The per capita money income for the average Nevadan is $27,625 according to the U.S. Census, which also tells us that the median household income is $55,553. If we assume for the sake of keeping the arithmetic simple that is take home pay, then the household has approximately $4,630 per month for all household expenses.
The median contract for rental housing in Las Vegas in 2009 was $883.00 per month. [CD] The median household cost for families with a mortgage stood at $1,783 per month. [CD] If we subtract the median household mortgage cost from that median household income the remainder for household components is $2847.
Then there are the utilities. The median household cost for utilities in Las Vegas is estimated at $82 per month, the mean is $208.00 [Bundle] If we subtract the median figure, the household now has $2765.
If our average household spends the national average amount on clothing and services as measured by the BLS, then we need to subtract another $1736 from the accounts for the year, or $162.00 per month. [BLS] We’re down to $1963.
Transportation expenses (automobiles ,gas, maintenance, insurance, etc.) will cost our median family approximately $750 per month; total average transportation costs ($8998/12) as reported by the BLS. There’s now $1213 remaining.
Now we have to subtract the average health care expense of $296 per month from the family coffers each month, $917 remains. Personal insurance and pension contributions will remove an average of $466 from the check book, there’s $747 remaining.
The “entertainment” budget (sporting events, sporting equipment, television, radio, sound equipment, video equipment, etc.) will shave another $217.00 from the balance. There’s $530 left.
If our median household donates the average monthly charitable donations, another $75 is subtracted. [BLS] There’s $455 remaining. The BLS also has a category called “all other expenses” which is a catch all for banking fees, personal hygiene care, reading materials, education (texts, tuition, etc.) This would consume another $296 per month. There’s $159 remaining.
Here’s where the You’re On Your Own ideology goes off the Reality Rails.
Please don’t attempt to convince me that an “average” family in Nevada or anywhere else in this country for that matter, can personally save enough to secure the retirement of all adult family members without the safety net of Social Security and secured pension funds (to which our hypothetical median family has been contributing.) However, the ideologues of the right would have us believe that an “average” family can self-fund not only retirement, but all the other security and social mobility assets as well.
Out of that $159 it’s expected a “family” can save for the educational expenses of all their children? That the “family” can save for all medical expenses, regular and emergency, with a Health Savings Account? That a family can save for a down-payment on a larger or better home? That a family can save for the expenses related to a natural or emergency disaster — the out of pocket expenses necessary after a house fire? That a family can save enough to afford to contribute to the housing and care services required for elderly members? Our hypothetical family could shave the “entertainment” budget to the bone, could slash the “other” category down to the toothpaste purchases — and still not be realistically expected to cover all their future expenses completely on their own.
Their children will still need student loans at reasonable interest rates. Their family will still need assistance getting affordable health care insurance. Their family will still need help from the rest of us to secure a decent retirement and health care in their later years.
Those who purport to be Pro-Family would do better to espouse policies which actually support our average, middle class, families.