For Starters:

Precarious: adjective

1. dependent on circumstances beyond one's...uncertain; unstable; insecure
2. dependent on the will or pleasure of another; liable to be withdrawn or lost...
3. exposed to or involving danger; dangerous; perilous; risky
4. having insufficient, little, or no foundation

In sociology and economics, the precariat is a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare. The term is a portmanteau obtained by merging precarious with proletariat.[1] ... Specifically, it is the condition of lack of job security, including intermittent employment or underemployment and the resultant precarious existence.[2] ...

Read on friends,

20 June 2018 | United Way

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

ALICE is your child care worker, your parent on Social Security, the cashier at your supermarket, the gas attendant, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, an office clerk.

ALICE cannot always pay the bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.

ALICE earns above the federal poverty level, but does not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.
The United Way ALICE Reports use new measures to provide a more accurate picture of financial insecurity at the state, county, and municipal level.

From 2016 Executive Report:
The basic cost of living out paces wages: The cost of basic household expenses in New York is more than most of the state’s jobs can support. The average annual Household Survival Budget for a New York family of four (two adults with one infant and one preschooler) is $62,472 – more than double the U.S. family poverty level of $23,850...

While short-term strategies can make conditions less severe, only structural economic changes will significantly improve the prospects for ALICE and enable hardworking households to support themselves. Strengthening the New York economy and meeting ALICE’s challenges are linked: Improvement for one would directly benefit the other. The ALICE tools can help policymakers, community leaders, and business leaders to better understand the number and variety of households facing financial hardship and to create more effective and lasting change.

Schoharie County p261 download here: NY 2016 Report

Household Survival Budget: Single adult, $22,092, Family of four (two young children) $61,356.
This bare-minimum budget does not allow for any savings, leaving a household vulnerable to unexpected expenses. Affording only a very modest living in each community, this budget is still significantly more than the U.S. poverty level of $11,670 for a single adult and $23,850 for a family of four.

40% of Schoharie County households are in poverty or within ALICE range. Some towns exceed this by as much as 15 percentage points. (based on 2014 statistics – 2018 report not yet issued.)


Living Wage Calculation for Schoharie County, New York

The living wage shown is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family, if they are the sole provider and are working full-time (2080 hours per year). All values are per adult in a family unless otherwise noted.

The state minimum wage is the same for all individuals, regardless of how many dependents they may have. The poverty rate is typically quoted as gross annual income. We have converted it to an hourly wage for the sake of comparison.

Hourly Wages 1 Adult 1 Adult 1 Child 1 Adult 2 Children 1 Adult 3 Children 2 Adults (1 Working) 2 Adults (1 Working) 1 Child 2 Adults (1 Working) 2 Children 2 Adults (1 Working) 3 Children 2 Adults (1 Working Part Time) 1 Child* 2 Adults 2 Adults 1 Child 2 Adults 2 Children 2 Adults 3 Children
Living Wage $11.51 $25.89 $33.77 $43.08 $18.58 $23.23 $25.77 $28.42 $14.50 $9.29 $14.50 $18.22 $22.01
Poverty Wage $5.00 $7.00 $9.00 $11.00  $7.00 $9.00 $11.00 $13.00
$3.00 $4.00 $5.00 $6.00
Minimum Wage $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00
$9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00

*Documentation for families with an adult working part-time is available separately, here.



Family Budget Calculator

"...there is nowhere...a minimum-wage worker...earns enough to meet the requirements of their local family budget."

The Economic Policy Institute released an update to its signature Family Budget Calculator, which shows what’s required for families to attain an adequate—but modest—standard of living in communities throughout the country. The updated calculator contains data on the cost of living for 10 family types in all 3,142 counties (and county equivalents) and in all 611 metro areas.

The Family Budget Calculator is a stark reminder that many workers in low-wage jobs do not earn enough to meet their family’s basic needs. Even after adjusting for higher state and city minimum wages, there is nowhere in the country where a minimum-wage worker—even a single adult without children—earns enough to meet the requirements of their local family budget.


10 years into this depression and

Nowhere to go [= nothing to lose] 

"Workin' Man (Nowhere To Go)"   

A Precariat Anthem performed by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Sittin' alone in the dark
Wastin' my time in a park
'Cause I've got - Nowhere to go

Had me a job 'til the market fell out
Tried hard to borrow but there was no help
Now I've got - Nowhere to go

I need a job for these two hands
I'm a workin' man -With nowhere to go

One last look at my land
Auctioneer with his gavel in hand
And he says, "It's got to go"

Worked this piece all my life
It broke my heart and it took my wife
Now I've got nothing to show

I need a job for these two hands
I'm a workin' man - With nowhere to go

Wandered aimless in the city
With my dirt workin' boots
And my old straw hat in hand

Singing a song by Woody Guthrie
This land is your land - It ain't my land

I'm a workin' man - With nowhere to go

I was born to the sunrise
Breaking back all day
Now I've got - Something to say

I am broke but not broken
And I am not alone
'Cause there's a lot of folks
- With nowhere to go

Are they ever gonna understand
You can't leave a workin' man
- Nowhere to go

Are they ever gonna understand
You can't leave a workin' man
- Nowhere to go

Nowhere to go
Nowhere to go
Nowhere to go
Nowhere to go


7 Reasons Economic Insecurity Isn’t Your Fault

Popular Resistance,  January 2018

“...Economic insecurity doesn’t just affect those below the poverty level: over 215 million Americans–which I count as 66 percent of the population–couldn’t cover a $1000 emergency with the money in their savings account. That’s over five times as many of us who technically live in poverty...”

“...the cultural and rhetorical forces of capitalism are strong. The billionaire class invests a lot in teaching us that our material insecurity is our fault...Such shaming, along with the condition of economic insecurity itself, extracts terrible tolls on our health, and makes us less effective in fighting the underlying socioeconomic and political conditions responsible for the difficult conditions so many of us are in.”

“...If you are economically insecure–whether in poverty or swimming a few days above it, as you read this short article, your shoulders will feel less tense, you’ll breathe more deeply, and let go of the guilt that the oligarchs and moralists want you to carry. Then, I hope you’ll find the strength and love to become more resolute in your determination to help create a world without this kind of abuse, and with the opportunities that come from egalitarian, cooperative security–the kind of world that, frankly, the majority of the world wants and has always wanted.”

Here goes: This is a meditation. Your economic insecurity is not your fault because:

1. . . . wages aren’t under your control
2. . . . capitalism is like a roller coaster
3. . . . capitalism reproduces itself in social relations
4. . . . a few powerful entities could make the system work for us all but won’t
5. . . . “money” is a construct
6. . . . “work” is a construct
7. . . . “personal responsibility” is a construct

Read the details here: Popular Resistance

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