VIA Altercation: Here's a letter to the editor from this morning's New York Times discussing what the bare minimum to achieve the "American Dream" actually costs today’s economy. Note the person who wrote the letter lives in Wisconsin. Now image what that cost is for a person living here in San Diego.
To the Editor:
Yesterday I was offered a tech-support job for a publicly traded company. It pays a paltry $9 to $10 an hour. When I squawked that this is not a livable wage, I was hesitantly offered $11.75.
There are no benefits, other than the fact that this is a “great company” and would look “good on my résumé.” Oh, did I forget to mention a company picnic each summer?
I added up the cost of the two-hour-a-day commute, a mortgage on an average home, health insurance that kicks in only if I am at death’s door, home and auto insurance and utilities. The break-even point was $10.35 an hour. Take into account laundry, groceries, clothing and other basic expenses and I am working at a deficit. No more movies, concerts, sporting events, family or friends because I simply cannot afford them.
Why are some in this prosperous nation of ours so challenged when it comes to comprehending something as simple as paying workers a livable wage? Pay workers sufficiently and they will be loyal and dependable. Stiff them with low wages and they immediately begin to look for something better. Workers are this nation’s greatest asset.
Or is this all a ploy to hold workers hostage between their low-pay jobs and debt so they don’t interfere with the lifestyles of those who have more?
Charles McEniry Stoughton, Wis., Aug. 29, 2007 [Link]