State of the Union
The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour. After taxes that is $7.67. A one bedroom apartment in Chicago on average costs about $1,100 (taking into consideration all of the neighborhoods). Now add utilities, groceries and transportation and you’re looking at $1,600. I won’t include things like credit card payments, car notes or student loans just to “be fair”. That means someone would have to work over fifty two hours a week in order to make ends meet. It’s sort of crazy to me that we’re comfortable with the top U.S. CEO’s making between $10,000-$20,000 PER HOUR, but the Senate can’t manage to lift the minimum wage to a measly $10.10. By the way, senators make about $174,000 a year.
Does this chart make you sick to your stomach? Because I feel like I want to vomit every time I see it. There really isn’t anything else to say about this. It is worth noting that there are more infant deaths in the United States than sixty eight other countries in the world.
The results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked the United States: 31st in Math, 24th in Science, and 21st in Reading. This is embarrassing. If we’re a world power and leader, why do our citizens lag behind third world countries? What is it about our socio-economic structure that prevents children from receiving a good education? How can we claim to be the best at anything when we can’t read, write or do math?
The average student loan debt is around $30,000. The Federal Reserve Bank states that the total student loan debt of this country is 1.1 TRILLION DOLLARS, more than auto loans and credit card debt. An average payment for a loan of $30,000 is just over $300 a month. If you go for the extended payment plan (which gives you twenty five years to pay it back), you’ll pay around $200 a month, but when it’s all said and done you’ll have paid over double the amount of the loan. When someone decided it made sense to loan all of this money to students who would enter a work force where jobs are scarce and salaries are fairly stagnant (except for say, tech jobs), why did they think they’d be paid back? Threatening someone who has no money in the first place is useless. Expecting someone to have an extra $300 a month lying around is fairly unrealistic. Even if they did, that’s just the AVERAGE student loan debt. Many of my friends have a far higher balance. But maybe the bigger question is: Why does it cost so much to attend college in the first place? Why are there things called for-profit schools that are actually businesses with shareholders? It turns out we DO place a value on education and it has absolutely nothing to do with learning, accessibility, or affordability.