U.S. Congressional representative Katie Porter (D-California) doesn’t seem to think that children need a father, and doesn’t seem to care about the density restrictions and other anti-development laws that increase the cost of housing in California

U.S. Congressional representative Katie Porter (D-California) recently talked about “Patricia,” one of her “constituents” who lives in Irvine, California.

Here’s a video of part of Porter’s statement, from the Washington Post channel at YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QKOLydDfNg

Since Porter said she looked up the salary of Patricia’s job at monster.com, I am guessing that “Patricia” is fictional. Nevertheless, I will go along with this, and offer my comments and analysis.

Patricia works as a bank teller at JPMorgan Chase, and earns $16.50 per hour, which works out to $35,070 per year. Patricia has a six-year old daughter, and the two of them live together in a one-bedroom apartment in Irvine, California. After taxes, Patricia takes home $29,100 per year, which is $2,425 per month.

Porter provided this image of Patricia’s monthly expenses:

These are Patricia’s monthly expenses:

$1,600 rent

$100 utilities

$250 on a 2008 car

$150 gas

$402 USDA “low cost” food for one adult and one child

$40 phone

$450 after school childcare

This leaves Patricia with a monthly budget deficit of $567.

Porter blames this budget deficit on JPMorgan Chase.

Now I’d like to offer my own commentary and opinion on this, in three different categories.

First of all, Porter makes no mention whatsoever of Patricia’s child’s father.

If Patricia was actually married, then her husband could work from home and take care of their child after school, and there would be no need to spend $450 per month on after school child care. Also, her husband’s income from working at home would make it easier to pay for their other expenses.

This refusal by Porter to even so much as mention Patricia’s child’s father is typical of liberals when they talk about single mothers who are struggling to raise their children. I have previously written about liberals’ refusal to mention the fathers of these children here, here, here, here, and here.

Secondly, Porter never mentions how density restrictions and other anti-development laws cause the price of housing in California to be substantially higher than it would otherwise be.

But I will mention it.

Here is a link to an article that was published by the Atlantic in 2007.

When a developer builds housing, there are three separate and distinct costs: the cost of land, the cost of construction, and the cost of getting a building permit (which the article refers to as the “right to build”).

Irvine is in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. According to the Atlantic article, using data from 1999, getting permission for the “right to build” added $303,000 to the cost of a house in Los Angeles in 1999.

Here’s part of the relevant text from the article:

In a 2003 article, Glaeser and Gyourko calculated the two different land values for 26 cities (using data from 1999). They found wide disparities. In Los Angeles, an extra quarter acre cost about $28,000 – the pure price of land. But the cost of empty land isn’t the whole story, or even most of it. A quarter- acre lot minus the cost of the house came out to about $331,000—nearly 12 times as much as the extra quarter acre. The difference between the first and second prices, around $303,000, was what L.A. home buyers paid for local land-use controls in bureaucratic delays, density restrictions, fees, political contributions. That’s the cost of the right to build.

And that right costs much less in Dallas. There, adding an extra quarter acre ran about $2,300—raw land really is much cheaper—and a quarter acre minus the cost of construction was about $59,000. The right to build was nearly a quarter million dollars less than in L.A. Hence the huge difference in housing prices. Land is indeed more expensive in superstar cities. But getting permission to build is way, way more expensive. These cities, says Gyourko, “just control the heck out of land use.”

The same article also includes this chart:

And please remember, this cost for the “right to build” is completely separate from the cost of the land, and the cost of construction.

The cost for the “right to build” is determined entirely, 100% by zoning laws, density restrictions, and other local government policies.

Here’s another example of how hard it is to get a building permit in California:

http://www.aei.org/publication/texas-great-american-job-machine-solely-responsible-1m-net-us-job-increase-since-2007/

January 23, 2015

… there were more permits for single-family homes issued last year through November in just one Texas city – Houston (34,566) – than in the entire state of California (34,035) over the same period.

