WBUR

Report: 3 Minimum Wage Jobs Needed To Afford A Mass. 2-Bedroom Apartment

In Massachusetts, minimum wage earners would have to work 120 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment (Courtesy National Low Income Housing Coalition)

In Massachusetts, minimum wage earners would have to work 120 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment (Courtesy National Low Income Housing Coalition)

BOSTON — An employee earning the Massachusetts minimum wage would have to work three of those jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the state, according to a new report.

The annual report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition looks at the full-time hourly wage a household must earn in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent (FMR), while spending 30 percent or less of income on housing.

According to the report, the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment in Massachusetts is $1,251, and would require the state’s minimum wage earners to work a total of 120 hours a week (or, three jobs at 40 hours per week) in order to afford the cost of housing.

Assuming a 40-hour workweek, 52 weeks a year, the hourly minimum wage worker would have to earn $24.05 per hour in order to afford the cost of a two-bedroom — a $50,029 annual income. Currently, Massachusetts’ hourly minimum wage is $8, or $16,640 annually.

The report notes that the average hourly wage for a renter in Massachusetts is $17.17 — still below the $24.05 per hour needed to make the two-bedroom at Fair Market Rent affordable.

Massachusetts is the sixth most expensive jurisdiction in the country, following New York (139 hours needed to afford an apartment at FMR), New Jersey (137), Maryland (135), Washington, D.C., (132) and California (129) — all places with high relative housing costs.

The report also acknowledges that there is no state in the country where a minimum wage earner with one full-time job can afford a two-bedroom apartment.

While the study reports at a state level, it also breaks down the necessary minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom at FMR in specific metropolitan areas and counties in Massachusetts:

  • Nantucket County requires the highest hourly wage to afford a two-bedroom at FMR, at $36.10;
  • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy comes in second, at a $27.77 hourly wage;
  • and Dukes County comes in third, at a $26.92 hourly wage.

From unrelated data collected in January, the average cost per bedroom in the Boston/Cambridge metro during that month was $1,314.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.abbott Stephen Abbott

    Rents in MA are “too damned high” but what single person making minimum wage is trying to get into a TWO bedroom apt, anyway?

    • http://www.facebook.com/tamathy.stage Tamathy Stage

      A single parent with a child to raise.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

        Exactly. It seems that would be obvious.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Sgt.Amazing Keith Joseph Rahl

        even then, they’ll receive child support, which is unfairly advantaged to the custodial parent.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702442719 Sheila Karraker

          why is that unfairly advantaged to the custodial parent?

          • http://www.facebook.com/Sgt.Amazing Keith Joseph Rahl

            1. If the amount the non-custodial parent was initially paying was more than they needed to, the non-custodial parent cannot make it retroactive, but if it was less, then they owe the backpay. That is unfairly advantaged.

        • S. Politis

          “If” they receive child support. The other parent could be a deadbeat, or worse, dead.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Sgt.Amazing Keith Joseph Rahl

            Can’t be a deadbeat in MA, they throw your butt in jail, even across state lines after 2 months.
            Dead I agree. Not sure dead parents are enough to move the dial anywhere significant on this topic.

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.very.9 Richard Very

          Keith, 1. do your homework (research the numbers) or 2. Be a single parent. Then perhaps you might be able to speak to your specific situation. The stats show differently. Your ignorance at the circumstances that make someone a single parent is supremely highlighted in this statement.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Sgt.Amazing Keith Joseph Rahl

            1. What numbers? The MA child support formula? Done. . . I still stand by my statement.
            2. I am a single parent. Are you thinking that because I’m male and not a yellow dog libreal that I can’t be one? Sounds ignorant to me.

            The stats show that only 3% of the population even make min wage. If that is a single parent, then they are also receiving medicaid, EBT, and many other things that push them above the level of poverty. Minimum wage is set at a level to support 1 person, like a teenager or someone who just graduated, not a family. If you are 30 years old making min wage, then you have problems that free money can’t fix.

          • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.daniels.395017 Matthew Daniels

            You maybe right that only 3% of the population makes minimum wage. but what percentage make less than $15 an hour? Or less than $10? And then there’s child care, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, childcare costs $11,669 yearly for one 4-year-old child without some form of subsidy. Add to that, the more than 40,000 children on the waiting list for a state-subsidized child care voucher and you can begin to see your logical fallacies.

        • http://twitter.com/KirbysLeftEye myjah

          How is that unfairly advantaged to the custodial parent!?! Do you have any idea how much work it is to raise a child, much less as a single parent?

          • http://www.facebook.com/Sgt.Amazing Keith Joseph Rahl

            Yes actually I do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eleanor.ferron Eleanor Ferron

    So where do people live? The shelter? That would make all the haves happy

    • CMaz

      They’re all checking into the hospitals! Especially the released ex-cons! They all know how to work the system, and the hospital psych/detox unit is much better than the street or the shelter!

