Minimum Wealth, part 14

Let’s review the math once again. A worker earning $7.25/hour over 2,000 hours a year would gross $14,500. Deducting only federal taxes leaves a net $14,115. The cost of moving to a new city was spirited away, and $600 was figured for rent and all utilities, yielding a remainder of $6,915. Transportation costs were claimed at $0, somehow, as was the suggested Netflix subscription. Internet was priced at $400 for a year.

 A paltry $900 a year, or $2.46 per day, is alloyed for food, leaving $6,015. The investment bankers responsible for this image would have a minimum wager sacrifice a quarter of this and risk another quarter beyond that on a high deductible health plan. They ignored the risked quarter to claim $3,911. HDHPs have minimum deductibles of $1,300/year though, so that could quickly plummet to $2,611. 

My calculations, which factored in Michigan’s 4.25% flat income tax ($616),  utilities ($1,200), carless transportation ($500), an extra 49 cents a day for food ($180), and Netflix ($96) resulted in a remainder of only $3,023. A HDHP could consume all of that in a single accident or tumor so I’m going to presume our savvy poor worker lives in one of the states which accepted federal funds for Medicaid expansion, like high tax Michigan. This brings their figure of $3,911 close to mine of $3,023 though both ignore moving costs. 

Now step seven recommends “Shop at the thrift store & mend holes. Instead of throwing clothes out.” An illustration of colorful clothes on hangers features a sign claiming items are $1.50 each. A miserly $100/year ($8.33/month) is permitted for all clothes. Shoes evidently never wear out or need replacing, nor will you need to buy a winter coat when moving from Orlando to Detroit. Who needs new underwear when you can buy used? Every single poor worker has a common body size and shape. None of them are men, for whom thrift store offerings primarily consist of old 10K walkathon t-shirts. 

Assuming our poor worker has the means to get to a thrift store, they probably won’t find prices so low, in styles that fit them and which they like. $5-20 an item is a more common price range for low end thrift stores. Consignment shops featuring only nice, gently used clothes often only provide women’s clothes, in very few sizes, just like regular retailers. For white women in particular, the majority of minimum wage workers, decreased income is correlated with increased BMI and thus clothing size. If we round that $8.33 up to a slightly more possible $10/month my remainder becomes $2,903 to their $3,811.

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