How can we get the cost of living in the U.S. down to manageable standards?

More and more people are relying on section housing and welfare to make ends meet, and it is only getting worse.

Do we need to reform our welfare system to drive certain taxes and costs down, or is it too late because the jobs available do not pay enough anyways.

Update:

SO MANY GOOD ANSWERS!!!

13 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The first problem is opportunity. Monopolies control almost all the products we use in daily life. Microsoft has flaunted monopoly laws, lied in public and costs each taxpayer at least a dime on every dollar taxed because of deliberate incompatabilities and illegal marketing scams. It's no better in a grocery store. The recent chili recall showed just how few brands of chili there really are. One manufacturer had the problem but that same manufacturer made almost every brand of chili out there. How can competition drive down costs when only 3 companies make %99.9 of the chili sold in the US? Potato chips you have Lays and well rebranded Lays chips. If you buy a razor or a bar of soap or almost anything it's owned by one of 3 mega corps that produce almost everything in our grocery stores. You want a cell phone you have how many choices left? How long until you have your choice between one of two Cell phone companies?

    This is best reflected in the gas price gauging. Many people want to boycott the gas stations but they are not the problem. The problem is only 3 companies refine the oil. So no matter where it comes from and who sells it the price is fixed right there. Don't know if the Lyondell Citgo refinary is still owned by Citgo but if it is then part of the gas you are buying is money going to a dictator who hates the US with an open and strong passion. One who has open ties with Arab terrorists and very likely to supply weapons and other aid to these terrorists. You can avoid buying Citgo gas directly but that refinary if in operation is still selling that gas to somebody. It's just being rebranded and so the money still goes to monopolies and to dictators.

    Taxes are a huge problem. Reforming welfare is necessary. It doesn't help the poor, costs an arm and a leg and leaves most people who need it most ineligible. The homeless for example rarely can collect a penny of Federal aid. Got laid off from work and can't make the bills. Good luck getting any federal aid to keep you afloat until you find a new job.

    This could still be acceptable if there were jobs that paid higher and higher wages to where you could finally dig your way out of living check to check. There are not. Even reasearch is being outsourced today. Low and mid level jobs are being eaten up by illegals. High end jobs by outsourcing and work visas. Companies are fleeing the US in droves. American companies that stay are going out of business. People with ideas have no way to get financing to give their ideas a chance. You literally have to prove you don't need a loan to get one for a biz. The high cost of living makes it impossible for even proffesionals to finance an endeavor out of their garage any more. Even if they found the money the laws of that city would get them for operating a biz in a residential area and the city taxes would make them unprofitable. The lack of opportunity is locking Americans into a dramatically decreasing standard of living.

    The cost of everything is grossly inflated by taxes. There's the sales tax, the income taxes on the company that you buy it from. The payroll tax on the employees who stock and sell it. Then there's the payroll and income and other taxes on the transportation of that good to the store. The taxes on the warehouse, the taxes on the manufacturer or tarrifs on the goods coming into the US. By the time you bought it half or more of the cost of an item is taxes.

    No long ago I could have purchased my home with cash with just 4 years of my Social security taxes. I would still be living there if that was the case. Instead I lost my home when I got laid off. So much of our money goes to middle men. Our income is sucked off to interest because we cannot afford to live on cash any more. Few people in this country even those classified as "wealthy" can buy a car for cash. I own mine finally. I paid nearly twice the sticker price for it when all was said and done because of interest and the occasional late fee. On top of that every year I paid registration and inspection taxes plus the occasional speeding ticket tax.

    We are drowning in taxes. Most of that money is being sent overseas. Our outlay to the UN is staggering. Our programs to prop up various governments, eradicate drugs, feed the hungry, stop disease and many other causes is not cost effective. What we spend on many causes is mostly wasted. The US military buying berets from China is a great example of our tax dollars being ripped from our hands and piddled away over seas. Weapons, goods in the comisaries, uniforms is anything the US military buys made in the US? Then again what is made in the US anymore?

    If we just quit erradicating drugs. Made Marajuana legal. Got out of the UN. Just those steps alone would allow us to decrease the budget by almost a third. Elimanating the IRS (replaced with flat tax or national sales tax), cutting the DEA in half, eliminating the war and drug tsar posts, elimanating many cold war subsidies to often dictatorial governments. Those steps would dramatically reduce our costs. Removing illegals from the US would again dramatically lower costs. A first step is Gov forms should be printed in English. We could send millions to college every year with full scholarships on what we spend in printing bilingual forms.