      • AllTrollsMustDie

        Almost no one actually makes minimum wage or below so housing for them is not really an issue. This Map is offering a very flawed view on the economic condition of America. Please read here to learn the truth about minimum wage http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2011.htm

  • jefe68

    Take a look at that map. There is not one state in which you can work a 40 hour week on minium wage and afford to live. People earning minium wage or slightly higher can’t afford to live anywhere in this country. Most live in lousy housing in crowded conditions or motels. Nickeled and Dimed was book on what it’s like to live on low wages.

    http://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/nickelanddimed.htm

    • AllTrollsMustDie

      Your logic is flawed. While there are people in poverty in this country, the overwhelming majority of people making minimum wage are students and people who aren’t even paying rent. It is reserved for things like that. The fact is….so few people earn minimum wage that your argument simply makes no sense. Check out this site. It it explains everything in detail, but in 2011 only 1.7 million people in the US even earned minimum wage. http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2011.htm

      • http://www.facebook.com/harrison.gamez Harrison Gamez

        Those statistics only included people AT or BELOW Federal minimum wage. How many more could be making 9 or 10 and hour? which still that’s not enough to afford these places.

        • CMaz

          Agree… $23,000 isn’t going to pay the bills!

      • CMaz

        A person with an undergraduate degree in psychology is looking at a starting salary of $11/hour in Massachusetts at a hospital and that is the highest paying job in psych that I know of without a graduate degree. Otherwise they can look forward to jobs at shelters and half-way houses for slightly more than minimum wage!

  • CMaz

    Who can afford a 2 bedroom??? I work full time and spend 50% of my income on my mortgage for a 1-bedroom condo in Taxachusetts! On top of that, after state and federal taxes, social security payments, and payments for health & dental insurance, retirement, medical retirement and short term disability, who has a paycheck left!? Then there’s electric, heat, phone, cable, cell phone… and oh condo fees ($230/month-1 bedroom/ $560-2 bedroom) … And our parents wonder why we don’t have any savings or disposable income!

    And then there’s college loans. I just heard of a guy who spent $200,000 on college for a degree in psychology! He’s scooping ice cream for minimum wage! If he can find a job in psychology with just an undergraduate degree, he’s looking at making $8-12/hour starting salary!

    • william02138

      That guy should have come to me. I could have taught him how to scoop ice cream for only $100,000. Seriously, are we supposed to feel sorry for someone who spends all that money without considering the career prospects first?

      • CMaz

        Sure, I guess at 17 years old he should have really considered his career prospects. He should have had better foresight. Kinda like the foresight the US banking system used right before the 2007 crash… or maybe the kind of foresight the CIA used before 9/11…

        • william02138

          This guy’s $200,000 psychology degree turned out to be a complete waste of money. I think we’d all agree on that — you, me and him. So who’s to blame?

          Maybe 17 is too young to be expected to spend $200,000 wisely. His parents must have paid and/or co-signed the loans. Maybe his college totally lied to him about the career prospects of psychology majors. And over the next 4 years he somehow didn’t figure it out and switch majors or otherwise cut his losses.

          I agree there are lots of problems with the US banking system, war machine, govt’s power to tax borrow & spend without your consent, etc. These things hurt almost everyone. But they are not the reason that society values the occupation of ‘low-level psychologist’ about the same as it values ‘ice cream scooper’.

          Ultimately it was this person and/or his family who chose to blow $200,000 on a useless degree.

    • Fact

      You can get higher paying research jobs with a Psych degree. I know because I’ve seen them. They may be few but they’re there. The problem is there are too many Psych majors.

      • CMaz

        I know that you can get higher paying jobs in psych if you have experience, but fresh out of college, it’s tough. Home Depot pays a higher starting salary than many starting psych jobs unfortunately.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      you need to get some section 8

  • Susan

    Perhaps more people should stop looking for the easy way through life and expecting others to pick up the slack.

    THINK FIRST-

    Get a better job – there are many out there – but you have to be willing to work hard and learn as you go.

    Get educated – not necessarily college – but take classes.

    Put off bringing children into the world if you can’t afford to raise them.

    If you are a teen and pregnant – put the child up for adoption – give the child the best possible future rather than keeping the kid down while you live off the state

    Don’t get divorced – it takes two to properly raise a child – and divorce is never a good option (unless there is abuse) Just because you aren’t ‘in love anymore’ is no reason to walk away from the commitment you made.

    • CMaz

      Seriously?! I have a friend who works THREE jobs! 2 at local hospital psych units and he is a lawyer trying to build a practice on his own because there is such a glut of JD’s in Massachusetts there are no jobs in law firms. He can’t pick up his family with 2 kids going to school and 1 in college and just move somewhere else. Who is looking for the easy way out! The middle class is going down!

      • Susan

        It was your friend’s choice to become a lawyer, did he not know before that there was a ‘glut of JD’s'? Practicality makes a big difference. Frankly, sounds like your friend is living far beyond his means. These choices we make, they have repercussions.

        Everything is over-inflated in this country. We give billions to people that give absolutely zero back, we support third world nations, and we have athletes who live like kings. But the middle class has defeated itself by electing liberal morons who want to help everyone but their own and by allowing themselves to be caught up in the “I can have it all and then some” mentality. Why do people need McMansions when a modest home would do? Why do people need to have SUVs when a sedan can do? Why do people have to have every game and brand new cell phone out there? Brand name kicks not sneakers, it goes on and on. Gluttony is what has gotten us here and allowing the middle class to suffer.

