Real cost of living is a burden on one in five New Jerseyans

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  1. I’ve read a number of the Self-Sufficiency Standard studies over the past 5 or so years, and respect their methodology for determining the cost of living for a lifestyle most of us would call “working poor” — that is, no frills: no meals out, no entertainment, no savings, no gifts, no tuition, no debt repayment, a 40th percentile rental (which generally puts one somewhat off the beaten path and probably not in the best of school districts).

    But I find their proposed solutions to the problem to be insufficient.

    I propose that those who care about this subject — which should be at least 60% of us — educate themselves about the causes of the low wages we see around us; the cause of the sprawl that eats up time, money and fuel and creates pollution; the cause of the decay in the downtowns of many of our cities. All these problems can be traced to a single cause, and all can be placed on the road to a solution that will create a better society and community for all of us.

    I’m not proposing something new or original, though most people will not have heard of it. Rather, I am suggesting that we acquaint ourselves with the observations and proposals most often associated with the name of Henry George, who saw, 130 years ago, figured out and laid out the cause of the poverty he saw in our cities, despite awesome technological progress that could have been sufficient to abolish all poverty.

    In “Progress & Poverty,” George laid out the relationship between the two, and told us how to fix the problem, through a simple tax reform. The reform is a great example of “think globally, act locally” — something that individual towns and cities and states can implement at their own speed. The smart ones will implement it soon and rapidly; the duller ones more slowly.

    You can lean more about these ideas at http://www.wealthandwant.com/ (and while you’re there, take a look at the collected information on the cost of living in America’s least expensive counties, drawn from the Self Sufficiency Standard studies), at http://www.answersanwers.com, and http://lvtfan.typepad.com/ “LVTfan” is “land value taxation” fan — the only tax I can think of that deserves a fan club!

  2. I’ve read a number of the Self-Sufficiency Standard studies over the past 5 or so years, and respect their methodology for determining the cost of living for a lifestyle most of us would call “working poor” — that is, no frills: no meals out, no entertainment, no savings, no gifts, no tuition, no debt repayment, a 40th percentile rental (which generally puts one somewhat off the beaten path and probably not in the best of school districts).

    But I find their proposed solutions to the problem to be insufficient.

    I propose that those who care about this subject — which should be at least 60% of us — educate themselves about the causes of the low wages we see around us; the cause of the sprawl that eats up time, money and fuel and creates pollution; the cause of the decay in the downtowns of many of our cities. All these problems can be traced to a single cause, and all can be placed on the road to a solution that will create a better society and community for all of us.

    I’m not proposing something new or original, though most people will not have heard of it. Rather, I am suggesting that we acquaint ourselves with the observations and proposals most often associated with the name of Henry George, who saw, 130 years ago, figured out and laid out the cause of the poverty he saw in our cities, despite awesome technological progress that could have been sufficient to abolish all poverty.

    In “Progress & Poverty,” George laid out the relationship between the two, and told us how to fix the problem, through a simple tax reform. The reform is a great example of “think globally, act locally” — something that individual towns and cities and states can implement at their own speed. The smart ones will implement it soon and rapidly; the duller ones more slowly.

    You can lean more about these ideas at http://www.wealthandwant.com/ (and while you’re there, take a look at the collected information on the cost of living in America’s least expensive counties, drawn from the Self Sufficiency Standard studies), at http://www.answersanwers.com, and http://lvtfan.typepad.com/ “LVTfan” is “land value taxation” fan — the only tax I can think of that deserves a fan club!