The high cost of low taxes: Americans don’t want to maintain America

Welcome to the future of “small government.” America’s infrastructure was once the best in the world. But we didn’t want to pay to maintain it.

David Cay Johnston: “America’s Coming Infrastructure Disaster”

For decades, America has scrimped on taking care of the public furniture, endangering people and weakening the economy as bridges rust, roads crumble, dams weaken, and water mains leak. The sudden collapse of an Interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, killing 13, and the cracks that shut down the Sherman Minton Bridge connecting Indiana and Kentucky last year (it reopened in February) are warning signs of widespread, but hidden, dangers lurking all around us.

Even greater threats can be found among the decrepit corporate-owned infrastructure, including high-pressure oil and natural-gas pipelines that can explode without warning, electric power poles long past their replacement dates, and a telecommunications system that is far less reliable today than it was two decades ago — despite customers paying more than a half-trillion dollars for upgrades.

America’s infrastructure gets a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which recommends that we spend $2.2 trillion on repairs and maintenance.

… Under the banner of deregulation, the monopolies that supply electricity, water, gasoline, natural gas, and Internet access have been hollowing out the privately owned infrastructure on which modern life and economic activity depend. Instead of putting more into maintenance, they have slashed budgets. At the same time, they earn phenomenal profits: up to 55 percent on their assets, eight times the average for all corporations.

Corporate monopolies that own railroad bridges, hydroelectric dams, and high-pressure pipelines have skimped on taking care of this infrastructure, putting lives and property across America at unnecessary risk from blackouts, collisions, and explosions, even the threat of entire towns being washed away by bursting dams.

Photo by Leon Tucker, The (Cherry Hill, NJ) Courier-Post.

KYW/CBS Philly: “Freight Train Derails, Spills Chemicals in Paulsboro, NJ; Evacuations Ordered”

Officials say a freight train derailed over the Mantua Creek, leaking a chemical called vinyl chloride, which is considered toxic and highly flammable. Hazmat crews are currently on scene.

It appears the five cars derailed when a bridge they were traveling over collapsed. Some of the trains are currently submerged in the Mantua Creek.

Rescue units have been dispatched to the scene after numerous people complained of respiratory problems. A number of people in the immediate area have been evacuated.

The U.S. Coast Guard has also been notified because the chemical might be leaking into the Delaware River.

Travis Waldron: “How Increasing Infrastructure Spending Provides a Major Boost to Our Economy”

The United States has a massive infrastructure deficit, with independent analysts finding that the country could need as much as $2 trillion in immediate investments just to bring its infrastructure up to date. With the economy recovering slowly and our nation’s roads and bridges crumbling, a new paper from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that making investments into infrastructure has substantial short- and medium-term benefits for the economy.

Each dollar invested into infrastructure boosts state economies by at least two dollars, the paper found:

Federal highway grants to states appear to boost economic activity in the short and medium term. The short-term effects appear to be due largely to increases in aggregate demand. Medium-term effects apparently reflect the increased productive capacity brought by improved roads. Overall, each dollar of federal highway grants received by a state raises that state’s annual economic output by at least two dollars, a relatively large multiplier. […]

In other words, for each dollar of federal highway grants received by a state, that state’s GSP rises by at least two dollars.

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  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, that does seem like a more accurate summation of his behavior. Though I admit it is possible that I am biased and therefore I prefer yours to mine because yours appalls me more.

  • Lori

    If he forgot the existence of real people his statements would change when someone reminds him that his ideas have implications for actual human beings. That’s not what happens.

    I’m pretty sure that any desire you have to be appalled is not the issue.

  •  L1985- no one would work for 50 cents an hour.

    You reeeeeeeeeeaallly don’t understand differential power relations, do you?

    If I have something you have got to have, I can set the price at whatever I want and you have to like it or lump it.

