What 60 Minutes Missed: 44 Percent of U.S. Workers Earn $18,000 Per Year

Comments

1

Capitalism isn’t worth saving. Neoliberalism, classical liberalism, postmodern liberalism... toss it all into the trash bin and be done with it,

2

Um, this isn't capitalism.

At best it's mercantalism.

But it fails most of the tests Adam Smith described in his seven pamphlets.

3

Wow, the study candidly admits that it fails to address two critical factors and points to admittedly incomplete data.

1 - Is the job a springboard or a dead end?

2 - Does the job provide supplemental, “nice to have” income, or is it critical to covering basic living expenses?

4

Charles i agree with your broader point but damn it man that headline.

From the study “ Their median hourly wages are $10.22, and median annual earnings are about $18,000”

Median is not average, its the middle point. So it’s completely incorrect to state 44% of us workers earn 18K. Its that the income in the middle of this group is 18k, half earns more and half earns less.

Your broader point still stand but please do it without getting math completely wrong.

5

The idea of a single person with an entry-level job living anywhere on the West Coast is becoming laughably obsolete.
Per recent KPIX telecast clip, a single person in San Francisco making under $90,000 a year is now low income. (The clip was about public school teachers.)
Our society blames the very people who have these lower-level jobs as unmotivated- yet society needs these workers. It's a sad day when we disregard the very people who have stressful and low-paying work.

6

The irony as @5 pointed out is that someone has to do all of the work that the wealthy consider beneath them. But they don't want those people to make a living wage and they blame them if they're homeless. And you can be damn sure the minute all of the baristas, food service workers, cleaning/service workers, etc. "disappear" the wealthy will FREAK THE FUCK OUT because THEY don't want to do that work and they expect it to be done for them. They would simply prefer slavery come back into favor so they could house people in hovels and not have to pay the help.

7

Oh and for more perspective: 44% of the population earns less than what people working full-time on minimum wage earned in 1968 and over 60% of jobs in this country pay less than $20/hr, which means that over 60% of the jobs in this country pay less than $40K a year.

8

Which means (and this is verified by the Social Security Administration) over 50% of the working population in the United States makes less than $30K a year.

9

@6, "And you can be damn sure the minute all of the baristas, food service workers, cleaning/service workers, etc. "disappear" the wealthy will FREAK THE FUCK OUT because THEY don't want to do that work and they expect it to be done for them. "

So, if all these workers immediately started making 6 figure incomes the housing squeeze would become even worse and they would want someone to do their chores at a reasonable price too.

10

@6, And you can be damn sure the minute all of the baristas, food service workers, cleaning/service workers, etc. "disappear" the wealthy will FREAK THE FUCK OUT because THEY don't want to do that work and they expect it to be done for them.

If Baristas made 6 figure wages how many $40 $50 cups of coffee would you buy?
If Food Service Workers made 6 figure wages how many $50 Tacos or $200 Pizzas would you buy?
If Cleaning/Service Workers charged $200 a cleaning how often would you have it done?

11

" you can be damn sure the minute all of the baristas, food service workers, cleaning/service workers, etc. "disappear" the wealthy will FREAK THE FUCK OUT because THEY don't want to do that work and they expect it to be done for them."

You could be replaced with Mexican high school dropouts in an hour.

12

Minimum wage jobs are entry level work. High School and College students used to fill these jobs as an education and spring board to other careers. Now they're squeezed out. How has a entry level job all of a sudden become a supposed living wage for a family with kids?

13

Capitalism is based on exploitation. It is an obsolete and retarded economic system that is eating us up and destroying the environment. Its time to end it and provide people with a chance to have decent lives.

Recently one of the labor unions set up a workers cooperative in this country which is providing a decent way of life for the workers and their community.
These worker cooperatives are very successful in parts of Spain now. For example.

14

@13, Go Now!

15

Jenny Durkan should be removed from office for her violation of human rights both national and international. She has ordered sweeps again and again when there is little or nothing services and housing provided for unhoused people. She forces people out in the cold streets where many have gotten sick and others have died. This is criminal and her lies cannot cover this up.

Thank you so much Charles for your excellent article.

16

Jesus Christ, Mudede, take a math class. There is no such thing as the “median average.” They are two completely different terms. Your failure to understand this makes this entire article a joke.

17

The mayor is doing what she needs to do, bless her heart.

18

@13 Free market economies of various flavors have generated so much wealth, individually and collectively, that they are destroying the planet. People comparing the economies of the 1960s & 70s favorably to the economies of today obviously weren't alive then. Income inequality is much more extreme today but poverty in an absolute sense was much worse back then. Now it's true that if you stick a needle in your vein five times a day, your life is going to be shit. That hasn't changed.

19

17,

SNARK!

20

Where did I say service workers should make six figure salaries? Nowhere that I can see. But if it costs $80K to be able to afford rent in a city, then a living wage is $80K. And that's just for someone who wants to rent a one bedroom apartment and pay 30% of their net income to rent.

