A. The plunder of the American people (8)
What it really costs to lead a normal life in the United States of America…
We will take into consideration a typical 4-member family.
Housing: We will assume that the family rents a modest 2-bedroom apartment. Owning a home costs more. We are not talking luxury here. Rent and utilities for a 2-bedroom apartment would be about $1,460 a month.
Health costs: Let us assume that someone in the family has a full-time job. That is by no means a trivial assumption, as there are 93 million out-of-work Americans plus another 28.42 million Americans who work part-time and therefore only rarely have any employer-assisted medical insurance. In this “fortunate” case your yearly medical expenses amount to $11,033. That is an average of $919 a month.
Personal transportation: We will assume that our family has only one private automobile. If more than one member of the family is employed (full- or part-time), that complicates matters, as urban public transportation generally is very poor. As we have shown, the annual cost of owning and driving an automobile in the US is $8,698. That comes to $725 a month.
Taxes: The average working family pays about 30% of their income in taxes. (Even people collecting unemployment insurance have to pay taxes on the amount received!). For people renting an apartment instead of owning a home, the amount may be somewhat less, as they are not required to pay property taxes.
Summary of basic expenses: Let us examine how things stand for our median-income family earning a gross income of $51,939 a year. That amounts to $4,328 monthly income. First, we have to subtract taxes, as this money is not spendable. That leaves $36,357 yearly spendable income, or $3,030 per month.
Basic monthly expenses are: (1) rental housing — $1,460; medical costs — $919; transportation — $725. The total comes to $3,104, or just slightly more than the allotted spendable income. But wait! We have not even considered the costs of food, shoes, clothing, household supplies, emergencies, entertainment, vacations, funeral expenses, child care, college education, saving for retirement… Make no mistake! All this costs money too.
For instance, in 2013 it cost $146 to $289 a week to feed an American family of 4 (www.usatoday.com, May 1 2013).”a thrifty food plan, $146 a week; a low-cost food plan, $191 a week; a moderate-cost plan, $239; a liberal plan, $289 a week.” On a monthly basis, food costs in 2013 ranged from $626 to $1,239. US inflation from 2013 to the beginning of 2017 totalled 4.4%, but food inflation was greater – 8,3% in this period (“Why Are Food Prices Rising? Causes of Food Price Inflation,» The Balance, Sept 08, 2016). So adjusting (without compounding interest), current food prices in the US range from $678 (a terribly meager diet!) to $1,342 per month.
But our median budget simply does not allow for the cost of food! This budget does not allow for anything else either.
Entertainment anyone? If you go to the family entertainment park Disneyworld, day’s excursion for each person will cost from $153.70 to $200 (www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/tickets.htm). For a family of four (very few people go to Disneyworld alone), that day out will cost you and your loved ones about $708. And in rubles? About 42,500 rubles, thank you very much. And food and souvenirs at the park will all be additional expenses. (I remember nothing being cheap at Disneyworld.)
Enjoy major league baseball? In 2016, the average price to watch a New York Yankees home game was $51.55. The Houston Astros were somewhat cheaper: $31.82 (Statista). Or around 3,090 to 1,910 rubles for a single ticket.
And there is inflation. “Here’s Why So Many American Families Are Feeling Extreme Financial Stress” (The Economic Collapse blog Feb 17, 2017) “When the cost of living rises faster than paychecks do year after year, eventually that becomes a very big problem… Since 1913, we have had non-stop inflation and the U.S. dollar has lost more than 98 percent of its value… The things that we all spend money on month after month just keep going up in price. I am talking about food, housing, medical care and other essentials. If there is one thing that we can always count on, it is the fact that things are going to cost more tomorrow than they do today…
“ Meanwhile, our incomes have been incredibly stagnant. In fact, we just learned that median household income did not go up at all during 2016…
“The following is a list that was posted on The Economic Policy Journal that shows how much some food and grocery items have increased over the past decade… 1. Tobacco and smoking products — Price increase: 90.4%; 2. Margarine — Price increase: 63.6%; 3. Uncooked ground beef -Price increase: 46.3%; 4. Shelf stable fish and seafood -Price increase: 45.0%; 5. Prescription drugs -Price increase: 43.5%; 6. Rice, pasta, cornmeal -Price increase: 40.3%;
7. Bread -Price increase: 38.9%; 8. Snacks -Price increase: 38.4%; 9. Miscellaneous poultry including turkey -Price increase: 37.0%; 10. Apples -Price increase: 36.6%; 11. Frankfurters
-Price increase: 35.8%; 12. Canned vegetables -Price increase: 35.3%; 13. Salt and other seasonings and spices —Price increase: 34.0%; 14. Miscellaneous fats and oils including peanut butter -Price increase: 34.0%; 15. Miscellaneous processed fruits and vegetables including dried -Price increase: 33.7%; 16. Bacon and related products -Price increase: 33.2%; 17. Fresh whole chicken -Price increase: 32.5%; 18. Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies -Price increase: 32.1%;
19. Flour and prepared flour mixes -Price increase: 32.1%; 20. Canned fruits -Price increase: 32.0%.
«And thanks to out of control government spending and reckless manipulation by the Federal Reserve, we have come to a time when inflation is starting to accelerate once again.»
Now, you should be getting the true picture of why «Many US workers struggle to feed themselves and their families.» The $26,000 average yearly pay of these workers simply does not cut it. Now you can understand why “63 Of Americans Don’t Have Enough Savings To Cover A $500 Emergency.» And as you probably have understood by now, $500 in the US is not much money.
And as for the 109,631,000 Americans (35% of the population!!) who live on a MAXIMUM monthly welfare allowance of $900 ($10,800 a year), they are in deep, deep poverty – even though welfare provides for some additional benefits beyond cash payments. Someone is on welfare BECAUSE HE OR SHE IS POOR. Poverty is also the lot for those retired Americans forced to live on Social Security (government old-age pension). At an average annual pension of about $15,000 a year or $1,254 per month, they too are in a desperate situation.
“Overall, 47% of Americans now worry about hunger and homelessness ‘a great deal’… The only issue with a significantly higher «worried a great deal» percentage in this year’s poll is the availability and affordability of healthcare, at 57%. (“A Record 67% Of Low-Income Americans Are Worried «A Great Deal» About Hunger And Homelessness,” ZeroHedge, Apr 3, 2017).
So, so, so. By what devices do many tens of millions of Americans get by. Many die prematurely, but not all. What gives?
Правительство США жестоко нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: O)ne family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com
Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 13 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.
ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — мне фактически запретить выступать в СМИ и не пропускать большинства отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…
Арнольд Локшин, политэмиграни из США