Let’s put this into perspective.

Houston is 628 square miles.

California is 163,696 square miles.

So even though California is 260 times as big as Houston, Houston actually issued more new building permits for single family homes in 2014 than did the entire state of California.

Just think about that for a minute.

Those numbers show just how incredibly, ridiculously hard California makes it to build new housing.

Anyone who has ever bought or sold anything at eBay understands that, all else being equal, the bigger the supply of something, the lower price, and the lower the supply, the higher the price.

By making it so difficult to get a building permit in California, the government is causing housing to be far, far more expensive than it would otherwise be.

Here is a great article by Thomas Sowell about how the politicians in California have waged war against the construction of new housing.

This video also explains California’s war against the construction of new housing. And please note that it is progressives, social justice warriors, and other left wing activists who are the ones that are most opposed to building this new housing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExgxwKnH8y4

California is waging a very strong, major war against the constriction of new housing.

But Porter never mentions any of this.

Third, being a bank teller is an entry level job. It doesn’t require any education beyond high school.

If Patricia wanted to earn more money, she could have gone to college or trade school before having a child.

But Porter never mentions this, either.

April 15, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economics. 2 comments.

Hypocrite Bernie Sanders changes his tune on “millionaires and billionaires” after the media reports that he is one of them

I want to start out by saying that I think it’s absolutely wonderful that Bernie Sanders became a millionaire by selling books to customers who wanted to buy them.

I have no problem with the fact that Sanders is a millionaire.

What I do have a problem with is his hypocrisy.

On many, many occasions, Sanders has criticized “millionaires and billionaires.”

This is a link to a video on C-SPAN’s website, which shows Sanders making such a statement. Here are his exact words: (skip to 0:33)

“There is something profoundly wrong, when in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires, at the same time as millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and we have shamefully the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country.”

However, now that the media has reported that Sanders himself is a millionaire, he is saying something very different. The New York Times just quoted Sanders as saying:

“I wrote a best-selling book… If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”

I agree 100% with Sanders’ statement.

If I can just add three more zeros to my own book sales figures, I, too, will become a millionaire.

Sanders’ association of the existence of “millionaires and billionaires” to the fact that there are children living in poverty is not accurate. According to the book The Millionaire Next Door, 80% of U.S. millionaires are first generation rich. They earned that money legally and honestly, by providing labor, goods, and services that people were willing to pay for. That makes everyone better off. It does not cause anyone to live in poverty.

The real reason there are so many children living in poverty in the U.S. has nothing to do with the fact that there are “millionaires and billionaires.” Instead, the high rate of childhood poverty can be attributed almost entirely to the irresponsible behavior of their parents.

Let’s consider two groups of people in the U.S. The first group has a poverty rate of 2%. The second group has a poverty rate of 76%.

The first group consists of people who followed all three of these steps:

1) Finish high school.

2) Get a full-time job.

3) Wait until age 21 and get married before having children.

The second group consists of people who followed zero of those three steps.

Among people who follow all three of these steps, the poverty rate is 2%.

Among people who follow zero of these steps, the poverty rate is 76%.

(My source for that information is this article, which refers to this PDF, and the relevant data is on page 15 of the PDF. The study uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Wikipedia has published the following chart, which shows the massive increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock births that has taken place in the U.S. since the 1960s. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nonmarital_Birth_Rates_in_the_United_States,_1940-2014.png

According to that chart, since 1960, the percentage of babies born out-of-wedlock in the U.S. has skyrocketed from 5% to 40%.

In the 1960s, the Democrats launched their “War on Poverty,” whereby the government started paying women to have babies out-of-wedlock.

And as anyone who understands economics will tell you, whatever you subsidize, you get more of.

In this video, a happily married woman explains how a government social worker told her that she should get divorced in order to collect more benefits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG6JqmdIubA

The liberals who complain about childhood poverty almost never blame it on the high out-of-wedlock birth rate.

