Posted 9 years ago on Oct. 11, 2011, 11:09 a.m. EST by LongLostAndLooking
from Portland, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
…For the simple reason that a loaf of bread costs the same for everyone, rich or poor.
There’s a fixed cost of living. You have to eat. You need shelter. You need water. These things are not negotiable and there’s a price you pay for them in America.
A flat tax assumes that everyone gets paid more than they need to buy those basic necessities, which is a convenient assumption for those that are rich and less so for those that aren’t because it isn’t even remotely true.
Right now, minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. 5% of the workforce (or 3.6 million people) get the minimum wage ($15,080 per year) or less every year, and of that group, most (2.6 million) are getting less than minimum wage. 
40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, that works out to be $15,080 per year. Assume a 4 week month and they bring home approximately $1160 per month before taxes. Some months will be more, some less, but we’ll use 4 weeks for this.
The average rent nationally was $755. 
The average residential electric bill is $104.52. 
The average residential water bill was $40 per month nearly ten years ago. 
Let's say it's $51 per month now. 
The cheapest individual plan I could find on Verizon's website was about $40 per month. 
If you're going to have a job, you have to be able to get to it.
The average fuel consumption in the US is 581 gallons per year, which works out to 48.4 gallons per month. 
Poor people can't afford hybrids or usually even cars that are running right, so let's assume they're driving a gas guzzler that's getting considerably worse mileage than the average. We'll use the average for these calculations, but those obviously will be way below what their actual costs are.
The US average retail price for gasoline on 10/03/2011 is $3.43 per gallon. 
So, that means that the average US expenditure for gasoline is $166 per month.
Then you've got car insurance. The average was $795 back in 2007. It's probably higher today, but we'll use that number. Say $66.25 per month. 
Do you really think someone earning so little can pay cash for a car? I don't either. Assume they financed it for about $150 per month.
Or they can get a bus pass in Seattle Washington for about what they're spending on gasoline. Say $171 per month.
Then there are groceries. The average US grocery bill was $5,340 back in 2005/2006. 
It's much higher now but let's use the low number anyway. $445 per month, assume that's a family of 4, so about $111.25 per month per person. It's much higher today, but we'll go with that.
I couldn't find a good number for a national average garbage bill, so I left that off.
So, let's see what we've got...
- 755.00 Rent
- 104.52 Electricity
- 51.00 Water (assume sewer is wrapped into that)
- 40.00 Phone
- 111.25 Food
- 171.00 Bus pass =-$72.77*
*Note, that doesn't include garbage.
So, after basic survival necessities, they OWE $72.77 per month more than they have.
Remember, that’s before taxes, and despite what the Republicans have been saying, the poor do in fact pay taxes. Social Security is 6.2%, so decrease the pay of people earning minimum wage by $71.92 more, which means that they owe $144.69 more than they make already.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics - Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2009: http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2009.htm
US Census Bureau – American Housing Survey: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/ahs/ahsfaq.html
US Energy Information Administration – Electricity Explained – Data & Statistics: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_home#tab2
Wikipedia - Water supply and sanitation in the United States: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_United_States
Environmental Protection Agency - Emission Facts: Average Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks: http://www.epa.gov/oms/consumer/f00013.htm
US Energy Information Administration - Weekly U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices, Regular Grade. Accessed from the www on October 11, 2011 @ http://www.eia.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page.html
Compuquotes.com – Average Car Insurance (US): http://www.compuquotes.com/average-costs-of-insurance.html#auto
CNN Money - Shave $150 a week off your grocery bill: http://money.cnn.com/2005/12/20/pf/grocerybills_startmoney_0601/index.htm