    Illegals are having a huge negitive impact on the US economy. They are squeezing Americans out of jobs, not just menial work but skilled trades. In some areas illegals not only do %95 of the construction work the foremans, and sometimes the owners of the construction company are also illegals. They are bombarding the health care system. They do not make enough to afford health care or insurance. Illegals get sick like anybody else. They often work the most dangerous jobs so they are more likely to injured in industrial accidents. Especially since companies that hire illegals are tempted to take short cuts as they know the employees cannot report them. Each one that shows up in the ER, which is often the only place they have to go, and often riding an amulance because they know they cannot be refused treatment and also often lack good transportation. Each one of those visits costs us thousands of dollars. There are millions of such visits every year. Illegals may be scared to report an employer but they are litigious as a group and tie up the court system with often bogus law suits. They are destroying the wage scales for trades that used to pay well enough to live off of. So even if an American could find a company that would hire US citizens they cannot make enough to live off with that job. The lack of English skills poses a major safety hazard. The response is to print warning signs in Spanish as well. This adds costs to every US employer. It also doesn't solve the problem of communicating dangers between English speakers and non-English speakers. Thousands of accidents happen every year because illegals without English skills are unable to understand the warnings given them by supervisors.

    The biggest economic damage is the flood of dollars fleeing the US. Illegals come here, work, then send large chunks of that cash back home. One of the fastest growing industries in the US is facilitating the movement of money out of the US to Latin and Central America. Another is selling retirement homes to illegals in the US in their home country. They come here, work for x years sending money in and when they've made enough money they take thier savings, buy a house and live the rest of their life off the money made here.

    Another huge impact is affordable housing. Once illegals invade an area the housing is gone. Illegals are very protective of areas where they live driving out all other groups. So those making low wages or are on fixed incomes are directly competing with illegals for housing. Those a little further up on the wage scale are seeing housing costs jacked up in part to discourage illegals from invading that apt complex or housing area. Once they do the rent that can be collected is substantially reduced. So Americans are paying more and more for housing as Illegals are seeing strong advancements in wages but not moving into integrated living conditions. Instead they are still living in large groups to conserve money to send home. They are not buying health insurance or paying medical bills. The increase in wages is merely more money fleeing the country.

    In terms of law enforcement you have the obvious costs of deporting Aliens only to have them come right back. This alone is very costly. Then you have civil proceedings to deport many. You also have a large number of illegals here specifically to commit crimes. The largest street gang in the US was founded and is primarily composed of illegals. Crimes like the New Wark executions or the young lady raped and murdered in Oregan are common. At least one serial killer was an illegal (Ruiz). More so you have Arab Terrorists, agents of governments like Iran, Venezualla, China and other hostile nations with agents living here illegally. The IRA used to have thousands of it's agents in the US recruiting membership and raising funds. Almost all here illegally. You have Canadians here seeking health care and work. You have latin Americans, Asian, Europeans. Many of which like the Japanese and Russian mobs are here primarily for criminal purposes. When somebody is killed in a drunk driving accident in the SW odds are better than 50/50 that it was an illegal at the wheel.

    Then you have the costs of supporting these illegals who often pay little or no taxes. One reason a national sales tax in place of an income tax would raise more money. Even in the bridge collapse an illegal was killed. You can't throw a rock in this country without hitting an illegal. That means sewer services, electricity, health care, roads, and every other federal and state service is being crushed under the weight of low or non-tax paying people using the services and resources but paying little or nothing for upkeep. When they die we often have to pay for the plot. When the come in to a gov facility we have to pay for a translator, even for illegals that have been here for a decade or more.

    To me the most grevious sin is that these people are here as refugees. There are millions of people that want to come to America. Who would gladly do the work that illegals do but unlike illegals WANT to be Americans. Want to learn English. Want to contribute back. Each illegal in the US blocks one of these people from coming here. Sometimes causing the death of those trapped in oppressive nations. Illegals they don't root for America in the Olympics. They don't serve in our armed forces. They don't even bother to learn English. They care nothing for America and often hate us.

    Plain and simple Illegals are sucking the life out of our economy and dramatically lowering the standard of living of Americans. The jobs they do ARE wanted by Americans. Not just wanted but desparately needed.

    Corruption is a huge huge problem. As long as we have the Democraps and Repugnicans in power nothing will get better. They are for sale and openly for sale. They will not enforce monopoly laws because they are owned by these companies. They will not take necessary steps to protect us. They will take unreasonable measures to protect themselves from us. Instead of actually doing something useful they steal our civil liberties. They tax us into oblivion and laugh at us for believing their lies.