Time and time and time and time again, the media publishes articles about childhood poverty, without even mentioning the fathers of these children.

April 10, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economics. 1 comment.

In Pittsburgh, idiot protestors are falsely claiming that it’s too hard for poor people to buy a ConnectCard that costs one dollar, and is sold at more than 100 locations

I live in Pittsburgh, PA.

I’m a regular rider of our mass transit system, which is called Port Authority Transit (PAT).

A few years ago, PAT adopted a new program where riders could pay their fare by swiping a card which is called the ConnectCard. The card is available at more than 100 locations, including every Giant Eagle (our city’s biggest supermarket chain), every Goodwill store, the downtown PAT office, and many other areas all over the city. Pretty much every bus route goes by a place that sells the ConnectCard.

The card costs one dollar. Riders can electronically put as much of their own funds as they want on the card. Then when they ride the bus, they pay the fare by swiping their card, instead of paying cash.

In order to encourage riders to use the ConnectCard, PAT offers a discount on fares. A cash fare costs $2.75. People who pay with their ConnectCard get a 25 cent discount.

A transfer (a person’s second ride within a three hour period) costs $2.75 if they pay in cash, but only $1.00 if they use their ConnectCard.

Thus, a round trip within three hours costs $5.50 for someone who pays in cash, vs only $3.50 for someone who uses their ConnectCard. That’s a discount of two dollars for using the ConnectCard. And the card only costs a dollar.

Thus, the very first time that a person uses their ConnectCard to make a round trip in under three hours, the card has more than paid for itself.

Even if someone has eight hours between trips, that’s still a savings of 25 cents per trip, meaning that the card will pay for itself after only two such round trips.

Despite this, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published this article, which says that there are protestors who are complaining that it’s “unfair” to poor people that PAT gives these discounts to people who use the ConnectCard.

Now please keep in mind, as I already said, the card only costs a dollar, and it more than pays for itself the very first time you use it for a round trip that’s under three hours.

And as I said, the card is available at a huge number of places along bus routes.

Despite this, the protestors whined that it was “unfair” to poor people that people who paid in cash had to pay higher fares.

The article said the protestors were worried about the “upfront costs” of buying the card.

And the protestors said it was too hard to get to locations that sell the card.

What a bunch of idiots.

The only thing that’s preventing these protestors from getting a ConnectCard is their irrational insistence on viewing themselves as victims of a problem that does not exist.

If the protesters had spent their time buying a ConnectCard instead of protesting, their “problem” would be solved.

Anyone who rides the bus has access to more than 100 locations where they can purchase a ConnectCard.

Every Giant Eagle and every Goodwill sells them.

Since the protest took place downtown, the protestors could have gone a very short distance (by walking or riding the bus) to Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center to buy one.

Protestors’ concerns about “upfront costs” are unfounded, as the card only costs a dollar, and it pays for itself almost immediately.

The article also said that this issue was especially hard on “single mothers.” Well, whose fault is it that they are “single mothers” in the first place? Just like with people who refuse to get a ConnectCard, “single motherhood” is a case of victimhood taking the place of personal responsibility.

Let’s consider two groups of people in the U.S. The first group has a poverty rate of 2%. The second group has a poverty rate of 76%.

The first group consists of people who followed all three of these steps:

1) Finish high school.

2) Get a full-time job.

3) Wait until age 21 and get married before having children.

The second group consists of people who followed zero of those three steps.

Among people who follow all three of these steps, the poverty rate is 2%.

Among people who follow zero of these steps, the poverty rate is 76%.

(My source for that information is this article, which refers to this PDF, and the relevant data is on page 15 of the PDF. The study uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Despite this, social justice warriors want us to think that “single mothers” living in poverty are somehow innocent victims, instead of people who have free will.

The solution to almost all poverty is to follow the three rules listed above.

And the solution to not having a ConnectCard is to buy one.