  • Turcano

    He doesn’t understand what’s going on at all.  He thinks Walmart is trying to drive up labor costs for its competitors.  And even when he does accidentally get the facts right, like Amazon’s support for online sales tax legislation, he ascribes the most ass-backwards motives imaginable to those facts.

  • Beroli

    I really think you have a fuzzy idea at best as to how the business world actually works.

    I know you said “at best,” but this is still too generous. With every post he makes, it becomes clearer that he has an idea as to how the business world actually works which is crystal-clear and has as much to do with reality as would an absolute conviction that fire is extremely cold.

  • Beroli


    Ellie- So I can’t agree to work for someone for 5 dollars an hour if I want? Why not, it’s a consensual agreement.

    Because minimum wage laws forbid it.

    I get that you mean something along the lines of, “There is no Libertarian justification for minimum wage laws and that means they’re bad!” but that doesn’t make your question a valid one anywhere that isn’t run by Libertarian principles (so, go to Somalia and ask it).

  • Beroli


    L1985- no one would work for 50 cents an hour. You have to pay people
    what they are willing to work for. If my boss lowered my pay to half
    what I am making now I would leave. thus, he can’t cut my wages in half. 

    And you would go where? To another company which pays at least the minimum wage, because, legally, it has to.

    In places where there is no minimum wage people work for far less than they can live on, so that they can starve a little slower. Lots and lots of people. They don’t “leave” because that’s what all businesses pay, because they can, and so there is nowhere they can go that pays more. This is reality. You’ve just looked at reality and actually said, “I reject you because you don’t match my theories!”

  • Beroli

    that’s life. There’s nothing you can do about it. 

    …Slight amendment, Mr. I Weep For Failing Businesses But Shrug At Starving People.

    There’s nothing in line with Chris Hadrick’s right-libertarian principles one can do about it, which is why those of us who want to live in a country that actually works observe that people like Hadrick are disgusting monsters, brush his deranged principles out of the way, and make rules like minimum wage laws without paying attention to the screams of, “BUT YOU’RE RESTRICTING CONSENSUAL ARRANGEMENTS!”

  • The_L1985

    1990 was around the time I was first noticing how much vending-machine wares cost.  Gumballs were a quarter, unless you were at a bank or car dealership with one of the old penny or nickel machines; candy bars were 35 cents in some machines, but the price varied a bit; Coke was 50 cents in a can, and wasn’t commonly sold through vending machines in my area in plastic bottles yet.

    I hadn’t yet learned how much other things cost, though, because I was still only just aware of how much each coin was worth.  But when you’re first learning prices, that original number tends to stick with you for quite a while.  I remember noticing in college that vending-machine Cokes were twice the price I remembered, and being surprised.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    What’s your job, again?

  • Sgt – I deliver packages

    You guys are trying to shift the argument to my “ignorance” of economics instead of debating my economic arguments.  It’s totally transparent.

    Again, if companies only have to pay the minimum wage why do basketball players ake millions a year? 

    Why don’t chefs at fancy restaurants make minimum wage?

    People are paid what the market rate is for their services. 

    If I took out an ad for someone to clean my room and said I’d pay 50 cents no one would do it.  if i said I’d pay 500 dollars probably a lot of people would do it. 

    At that point in the process of price discovery I would lower the price till I found what the job was actually worth. If I went too low I may get someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. If I went to high yadda yadda yadda.

    Beroli- yeah western civilization would completely fall apart if we didn’t have the minimum wage which was established in the middle of the last century.

    I’m not interested in the minimum wage law or undoing it btw,  I just reject your arguments for how wages are determined. 

    Joshua- Walmart is a big company thanks I didn’t realize that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No one is objecting to people making as much money as other people are willing to pay for their services. I find it absurd that professional players of popular sports make fucktons, but as long as they pay their fair share of taxes (which is part of ensuring that the general public has enough money left after paying for necessities to buy luxuries such as tickets to sports events), I’ve got no reason to complain about it.

    The problem arises when what other people are willing to pay for people’s services is not enough money to live on.

