How far will $10 an hour stretch in 2016?


Earlier this week, just as media reports pointed out that America’s wealthiest 1 percent did better in 2012 than almost any other year in history, Gov. Jerry Brown came out in favor of a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016.

Last night, the Assembly approved the bill on a 51-25 vote, sending it onto the governor’s office. The development is almost certain to provoke howls from pro-business interests claiming it will wreak havoc on the economy. But what will it mean for minimum wage earners, whose take-home pay currently totals less than $300 a week for a full-time job?

Here are some statistics to put into perspective what it means to be a minimum wage earner in a world of rising costs and a widening gulf between top income earners and the rest.

  • The National Low Income Housing Coalition notes that a household must earn $25.78 per hour to afford fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment without spending 30 percent of their income. Couples earning California’s current $8 minimum wage can muster only a combined $16 an hour before taxes.
  • Based on this map illustrating San Francisco’s gaping rent affordability gap, a minimum-wage earner (making the 2012 minimum wage of $10.24 an hour) would have to hold down at least 3.4 full-time jobs to rent a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rate – even in the city’s less expensive areas like the Bayview or the Excelsior.
  • Fast food workers around the country are aiming higher than the $10 per hour Californians may have to look forward to by 2016 – organized food service employees have been rallying to be paid $15 an hour, a rate they see as an actual livable wage. According to this nifty calculator created by the Daily Beast, using data from University of Massachusetts economists Jeanette Wicks-Lim and Robert Pollin, the cost of paying McDonald’s workers this much could be recovered by charging 22 cents more for a Big Mac.
  • Finally, it’s worth considering the growing wealth gap between the wealthiest one percent and the rest. From 2007 to 2009, average real income for the bottom 99 percent fell by 11.6 percent, the largest two-year decline since the Great Depression, according to to an analysis by UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent lost an even higher percentage in that time. But then, during the economic recovery from 2009 to 2011, the one percent saw their incomes increase by 11.2 percent, while incomes of the bottom 99 percent shrunk slightly. Then, in 2012, the top one percent scored a 19 percent increase, their collective earnings accounting for 22.5 percent of total U.S. income. As Matthew O’Brien writes in The Atlantic, “it's the one percent's economy, and we're just living in it.”


those numbers. And then not been at risk of the inevitable Ellis eviction.

He may have missed his opportunity, but it was there. He did nothing. Intelligent?

Posted by anon on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 6:08 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

troll barrier

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

Well done.

Posted by anon on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 6:07 am

First of all let's note that, in my youth, I supported Reagan in his first run for office.

I began life essentially an enlightenment libertarian, then uselessly transitioned to Democrat, but once I got deeper into the environmental movement and saw that the Democrats were screwing the environment just as badly as the Republicans were, I became a Green. Along the way of these transitions I did some deep study of economics and and international politics figured out how closely all of our societal and environmental problems are tied to capitalism, and that. along with my career as a consumer-enviro-social-justice activist, naturally transitioned me into adopting structural anarchism (meaning I support federated local direct democracy).

The concept that one has to have made a rapid cold turkey transition between 'free' market capitalism and a 'left' perspective for that transition to be believable, is absurd on its face; especially in light of the fact that a lot of left 'liberals' are foolishly 'free' market capitalists.

As to your education. There is a big difference between quantity and quality. And no one who is -well- educated would hold the views that you hold, because those views simply don't stand up to skeptical scrutiny, or even a cursory analysis.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

someone cannot possibly be educated if they are right-wing. That is evident nonsense since there are some extremely intelligent and educated people on the right. In fact, it's a bit of a myth that intellectuals are left-wing - the member ship of American MENSA, for instance, is notoriously right-wing.

My background is not that different from yours, and we probably are not that different in terms of age as well, and yet I draw markedly different conclusions from the same datasets. What I have learned is that punishing winners and throw money at losers is a disastrous policy, and that the fact that Americans have achieved amazing wealth in global terms is directly due to our free-market principles, which in turn derive from to the superiority of the capitalist model over the Marxist model.

So why should two people with a similar level of intellect and education reach such markedly conclusions? Because of innate bias. but I'll say one thing - I can live in Sf without an artificial policy - rent control - and you cannot. So that is all part of why I believe my system is better - it flourishes in all environments and not just in one specifically contrived one.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

because he chose a lower paying profession than you?

Eric's analysis of the world is largely correct. He understands the dynamics of exploitation. You do not. You explain it away with hollow slogans about winners and losers, global wealth and free market, while almost no evidence supports your bias.

He also didn't say that right wing people couldn't be educated, just that the quality of your education must be poor if your commentary reflects it.

More or less. Sorry to step on your toes, Eric.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Guest accused Eric of advocating a system that rewards losing.

Whether anyone thinks that scraping a mere subsistence level life on 15K a year is losing or not, I leave to others. But what is clear is that Eric is one Ellis Act eviction away from disaster and a totally dependent situation like that would be deemed undesirable and unsustainable by many.

Posted by anon on Sep. 16, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

..income, on purpose.

If I was in the insecure state which you attribute to me, I wouldn't have done that.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 1:15 am

Being an 'intellectual', and/or having a Mensa level IQ, with a bunch of information crammed into your head because you went to graduate school, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with being -well- educated, and has even less to do with being intelligent, wise or visionary.

The fact that so called 'educated' neo-liberal/neo-con 'free' market capitalists continue in their profoundly stupid trashing of our planet and civilization, with the reality that it is a miserably failed strategy, everywhere around us in plain sight, makes these people some of the most blithering fools to ever walk the face of the Earth.

A truly intelligent person builds his or her own education, with formal schooling kept well in its place, to prevent it from overwhelming the intellect and the soul, and crushing one's creativity with the conformist milquetoast drivel that it almost entirely consists of.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 12:57 am

And the measure of someone's intelligence is nothing more than how much they agree with you?

How convenient.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 6:06 am

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