Minimum wage for a minimum life for a family (one adult, two children) in California: $29/hour. Before you think McDonald's, think bigger: fund-raisers for small nonprofits don't get that kind of money, or preschool teachers, or most graphic artists, or micro-business entrepreneurs, or ... Even in the poorer counties of the state (the California Budget Project has a county-by-county family budget breakdown), the modest-life bottom line (one car, two bedrooms, two kids) is $65K a year.
In San Francisco City/County, it's $95K a year. But families are leaving San Francisco, and just in time, as the class wars there are beginning to heat up:
Noreen Malone has written a column in the New Republic on the "new Puritanism" of technies; the column was prompted by a posting in Facebook by Greg Gopman that was reprinted in Valleywag. Gopman is CEO of AngelHack, an organizer of Hackathons. Gopman wrote (and later deleted, and even later, apologized for his remarks):
...The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it's a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that's okay...you can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of[San Francisco] for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while.
Malone's thesis draws an ironic line under the aura of modernity on the technie class that is historically a flashback to the we're-rich-because-we're-blessed and we're-blessed-because-we-work-hard philosophies of the Puritans (and Reaganites).
In Slate, reviewing the same post (and the anti-indigent remarks of Gopman's "friends" that composed the thread under his post), Will Oremus writes:
... it would be nice to think that there’s still hope for tomorrow’s masters of the universe—the Googlers, the startup founders, the venture capitalists—to turn out to be a little less evil than the crop that came before them. They could start by speaking up the next time one of their techie friends compares homeless people to hyenas, instead of reaching for the like button.
Compassion. There's an app for that.