    Given a job where market wage is less than living wage, given that you have ruled out legislation (including but not limited to minimum-wage laws) and collective action and government antipoverty programs, and given that mass charity is a pipe dream, what measures do you propose to enact in order to ensure that everyone who works that job for a living can actually make a living?

  • Lori


    You guys are trying to shift the argument to my “ignorance” of economics
    instead of debating my economic arguments.  It’s totally transparent.

    No, it is not transparent. The fact that you think it is, or that you think you can distract us by saying that it is, is simply another example of your ignorance.

    We have discussed your economic “arguments” many, many times. People have discussed your economic “arguments” in this thread. The fact that people are pointing out that you are totally ignorant about economics is part of that discussion. Your economic “arguments”are terrible, in large part because you clearly don’t know anything about economics and continue actively resisting learning anything about it.

    If you want people to discuss your economic “arguments” while pretending that they have any basis in reality you’re going to need to go somewhere else.

  • Carstonio

    Given a job where market wage is less than living wage, given that you have ruled out legislation (including but not limited to minimum-wage laws) and collective action and government antipoverty programs, and given that mass charity is a pipe dream, what measures do you propose to enact in order to ensure that everyone who works that job for a living can actually make a living?

    That wouldn’t be fair. See, everyone starts out with the same amount of money, and everyone is under the same rules of chance. So everyone has the same opportunities to win or lose. You pass GO just as often as everyone else, and if you didn’t buy Boardwalk and Park Place when you had the chance, that’s your fault…

    …sorry, I must have board games on the brain.

  • *cough*

    Slight nitpick about min wage and agreements etc

    Actually in British Columbia it is (or was in the 1990s at least) legal for companies and employees to, on a case by case basis, negotiate a wage lower than the minimum wage. I knew a guy whose sole job was to handle fire assay crucibles, not exactly a highly skilled job. The analytical lab paid him $6 an hour when the minimum wage was $7 an hour, and I asked, “How is this possible?” and the guy said he signed an agreement.

    Hadrick is technically correct, but very few companies would do this in practice, because the procedure would be fairly cumbersome, I think.

  • Sgt – I deliver packages

    Gee, I thought you were a veterinarian. Or were you just lying about that?

  • Beroli


    Beroli- yeah western civilization would completely fall apart if we
    didn’t have the minimum wage which was established in the middle of the
    last century.

    No, it would just have a lot more starving people for you to shrug at.

    In other words, nothing important; abolishing the minimum wage would certainly not hurt businesses.

  • JoshuaS

     And he still doesn’t seem to get why I keep harping on Walmart’s size. Does he really not understand that Walmart’s size and power forces its competitors to respond to it? Does he really not get that, if Walmart wanted to affect the labor costs for its industry, it would even need the government’s help? I mean, I basically told him that, so he doesn’t have an excuse not to know, but it’s still pretty unnerving.

    Anyway, I give up. It’s not really fun debating with someone who doesn’t even understand the bare minimum of the topic. It’s like trying to discuss biology with someone who’s never even heard of cells, or discussing English literature with someone who has never opened any book before. It can be done, for a while, but eventually it’ll dawn on you that you’re just explaining elementary concepts over and over, which just isn’t good for one’s blood pressure.

  • if people really disliked monopolies they would  hate the government. Can anyone tell me why? Neutrino?

    Also would point out Somoa has been devastated by the application of America’s minimum wage to their economy. That’s a large and complicated topic for another day though. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    The problem with monopolies isn’t that they’re disliked. It’s that, as the only source of a thing, they can charge anything they’ve a mind to for the thing, and people can pay it or do without. This is doubly troublesome if the thing is an essential.

    What’s the government got a monopoly on, other than the legislative and judicial systems? Even national defense and prisons get partly outsourced to private entities.

    Also would point out Somoa has been devastated by the application of America’s minimum wage to their economy

    [citation needed]


    Peter Schiff discusses it here. The comments are interesting. 

