In the early to mid-80's, I was a mid-level exec at a major media company. The lowest I could get away paying anyone except for an administrative assistant was $31K. $31K in 1985 is $65,000 in 2012 dollars. $35K today for anyone but a student or perhaps one's very first job out of school while still living with your parents is NOTHING.
I should have commented on this earlier.
You're WAY out of touch with reality. Let's take a few jobs and look at national average incomes (keeping in mind that Austin has a lower cost of living than most of the country's population, so the figures in Austin could be even lower):
I'm not going to do the math for you but the following are all average monthly incomes by occupation. The numbers are a couple of years out of date, but raises across the board have been very slim for the past few years. But if you want, add 10% to all of the following numbers. For comparison, your $35 K is just under $3,000 per month:
Salesperson - $1876
Baker - $1461
Hotel receptionist - $1469
Bus Driver - $1594
Office clerk - $1921
Auxiliary Nurse - $2268
Average for all manufacturing workers - $2372
Average for all construction workers - $2584
All sectors - median income $2313
Your claim that $35 K is adequate only for a student or first job out of school is therefore total nonsense.