Census reveals that more than half of renters are overstretched (or overreaching)

Median household income between 1965 and 2005....Median Household Income, 1965-2005; Image via Wikipedia
I think it is time to stop any talk about raising taxes, and start raising RAISES. Don't even talk about it, just get to it.

Housing costs are proving unaffordable for more than half of Americans who rent. And, go figure, many might even have gotten into a rental agreement during the recent drop in prices and are still drained! Sucks to not be the guy taking the rent or taking the taxes these days. Big time. I'm getting a little tired of it.

It makes sense to take what a household earns and say that 30% of it should be the cost of housing. Less would be better, obviously. The census finding reveals that, broadly, a little more than half of Americans are on the wrong side of two general types: those who spend beyond their means, whether their income is great or they are in lower income brackets, and those who are unable to afford living within their means. (But let's face it, this is middle-class and working-class families, overwhelmingly, and, in the past few years, recent college graduates who are anti-roommate or unable to move in with parents).

From USA Today:
More renters found housing unaffordable last year as incomes fell while costs increased, a one-two punch that squeezed lower-income households in particular. Affordability for homeowners, however, was stable.

The share of renters spending 30% or more of their household income on housing costs — the threshold set by the government to determine if housing is unaffordable — rose to 51.5% from about 50% in 2008, according to 2009 Census data released Tuesday.
To use myself as an example, I have been paying at least $1200 too much, annually, for rent (for what I was getting), ever since I moved to Florida in 2003. The market was certainly in a bubble, and in South Florida, it was comical. Or, frightening, depending on how you look at it. In some places, people were paying $700 or better rates to live between some very scruffy walls, and neighbors. That imbalance changed -- for me, at least -- when I relocated in January 2010, in the midst of the sunken housing market.  Some places were still asking far too much. Some folks have, some folks do not have, and some of the former are sloooow in reacting to change. I guess they can afford to be that way.

To get a bit class warfare about it, in 2009-2010, I found that those who are in the "have" category don't find a need to change their ways when the stuff hits the fan. (I don't take my little class war farther than that, though: I don't expect anyone to hand over a nice place to me.) It's a bit mystifying to me. There are those, however, both homeowners and apartment management companies, who were working with people during the 2008 till ?? (whenever it stops) downturn. I applaud their common sense and business sense.

The housing downturn started way back in April 2006, and good people have bad things happen to them in times like that. The landowners should respond appropriately, and not make it feel like a class warfare coming from their end. You get what I mean? If nobody gets all self-centered and needy when things are tense, we'll get through it much better. That goes for government types, too.

It's time to stop raising taxes, and start raising RAISES, including the best raise of all, a good, free market job (and getting off of unemployment) for the jobless who really need them. The U.S. Congress has not missed giving themselves a raise in 2008, in 2009, and will probably do so again in 2010 (wait till December, I believe that's when it will happen again, conveniently after the election cycle).

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- jR, aka AirFarceOne (Twitter)
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