    Obama, to his credit, has signed into law a bill freezing the minimum wage there. They had been increasing it in 50 cent increments. 

    centralization of power leads to monopolies by the state on services,wether it is postal service (daily mail) or roads and whatnot. good job getting the correct answer though.

  • Lori

    centralization of power leads to monopolies by the state on
    services,wether it is postal service (daily mail) or roads and whatnot.
    good job getting the correct answer though.  

    You wouldn’t know the right answer on anything related to economics if it bit you on the ass. We’ve discussed the postal service and roads with you in the past, in detail. You clearly still don’t get it.

    You are of course free to go on congratulating yourself for how clever you are, but if you want anyone to agree with you, as opposed to laugh at your total lack of self-awareness, you need to find other folks to with whom to share your “insights”.

  • EllieMurasaki

    $9.80/hr…still not a living wage. Better, but not good enough. And even if we assume that it is perfectly okay to pay someone under living wage if their spouse is also employed, all that’s gonna do is end up with couples where the household income is twice minimum wage, which, unsurprisingly, does not add up to a household income of enough for two people to live on.

  • Turcano

     You know that that’s only true because StarKist makes up a full third of the territory’s economy, right?  That gives the company monopsonistic* power over labor.

    *While a monopoly has disproportionate power over an economy due to the fact that it is the only seller of a given good or service and can dictate the price at which it is willing to sell, the reverse is also true; a single buyer also has disproportionate power, since it can dictate what price at which it is willing to buy.  This is called a monopsony.  In either case, the closer a company is to being a true monopoly/monopsony, the stronger this power is.

  • KevinC

     Baseball players make their absurd salaries in large part because municipal governments use tax dollars to build their stadiums.  Imagine how much more CEO’s could get paid, if governments built their skyscrapers for them!  *wistful sigh*  The term you’re looking for here is: Government Subsidy.

    In addition, the salaries of major league baseball players and fancy chefs are kept high by deliberately-induced scarcity of those jobs.  In the case of MLB, only large cities can afford to build stadiums, and getting them to do so requires a well-funded lobbying effort.  That’s not counting whatever hoops the leagues require a city to jump through before it can form a team and join.  IOW, you can’t have “startup” baseball teams composed of guys practicing on an elementary school field, all motivated and determined to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps climbing up to become a self-made World Series winner.  Can’t happen.  There will never be, say, a thousand major league baseball teams, no matter how many hard-working would-be professional baseball players there are.  So the “market” for baseball players isn’t “free.”  It’s a cartel.  Also, have you ever noticed that MLB players have a union?  And they strike (and not just by failing to hit a pitch over the plate)?  Yes.  Yes they do.

    Fancy chefs: this is a high-speed, high-stress job that requires an expensive education in culinary arts.  The barriers to entry are high.  The “fancy” here is not just quality cooking, it’s a vast array of refined art catering to wealthy people who can pay large amounts of money to get kobe style beef instead of an ordinary Angus steak.  The “market” here is, again, limited by design.  The customers pay a premium to get things most people can’t have, for that reason (status display).  It doesn’t matter if their $1000.00 glass of wine doesn’t taste as good as the $10.00 wine that comes out of a box.  What makes it special is that hoi polloi can’t afford it, and they can.  What this means is that fancy chef jobs are kept rare precisely so that the kind of food they produce can be reserved for “exclusive” restaurants. 

    The core libertarian premise is that “the market” automatically dispenses flawless justice, and if we only didn’t have a government in the way, then all would be for the best, in this best of all possible worlds.  It’s an appealing idea; wouldn’t it be nice if a just and happy society would just happen automatically, and we never had to work at it?  That, in fact the way to get the best possible society is to stop trying, and just let “the market” give it to us on a silver platter?  Sure–and if wishes were horses, everyone would need a barn.  We could just say to the migrant farm worker who can’t afford to give his daughter braces, “Well, it’s your own damn fault for not being a major league baseball player!” and to the fry cook who can’t send her son to college, “Well, you should have been a fancy chef.  You should have made smarter choices.”  Unfortunately, it’s just not the case that every virtuous person gets a high-paying job.  The jobs are “high-paying” precisely because not every virtuous person can do them.  If every virtuous person could do them, “market forces” would put downward pressure on the salaries.

