Friday, March 24, 2006

2311 The working family

Who are they? I was a librarian, an associate professor; my husband is just winding down his architectural practice and had a variety of titles like associate, owner, partner and sole practitioner. So what were we? Chopped liver? Didn't we work? We've been in four of the five quintiles, and trust me, we were always employed. But every time the media wants to give us a sad, sad tale about the economy, they refer to what a tough time "the working family" is having. I think it is the new term for "working class" which pushed out "lower class" which was an unacceptable euphemism for "poor." It's really tough to find a good term for a family of five with an income of $55,000. But believe it or not, in Columbus, Ohio that income will qualify you to use the food pantry (AGI $45,200 for a family of 5).

The latest one I saw was a one column front page USAToday article on housing by Noelle Knox--either yesterday or Wednesday. She wrote that nearly 70% of Americans own their own home--but that's not good, because "working families with children" have less ownership than in 1978. Sometimes I talk back to these ladies (the journalists who write human interest stories about how tough the economy is are always women--even in the Wall Street Journal), so I said to Noelle: in 1978 "working families" weren't paying cable bills or monthly cell phones charges nor were they eating out several times a week, nor did they download music or have computers to eat up the paycheck with games, e-bay charges and blogging bills. Also, Noelle, in 1978, more of these "families" started out as married couples. Not being married, even for a period of years, helps reduce income.

And of course, Noelle didn't look for real estate in Ohio where it is affordable--no, no, no. For her sad story, she had to choose the Bacaros, a "working family" both with a good income (but not college) looking for a house in LA, or San Francisco, I've forgotten which. You can buy a perfectly decent crackerbox ranch in need of complete renovation in California for half a million, which will practically buy you a new-build mansion in a Columbus suburb.

But the real give away on these economy sad stories are the "think tanks" that provide the data. They are always "The Center for . . . name your cause." I think this one was Center for Housing Policy. But if the word "justice" is in the name, look out. Policy is another. Then they really want your money. It's the only form of justice they know.

1 comment:

Dancing Boys Mom said...

Yep, don't come to LA to look for affordable housing. The first house we bought here took 10 yrs to double in value. The house we bought 2.5 yrs ago has already doubled. I tell people that I wouldn't pay that kind of money to live in this place. lol But, if the global warming experts are correct, in about 100 yrs we may have ocean front property so I guess we'll hold onto it. ;-)