        An increase in wages won’t help anything. The employer will have to raise prices to pay the wage and then the cost of living goes up at the same, if not greater rate. Learn to live with less, stop living beyond your means and make the best of things.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

          The share of our budget to developing countries is FAR lower than most people estimate, the majority of it is military, and to a small handful of countries. Similarly, we never gave as much to our own working poor as some would think, and Clinton — a genuine conservative — started the drastic reduction in that. The current conservative in the White House has not changed that at all.

        • http://technoangina.tumblr.com Technoangina

          So because the job market changed after someone became a lawyer it’s somehow their fault? You realize that the majority of welfare is corporate welfare right? Can you show me a single “McMansion” that someone on welfare is living in? What reputable company would provide a loan for someone to live in a mansion who couldn’t afford it? Or is a house in a high cost housing area what you consider a McMansion? Also can you explain how to live with less if you aren’t able to find a job? I’m fairly certain living on less than zero is fairly difficult, oh right the lazy bums should just “get a job” even though there are less jobs available than there are people, any way you look at it, you’re purposefully and willfully leaving someone behind to suffer or if you had your way to starve to death. You make a lot of assumptions that come out of someone really doesn’t understand how someone on welfare lives.

          • Susan

            Apparently your reading comprehension skills are lacking. I won’t play this game with you. I stated my opinion and I stand by it, you don’t like it, so what.

          • http://technoangina.tumblr.com Technoangina

            Ah yes, I “insult you with childish statements” as you said in a different post, but you won’t “stoop to my level.”

            Let’s break things down here you said “It was your friend’s choice to become a lawyer, did he not know before that there was a ‘glut of JD’s'? Practicality makes a big difference.”

            I said “So because the job market changed after someone became a lawyer it’s somehow their fault?”

            You said “We give billions to people that give absolutely zero back, we support third world nations, and we have athletes who live like kings. But the middle class has defeated itself by electing liberal morons who want to help everyone but their own and by allowing themselves to be caught up in the “I can have it all and then some” mentality. Why do people need McMansions when a modest home would do?”

            I said ” You realize that the majority of welfare is corporate welfare right? Can you show me a single “McMansion” that someone on welfare is living in? What reputable company would provide a loan for someone to live in amansion who couldn’t afford it? Or is a house in a high cost housing area what you consider a McMansion? Also can you explain how to live with less if you aren’t able to find a job?”

            You said ” Learn to live with less, stop living beyond your means and make the best of things.”

            I said ” I’m fairly certain living on less than zero is fairly difficult, oh
            right the lazy bums should just “get a job” even though there are less
            jobs available than there are people, any way you look at it, you’re
            purposefully and willfully leaving someone behind to suffer or if you
            had your way to starve to death. You make a lot of assumptions that come
            out of someone really doesn’t understand how someone on welfare lives.”

            Hopefully that makes it easier for you to understand the crux of the debate here.

            You’re saying people should be able to do something that isn’t possible. You’re saying “Let them eat cake”

          • CMaz

            Actually, what I think she’s saying is;

            “I have a big pie and you don’t… and I’m good with that… go ahead and starve…it’s your fault that you don’t have a big pie like mine… if you are a lazy welfare mooch…starve! …and if you are a struggling over qualified lawyer or laid off executive…starve!” I think she is the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. All she knows how to say is; “Off with his head!” … “Off with his head!” … “Off with his head!”

          • Susan

            Your copy and paste skills are impressive, especially when you copy and paste items that do not go together.

            You and the other Allison are a lovely ignorant team that use part of the message to twist into something it wasn’t. I won’t be responding any further to either of you, you have your own agenda and issues to deal with.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

            You are not one to talk, Susan. You are twisting what you think are facts to suit your own agenda. Also, if you are going to accuse me of something, at least have the respect of spelling my name properly. Clearly you are demonstrating your own ignorance in not being attuned to detail and accuracy.

        • CMaz

          “It was your friend’s choice to become a lawyer, did he not know before that there was a ‘glut of JD’s'? Practicality makes a big difference.”

          No he didn’t, because there wasn’t a glut of JD’s when he made that choice, nor while he was in grad school. He came here from Jamaica for a better life and worked his butt off to get it and still does. Still you are just as disparaging to those who pull themselves up by the bootstraps, get the education and bust their tails as you are to the welfare/foodstamps people!

          In the past 4 years we have gone from a wide open market for nurses to hardly a job to be had. When I was looking to get MCSE training, suddenly the tech market blew out. Not everyone is a psychic!

    • http://www.facebook.com/tehrene.hart Tehrene Hart

      I think your solution is overly simplistic and optimistic at best and a pipe dream and destined for failure at worst. Get a better job, work harder, I am sure those earning minimum wage flipping your burgers, making your coffee, stocking the shelves at grocery store, or working double shift caring for your parents, love hearing how standing on their feet for hours serving hundreds of customers aren’t working hard enough. And definitely take classes pick up another job to pay for them because they barely have money to pay their bills but definitely can find thousands of dollars to pay for it. Plus find the time from their family to get another job, and to take the classes . Teen parents should flood the foster homes with children because their are plenty of families better fit to raise them than their parents, obvious by the fact there is not one single orphan let alone thousands waiting in the system for good parents.

