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Stanford study: 22 percent of California in poverty

Original post made on Oct 2, 2013

The sky-high cost of housing in California is pushing many families into poverty, according to new research by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Public Policy Institute of California.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 9:50 AM

Comments (21)

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Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

It's almost a necessity that someone earn a six-figure income to be able to afford a decent 1 bedroom apartment on the Peninsula.
I am sad for our educated young people who AREN'T employed in software development. That would include teachers, administrative support staff, retail, etc. The cost of housing mandates a dual income family which in turn necessitates affordable child care.
Even if you bought your home years ago, the cost of maintaining the home is very high due to all of the above. Labor costs in the bay area are driven by real estate prices.

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Posted by Nice Person
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Yes, another study showing how poor too many of us are. What can we do about it? What things that are being done are effective? Housing costs are driving this, but people who are cashing in/controlling the housing stock don't want this to change, and those not in control have no means of effecting change.

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Posted by ideas
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I know what to do. Let's pass a law banning people who are driven out of their expensive housing from sleeping in their cars. Let's try to force all homeless people out of Palo Alto. Let's vote to prevent the building of affordable senior housing. Let's pass an ordinance that poor people can't even beg in the streets sitting down or sleep on a bench. Let's force the 20 year residents of a trailer park out into the streets -- then out of Palo Alto. Let's allow bullying of poor and disabled students in our schools. Then, let's have a big multimedia celebration with a fancy black tie dinner party at the Garden Court Hotel to pat ourselves on the back for how much we love the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Let's name our public space, where the homeless are banned, after Dr. King.

Dr. King would have nothing but critical words for Palo Alto and its "values."

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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm

It's so easy, and fun, to hurl smug pontifications from that leafy affordable-housing desert called Old Palo Alto.

I know what to do. Let's help them remedy that deficiency by offering an Oak Court-sized affordable housing development deep in that 'hood. We'll watch the scramble to get it referended, with the movement likely led by prominent current members of our city council.

Dr. King would have nothing but critical words for Old Palo Alto and its hypocrisy.

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Posted by A New Day
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Our housing model is so overly swayed for the developer that it prices out the local buyer who cannot afford the artificial high cost of housing...that is unless the buyer is from a foreign country who will bring foreign ideas to a declining American housing market...

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Posted by No-Such-Thing-As-A-Free-Lunch
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

> California's immigrant population is also highly affected
> by poverty, in part because undocumented immigrants are not
> eligible for safety-net programs, the study found.
> Taking immigrants into consideration is key to reducing
> the state's poverty, Grusky said

Let’s start by factoring out of your calculations all of the known illegal immigrants. How would that change your conclusions?

Pushing forward—let’s assume open borders, with millions of people living south of our borders, flowing in every year. How much does Stanford think it will cost to provide a safety-net to keep these millions out of poverty? Would that be a number in the billions, or trillions?

Recent polls show that easily 40M Mexicans, alone, would move to the US, if they could. Suppose the US government, with Stanford’s guidance, were to insure at least $60K in direct, and indirect, benefits to these millions, this would add a mere $2.4T to the welfare bill that the US taxpayers have to shoulder. Looking at California, let’s suggest that we look to insure that this 20% should receive $60K in benefits—this would cost a mere $120B a year. Wonder if these Stanford researchers considered the cost of providing everyone a free lunch?

Oh, and these numbers don’t include all of the other freebies that the Utopians would like to promise everyone who is willing to listen to them.

Maybe, just maybe, if those illegals who came here for a better life, or a handout, were to go home—then there would be a large decrease in these poverty numbers.

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Posted by "self-deportation"
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm

"let’s assume open borders, with millions of people living south of our borders, flowing in every year." Let's also assume the moon is made of green cheese. The above statement makes as much sense.

There are no open borders, in fact, they are tighter under this administration than any other.

Millions flowing in every year? More green cheese moon rocks. There aren't millions flowing in. Net migration is down since 2008, almost to zero in some instances.

