Monday, May 27, 2013

An alternative look at the poverty line

An alternative anecdote to life making minimum wage at the povety line. As always, planet money does a good job at representing the typical economist view, using potent anecdotes. Her life includes carribean vacations, disney world trips (ok i took that from a previous planet money story about the eitc), access to free credit through credit card teaser rates (that regulation is destroying), an nyc apartment with washer-dryer (a luxury even we can't afford), much of it made available by her savvy navigation of the resources available, but also the tremendous government in-kind transfers (one blogger put the value of government transfers at up to $50,000 per household if you add in medicaid, housing allowances, food stamps, eitc, etc., the negative consequencs of which is that someone at the poverty line has a higher standard of living than someone above, disincentivizing work). Anyway, this view is clearly just an anecdote and doesn't necessarily imply any particular policy, but its a nice counterpoint to the typical poverty line narrative.

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