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Adam Smith put his finger on the problem back in 1776. In The Wealth of Nations, he wrote: “A linen shirt, for example, is, strictly speaking, not a necessity of life. The Greeks and Romans lived, I suppose, very comfortably though they had no linen. But in the present times, through the greater part of Europe, a creditable day-labourer would be ashamed to appear in public without a linen shirt …”
At last, a sensible way to measure poverty, Tim Hartford, Financial Times
What struck him, even in the mid 1970s, was the effort that mothers, in particular, made to try to protect their children from feeling shame – to the extent that they would skip meals to buy clothes and toys for them. “Children as young as seven and eight soon learn strategies to persuade parents to buy them what they think they need,” says Walker.
What are the links between shame and poverty? Chris ArnotThe Guardian
More recently, this relational understanding of poverty has been championed by Amartya Sen who has argued that ‘the ability to go about without shame’ should be considered a basic capacity that should be incorporated into general conceptions of poverty.
San Franciscans who have visited other cities recently also attributed differences to higher expectations for decency and civility elsewhere. Several readers talked about visiting Japan, where cleaners with tidy uniforms and even flowers pinned to their caps whisk into bullet trains between journeys and ensure they’re immaculate. Signs are posted everywhere telling people not to litter. Public toilets are pristine.
“We counted the number of homeless people we saw in Japan. Eight,” said a co-worker who visited Tokyo and Kyoto for her two-week honeymoon in May. “I pass at least that many on my way to work.”
Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle
CONTINUING SHORTFALL IN SUPPLY
Just as the recent housing downturn was longer and deeper than any other since the Great Depression, the residential construction rebound has been slower. Since reaching bottom in 2011 at just 633,000 new units, additions to the housing stock have grown at an average annual rate of just 10 percent. Despite these steady gains, completions and placements totaled only 1.2 million units last year—the lowest annual production, excluding 2008–2018, going back to 1982.
The sluggish construction recovery is in part a response to persistently weak household growth after the recession. On a three-year trailing basis, the number of net new households dropped below 1.0 million in 2008 and held below that mark for seven straight years, including a low of just 534,000 in 2009. By comparison, even through the three recessions and large demographic shifts that occurred between 1980 and 2007, household growth still averaged 1.3 million annually and only dipped below 1.0 million once.
With the economy finally back on track, household growth picked up to 1.2 million a year in 2016–2018, close to expected levels given the size and age composition of the population. But new construction was still depressed relative to demand, with additions to supply just keeping pace with the number of new households (Figure 1). As a result, the national vacancy rate for both owner-occupied and rental units fell again in 2018, to 4.4 percent, its lowest point since 1994.
A new study finds that more than 60% of personal bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 were caused by health-care costs associated with a major illness. That’s a 50% increase in the number of bankruptcies blamed on medical expenses since a similar study in 2001.
In an article published in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, the results of the first-ever national random-sample survey of bankruptcy filers shows that illnesses and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of bankruptcies.
Consumer Affairs, Truman Lewis
via THE WORLD BANK
The data shown is from 1960 to 2018.
Analysis – more people are living in the cities.
Housing costs have become so expensive in some cities that people are renting bunk beds in a communal home for $1,200 a month. Not a bedroom. A bed.
PodShare is trying to help make up for the shortage of affordable housing in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles by renting dormitory-style lodging and providing tenants a co-living experience.
A PodShare membership allows you to snag any of the 220 beds — or pods — at six locations across Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. There’s no deposit and no commitment. You get a bed, a locker, access to wifi and the chance to meet fellow “pod-estrians.” Each pod includes a shelf and a personal television. Food staples, like cereal and ramen, and toiletries like toothpaste and toilet paper, are also included.
In Minneapolis, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,228, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $49,122. The average price of a home in Minneapolis is $250,779.
In Denver, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,725, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $68,983.
The average price of a home in Denver is $352,172.
In Boston, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $2,384, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $95,344.
The average price of a home in Boston is $486,752.
In San Francisco, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $5,052, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $202,094.
The average price of a home in San Francisco is $1,032,732.