      • Susan

        Lovely thing about this country, it offers free education to all its citizens, and a whole lot of illegals too. But if people take advantage of that education and work hard, they can get better than minimum paying jobs. College isn’t a must – but if you take a technical class or other vocational job, you can be pretty sure that you won’t be earning min wage.

        There are many places that have technical and vocational classes at night for those that really want to better themselves – most are fairly inexpensive – and should be considered an investment in the future.

        If you are stocking shelves,flipping burgers, making coffee for a full time supporting a family job, WHY?? Where did you miss the opportunity to do better? Did you drop out of school, not pay attention? What? How did that happen? Did you have a child while still a child yourself? (Then that was a choice and not a good one, but still a choice not a force)

        Teen parents shouldn’t become parents. The state/government needs to stop rewarding this behavior. A child should not be a burden on the state only on the parents and if you can’t afford to raise a child without being a burden then …… well don’t play with fire. It should not be our problem as a society that uneducated, unemployable people are multiplying at rates much greater than those that do things in the normal order.

        • http://www.facebook.com/tehrene.hart Tehrene Hart

          Yes this country has free education but a lot of that education cost the students in the long run. Inner city school do not prepare inner city kids to become lawyers and doctors or push out a lot of professionals let alone a lot of graduates. But I guess they didn’t take advantage of the overcrowded classes and disenfranchised teachers that work for a pay and not to improve youths. But the test scores reflect this and not just my complaining about missed opportunities of some and a fairy tales for most. Is not divorcing or choosing to stay together an option for so many who never knew one parent. But that was their choice, every child that has special needs, or a disability that didn’t have a great teacher, chose that, right?
          Learn a trade that takes months, costs thousands, and take hours in the day or evening that isn’t filled with working full time or caring for their family. But again that was their choice.
          My opportunities, personally, although I am a single parent, I have two kids in college and three excellent student, two of with have IEPs and double bachelors for myself. But the difference is I had a great support system that a lot of kids or teen parents will never have. I was raised in the inner city, on welfare and thank God my mother wasn’t on drugs when so many others were. I also had a teacher who saw my potential early and encouraged me and got me bussed from dorchester to east boston in the suburbs. Most kids are not encouraged.
          Its always great for those to sit on the sidelines and judge others decision when they have no idea how they would react in the same situation. But if only we could walk in your home and open your closets, see what happens behind your closed doors. Are your kids happier than theirs? Your therapy bill says no.

          • Susan

            So what do you people think ought to be done?

            I have pointed out that people need to take a lot more responsibility in their own futures. Get the education that will keep you from being lowest paid, put off bringing children into the world until you are reasonably sure you can afford to, stick with your commitments and when the going gets tough, don’t walk out the door and expect others to clean up after you. Will this solve the entire problem, no, but it will certainly go a lot further than throwing money at it.

            The State recognized that education wasn’t a level playing field, which is why MCAS came into play. While it doesn’t cure the issue, it certainly brought to light some flagrant discrepancies. At the same time, how is it that there are kids, every single day, succeeding in these failing schools? Those kids are making the CHOICE to make the best of a bad situation. They won’t be working for minimum wage – no they are bettering themselves. And some will become doctors, lawyers and other professionals. So if one can do it, the rest can too. IT is a choice. We all have obstacles to overcome. Recognizing these is part of the problem. If you know you can never amount to supporting a family on minimum wage, shouldn’t you really think long and hard before starting a family?? Choices.

            There are plenty of trade schools in MA that are an alternative to high school and with school choice, it is feasible for them to get there.

            I am not against welfare as a helping hand, I am against welfare as a way of life. Generation after generation living off others is disgraceful and goes against being part of a thriving society. Welfare was never meant to create a sub-sect of people that never have to work.

            Rents are too high, wages too low. Rents are as high as the market will bear – there are renters paying these high amounts- Where are the people living that can’t afford them? In welfare housing? If so, they are already getting a break on their rent through Sect 8. If people refused to rent a place the landlord would reduce the price. But that isn’t happening. Is there a large percentage of working people living in homeless shelters?

            Wages are too low. So we raise the minimum wage. Great. Now those that were earning the $2.00 over minimum wage are at the bottom wrung once again. They won’t get an increase and all the hard work they did to get ahead – boom gone in one flick of the pen. Those that were at the bottom got rewarded with a pay raise just for being there. Huh! You know the employer isn’t going to be giving raises that year because all the new employees are making $2.00 more than the last group. Who suffers? Well heck the employer is NOT going to eat that, it WILL be passed on to the consumer. Now everything will cost a bit more, a few companies will fold due to higher costs, and more people will be laid off, and once again, people won’t be able to afford rents.

          • http://www.facebook.com/tehrene.hart Tehrene Hart

            My problem is there is so much generalizations in your comments, fact, yes vocational high schools are free but with a limited amount of vacancies and they must provide regionally. Also vocational schools do not prepare you to further your education in college because they dont focus enough on acadmics, kids often receive good grade in mathin vocs then get tested into basic math.
            And today welfare is merely a stepping stone for families, where a majority of them receive assistance for no more than 6 months before transitioning back into employment.The problem is that employment is
            far too often minimum wage work where they are not self sufficient and still depend on food stamps, masshealth or child care assistance. This is because immediately getting off welfare is encouraged instead of gaining a useful and lucrative skill.