December 17, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Pittsburgh, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Attention Adriana Alvarez! It’s not McDonald’s fault that you chose to have a baby out of wedlock.

The woman in this video chose to have a baby out of wedlock.

She has also, apparently, made no attempt to acquire education or job skills beyond the high school level.

She says the $12.50 an hour she gets paid to work at McDonald’s is “poverty” level.

The narrator cites government statistics to show that she is actually above the poverty level.

The narrator asks “Where is the father?”

I had actually asked myself those exact same words before the narrator did.

This woman has been working at McDonald’s for eight years. Instead of acquiring better education and job skills, she thinks the way to earn more money is to protest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_kk5yVsdW0

 

October 8, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Social justice warriors. 4 comments.

Media bias: United Nations “expert” and Reuters falsely blame Trump for poverty that occurred while Obama was President

Reuters just published this article, which was written by Stephanie Nebehay, and is titled:

America’s poor becoming more destitute under Trump: U.N. expert

The article’s first paragraph states:

GENEVA (Reuters) – Poverty in the United States is extensive and deepening under the Trump administration whose policies seem aimed at removing the safety net from millions of poor people, while rewarding the rich, a U.N. human rights investigator has found.

For the next seven paragraphs, the article goes on and on with United Nations “expert” Philip Alston explaining how poverty is getting worse under Trump.

Not until the ninth paragraph does the article admit that none of the poverty that’s mentioned in the first eight paragraphs or the article’s title has anything to do with Trump. The ninth paragraph states:

However, the data from the U.S. Census Bureau he cited covers only the period through 2016, and he gave no comparative figures for before and after Trump came into office in January 2017.

This media bias is disgusting.

If Reuters was interested in telling the truth, then the article’s title and first eight paragraphs would have mentioned Obama instead of Trump.

 

June 2, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Media bias. 1 comment.

The Maduro diet: How most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, plus another 24 pounds in 2017

(more…)

March 10, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Politics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela, War against achievement. 2 comments.

Here’s how most Venezuelans lost an average of 43 pounds in two years

(more…)

February 23, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Politics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Media bias: once again, a news article about a financially struggling single mother trying to raise her children makes absolutely no mention of their father

The Guardian recently published this article about a single mother who is having financial troubles as she tries to raise her two children on the salary that she gets from working at a fast food restaurant.

As is always the case with articles like this, the article makes absolutely no mention of the children’s father. (I have written about this media irresponsibility before – see here and here.)

In this particular case, the article refers to the woman as “a single mother of two.”

It doesn’t say that she is “divorced,” or that she is “widowed.”

The article makes absolutely zero mention of the children’s father.

The article does quote the woman as saying:

“At the top of America, when it comes to Trump and them, their goal is to keep us down. Between these billion-dollar companies and Trump, it’s a power trip.”

So now it’s Trump’s fault that this woman is a single mother of two.

I’d like to see the results of the DNA test for that.

If Trump is in fact the father of her children, then yes, it is Trump’s fault that she is having so much financial trouble.

Otherwise, Trump has no fault whatsoever in her situation.

The article also talks about how the woman is part of the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But in the real world, even liberals themselves do not want to pay fast food workers $15 an hour.

In December 2013, I made this blog post, which is titled “I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour.”

More than three years later, I followed it up with this blog post, which is titled, “Hypocrite liberals have rejected my challenge for them to buy a McDonald’s franchise and pay the workers $15 an hour.”

I also made this other blog post, which is titled, “In the real world, no liberal has ever bought a McDonald’s franchise and paid the workers $15 an hour.”

So even liberals themselves are not willing to pay McDonald’s workers $15 an hour.

Here is some information that liberals never talk about:

Let’s consider two groups of people in the U.S. The first group has a poverty rate of 2%. The second group has a poverty rate of 76%.

The first group consists of people who followed all three of these steps:

1) Finish high school.

2) Get a full-time job.