Oh it would make the housing situation SO much worse you say? Well you also say there are too many homeless people who should fuck off elsewhere. AND you also say people need to work their way up to better paying jobs if they don't like their service jobs. Talk about cognitive dissonance and refusal to acknowledge that people need to be paid MORE and that the cost of housing is completely obscene.

The wealthiest in this country are raking in billions, not paying their fare share in taxes, robbing the country blind every which way they can, and the people who do the actual LABOR in this country are getting fucked over in every possible way. Something has to give and pretending we can't afford to pay people truly living wages is just total and complete bullshit.

21

@15, "She forces people out in the cold streets where many have gotten sick and others have died. This is criminal and her lies cannot cover this up."

Where is she forcing the people out of? The Streets where the currently are?

Tent Cities are great, where eles can you buy a thousand dollar bicycle for under a hundred bucks? Amazon?

22

@20, "But if it costs $80K to be able to afford rent in a city, then a living wage is $80K."

Ok, you should have no problems paying $50 for a latte. Or boycott them for price gouging.

23

21 She forces people out of what little shelter they have into the cold streets by the sweeps she has ordered. She is not offering humane solutions which she claims she does. My dear.

24

@23, No. She makes them move their she!ter.

25

18 I was alive then and I know it was better economically for everyone.

Are you suffering from toxic masculinity? I hope you get well.

26

24 Sometimes that happens and sometimes not. That doesn’t change the fact that she is harassing the most destitute people in this city and causing more misery. She lives in luxury and has no kindness for others facing these hardships caused by the GREEDY.

27

18 I meant everyone in North America had more of a chance than they do now for a decent life due primarily to the then powerful labor movement.

28

17 Do you work for her? Or you do it for free.

29

Anderson Cooper was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and has never directly experienced anything even remotely close to a middle class existence, let alone poverty. It's therefore not surprising that he would crank out such a shallow 60 Minutes segment on homelessness in Seattle. It also wouldn't surprise me if this story hadn't been planted by the Discovery Institute's propaganda machine, which focuses on demonizing people living in grinding poverty and vilifies them as criminals and addicts. Christopher Rufo works there, and is directly connected to tRump's new campaign to punish cities that don't crack down harshly enough on homeless people. If CBS sourced this story all by itself, why wouldn't Cooper have contacted someone with factual knowledge of the topic instead of Ari Hoffman, one of #SafeInSeattleIsAHateGroup's latest crop of clown candidates who was crushed by Tammy Morales in his primary bid to become D2's CM? Hoffman is infamous for loudly and repeatedly stating that SPD found a decapitated homeless person inside a tent. Normally, such egregious fake news would destroy someone's credibility, but apparently this wasn't a problem for CBS.

TurnOffCBS

TurnOffNBC

TurnOffABC

TurnOffFOX

TurnOffPBS (except Frontline)

TurnOnDemocracyNow

30

10 Do you realize that that is a very stupid comment? The rent is too high and the wages are too low that is one of the real problems. Come on you don’t need to comment so stupidly unless you just want to play games on this comment list.

31

"Median average"

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the guy who expects you to take him seriously when he discusses economics.

32

"provide people with a chance to have decent lives."

Like in Venezuela.

33

@ 25 & 27

"Are you suffering from toxic masculinity? I hope you get well."

I'll need more than the buzzword du jour to understand your argument. Please elaborate, if you can.

"I was alive then and I know it was better economically for everyone."

Wow. Our experiences during that time must have been very different indeed. Just to cherry pick some examples, far more people have access to good health care, phones and indoor plumbing than they did in 1970. Of course that doesn't mean that all people have access to these things in 2019.

I could flood you with statistics in support (to a greater or lesser extent) of my argument but the internet gives you easy access to the same data. But I also want to point out differences in "absolute wealth" that can't be gleaned from those statistics. If you have access to good health care today, you possess something far more valuable than you possessed in 1970. If you possess a hand held computer with unlimited access to the world, you possess something far more valuable than a telephone of 1970. If you possess indoor plumbing, you possess something far more valuable than an outhouse. Those were still quite common in poor rural communities in 1970. I can offer countless examples - houses, cars, etc., etc. Technological advances and free markets have dramatically increased the wealth of rich, poor and everyone in between. Of course each of those items costs more (adjusted for inflation) because they are worth more. Statistical surveys tend to overlook those increases in value.

"I meant everyone in North America had more of a chance than they do now for a decent life due primarily to the then powerful labor movement."

If you're talking about men with white skin, I agree.

34

@28: Actually, she's not doing enough. Take the front entrances to the courthouse on 3rd ave, she dropped the ball on that and should have acted much sooner. We need much more of a law and order mayor.

