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The new City Council has been sworn it.  I have my fingers crossed that this new bunch will tackle the really important issues facing our community – income inequality and services for citizens having the most trouble getting by, and not spend too much time on chicken ordinances, parking, car-free environments, bike lanes, and other Bloomberg-type issues that are just fine but primarily the concerns of gentrification and important only for the elite. Now, with a Democratic sweep, I’m hoping that the new council will join together to speak for those whose voices are the quietest in politics and public affairs and make those issues a priority.  I hope they understand the needs of so many – like being dependent on cars to drive to stores with affordable merchandise or for some, wanting a local CVS to shop at because they are unable to drive to Fishkill or Newburgh.  Let’s hope in this New Year that the Council makes it a priority to help Beacon residents in need.  Everyone will benefit.  

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Comment by Gregory Richards on February 3, 2014 at 3:16pm

TC,

Yes this conversation is pointless. You will never open your mind to even hearing let alone thinking or seeing a subject other than your own. 

A joke? Please let us meet. I will happily compare what I do each for those who are less fortunate as to what you do. Both in time given, money given, etc. Are you up for that?

Comment by TC on January 28, 2014 at 2:45pm

Saying "You believe that if we give people more money they will have a better life.[?] Well, that is never been the case." proves this conversation is pointless. When you have more money in your bank account is your lifestyle improved, compared to when you have little or none? You truly want to argue that point? Apparently this is all just a joke to you.

And so you say, once again, that because you once heard of a welfare queen or saw a WalMart with an employee gym that the institutional problems in our society aren't improved by the programs we are discussing. It's myopic and disingenuous, and exactly the kind of small-mindedness Pete Seeger fought against. His passing should embolden all of us to strive to be better citizens of the world, and to fight inequality wherever we find it.

Comment by Gregory Richards on January 27, 2014 at 2:11pm

" how will the disenfranchised and less-fortunate successfully maintain the protections programs like this provides?

Those who you describe are not the ones who maintain the protection programs

"If paying people less will make their lives worse, paying people more improves their lives. Right?"

Yes and No. How can you guarantee what they will spend their money on things to make their lives better. You cannot and that is where your point of view falls apart. You believe that if we give people more money they will have a better life. Well, that is never been the case. Look at how much we have spent over the years and are things better?

You cite WalMart, they have how many employees? 500,000 or so, of those how many are in need of support? I do not shop at WalMart, But I have been to Arkansas where they are from and it is funny the difference. Down there the local WalMarts have Gym's for their employees, they even have mini-night colleges for the employess to get an education! 

The problem is much deeper than "minimum wage". You cannot simplify it down to pay them more and things will be better. 

Comment by TC on January 22, 2014 at 3:08pm

You didn't understand my point, and invalidated your argument in the process.

The reasoning behind raising the minimum wage is because the value of a dollar falls over time. If I want to ensure a citizen has enough money to cover basic costs of living by requiring a minimum wage, and the value of a dollar decreases over time, I must raise the minimum wage over time to compensate for the loss of buying power of the dollar. As often as necessary to track this change in value. I assume you're familiar with cost-of-living wage increases? Same thing.

Ideally the minimum wage serves to keep a citizen from becoming a drain on the government and society as a whole by helping them to earn enough money to sustain themselves independently. See Wal-Mart for an example of how the lack of a reasonable minimum wage leads gainfully employed citizens into government dependency.

Focusing on the percentage of workers making minimum wage disingenuously ignores the reality that wages are relative to a number of factors. A federally mandated minimum is a significant factor among them.

Finally, if no one "legistrate people into better lives" how will the disenfranchised and less-fortunate successfully maintain the protections programs like this provides? If paying people less will make their lives worse, paying people more improves their lives. Right? That's not an absolute in every case, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater for the sake of what, exactly?

Comment by Gregory Richards on January 22, 2014 at 12:27pm

So, we raise the minimum wage. By doing so, people will have more money to spend, that is the logic. Where is that extra money going to come from? How do you know they will spend it and on what?

Exactly how many people make minimum wage? 

http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2011.htm

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/07/19/who-makes-minimum-w...

So it seems around 2.2%. How is giving just 2.2% more more going to life better for everyone? 

As for the question about raising the minimum wage. The point is that we have continully raised the minumum wage and we still have the probelm. One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Has not the value of the dollar in fact dropped in the past 8 years? 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_dollar

"Over the thirty-year period from 1981 to 2009, the U.S. dollar lost over half its value"

So, by that logic we should cut the minmum wage? 

I'm not aginst raising the minimumit (BTW, I pay well above it), just don't agree with the train of thought that you can legistrate people into better lives and that if you give them more money things will be better, haven't we tired that for the past 40 years? 