    “The market” isn’t physics or the divine fiat of an omnibenevolent God–it’s a human-made game, played by rules we make up.  As with any other game, people will cheat if they can get away with it, and otherwise try to hack the system to give themselves an unfair advantage.  To return to the analogy of baseball, that’s why there are referees.  One important thing about games is, sooner or later somebody wins.  If a competitive “free market” is desirable (and it is, just not as an end-all, beat-all Supreme Value), there has to be a “reset button” and rules to prevent permanent winners from ending the game.  Imagine if the team that won the World Series got to start the next season with a five-game lead, and this was cumulative (so that two Series wins in a row produced a ten-game lead, and so on), and that the winning team also got to make one rule change each time it won a World Series.  It would not be long at all before one team made itself virtually unassailable, and major league baseball would be destroyed as a popular sport.  This sort of thing is prevented by giving all teams a blank slate at the start of each season, forbidding any team from unilaterally making rules, and other redistributive practices like (as I understand it) giving losing teams the first shot at draft picks.

    In the economic realm, the first advantage is called “inheritance;” the second is the political power that accrues to accumulated wealth in any society.  We keep “the market” “free” by having a referee called “government” that works to keep the players from cheating, and a “reset button” called “progressive taxation” that (ought to) work in a similar manner to the reset button that gets hit after the final game of each World Series.  In baseball, everybody’s record goes to 0 and 0.  We don’t go nearly that far in economics (and it would be undesirable to do so), but mechanisms like progressive taxation and inheritance taxes do serve (when actually used) to prevent the formation of an aristocracy of permanent economic winners positioned to grab all the marbles.     
    Is government-as-referee perfect?  No.  Neither are referees in baseball.  The thing about a good society is: we have to work at it.

  • Turcano- The point is Somoa is screwed up now because of that decision made in Washington. The marianas islands are all but abandoned as well. 

    If we were to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour different things happen here, we don’t all work at tuna canning places, but the results would be similar.  it’s not to say we need to have people making 10 cents an hour, just that if you alter the prices too much there are generally bad consequences. 

    I doubt anyone who worked at Sun Kist in Somoa cares abuot the “monopsony” the company had. They certainly don’t now. If you read the coments in that thread, they are practically calling for secession.
    Kevinc- “The jobs are “high-paying” precisely because not every virtuous person can do them.  If every virtuous person could do them, “market forces” would put downward pressure on the salaries.”

    I totally agree with that. yay! 

    “We keep “the market” “free” by having a referee called “government” that works to keep the players from cheating, and a “reset button” called “progressive taxation” that (ought to) work in a similar manner to the reset button that gets hit after the final game of each World Series.”

    I don’t agree with that. Yes the government exists to prosecute fraud and enforce contracts and whatnot.  What kind of referee is allowed to take bribes from the teas owners to give them a guy pitching underhand to them at the World Series? Or what referee would last 5 seconds if he decided to consult the manager on one of the teams to make a call? So the analogy breaks down. 

  • Carstonio

    This, a thousand times. In the Monopoly board game there is no inheritance, or political power that accrues to wealth. Or health care costs. I keep wondering if some folks’ understanding of economics has never advanced beyond that game, and I say that as someone who has much to learn about the subject.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Are you saying that jobs that everyone can hypothetically do ought to be paid so little that no one can live on the money from that full-time job alone, because anyone can do that job?

  • DINKs making a combined $19.60 an hour is not livable? That’s $3136 a month before taxes, equivalent to an annual income of $40,768.00

    I punched that into the tax calculator and
    found that equates to $3000 something take-home per month. Let’s assume that’s an
    overestimate and call it $2700 take-home.