Maybe Rudy would like a change of pace from his Trump entanglements and could work his magic here like he did in NYC. (only slightly kidding)

35

@33, I remember hearing the same old trope of how average Europeans didn't own cars or dishwashers and lived in tiny apartments so they were all the poors and 'Murica is awesomes! I then moved from my McMansion in the 'burbs to Europe and lived there in yes, a small apartment without a dishwasher. It was awesome. Life was good. Transit made getting around easy. Things weren't cheap, but wages were good. Health care and education were paid for by our taxes. Everyone smart enough to pass the entrance exams could afford college. If you got sick you didn't go bankrupt. ...but I still didn't have a dishwasher so life must have sucked and I just didn't know it.

36

@22 Make your own coffee. It's not hard to learn how, and it will be better than the swill underpaid baristas are expected to churn out every 45 seconds at Starbucks.

Having a secure place to live is far more important than the price of a latte. You are justifying the denial of basic human rights on the basis of a luxury you could easily produce yourself. If ensuring that every person in this city had a home and was not out on the street meant I could never buy a latte again, so fucking be it. If paying people a living wage means no more fast food, so fucking be it.

Exploitation of human beings is not justifiable by the price or amount of goods we get from that exploitation. That is the essence of capitalism and it must end.

37

" I then moved from my McMansion in the 'burbs to Europe and lived there in yes, a small apartment without a dishwasher. It was awesome. Life was good."

Past tense I notice. Big difference from your year abroad as a student and living in Europe. I say that as a happy ex-european, happy to escape high taxes, cramped living, high unemployment, shitty quality healthcare with rationing, lower wages and with the exception of the UK, shitty music.

38

@37, Yes it is past tense. I've also lived past tense in Asia and many parts of this country from beach to mountain to city. I really enjoyed many of these places, but sorry that you didn't. Anyway...
The big difference is that you'd get more out of a tax Euro than a tax Dollar unless you're a billion dollar corporation or in need of a stealth fighter or nuclear submarine. But here's where the math really doesn't make sense for the comparison...add in the costs of student loans and health care premiums and we're paying a far larger share here than there.

39

@35 & 38 There's a bit of apples and oranges here but I don't really disagree with your comments. I assume that we would agree that most European countries would fall into the broad category of "free market economies of various flavors {that} have generated so much wealth, individually and collectively..." Those countries tend to allocate their wealth differently. That's a separate discussion but personally I prefer the European model.

I would agree that, in America, educational costs have inflated far beyond their value. But I would argue that heath care premium increases, in large part and allowing for general inflation, are the result of technology and drugs that produce superior outcomes.

40

29 "SPD found a decapitated homeless person inside a tent." That was true you idiot. Try getting your information from somewhere other than The Stranger some time. The case is still under investigation.

41

I think "wage slavery" is the economic hypothesis that can explain this phenomenon.

@13 -- I agree with you, the Mondragon cooperatives and many other inter-related groups are important exemplars of a better economic way to live together.

But I really think that this currency we all have using "positive-interest" as it's basic expectation is the seed of the trouble we experience in capitalist economies, and the cooperatives are ultimately vulnerable to economically more-powerful entities who can do various things to undermine cooperatives functioning. The co-ops are still dependent on the State's fiat currency, after all.

I think the way to go is supporting complementary currencies, which simultaneously take the pressures off national currencies to be-all and do-all, while facilitating non-exploitative transactions between people. I think using a regional complementary currency in the Puget Sound would also give everybody a "safe harbor" that would allow economic activity to happen even when the Global Economy oceans' are stormy and "in recession", drying up money available for transactions & trade.

I think this is the only sensible thing to do. Why remain dependent on a single type of currency that is prone to wild distortions, dramatic & unnatural catastrophes, and flagrant abuse by people we'll never see?

42

We require a revolution.

One in the spirit of Marx and Lenin, where the worker and the oppressed are able to break free of their shackles and can extract a form of justice from the oppressors, slave masters, and colonizers. We must fight back.

44

43 etc. Standard bearers of the status quo. Classism. You are wrong. A police state is not going to work. If that is your answer then you are a racist and a fascist. You refuse to look at the true causes of poverty and homelessness when it is staring you in the face. GREED otherwise known as corporate capitalism or just plain capitalism.

Also, You do not or refuse to understand who the homeless are. Many have skills, many are employed, some are disabled, mentally ill and addicted. We are not your slaves or robots to do your bidding. Those of us who do not measure up to your insane and inhumane standards of success.

We, advocates, been there done that. You are dead. You stopped up your ears chose not to listen to really hear us. Chose not to grow emotionally, spiritually.
This is a very sick and corrupt system that does very great harm to all living things and our beautiful earth. We will do what we can to change it.

A tiny minority lives in incredible wealth at our expense and rules over us.

For the people that care there is a award winning movie called PARKED about a friendship between two homeless human beings. It is free on utube.

It could be called a love story.

45

41 - treacle - I agree with you too. Thanks.