> someone isn't going to make more than $18k because that work just isn't that valuable
In some places, the minimum wage is US$15.00 per hour.
For a full time job, that means an annual income of US$30,000.
>Perhaps part of every welfare program should include some money and financial management counseling.
If your gross monthly income is US$1,500:
* Tax: US$180;
* FICA: US$180;
For a take home check of US$1,140:
* Prudence dictates that one spend no more than 25% of one's gross income on shelter, including utilities.
Most landlords insist on a take home check that is at least three times the monthly rent.
* Using the prudent formula, your shelter costs should not exceed US$375 / month;
* Using the landlord formula, your shelter costs should not exceed US$380 / month;
It doesn't matter how good your skills at keeping a budget are, if there is no shelter at a price that either prudence, or landlords will accept is affordable for you, the renter.
As a home owner, the options are slightly better, but even there, property tax can prevent financial prudence.