Go ahead and share your faulty opinion. Just don't base it on the completely ridiculous premise above.

The problem was when Reagan amnestied the illegals in the 80s, as well as government accepted all the refuse from the Cuban jails.

Want to do something about it? Demand enforcement of current laws and throw CEO's and shareholders of companies that employ illegals into jail. Tyson foods, the meat packing plants in the mid-west, or whenever Walmart outsources to cleaning crews composed of illegals. Throw all the CEO's in jail for a day, for each and every infraction.

That will instantly dry up the jobs for illegals. Instantly raise wages for Americans. (who's going to pick fruit for 5 bucks? Not me. For $15 an hour? Now you'll get takers...) So it bumps up the price of food a dime or a quarter. Puts far more money into the economy and raise GDP and employment.

And Romney's delusional "self-deportation" scheme might come true.

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Posted by No-Such-Thing-As-A-Free-Lunch
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

> false opinion

Really? Does such a thing actually exist? Perhaps one might point out that there are false facts used to create the opinion, but when one is arguing a hypothetic--some of the key points might well not be facts, but conjectures. Not possible to argue that a conjecture can never happen.

Let's look at some of the points in the argument that can be demonstrated as true--

Zogby Poll:
Web Link

Interest in going to the United States remains strong even in the current recession, with 36 percent of Mexicans (39 million people) saying they would move to the United States if they could. At present, 12 to 13 million Mexico-born people live in the United States.

Welfare Pays Better Than Work:
Web Link
Tanner and Hughes award the national welfare championship to Hawaii, which offers $60,590 in annual welfare benefits, once you account for the fact that welfare benefits are tax-free to the recipient, compared to work-related wages.

Illegal Immigration On The Rise:
Web Link

Despite a recession and increased attention to deportation and preventing border crossings, we still have a steady population of illegal immigrants. Estimates put the population at about 11.7 million, down from a high of 12.2 million in 2007.

Read more here: Web Link

Illegal Immigrants in California and Los Angeles County
Web Link

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an estimated 2,830,000 illegal immigrants
resided in California in 2011, compared to 1.5 million in 1990 and 2.5 million in 2000. This number represents
about 24 percent of the entire estimated illegal immigrant population in the United States (11.5 million in 2011).
This estimate puts the percentage of California's population that are illegal immigrants to be about 7.5 percent,
with a majority (about 60 percent) being from Mexico. Across the entire United States, an estimated 6.8 million
illegal immigrants were from Mexico, up from 4.7 million in 2000

Each of the numbers used in the original posting came from these sources. True, not every State is paying $60K for welfare benefits at the moment--but given a push for Amnesty in Congress, one can only wonder how long before there are mandates from Washington, or perhaps Sacramento?

The only question left, is how many new illegals can we expect, per year, in the future, and how much will the social engineers force the taxpayers to hand over to these people.

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Posted by Lionized
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Ask Ken De Leon about the number of immigrant Chinese who buy houses in Palo Alto, and then never live in them nor rent them out. Doesn't this cause an artificial housing shortage? Isn't this causing a bubble similar to the one caused by Japanese housing investors in the late eighties/early nineties?

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Posted by "self-deportation"
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm

">false opinion"

I said "faulty opinion", not "false" opinion. Yes, free-lunch, it's a lot easier for you to whine and moan when you flat out lie about what someone said.

And this one is just beautiful: you claim: "Illegal Immigration On The Rise" And then list your evidence as: " Estimates put the population at about 11.7 million, down from a high of 12.2 million in 2007."

Bad news, free-lunch, math tells us that 11.7 is SMALLER than 12.2 million. Yes, illegals grew under Bush, and are down under Obama.

More useless "data"? Your "facts" presented with the Tri-City Herald "Voice of Mid-Columbia" link, is an OPINION piece, with no links for it's source data! It's just an op-ed!

Wow! Your other "facts" are from the LA Almanac?!?!?! The LA Almanac? It's supporting link is to the DHS HOME PAGE, not to any particular study or a page with facts.


