April 10, 2008, at Economist’s View former Angry Bear writer Noni Mausa had this to say . . .
Take the time. Watch this, I just did. It explains exactly why the middle class is in trouble and where the money has gone.
Over on Angry Bear we were discussing who can afford children, in this post: “Who Should Have Children? Or, If You Have To Ask, You Can’t Afford Them“
Me again: Our Middle Class is still in trouble. The jobs have shifted overseas. Younger people have trouble gaining an adequate education without going deeply in debt One hundred thousand dollars for 4 years at at good college is not out of the question. It is still a two-income family to get by. Think for a minute, we are talking about the Middle Class. What about those who are not Middle Class?
Maybe listen to Elizabeth Warren’s talk on the Middle Class (2007) and then read the post Noni wrote. Unfortunately, the comments are gone. Sorry on that.
Noni: I presented this question because many contributors to this and other blogs have said the poor shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford them. My question was, how much is enough? and offered these possible criteria:
1. A household income greater than the poverty line for that size of family.
2. In addition, income above that level sufficient to buy health insurance for that size of family.
3. Income dedicated to a life insurance policy for the family breadwinners.
4. Savings sufficient to pay all ordinary expenses for at least a year, including maintenance of the health insurance, in case of illness or job loss.
5. In addition, factor in a savings account strictly for the post secondary education of each child in the family.
It emerged that these modest requirements amounted to something over the median US income, plus all that dedicated savings. At this level childrearing was tricky, but probably doable.
I had privately thought that our conclusion — that half of American families couldn’t afford to raise children — was a bit extreme. Turns out from Dr. Warren’s numbers, I may have been correct. I would far rather have been disproved.