3) Wait until age 21 and get married before having children.

The second group consists of people who followed zero of those three steps.

Among people who follow all three of these steps, the poverty rate is 2%.

Among people who follow zero of these steps, the poverty rate is 76%.

(My source for that information is this article, which refers to this PDF, and the relevant data is on page 15 of the PDF. The study uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Finally, here is a seven minute video with information that liberals never talk about. In my opinion, every middle school and high school in the U.S. should show this to all of their students, repeatedly, every year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru4SVUlNfMY

 

 

August 23, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Media bias. 1 comment.

Here’s how most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2017

(more…)

February 21, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Politics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela, War against achievement. 4 comments.

Lovely Warren, the mayor of Rochester, New York, said that even though red light cameras save lives, she wants to get rid of them because they disproportionately affect the poor

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2016/12/01/city-end-red-light-program/94730002/

Mayor cancels red light camera program

December 1, 2016

Citing disproportionate impact on some of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, Mayor Lovely Warren on Thursday announced an end to Rochester’s red-light camera program.

If City Council approves, the mayor said, the cameras will go dark Dec. 31.

“I reached the conclusion the benefits simply don’t justify a further extension” of the contract, she said. “I’m very concerned that too many of these tickets have been issued to those who simply can’t afford them, which is counter-productive to our efforts to reverse our city’s troubling rates of poverty.”

Rochester launched its red-light camera program in October 2010 and currently has 48 cameras at 32 intersections.

Each ticket issued carries a $50 fine, with a portion of that going to pay for rental of the cameras and processing of the tickets. The city’s contract with Redflex Traffic Systems is such that Redflex loses money unless the cameras generate enough ticket revenue to cover expenses. Anything above those expenses goes to the city.

Leonard Redon, special assistant to the deputy mayor, said the program typically generates actual revenue of between $800,000 and $1 million annually.

“That was something we had to take into consideration when making this decision,” he said. “But ultimately, this is about the citizens and their needs.”

In 2012, Rochester was among 533 communities across the country using red-light cameras to help enforce traffic law. That’s when red-light camera use reached its peak, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As of this month, just 430 communities are now using red-light cameras.

The reasons officials give for shuttering the systems vary, but often include a high cost for citations and citizen outcry over the automated enforcement.

In some areas, municipalities have run into trouble because traffic signals weren’t providing motorists a consistent 3.6-second interval for yellow lights, and others have run afoul of their own state laws governing how motorists  are notified of their tickets.

Acknowledging issues here, Warren noted that the program has been “wildly unpopular” since its inception.

Transportation groups nonetheless advocate for red light cameras. The Insurance Institute says flipping the switch on the program will likely cost lives. According to their studies, cities that ran with red-light cameras between 2010 and 2014 saw a 21 percent drop in the number of fatal red-light-running crashes, while those that turned their systems off saw a 30 percent increase.

David Goldenberg, a spokesman with the Traffic Safety Coalition, said there’s no question data shows red-light cameras make intersections safer.

“The data is absolutely conclusive that cameras made Rochester roads safer and data from around the country shows that red-light running crashes, injuries and even deaths per capita go up when the cameras get turned off,” he said.

Here, a study released by the city in May showed an overall reduction of 21 percent in crashes at intersections with red-light cameras since the cameras were installed. The report looked at nearly 6,000 accident reports dating back to 2007.

Still, Warren said, she found the report unpersuasive.

“Some of the intersections with cameras did see a decrease in red-light violations, others saw an increase and some stayed the same,” she said. “Meanwhile the ZIP codes that have the city’s highest poverty rates, like 14605, 14609 and 14621 generated the highest numbers of red-light camera tickets.”

Rochester attorney Lawrence Krieger, an outspoken critic of the red-light camera program — who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the city’s use of the technology — said the decision to stop using them was a long time coming.