    One bedroom: $500-1000 a month in most non-insane real estate markets
    Utilities: $300
    Car: $300
    Food: $500

    $2700 – $2100 = $600 left over.

    You’re telling me having $600 free and clear every month is living on the ragged edge of poverty? (-_-) I’d love to come out ahead that far of the game.

  • Note: My post was edited since it landed in your inbox.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Gas, health insurance, car insurance, toilet paper, however the party who doesn’t have the car for the day gets to and from work…

  • Car insurance was factored into the car cost, as was gasoline and set-asides for maintenance.

    I keep forgetting about health insurance, but for the sake of argument assume it’s $100 a month in premiums for a married couple. Not exactly breakin’ the bank here.

  • EllieMurasaki

    My $6000 car has a payment of $252 a month, insurance $63 and I’m pretty sure it’s only that low because it’s my share of my family’s rather than mine alone. If you’re figuring that they own their car free and clear, and also they only need one car to get both people to both jobs, okay, you win. But I am not convinced that those are reasonable assumptions to make.

  • Turcano

    The results of raising the minimum wage here would not have similar effects than in Samoa because one company does not employ one third of our work force.  To have the same power that StarKist (not Sun Kist,  my mistake) has in Samoa, there would need to be a single company that employs 50 million people.  If that were the case, the HR decisions from an increase in the minimum wage would indeed wreak havoc on the national economy, but it isn’t.  No company comes even close to that, certainly not one in any position to outsource or downsize to any significant degree (at least any more than they already have).

  • Turcano – I said the dislocations would be different here than in Somoa because of the nature of the two economies.  The unemployment rate would go up though.  If you raised theMin wage to 15 dollars wal MArt could afford it probably but most other places couldn’t. Wal Marts prices would likely go up too, which isn’t too good for the people who shop there.

    Ellie- Yes there are jobs that are not worth enough that the person doing them can live off them. I pretty much have one of them. Luckily most full time jobs pay better but OUTLAWING my job wouldn’t help me any.

    KevinC-  Also, baseball players don’t command high salaries because baseball stadiums are often built with taxpayer dollars.  The taxpayers or their representitives agree to build the stadium because they feel it’s mutually beneficial.  There is some debate on wether it really is. The rate is based on the guys performance and the ticket sales and whatnot. and people eat at really good restaurant because they are good, not because the chef went to an expensive school. 

  • Daughter

     Are you thinking like a Canadian when it comes to health insurance premiums? Because I currently work at a job that pays the health insurance premiums  for only employees, not their family members, at 100%. You can buy into the policy for family members, but you have to pay 100%. The health insurer is a nonprofit, member-owned plan, so they’re one of the good guys on the market.

    My husband works as a contractor, and so is uninsured. For me to add him to my plan, paying 100% of the premium, it would cost me $960 a month. Plus, he’d still have $20 copays for doctor visits and a $500 a year annual deductible.   Plus, he is a diabetic, and he wouldn’t be able to get treated for his diabetes for the first nine months on the plan. Again, note that this is a good plan. Not surprisingly, he remains uninsured. (He qualifies for the ACA high-risk pool in our state, but that’s at $579 a month premiums, with a $4000 annual deductible. Still too much for our budget).

    So basically, my husband visits a clinic that has sliding scale payments, and pays out of pocket for his medications. And we pray nothing bad happens to him.

    To add my healthy 7-year-old daughter (who is currently covered by SCHIP, but that will end in a few months) will cost me an additional $230 a month.  And she’s a child. $100 a month for an adult? Are you kidding?

  • Daughter

    And speaking of cars: my husband and I both need our cars to get to and from work. Our cars are 19 years and 10 years old, respectively. We no longer have car payments (thank God), but given the age of our cars, they require frequent maintenance. We usually spend about $200 a month on maintenance.