          • Susan

            I disagree with you regarding the welfare system. It was intended to be a stepping stone and has turned into a way of life. Generations of families are not only on it, but will vehemently fight to stay on and declare it to be their right.

            Getting off welfare is tough, but doable and if you have the conviction and drive to do so you can. But the easy road is welfare- letting someone else take care of all your needs and expecting them to do so.

            I also disagree with your assessment of vocational schools. Many students go on to higher education from vocational school, while the remaining enter into the work force with jobs at the ready.

          • http://technoangina.tumblr.com Technoangina

            Susan,

            I’ve read many of your posts and they are some of the most fact devoid pieces of writing I have read from someone who obviously has the capability to know better.

            What you’re suggesting in almost every post isn’t even legitimately possible. The crux of your arguments is that people should stand on their own two feet regardless of where they started, and just working hard will get you where you can have a somewhat livable life. That’s absolute horse hockey. It sounds great on paper, especially if you’ve just spend time reading Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead, but you make an ill conceived assumption that everyone starts in the same situation and at the same level. That’s just not true and facts don’t support it. You’ve brought up the middle class being gutted, you know who gutted it? Supply side economists who willfully ignore any facts that suggest a short term gain for long term pain. Before Reagan opened the floodgates the middle class was healthy, but if you kick every support structure out from under those who need it you get to where we are now, constant crisis mode. The conservative “bootstrapper” mantra forgets the adage that an ounce of prevention prevents a pound of cure. We’ve allowed healthcare to skyrocket, bankers to run wild(then bailed them out), military industrial complex, erosion of security and general move to the conservative all in the name of self reliance and security and it’s absolutely decimated not just our country, but the world economy. Yes, of course people need to be allowed to fail, but the supports were in place to allow them to fail forward. Now the mantra of you and those like you seems to be “Fail and stay down, I’m not going to help you get back on your feet”, but you’ve forgotten that a rising tide raises all boats.

          • Susan

            Then please share your words of wisdom with us, and do it in a manner that appeases everyone that may read it. Use facts and cite your findings. Anything less will no be accepted.

          • http://technoangina.tumblr.com Technoangina

            I actually wasn’t insulting you. You’re generalizing an entire group of people based upon your view of the world, which is realistically devoid of factual knowledge. I actually said you were intelligent enough to know better, apparently I was wrong and I apologize. I will not make assumptions about you being intelligent in the future.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

            Technoangina – I tried to point out that very same thing and received a similar response. Generalizations are a big problem in this country! I hope that the people that are commenting on here, such as yourself, are heard louder than those who cannot properly articulate themselves.

          • http://technoangina.tumblr.com Technoangina

            Unfortunately, statistically speaking negative comments are more likely to sway the undecided than positive. I actually would cite my sources for Susan too, but I really don’t feel like writing a full on research paper that isn’t going to be read, especially when so many people don’t understand that capitalism was meant to redistribute wealth away from the wealthy and that even Adam Smith stated there would need to be government regulation of capitalism to work. C’est la vie, we’re moving right past capitalism anyways, it’s kind of exciting to be on the cusp of a new economic theory, but I’d say within 20 years we’ll no longer consider ourselves capitalists in favor of something that can adequately handle near 0 cost of creation. I think we end up with a shorter workweek ideally or a lot more people being supported by a lot fewer in a worst case scenario.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

            I agree entirely. I was just discussed Wealth of Nations last week in fact. Also, I would be curious to read said research paper, but I completely understand that this is hardly the forum for such writing! (… as I flip back to my Word document that contains my current conference presentation paper…) If you have FB, add me. We can continue this discussion sans Susan. I have yet to move into the world of Tumblr.

          • http://www.facebook.com/john.c.kramer John Kramer

            Susan- do you know the stats on worker productivity in this country? Do you also know the stats on wage disparity between the very rich and very poor? Do you think it is reasonable? America is not a nation of slackers, at least from a productivity standpoint, so help me find a different and more useful interpretation of your words. Furthermore, you mention that welfare is a “way of life” (meaning disincentive). To me, that’s a symptom, not the problem itself. Isn’t working 120 hours a week and still not being able to get by a pretty large disincentive to work? They choose welfare because, working doesn’t pay- literally.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

            Thank you for this post. I agree.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mrthomasfane Thomas Fane

          Funny how attitudes like this only surface when Democrats become into power and start to threaten the stranglehold that Military Industrial Oligarchy has on this country.

          Get a good job! Work Harder! Tell that to employees who worked for Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Adelphia, ImClone Systems, Arthur Andersen, Cendant and HealthSouth. Tell that to employees who have had life insurance policies taken out on them WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE.

          Your “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality assumes that the elite super-rich are as they had been. A class that previously recognized that their wealth was due to the labor that was done by their workers and were willing to give back to the society that had made them ungodly amounts of money. Today, in American society, the Super Rich pay less taxes then the middle class and are willing to exploit anyone to increase their amount of wealth. The “Conservative” Agenda in this country has hoodwinked you into thinking that the working class is to blame for the countries financial woes, when in fact the Super Rich, War Hungry, Pension Gambling, No Tax Paying Oligarchy is mostly to blame.

