Minimum Wealth, part 9

Images herein are for commentary and critique under Fair Use. 

Before we get into step four, let’s examine the math so far. The investment firm behind this condescendingly inaccurate nonsense has assumed without evidence a nice even 2,000 work hours for the year. At $7.25, which is not the minimum wage in all ten recommended cities, they calculated a gross income of $14,500. From this they deducted only $385 for federal taxes, despite more than half their city list having applicable state taxes, leaving a net of $14,115. 

The costs of moving, finding a new job, and supporting oneself before the first paycheck were omitted, presumably because they would immediately destroy any savings this deprevation lifestyle might squeeze out. Rent was figured at exactly $600/month and utilities were deemed free by the eternal optimists who dreamed this up. Even with fudging the numbers, more than half the worker’s wages are eaten up by rent. 

Now our hypothetical minimum wager has only $6,915. Commuting is budgeted at $0 even as the graphic suggests buying a used bike, and paying with hugs I guess. Perhaps you’re suppoaed to steal it? This free price is pretty clearly a lie. The average carless worker in a cheap city will spend either $300-500 on bike ownership, or $480-$900 on public transit. Internet service was low-balled at $400/year, leaving $6,515.

But if we allow for a meager yet semi realistic sum of $100/month for water/sewer, heat, and electricity that remaining balance drops to $5,315. If we factor income taxes on the initial $14,500 it goes down further. Detroit has Michigan’s 4.25% flat income tax, one of the highest in the country, taking $616.25 from full time minimum wage workers. Rounding to a whole dollar, there’s only $4,699 left for every other expense for the year. 

And that’s before we deduct any expense for getting by without a car. $500/year is a reasonable average, which brings our net down to $4,199. If we add in $8/month for Netflix, $96/year with no sales tax, that yields $4,103. I  still havent figured in any cost for moving, buying a work uniform, or paying deposits on utilites. Even with those eliminations, the gap between my modest estimate and the fairy tale version is now $2,412, or 37% of the claimed savings. 
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