“This is an early Christmas present to the drivers of Rochester, to the voters of Rochester,” he said. “But I’ll take it either way. This shows this was never about safety or people actually running red lights…I’m glad the mayor reached this conclusion and I think stopping the program because it so unfairly and disproportionately hurts poor people is a good enough reason.”

In his lawsuit, Krieger claimed red-light cameras deny motorists basic protections of due process, but a state Supreme Court Justice in 2013 upheld the city’s program.

“My legal battle went back through the court system three years ago and the city won in the court of law, but today we won in the court of public opinion,” said Krieger. “The city had six years of a cash grab and that’s enough.”

City officials will determine how to best absorb the loss of ticket revenue as they begin developing the 2017-18 budget in January.

While the cameras are slated to go dark at the end of the month, all tickets issued in the past and until the program shuts down will still have to be paid, said Warren.

And, she said, Rochester police will continue to enforce traffic law, even without the cameras.

“Let me be perfectly clear: running a red light is very dangerous and puts our citizens and visitors at risk,” she said. “Running a red light is still against the law, it was against the law when we started this program and it will continue to be against the law when we end this program.”

December 5, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Political correctness, Politics, Social justice warriors. 1 comment.

Houston New Black Panther head Quannel X praises Donald Trump, criticizes Barack Obama and the Democratic party (three minute video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p5AS5dOtf0

August 25, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

Black Fathers Matter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FszQelEQ2KY

August 1, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Politics, Racism. Leave a comment.

Attention CNN! It’s not McDonald’s fault that Safiyyah Cotton chose to have a baby out of wedlock. Plus, here’s a rare news article that actually mentions the concept of personal responsibility.

In this seven minute video, CNN talks about a single mother who is struggling to raise her child on the small salary that she earns at McDonald’s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SCB1t28nDU

As is always the case with news articles from the mainstream media about struggling single mothers trying to raise their children, the article says absolutely nothing about the baby’s father.

The article doesn’t say that the father has a responsibility to provide for the baby that he chose to create.

The article doesn’t say that the mother has a responsibility to choose a responsible mate to make her baby with.

The article doesn’t say that if they got married, they would only have to pay rent for one apartment instead of two, and so things would be a lot easier.

The article doesn’t say anything about the mother ever having made any attempt to acquire better education and job skills as a way to get a bigger salary.

By comparison, this news article by Inside Edition fully understands the concept of personal responsibility. The article is called “Mom Cries On Dock As Cruise Ship Leaves With Her Kids Still On Board,” and includes the following brilliant quote, the kind of quote that is completely missing in the CNN article about the McDonald’s worker:

Travel expert Mark Murphy told IE: “It is the woman’s fault for not getting back on time. It is not the cruise ship’s fault. It is not the captain’s fault. It is not the cruise line’s fault. Everybody knows the posted time to get back and that ship is on a schedule, it is going to go.”

I absolutely love that quote. I praise Mr. Murphy for saying it. And I praise Inside Edition for including it in the article.

CNN, and all the other mainstream news organizations that write about struggling single mothers without ever mentioning the children’s fathers, should learn a lesson from Inside Edition about how to write a proper news story.

April 28, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Media bias, Politics. 15 comments.

Poor smokers in New York state spend 25% of income on cigarettes, study finds

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/nyregion/poor-smokers-in-new-york-state-spend-25-of-income-on-cigarettes-study-says.html

Poor Smokers in New York State Spend 25% of Income on Cigarettes, Study Finds

September 19, 2012

ALBANY — Low-income smokers in New York spend 25 percent of their income on cigarettes, according to a new study, which led advocates for smokers’ rights to say it proved high taxes were regressive and ineffective.

The American Cancer Society said that the study, using state data, showed a need to help more poor New Yorkers quit smoking or never start. The study was conducted by the Public Health and Policy Research program of RTI, a nonprofit institute.

In New York, which has the nation’s highest cigarette taxes, a pack of cigarettes can cost $12, though many smokers have turned to buying cheaper cigarettes online or to using roll-your-own devices.