          You’re attitude is shameful. And i’m willing to bet dollars to halos that you identify as a Christian. A Religion that is based in charity and help for the poor. And if you believe the Right Wing in this country, is the religion that this country was founded to follow. Ironic, eh?

          • Susan

            You should actually read what I wrote.
            Regarding your last paragraph, you are wrong on every point. So much for jumping to a conclusion. Do you wear special shoes for that?

        • http://www.facebook.com/auostrow Alexander U Ostrow

          Vocational and graduate schools are not “free education.” They are expensive and time-consuming. Your questions and statements in these last two paragraphs don’t address how to resolve already-existing problems.

          • http://www.facebook.com/auostrow Alexander U Ostrow

            When did you last work a minimum wage job?

          • Susan

            High school

          • Susan

            vocational and technical high school are free

          • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

            Not really. The costs are increasingly shifted to parents.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

          “Illegal” is not a noun.

          • Susan

            Just looked it up:

            “Illegal
            Noun

            An illegal immigrant.”

            Check and mate

          • liz

            except in your example there, illegal is an adjective modifying the noun “immigrant.”

          • Susan

            I copied and pasted, it was googles definition

          • 10100111001
          • Susan
          • 10100111001

            yes, google instead of a real dictionary. Gotcha/

          • Susan

            google uses real web sites and dictionaries. But, sure, look for a childish way to insult. See my comment above. Gotta love when that happens!!

          • Susan

            USE YOUR OWN LINK – SCROLL TO SECOND DEFINITION.

            QUOTE: “2illegal noun

            Definition of ILLEGAL

            : an illegal immigrant” END QUOTE

            check and mate!!

          • 10100111001

            … caps lock is screaming you know

          • Susan

            you are still wrong….but keep playing childish games.

          • 10100111001

            does this make you feel better? Knowing that you rely in good and secondary definitions to dehumanize people that come to this country?

          • Susan

            Is this where you want to go? Wow you are truly pathetic.

            As for illegals, they have no business being in this country – they are thieves, cheats and have no respect for the country they are benefiting from. Not only that they insult every person that went through the proper channels to be citizens of this fine country. Each and every one should be deported. I also think that they need to take their anchor babies with them, and when those children are old enough to support themselves, they and not their law breaking parents should be welcomed back.

          • 10100111001
          • Susan

            Oh you are pathetic!!!! Where do you think they came from? Spontaneous creation? Funny they have many same attributes as the Russians?
            The Native American argument is a sad and desperate attempt to justify people breaking the current laws of this land. If that is all you have, then just keep it to yourself, it only proves you know you are wrong.
            This is the last comment I will have with you. You can’t fix stupid and you are stupid.

          • 10100111001

            good because you don’t seem to realize you benefit from treaty breaking and technically you are illegal too.

          • 10100111001

            hey! you edited your comment. And Im sorry, but even the federal governement disagrees with you about treaty breaking… Treatys are current laws

            an example
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Sioux_Nation_of_Indians

        • http://www.facebook.com/dana.murray.3154 Dana Murray

          Not everyone is destined for whatever you are qualifying as better, which doesn’t mean they deserve to earn less than a livable wage for doing full time work. Besides, your use of the term “better” is absurd. What is “better” about filing papers, answering phones, and entering data other than the pay? People need to do all kinds of jobs, and your assumption that low paying = easy is ignorant. Try being a day laborer, a lunch lady or a CNA — none of those jobs are easy, all of them are important, and none of them pay great.

          • Susan

            I agree not everyone is destined to be ‘better’. Someone always has to be the bottom. Raising the minimum wage won’t make their situation more livable because the costs will increase proportionately. Earning more will – and that is “better”.

            Those that are not qualified to earn more than minimum wage should recognize that and live where their income allows. No they can’t get the penthouse apartment in Boston, no they can’t have a beach house. They should certainly not be having child after child either.

            The day laborer, the lunch lady and the CNA all earn MORE than minimum wage. Yes they are hard. Is it fair to them if the minimum wage is increased to what they are making? How would that help them?? It won’t, in fact it will hurt them tremendously won’t it? That is my point. Raising the minimum wage hurts the rest of the people up the ladder.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dana.murray.3154 Dana Murray

            Can I ask what you do for a living?

    • rogger2

      “Put off bringing children into the world if you can’t afford to raise them.”

      If everyone followed this logic our country would have died out during the great depression.

      • Susan

        Then so be it. Why should I have to pay to support people that can’t do it for themselves. I am okay with lending a helping hand, but I am not okay with it being a way of life. God helps those that help themselves, USA helps the rest.

        • http://www.facebook.com/tehrene.hart Tehrene Hart

          Susan since you are against welfare for starving families, how do you feel about the real welfare queens, who don’t pay their fair share or any taxes at all, who profit in the billions each year and send much needed jobs oversea and still receive government subsidies every year? Do you feel that companies like Walmart, should receive these subsidies even though their employees further drain the economy because they still need food stamps though they work full time?