    Corruption hits us all down the line. It may well turn out that a bribe to an inspector is the final cause of the bridge collapse. We paid billions to set up wells in Iraq and few if any are working. You know bribes passed hands for those contracts and taxpayer money was flushed down the toilet. Corruption harms us at every step. The WTO has ruled agains the US at every turn. It is just plain out to get us. Yet we are it's primary funder. We are literally paying for the knife they stick in our back. With several bribes in the process. So at least it's a low quality knife. Will we get out or do anything about it? No because I'm bribes are going on to keep things as is and keep it quiet. Notice how the Microsoft anti-trust suit went away as soon as Microsoft started making the correct campaign contributions? That an example of the blatent corruption going on in the US gov. The simple fact is if the US Gov switched to Linux. A free distro like Fedora or Ubuntu. Hired a few people to do it right it could shave at least %5 of it's budget away. At least. That doesn't count all the security and integratin problems rampant with Microsoft software. It also doesn't take into account hardware would last longer, less hardware would be needed and fewer people would be needed to maintain the same services.

    There are many ways to greatly reduce the cost of living in the US. None will be enacted as long as the US has corruption up at the top. That corruption is so deeply embedded in the two major poltical parties that only the disolution of both parties and banning former high ranking members from ever holding high ranking membership in another party will give us a chance at an honest government. Without that we have no chance.

  • 1 decade ago

    We need to cut our consumption of all the crap the rest of the world is selling us.

    U.S. welfare is now mostly transfer payments. The rich get them in tax breaks, free water and grazing land for cattle, big oil gets tax breaks, and we go into debt more and more to countries selling us the junk. The jobs leaving the usa are low paying jobs. We lead the world in so many areas

    but our population is not well educated and high paying jobs go to foreigners. We prefer, for example to build more prisons and make more laws so people can go there, much of it revolving around drugs, we piss away billions on the drug war that never worked and never will work but that is a favored holy cow in our society, even though most judges see it as a waste and that there are more and better ways to deal with the drug problem. A legal and illegal drug problem by the way.

    Think the cheap payments the government makes to its elderly is welfare? Millions paid billions into it and the government spent it, now they are trying to gut the system. They already allow companys like IBM to declare bankruptsy then use the pension plan for the business debts. IBM is up and running normal again in a month, and guess what? No pension plan. Tell that to the guy with 26 years at the company. No more health care, the latest ripoff for companies that recruited the best and brightest out of college with promises of great benefits. Guess what.? screwed again, mr. Spending a billion a day in Iraq's civil war because our stupid leaders

    wanted to line their own pockets, gave contracts to friends without bid, like halliburton, the company our vice-president used to work at. We elect a convicted drunkdriver arrested for fighting and his lawyer and a judge hide it and he is the president of the united states. Well, he was actually apponted by the supreme court, the other guy had more votes but in florida they threw away a bunch of votes and didn't count a bunch of black peoples votes, the voting machines were dysfunctional, now we know that the company that makes the machines is hig placed in the republican party.

    An FBI man warned of the WTC 2 weeks before it happened and Bush told him to get lost. Steel does not melt at the temperature created by a jet fuel fire and explosion such as ther WTC, so what happened? Why did the building implode and fall exactly into the hold made by the underground

    level? Why Bin Ladens family spirited out of the US

    the same day? Shouldn't we at least question them?

    Who profited on the stock market from the explosion

    of the wtc? They claim they dont know. They know every transaction ever made. Lobbyist's run the country. Big business and others pay them to pass laws they like. Like more gas guzzlers in the face of global warming, warned about in 1978. The country has been bought, but it isn't to late to change it. We can get it back. The U/.S. is not a war making country or a police state. We need to get back to a democratic form of government.(not necessarily the democratic party).

  • 5 years ago

    Try 100% higher minimum. Prices in the UK are the same in £ as they are in $ in the US, with the exchange rate being approx 2$= £1 and prices bing twice what they are in the US and Taxation being higher (fuel is 4 times more expensive here). You would need 2.4 times your US salary ($192,000 or £96,000) to have the same standard of living. Please not only Senior Directors of Big Companies or Financial Services workers make that sort of money over here!! the average is £25,000 - £35,000 Chances are you'd NOT have anything like the same standard of living for a similar Job!!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Remove government funded housing and welfare. People will quit relying on these, and will learn to compete in the economy.

    End illegal immigration, which is another government funded subsidy to employers who hire these people and don't pay their share of SDLI, FICA and other taxes. Costs will go up to the consumers, as they have to shift to hiring people off the welfare rolls for a higher wage, but governmental costs will decrease as the unfunded drain on our schools, law enforcement, welfare and hospitals subsides.

