unaffordable housing

The U.S. dollar has lost a lot of buying power over the years; the value of wages has declined, and still we have nowhere to look but at a continuing downward spiral.

One piece of this ever-widening wealth gap is housing. "Affordable" housing is not really affordable if you're a family (or an individual, for that matter) supported by someone working full time at minimum wage. This is self-evident if you use the federal standard: Using more than 30 percent of your income toward rent and utilities is considered unaffordable. But of course this "standard" is meaningless in the context of other federal standards: the poverty line, food stamp eligibility, welfare eligibility, the minimum wage, et cetera, et cetera. These figures are all based on national averages, not on calculations of the cost of living in the particular place where a person is living.

Also, housing can be deemed "affordable" when it is affordable (by the 30 percent standard) for people who earn 80 percent of the median income in that particular area, which completely excludes the people who have the most need for genuinely affordable housing.

This may all seem pretty obvious to anyone who cares to think about it, but of course people in positions of power either don't think about it, don't do anything about it or know that they have to keep people in poverty to retain their power and wealth.

In today's Boston Globe, there was an article about a study on the cost of living across the United States. In Massachusetts, a wage slave needs to earn $21.24 an hour at a full-time job to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment and pay utilities there (based on the 30 percent standard, of course). The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $6.75.

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