Poverty, income volatility, job instability, and lack of social mobility are real problems in the US. While most Americans manage to climb the socioeconomic ladder to achieve a decent version of the American Dream, some get stuck on the lower rungs. They need help.
The ASBI would not be means-tested, so recipients could work part- or full-time. Although the ASBI would replace federal student aid programs, state aid programs would not be affected. Unlike Pell Grants, the ASBI would not drive up school fees because it would turn students into cost-conscious consumers.
Spectrem Group, a wealth management research firm, conducts a semi-annual survey of 750 millionaires for CNBC, aka the “CNBC Millionaire Survey”. The latest survey asked respondents whether they supported Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax proposal.
Not counting Switzerland, the average US household is less tax-burdened than the average household in the other countries….But tax rates give an incomplete picture of a country’s tax system. We also have to look at tax revenue as a portion of the whole economy:
Now for the pricing plan. HUD already has rent-subsidy programs that cover up to a third of rent. The big California cities also provide rent subsidies. For instance, in the opening quote, Major Breed’s rent subsidy plan worked out to $6,000 per year per housing unit. That’s pretty reasonable. But subsidizing residential hotel units would be even cheaper. Check it out…
Consider: San Francisco had 65,000 residential hotel units in 1910, compared to around 19,000 units today. These were teeny rooms (typically 8 x10 feet) with barely enough space for a bed and a dresser (bathroom down the hall) but at least they offered shelter and safety from the streets. Many of the individuals who lived in these units were single men with problems that plague the chronically homeless today: substance abuse, mental illness, disability. Just like today.
The difference is they had a place to stay.
Per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 195,530 chief executives in 2018, with a mean annual salary of $200,140. That doesn’t seem unfairly high, given that the mean annual compensation for physicians in 2018 was $299,000. But the CEO pay that gets people riled up isn’t what run-of-the-mill chief executives get, it’s the CEOs pulling in millions working for the top companies. For instance, the $14 million average annual compensation paid to S&P 500 CEOs…
The basic theme in these stories is that college has become so expensive that students increasingly rely on loans to fund their education and the resulting burden of student debt has kept millennials from realizing the American Dream of home ownership and wealth accumulation…. I decided to investigate the matter further.
Note that economic freedom and government regulations are perfectly compatible, as long as the regulations are “necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself”. Of course, that wording invites a whole slew of questions, such as…
According to the Social Security Administration, 3.1 million undocumented immigrants paid Social Security taxes in 2010, about half the undocumented workers in the country at the time….
The problem: chronic homelessness, defined as being without housing for at least a year. It’s estimated that almost a third of the homeless are chronically homeless.
The mission: Figure out a way to house the roughly 10,000 chronically homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A possible solution: …
According to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, there are roughly 28,200 homeless people in the California’s nine-county Bay Area, which includes San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Extrapolating from previous research, I’m guessing about a third of these individuals are chronically homeless, defined as being without housing for at least a year. This is a tough bunch to help: between mental illness, physical disability, substance abuse, lack of social skills, a fierce independent streak, and/or neurocognitive disorganization, the chronically homeless are often unable to live normal, productive lives. No, most of these folks can’t “just get a job”.
Prospective employers often use course grades and GPA as a proxy for likely job performance. Grades reflect self-control and conscientious more than intelligence. Self-control and conscientiousness predict an ability to persist on tasks and complete projects. Employers like that.
Basically, “cost-burdened” means paying more than 30% of household income on housing expenses. What the above chart tells us is that the cost of housing is a burden for most households with incomes under $30,000 a year. About a quarter of US households earn less than $30,000 a year.
“How on earth could young people, whose wages are flat…dare question the larger economic forces in their lives?!” - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. …So, what’s happening with wages? I have a source for that: the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which tracks wage trends in the US. Here’s a recent Atlanta Fed chart on wage growth by income quartile over the past 20 years:
My takeaway from these survey results is that how we feel about disparities in income and wealth has a lot to do with how much we think ...people have control over their circumstances...luck figures in life outcomes ...the rules of the game are fair ...people deserve what they get…
Per the above chart, about a third of US asylum-seekers in 2017 were from three small countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This is especially the case for “defensive” asylum-seekers - that is, those who are defending themselves in immigration court, because they were denied asylum by an immigration official, caught trying to cross the border illegally, or for some other reason.
The net effect of all these asylum applications is system overwhelm. Over a year ago, the USCIS had already declared a huge backlog of asylum cases. To quote a January 31, 2018 USCIS news release:
“The agency currently faces a crisis-level backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018, making the asylum system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This backlog has grown by more than 1750 percent over the last five years, and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled.”
Not that these survey results are implausible. Plenty of peer-reviewed studies have revealed today’s millionaires to be frugal, hard-working, and mostly from middle-class backgrounds. They buy boring cars. They’re diligent savers. This is not new information - twenty years ago academics Thomas Stanley and William Danko found that 80% of US millionaires were first-generation rich. That is, they did not inherit their wealth.
What I see [in this list of the ten most unequal states] is southern states, rich states, and New Jersey. Compared to other US states, all but Florida have high unemployment and all but New Jersey and Connecticut have high poverty rates and low median household income.