    There is a labor shortage in this country. It's a seller's market. There is no reason for people to settle for inadequate jobs.

    Encourage community leaders to condemn the practice of out-of-wedlock births, and require young men to be responsible for the children they sire. Make child support so punitive that it's in the man's best interest to stick around and raise his kids.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch. There is always going to be a class of people who can barely make ends meet, and will complain every step of the way about it. With our education system today, no one should have any reason to complain, except to their neighbors whose children are disrupting the schools and preventing others from achieving their full ability.

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  • President LBJ with his Great Society program was going to stamp out poverty. Funny thing is, it has gotten worse.

    Let's face it: most people can't figure it out, but it is really quite simple. In the late '50s, for every dollar given by the Government in subsidies, people had to pay $10 in taxes. It is definitely a much lower percentage now than then.

    The more that is given, food stamps, school meals, tuition subsistance, etc., the more taxes. And who pays the highest rates in taxes? The poor people.

    It is taxes that fuels the higher and higher cost of living. I used to live quite well on $1,000 a year. Now that would not be enough for one month for my wife and I. My electric bill alone is more than I made per month for many years! Nothing keeps up with inflation; people used to get by on one-earner income. Now, both parents are likely working, and maybe even working parttime as well.

    Don't approve of tax increases. If they are held down, the cost of living will be held down.

    Source(s): M.S.B.A degree, Boston University
  • 1 decade ago

    Apply technology as a means of cost reduction, general labor in homes construction earns 14 to 24 dollars an hour, depending on location.

    Not to bash general labor, but twenty four dollars an hour for operating a shovel or broom?

  • 1 decade ago

    We need a pervasive ideological shift. People everywhere, from poverty to millionaires, are feeding the demand for commodities like gasoline, computers, cellular phones, and other luxuries. What we need is to stop creating demand for the things that aren't actually necessary. We need to look only at our own lives and start simplifying and minimizing.

    Buy local, organic foods

    Purchase other goods from smaller businesses

    Stop shopping at Wal-Mart, Home Depot and IKEA

    Shop at the Salvation Army and other thrift stores

    Ride your bike

    If we want cost of living to go down, we need to assume a lifestyle that does not cost so much. That starts with choice of consumption. Making good money can't remain the entire population's hope and plan for itself. We instead need to hope and plan for humility and moderation.

    (And yes, I'm aware of the irony that I'm writing this from my nifty little laptop)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The government does as the people do. They spend and spend without a care in the world. Its all funny money right now. People as individuals live far beyond their means. Theres all the hype to buy and no hype to save. Credit cards, ARM home loans, pay nothing for 12 months and take the furniture home today. Thats our motto and thats about all.

  • NC
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Cost of living in and of itself is not important. What is important is the relationship between the cost of living and prevailing level of income. Generally, a more productive way of solving this problem is to concentrate on increasing incomes rather than on lowering the cost of living...

    About 70% of all income in the U.S. is earned from employment. The highest-paid occupations are usually ones where the worker controls an expensive piece of machinery (a portal crane, a freight train, an airliner, etc.) So the key to higher incomes is in making sure there is a lot of expensive machinery around (in economics, this is usually referred to as "capital formation").

    Now capital formation is a fascinating phenomenon. It turns out that the primary source of capital formation is... inheritance. People tend to save and invest very little of what they earn, but a lot of what they inherit. So the number of proverbial "good jobs" turns out to depend on how much money has been passed between generations.

    Now throw in the ever-increasing longevity and the fact that more and more people outlive their money, and ponder the implications for capital formation...

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You can't reduce your living costs. Your markets have been flooded with money creating inflation. The Greenback is losing value which drives up your import prices. Fortunately your local manufacturers benefit. If wages rise your inflation will get worse.

    Like in AUSTRALIA governments have encouraged cheap credit driving home prices up because of speculators. It gives a false impression of economic growth. We at the bottom end of society pay the price. In Australia our rents are getting unaffordable. Food is on the increase and our government is happy because on paper our Gross Domestic product is healthy. For prices to decrease the dollar needs to rise to flood us with cheap imports. Same in USA. If the Fed in USA lowers interest rates your dollar will collapse increasing prices. You are damned now if you don't and damned if you do. Get ready for one hell of a roller-coaster financially.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Honestly. it's effects will not be seen overnight, but returning to a gold and silver standard would be a real good idea right about now. To the gentleman right above me: I'm afraid he's telling the truth in his opening statement. My suggestion to you would be to wake up as soon as possible.

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