This is courtesy of, because of course it is, Robert Reich:
As a result, almost 30 million Americans still lack health insurance, nearly 51 million households can’t afford basic monthly expenses including housing, food, child care, and transportation.
Agreed that American health care could do with some work. But that second part. 51 million households is nearly half the country. And while there’s a homelessness problem it can’t possibly be true that there’re 51 million households without housing. So, what’s going on here?
It’s from the United Way’s ALICE project. You know, the March of Dimes against polio people. Who seem to have rather achieved their goal and are thus left looking for something to do. That project is here. And the way they reach their number is to pick a nice middle class lifestyle and then try to measure the number of people who can’t afford it.
At which point, of course, Horrors! Not everyone across the income distribution can afford what those in the middle of it can. How could we have such an outcome?
But it’s worse than that. They’re taking in most of that report a single wage earner in a family. OK, fine, but archaic, possibly even conservative, to believe that a family should righteously be supported by Joe SixPack going out to work. I rather thought it was only the Mormons, perhaps the Southern Baptists, who still thought that was the desirable familial economic structure. But OK, chacun a son gout and all that.
After housing the major familial expense is childcare for the 2 kids in the household. Well, that’s OK. Sure, childcare is indeed a major cost. And with so many two income families around sure enough someone does have to take care of the brats…….oh, wait.
See what they did there? Our income measure is the single earner nuclear family. Our cost structure is the two earner nuclear family. Anyone surprised that we end up with a bit of a mismatch between incomes and costs?
Actually, there is a surprise here. Which is that someone would actually be quite so brazen. Charging child care costs to households you’ve already said have a stay at home parent in? Gonads of the finest brass stuff, isn’t it?