Comment by TC on January 21, 2014 at 3:24pm

If the minimum wage is moderately increased, the number of people eligible for government assistance will decline because their household income will exceed the threshold for assistance. Then they will "not rely on the government to take care of" them. Sounds like a win-win.

I am unaware of why you ask how many times the minimum wage has been raised, but the answer is 29 times in 76 years. Is there some ideal number or amount of increases that we're not being told about? Should we not adjust wages to reflect the value of the dollar over time?

One can govern from a place of facts and history, or they can govern based on gut feelings and anecdotal evidence. To put it another way, do you want the jet engine on your commercial flight designed by aeronautical engineers or frequent flyers?

Comment by Gregory Richards on January 21, 2014 at 12:40pm

Anna,

Why does Walmart and such pay such low wages? Because people want low prices. Why do they have less full time, because they will have to pay more. Do you know what the profit ratio is for that business model? 

Never said it was there fault, that is you over reacting. 

No it does not get my goat. I guess it does not bother you that local businesses had to pay an extra tax for MTA even though they don't use it. That the tax was ruled unconstitutional and that NYS refuses to refund the money.

 

I grew up in the inner city. In the 70's during the race riots. I know a thing or two about the difference in education. In 8th grade we moved into the country and the education was waaay different, I was years behind and I failed. I do not blame others for it. In fact I moved again (to NY) and worked hard and graduated high school in three years. 

How many times has the government raised the minimum wage, do you know? Where will it end. Make the minimum wage 10 an hour and see how much things will cost. You talk about Walmart, how about the commercial that MYS is running where if you open a business in NY, you will not have to pay taxes for ten years! I noticed you didn't mention that.

You will never hear me say it is someone's fault. But I will say that you should not rely on the government to take care of you. 

Comment by Anna West on January 15, 2014 at 11:46pm

When business like Walmart only pay minimum wage, the lowest legal wage with "tricks" to prevent benefits and wage increases.  "Tricks" like keeping most employees part time so they don't have to contribute to their health insurance---the tax payer pay up.  All those millions and millions of people making below a living wage, gosh I guess it is those people's fault? You realize that many of those companies (McDonald got caught at it recently) provide info so their employees can be on medicaid and collect food stamps.  Doesn't that get your goat? 

The bootstrap, which I know very very well--is easier if you have special skills, some smarts and often family members to help you.  One time I lived in a SRO and it took months and months to save up enough to make a deposit on an apartment. Still a family member gave me $500. Without the 500 I might still be in a SRO.  It is impossible to save, when you have to cook off a hot plate.  Am I a bootstraper NO, cause family gave me money. Do you know someone who completely, totally, "made it" on their own?  Without any help?  Honestly?  I doubt it.  You also act like education is equal everywhere and it is the kids fault if they don't learn.  You should walk into a Bed Sty middle school or some other inner city school, it isn't equal.  Not a single clock told the correct time, they were all broken. Many bathrooms too, and no toilet paper.  If you came to school if the same clothes day after day, hungry with your parents out looking for drugs every night---how much would you learn?

The government needs to enforce a living wage, so we don't have to support businesses like Walmart with food stamps and medicaid.  A living wage will help us all.  They will spend money, get car insurance, health insurance and be able to feed their kids.  Isn't that what everyone wants?

Comment by Gregory Richards on January 9, 2014 at 2:39pm

TC,

How does "regressive taxing" redistribute" wealth? Do they take the money form one group and give it to another? no, it is used in many ways, schools, roads, defense, health care etc. What they are saying is that those who have more money should have more of the burden. They are not saying you must give your money to us, so we can give it to someone else who does not have as much. 

Those price controls you speak of are so much intentional as unintentional. The article says the feds impact and control the price of milk becuase they purchase so much of it. The fed does not go to the vendors and say "you must charge this much. Look at water, a bottle is less than a dollar if bought at Sam's Club, around a dollar at a deli and several dollars at a ball park and almost five dollars at a country club. 

Comment by TC on January 9, 2014 at 1:38pm

The government redistributes wealth through regressive taxing, for example. Lowering taxes on the wealthy instead of everyone, or collecting significantly less tax on income earned through investing versus income earned through manual labor is also an act of redistributing wealth. It may not involve sending government agents to your door to collect your money so that it can be redistributed to the poor Robin Hood style, but the result of the policies are the same.

The government has price controls on commodities like food, for example. By having such a strong hand in the price of milk, call it what you want but the effective outcome is a price control. Maybe the term agricultural policy works better for you, but a service fee or a convenience charge or demand pricing are all examples of price hikes so I call them price hikes.

You have a vision of what you think The Government should and should not be doing, but the cause and effect of government policies aren't exactly as you describe.

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