Wealthier smokers — those earning $60,000 or more — spend 2 percent on cigarettes, according to the study.

“The poor pay $600 million in cigarette taxes and get little help in quitting,” Russ Sciandra of the American Cancer Society said.

Mr. Sciandra said state statistics showed that smokers earning less than $30,000 a year paid 39 percent of state and city taxes on cigarettes. He added that more of the cigarette tax revenue should be used to finance smoking-cessation programs.

Mr. Sciandra said other studies showed that lower-income smokers had less success at quitting. He said low-income smokers trying to quit were hampered by being around many smokers and having less cash to buy smoking-cessation aids.

Audrey Silk of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, an advocacy group, said the study showed that cigarette taxes were punitive and “undeniably regressive.”

“It busts their theory that high taxes equal submission to their coercive measure,” Ms. Silk said. She criticized those in government who opposed smoking and increased related taxes.

Peter Constantakes of the State Health Department argued that tax increases and other programs were helping more people to quit. “New York is promoting a number of antismoking initiatives, including targeted media campaigns, that are designed to reduce the smoking rate among lower-income groups and prevent young people from becoming smokers,” he said.

January 4, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Smoking. Leave a comment.

Venezuelan military tells supermarket customers not to take pictures of empty shelves

The Venezuelan military has troops stationed in supermarkets, and they are telling customers not to take pictures of empty shelves. But that hasn’t stopped people from doing it. During the first week of 2015, the Twitter hashtag #AnaquelesVaciosEnVenezuela (“Empty shelves in Venezuela”) listed more than 200,000 tweets.

For example: (posted here under fair use from https://twitter.com/Indiferencia/status/551547489565016064/photo/1 )

empty shelves

From a different website, here’s a picture of people waiting in line to buy food: (posted here under fair use from http://www.businessinsider.com/long-food-lines-are-in-venezuela-2014-2 )

food line


(more…)

January 10, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Political correctness, Politics, Venezuela. 3 comments.

Shaniqua Davis, it’s not McDonald’s fault that you chose to become an unmarried, teenage mother

Recently, McDonald’s employees have been going on strike to try to get paid $15 an hour. Associated Press reports:

Shaniqua Davis, 20, lives in the Bronx with her boyfriend, who is unemployed, and their 1-year-old daughter. Davis has worked at a McDonald’s a few blocks from her apartment for the past three months, earning $7.25 an hour. Her schedule varies, but she never gets close to 40 hours a week. “Forty? Never. They refuse to let you get to that (many) hours.”

Her weekly paycheck is $150 or much lower. “One of my paychecks, I only got $71 on there. So I wasn’t able to do much with that. My daughter needs stuff, I need to get stuff for my apartment,” said Davis, who plans to take part in the strike Thursday.

She pays the rent with public assistance but struggles to afford food, diapers, subway and taxi fares, cable TV and other expenses with her paycheck.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “If I didn’t have public assistance to help me out, I think I would have been out on the street already with the money I make at McDonald’s.”

So, Shaniqua Davis says that it’s “really hard” to take care of a baby on what McDonald’s pays.

She’s right.

So why did she try to do such a thing in the first place?

Why did she choose to become an unmarried teenage mother?

Whatever her reasons were, it’s not McDonald’s fault.

Of course you can’t raise a family on what McDonald’s pays its cashiers. But that kind of job was never intended to be for people who are trying to raise a family. Instead, that kind of job is supposed to be for a teenager trying to get money to pay for the prom, or for a student who is working their way through college.

And what is this nonsense of having a baby out of wedlock, and then being surprised as how hard it is? Of course it’s hard. That’s why the institution of marriage has existed, in every society, all over the world, for thousands of years.

The article also says that Ms. Davis “struggles” to pay for her cable TV. This just shows how much things have changed in this country. In the past, being poor meant that you couldn’t get 2,000 calories per day, or that you didn’t have indoor plumbing, or that your roof leaked. But now, being poor means that you have difficulty paying for cable TV. My, how things have changed.

