percentage point faster than it is right now. In June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, wages were growing at a yearly rate of 2.7 percent before inflation.

While wages have failed to accelerate, consumer prices have climbed. In 2015, inflation was close to zero. When price growth is zero, a dollar extra in your paycheck means a dollar more real purchasing power. Real hourly pay grew at a healthy pace of about 2 percent that year.

But price growth is back to more normal levels now. Over the past year, for example, consumer price inflation was 2.9 percent, just about the same rate as hourly pay. Data released on Tuesday show that real weekly earnings for full-time, middle-wage workers hasn’t grown at all since early 2017.

Barring an unforeseen shock to the system, I expect the jobless rate to continue to fall, probably to rates we haven’t seen since the 1960s. The Federal Reserve forecasts unemployment of 3.5 percent by the end of this year.

Unemployment at such a low level should force up wages, but it may not be enough to generate consistent, real gains.

That’s because the trade war may push inflation higher, so it will take faster nominal wage growth to keep pace with prices. Thus far, the impact of the tariffs has been minimal, because of the small share of imports affected, and because “final products”— things that consumers buy versus intermediate materials used for production — have thus far been spared. But if President Trump follows through on his threat to place 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China, including many consumer goods, prices could get a nudge.

Even before the trade war, the Federal Reserve was well into its campaign to raise the benchmark interest rate it controls, and it has suggested it may raise rates a bit more quickly than previously planned. Higher rates are intended to cool down the hot labor market, and this too could dampen the pace of wage growth.

G.D.P. has sped up and may clock in at around 4 percent in the second quarter of this year, but not enough of that growth is reaching workers. This is, of course, the defining characteristic of high inequality. Since the early 1980s, G.D.P. growth has failed to consistently increase working-class incomes.

Still, in earlier periods, tight labor markets were able to deal a blow to inequality. The last time unemployment was at 4 percent, in the latter 1990s, the share of national income going to paychecks was 3 percentage points higher than it is today. In other words, even with the economy now near full employment, profits are squeezing paychecks.

Slow productivity growth is another constraint on wages. When companies are able to produce more efficiently, they can absorb higher labor costs without sacrificing profit margins. But such gains have been elusive in this recovery, so businesses are increasing profits at labor’s expense.

More than ever, the dynamics of this old-fashioned power struggle between labor and capital strongly favor corporations, employers and those whose income derives from stock portfolios rather than paychecks.

This is evident in the large, permanent corporate tax cuts versus the small, temporary middle-class cuts that were passed at the end of last year. It’s evident in the recent Supreme Court case that threatens the survival of the one unionized segment of labor — public workers — that still has some real clout.

It’s evident in the increased concentration of companies and their unchecked ability to collude against workers, through anti-poaching and mandatory arbitration agreements that preclude worker-based class actions. And it’s evident in a federal government that refuses to consider improved labor standards like higher minimum wages and updated overtime rules.

Even if workers’ real wages do pick up, their gains may be too short-lived to make a lasting difference. The next recession is lurking out there, and when it hits, whatever gains American workers were able to wring out of the economic expansion will be lost to the long-term weakness of their bargaining clout. Workers’ paychecks reflect workers’ power, and they are both much too weak.

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