    Add to that gas (about $200/month for my husband, who has a long commute, and about $80/month for me); $153 for insurance ($9o for the newer car, $63 for the older); and about $120/year for registration fees/excise taxes.  That’s  $643 a month we’re paying for transportation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No one’s talking about outlawing your job, fuckwit. We’re talking about making sure that anyone who works forty hours a week at your job can live for a week on that week’s pay without going short on any of the necessities. (You deliver packages, right? That is a job without which commerce would shut the fuck down, and even if we exclude from consideration the fact that you deserve to make a living at what you do for a living, you deserve more than you’re getting precisely because what you do is so necessary. The fact that anybody with a driver’s license can do what you do shouldn’t matter.)

  • Daughter

    Re-reading your post, I see you allotted about $100 for health insurance for the couple, not just for one adult. That’s even more preposterous.

    Not picking on you, Neutrino. Just pointing out that the costs you estimate are way off base.

  • The whole reason my job exists is because I can work cheaper than the guys at other places who have uniforms, vans, health insurance etc.  

    Even if it were  just sheer greed on their part, if they can live with themselves theres nothing we can do. You can’t legistlate morality.  

    and what I do or they do isn’t neccesary. If people couldn’t order cheap stuff online they could get it in stores. It’s just products. A special toaster for hot dogs isn’t neccesary I can bring you one of those though.  

  • EllieMurasaki

    I should have caught that. My monthly health insurance expense is $26, which probably explains why I didn’t. (But then I am on the state health plan, which is fabulous and also not available to your generic minimum wage worker.)

  • You’re seriously telling me a healthy young working couple is going to pay $200 a month in health insurance premiums? Without any employer-provided insurance? Come on. The guy I knew of who paid $310 a month for himself was a guy in his 50s with one heart attack behind him already.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And how would the products get to the stores without people driving around trucks full of boxes?

    You are a person. You are alive. You deserve, at the absolute bare minimum, enough to keep you alive without struggle. This includes sufficient food, shelter, health care, toilet paper, it’s a long list. (For clarity’s sake, the list of things you need includes an allowance–it can be tiny but it must be there–for things that you enjoy doing.) We do not as a culture like the idea of people who are able to work being able to live without working (though oddly this applies more to poor folk than folk who can live off their investments); therefore the job you do for a living needs to pay you enough for you to live on. Whatever the job is.

    It happens that the job you do, though simple, is vital; your pay should include your fair share of the profit that your work brings your company, instead of being calculated only by the intersection between the least you’ll take and the most they want to give, with the fact that you are easily replaced by someone less demanding used to force you to accept less than you need.

    (I seem to have a higher opinion of Chris Hadrick than Chris Hadrick does. There is something wrong with this picture.)

  • Daughter

     Wow, lucky you! Even when I was single, my health insurance premiums were a couple hundred a month, and since I’ve been married 11 years, that was more than a decade ago – costs have gone up a lot since then.

    At my last job, I could cover my family, but even then, our health insurance was $10,000 a year, of which my company paid $4000; the other $6000 came out of my paycheck.

  • Daughter

    Yes, I’m telling you that. I’ve already told you what my family has paid. When I was health, single, in my 20’s, during the prosperous 1990’s, I paid $180 a month for health insurance. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    I just poked for me married to me in my current zip code, nonsmoker, not college student, no other questions asked by this estimator, and the cheapest plan for this couple is $167 a month. I’m not bothering looking into how much it does (or, more likely, doesn’t) cover.

  • Daughter

     Do you think there would be so many uninsured people in the U.S. if people could obtain insurance for $50/month? Yes, that would still be too steep for some, but many currently uninsured people could afford it.

  • “(I seem to have a higher opinion of Chris Hadrick than Chris Hadrick does. There is something wrong with this picture.)”


  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m dead serious. I’m arguing on two fronts that you deserve enough money to live on, and you’re arguing on both fronts that you don’t. I must think more of you than you do. It doesn’t make sense but it’s the only explanation that fits the facts.