Ms. Davis and the other strikers want to get paid $15 an hour, but they don’t want to acquire the education and job skills that would justify such a salary. McDonald’s already pays some of its employees more than $15 an hour, such as its accountants, lawyers, and computer programmers. Those employees didn’t get those higher wages by going on strike. Instead, they got those higher wages by putting in the time and effort to acquire the education and job skills that justify those higher wages. Ms. Davis and the other strikers want higher wages, but they don’t want to provide anything in exchange for the extra pay.

What would happen if the government did require McDonald’s to pay all of its employees $15 an hour? One possibility is that McDonald’s would only hire people who had a college degree. If that were to be the case, Ms. Davis would end up getting paid nothing. Another possibility is that McDonald’s would replace its human workers with robots and self-serve checkouts. And again, if that were to be the case, Ms. Davis would end up getting paid nothing.

August 29, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Education, Unions. 10 comments.

In the real world, no liberal has ever bought a McDonald’s franchise and paid the workers $15 an hour

Recently, Huffington Post published an article about how easy it would supposedly be for McDonald’s to pay its’ employees $15 an hour. Soon afterward, they took the original article down, and replaced it with this article, which admits that the original article had been wrong.

But I knew they were wrong before they admitted it. Having read the original article, one thing I noticed was that it wrongly assumed that the demand for McDonald’s food would not go down, even though the article did say that there would have been an increase in the prices that customers paid. In the real world, people respond to incentives. When the price of something goes up, the demand for that something does down.

If it were possible for McDonald’s to pay $15 an hour, I would think that some liberal somewhere would have already purchased a franchise and paid the workers $15 an hour.

Critics of McDonald’s complain that you can’t raise a family on what McDonald’s pays. They cite various examples of people trying to raise children on what McDonald’s pays.

But this misses the point. I have always viewed a McDonald’s job as something for a young person who is till in school, and still living with their parents. A high school student who wants to earn money for the prom, for example. I was raised to believe that you are not supposed to have your first child until after you have obtained a good education, gotten a decent paying job, and gotten married.

The fact that unmarried high school dropouts are having trouble raising their children on a McDonald’s salary is not the fault of McDonald’s. Instead, it is the fault of the two people who chose to drop out of high school and make a baby out of wedlock.

Apparently, McDonald’s critics don’t seem to understand why McDonald’s pays much higher wages to its accountants, computer programmers, and lawyers, than it does to its burger flippers and cashiers. What these critics don’t seem to understand is that these people who receive higher wages get those higher wages because they chose to put in the time and effort to acquire better education and better job skills.

If these critics want McDonald’s burger flippers and cashiers to earn more money, then instead of suggesting the totally unrealistic idea of McDonald’s paying them $15 an hour, I suggest that these critics do more to teach people about the concepts of long term planning and delayed gratification.

August 2, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Education, Food, Politics. 2 comments.

Anti-sweatshop activists have caused an increase in childhood prostitution

Every country starts out poor. Ten thousand years ago, every country was poor. It’s only when a country adopts and maintains widespread economic growth over time that the country becomes rich. The emergence of sweatshops in a poor country is often a sign that that country has climbed onto the ladder of economic growth and upward mobility.

Until fairly recently, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea were poor, third world countries. It was only after they started climbing the ladder of economic growth that they became rich. Sweatshops played a big role in these countries change from being poor to being rich.

More recently, other countries have started having sweatshops. Critics of these sweatshops complain about the low wages and poor working conditions of these sweatshops. But these critics never compare the wages and working conditions of the sweatshops to what the workers had before the sweatshops opened.

I trust the average person to choose the job that is best for him. So if someone is working in a sweatshop, I believe that he is doing so because it is his best option, out of all of his real world options.

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July 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Sweatshops. 3 comments.