Want to make up anything else?

Your DHS numbers DO show us that Bush and the corporate friendly GOP let a LOT of immigrants in during his terms. They learned well from the Amnesty-in-Chief, Ronnie Reagan. The contributors that fund the GOP want lots of cheap labor, don't they? ANd those corporate types just takle the tea bagger sheep for a ride, every time.

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Posted by Win
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Good point Lionized. It also drives up housing prices to a level set by a foreign economy that considers $3-4 million dollar homes a "bargain".

Web Link

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Posted by Sam
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm


You are right, Palo Alto should enact an ordinance that no home in the city shall be sold for more than the standard conforming loan limit of $417,000.

Let's be the progressive beacon of hope for the rest of the nation!!

Many more great people will be able to live in Palo Alto, and we can keep out the unscrupulous asian investors.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Personally I'd rather live in poverty in California than be a billionaire anywhere else on Earth.

To a large extent many of our residents apparently agree with me, or at least it's preferable to live in poverty here than in poverty anywhere else.

Am I putting too much positive spin on this story?

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Posted by Steph
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

You need a good education to keep yourself above the poverty line today. You also need to take a major that will grow with the times and not leave you out jobless five years down the road.

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Posted by LT Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

*Personally I'd rather live in poverty in California than be a billionaire anywhere else on Earth*

How sweet -)

I might only change "California" to perhaps "The Bay Area"

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Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2013 at 5:38 am

When half of one's income is spent on housing there's not much left at the end of the month. Salaries for the majority of workers have stagnated for the past three decades while the cost-of-living in the Golden State continually increases. The rising rate of income inequality is taking a toll on the quality of life of Californians.

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Posted by Not much left
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

After paying Palo Alto rent, a car payment, insurances, utilities, and childcare (which is almost as high as the rent), my son and his wife have NO MONEY left at the end of the month. That's why I take care of the youngest child, an infant, because two kids in daycare would run them into negative cash flow every month.

My son is a mechanical engineer, his wife a nurse; their friends are all in similar situations, and many have had to move in with parents to make ends meet.

That doesn't sound like a healthy economy to me!

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Posted by it is the law
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm

"a mechanical engineer, his wife a nurse"

Too bad they're not educated professionals, adding important value to society, like, maybe, say...

... a hedge fund manager, with the ridiculous carried interest deduction.

I hate what the tax code does to working class Americans.

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Posted by A decent place to live
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm

We moved from Palo Alto early this year after be informed that the landlord was making too much money (??) and we needed to move. Of course my answer was hey that's easy, we won't pay you so much rent. We eventually gave in and moved away since the funny smell coming from the "empty" apartment next door.

Today this duplex sits empty with blinds down without tenants instead of renting to someone who needs a home and could pay the landlord a mid-market rent. It now has security cameras.

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Posted by Priya
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Majority of Illegals are the same ones working in our homes and taking care of our loved ones. Majority of the industries in America today are making big bucks off the backs of undocumented people. Over in East Palo Alto at the Home Depot, most of the migrants end up working on homes here in Palo Alto. Do people care nope as long as we're saving bucks. Then at the end of the day it's a problem for them to be sleeping in cars because we don't brother to pay a decent wage.

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Posted by Shocked and Awed
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

It's amazing to me that a community known for its forward thinking and innovative solutions to complex problems (tech or otherwise) is using language fit for Jim Crow to forward its anti-homeless message. The fact is the majority of Palo Alto's homeless (particularly those sleeping in their vehicles at Cubberley) are working or looking for work. The vast majority do not have the stereotypical issues that YOU commonly associate with the homeless (i.e. they're not all drug addicts or alcoholics and they didn't choose to be homeless).

That the City Council has continuously jumped at any idea that promised to ship the problem, literally, outside county or city lines is a disgrace and NIMBYism at its worst. People who live in your community are your neighbors despite their financial status, so please have some compassion and help to carry on Palo Alto's legacy of not searching for the easiest solution but instead the most effective one.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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