          • Susan

            You obviously didn’t read my postings.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702442719 Sheila Karraker

          …so you are a authority and have knowledge of everyone’s particular situation in life?? getting assistance is not a “way of life” it hasn’t been for a long time with the time limits a person can get assistance. Many companies brag about paying above min. wage, most don’t, it might be a few dimes over, the point is no one can plan for their future on any wage below $15.00 an hour if single or $25-30 a hour if supporting a family. What amuses me the most are the people who feel, “work harder, get a education” are the cure for the nations ills are the first one with their hand out when disaster or a life changing event happens to them…then, maybe, just maybe you might “get it” But until then you won’t. You stand to loose the most believing what you do.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10232709 Bryan Jones

          I don’t think you really care about anyone but yourself….unfortunately America is churning out too many people like you these days….a big part of the reason this country is falling apart….there is no sense of togetherness or community, no sense of we…..it’s every man for himself.

          • Susan

            You are 100% wrong. I believe in helping people in their time of need. I believe that giving a helping hand is much much better than giving a hand out. I believe in community and that people should be productive in their community.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

      This is very naive. There are many people who are educated who simply cannot find work. What would you say to all of the people out there who get paid a lot of money and do very little work compared to the people working multiple minimum wage jobs just to keep afloat? Should those people get paid less because they don’t work as hard? Maybe they should. And maybe those people working extremely hard should get paid more.

      I do agree that adoption is an option often overlooked. It is certainly a better option than a child falling into the foster system further down the road if their parents cannot take care of them. I would say, however, you should not generalize and assume that all pregnant teens live off of the state. Your wording makes you sound pretty high and mighty. I feel the same way about your comments regarding divorce. Each situation is different. It is not for you to decide what is best for everyone. Even if there is no abuse, if two people do not love each other anymore, sleep in separate bedrooms and fight all the time do you still think that is a good place for a child to grow up? What will be the psychological implications of that? Or what if one of the parents realizes that they are gay or lesbian? Should they still stay married? What will that teach their child? There are as many potential consequences for children who grow up in dysfunctional households with two parents as there are for children who grow up with one parent or parents who are divorced or separated.

      Financial distress of the middle class deserves recognition and true investigation. The middle class is the backbone of America and its disintegration could have very serious consequences not only on the economy of the States but on the world. The government has a responsibility to these people – not to bail them out but to provide viable options for them to help themselves. Do I have the answer as to what these options should be? No. But I am thinking about it, educating myself and talking to others. The more we communicate with one another the more likely we are to find a solution.

      • Susan

        “There are many people who are educated who simply cannot find work.” I think, and this is my opinion, that there are far more educated people that can not find work they think is worthy of them and would pay them what they think they are worth.

        ” Each situation is different. It is not for you to decide what is best for everyone. Even if there is no abuse, if two people do not love each other anymore, sleep in separate bedrooms and fight all the time do you still think that is a good place for a child to grow up?”

        My divorce comment was addressing the issue of people becoming society’s burden rather than the two consenting adults. When people get married and bring children into the world, they are the two that should be supporting them, not the government.

        I agree with your comment about the middle class, it does need to be investigated. The middle class has become nearly extinct. Part of the problem is the middle class thinks it is upper class and deserves all the perks the upper class has. Not everyone can own a mansion.

        • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

          Your divorce comment in no way reflects the specificity that you are giving it now. You said, “Don’t get divorced – it takes two to properly raise a child – and divorce is never a good option (unless there is abuse) Just because you aren’t ‘in love anymore’ is no reason to walk away from the commitment you made” You are making a generalized statement that is more about commitment and child rearing than it is about financial support.

          Not everyone in the middle class is as self-righteous as you seem to think they are – and as you seem to be acting. As part of the middle class (albeit the Canadian middle class), I strongly disagree with your perception that everyone in the middle class simply thinks they are too good for what they can afford. That is the image that is being perpetuated and that is part of the problem. The other part is exactly what you have mentioned in the last paragraph of your response to me, “The middle class has become nearly extinct.” That is, in fact, far from the truth. The middle class has grown extensively; their resources are what are becoming extinct. Without proper support systems in place the middle class will continue to grow and feed off of the government even more, draining the country’s resources.

          Reform is needed. The welfare system is flawed and abused. The health care system is imploding on itself and the people that truly need it. But it is not just the government systems that need to be reformed. Attitudes need to change. We cannot afford to look down on each other, as you are doing. We need to work together to find a solution. And, yes, I do mean work.

          • Susan

            oh well, I don’t agree with you and if you want to nip pick things, be my guest

          • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

            Disagreeing with someone is perfectly fine, healthy in fact. But, as I say to my students, you need to be able to support your point of view. What you call nit-picking is in fact picking out the flaws in your argument. In the responses I have read to other people’s comments I see someone who clearly has a view of the world that puts themselves on top. It is a lot easier to judge those around you from that vantage point. Perhaps if you grounded yourself a little in this discussion you could see what we are all saying.

          • Susan

            Alison, you know nothing about me. You are making sweeping statements that are founded in assumptions. I did support my point of view, I will not play a stupid game of you said this and meant that. It is a waste of my time. The poster was referring to the divorce comment, and yes, I could write about why I don’t agree, I chose not to.
            As for you and your assumptions…..I don’t care for them and won’t entertain them.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alison.bowie1 Alison Bowie

            You are being childish and rude. You are brazenly attacking me and the others that are responding to your original post. I was attempting to have a reasonable, educated discussion with you. Clearly, that is not possible.

        • CMaz

          ” I think, and this is my opinion, that there are far more educated people that can not find work they think is worthy of them and would pay them what they think they are worth.”

          Yeah… like a lawyer working as a Mental Health Counselor in 2 different hospitals and a psychology graduate working in an ice cream shop. My goodness, such entitlement!

        • CMaz

          “Part of the problem is the middle class thinks it is upper class and deserves all the perks the upper class has. ”

          What exactly is it that you think the upper class “deserves” that all human beings don’t “deserve?” My parents are middle class and they put my brother through Brown and then Harvard and now he is a venture capitalist! He is upper class and they are still middle class, but he would never piss on them the way you piss on others… like you are some higher than thou person and that you reserve the right to sit in judgement of people who aren’t upper crust! I put myself through college and do the best I can. I’m not married and don’t have children. I live in a 1 bedroom condo and take care of myself. I have zero debt and zero credit card balance. I make around $50,000/year and it’s a struggle to survive on that!
          I find your views extremely offensive and as such, will respond in kind…
          I hope in your next life you are born to the Kshudra caste in India. In this life, I hope you lose your job and McMansion and have to suffer like some of the people you blame for their lot in life! You’re probably a trust fund baby anyway!

    • disqus_ztwopQ51x3

      To Susan:

      you are an idiot

    • S. Politis

      You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Let me guess, you’re over 50 (more likely over 60), and never worked because your husband did. You always had enough because back in the day, when you were part of a young couple, most jobs paid people enough to live and raise a family.

      • Susan

        Wrong on every account.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

    Henry Ford was a conservative who understood that for him to be rich, workers needed to be paid fairly. Not lavishly, but at least enough to buy his stuff. Later, “conservative” became conflated with “greedy,” and further riches were extracted from the workers, by playing them off against workers elsewhere.

    Some say education is the answer, but it is not. It is the answer to other concerns, but not to the problem of imbalance in the bargaining power between capital and labor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    lets give the $24 an hour minumum wage a shot

    • william02138

      Do you realize this means outlawing all jobs that pay less than $24 per hour? That would certainly help companies that make automated equipment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        like irobot? human labor is becomming obsolete rapidly. lets let people make a few bucks while we still need them for anything

        • william02138

          Not just robots, any machines. The more expensive labor becomes, the more likely that a vending machine will replace a convenience store worker, one guy with a snow plow will replace ten guys with shovels, a $100,000 software package will replace 3 data entry clerks, etc. And it’s not just machines. The more expensive American labor becomes, the more work goes to foreigners instead. Or customers simply do without because they can’t afford the higher prices.

          Yes, technology is making human labor obsolete in many areas. That’s because the machine is less expensive than the labor in those cases. Increasing the cost of labor is just going to put people out of work faster.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            i was thinking a robotic vehicle would replace lots of peoples jobs. they are legal and driving right now. bank and market tellers, warehouse workers, movie store clerks, pharmacists and doctors are already learning what internet robots and automation can do. as soon as they perfect robot prostitutes the elites wont need us at all anymore, and of course the japonese are full steam ahead on that.

  • A.P.

    This is the reason why I moved out of MA(Springfield area) 5 years ago where a 2 bedroom apt is around 800-1000 a month(if not higher in the nicer towns). I currently live in Lexington, KY. I pay 795 a month for a 3 bed/1bath house in a incredibly safe area. There are jobs everywhere here and fair pay for the most part. I wouldn’t go back to MA. Sure I miss my friends and family but MY family’s life and happiness are much more important.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikolas.blodgett Nikolas Blodgett

    A cheap studio at $650 a month (about the cheapest available around central Mass), is $7,800 per year. At $16,640 annually (the Mass min. wage), this is affordable but still half of the workers income.

    • 10100111001

      that contradicts the definition of affordable

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikolas.blodgett Nikolas Blodgett

    Most comments here are well thought out. Some are too lengthy, and as one of my English teachers said “Where there is too much, something is missing” (namely coheret elegance). It shames me however when people allow emotions to overcome their judgement and resort to name-calling and shout arbitrarily about political parties instead of logical arguments and counter-points.

  • http://www.facebook.com/srsays21 Steven Sayers

    Data is highly skewed. I am from MA, once made minimum wage, and lived OK. Boston, the Cape, and Nantucket/MV completely skew the average rent for a 2 bedroom apt. Anyone living outside these areas has a fair chance to get an apt – and besides, that person would have a roommate, like most people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sgt.Amazing Keith Joseph Rahl

    I see a lot of complaining from the left, but isn’t Mass dem controlled? Even when Mitt was there, it had a dem controlled senate.

    • CMaz

      Same problems in NH/Maine/Vermont/RI/Conn…. This is not about who controls the govt. Big business controls the gov’t anyway. The rest is a charade!

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