ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The unintended consequences of raising the minimum wage - again.

I love Peggy Noonan's columns, and in the Wall St. Journal today she wrote a column she calls:" The Anti-Confidence Man". 

This recession we are in - and the gloom and doom pronouncements from the White House that sequestering is going to have us fall down a deep cliff - is "a drag on everything, a killer of the spirit of guts and endeavor."

She says:

I'm in Pittsburgh, making my way to the airport hotel.  The people movers are broken and we pull our bags along the dingy carpet.  There's an increasing sense in America now that the facades are intact, but the machinery inside is broken. 
The hotel has entrances on two floors.  I search for the lobby, find it.  travelers are milling about, but there's no information desk, no doorman, no bellman or concierge, just two harried looking workers at the front desk on the second level.  The man who checked me in put his phones on hold when I asked for someone to accompany me upstairs.
As we walked to the room I felt I should explain.  I hold him a trial attorney had told me a while back that there are more lawsuits involving hotels than is generally known, and more crime, so always try to have someone with you when you first go to your room.  I thought the hotel clerk would poo-poo this,.  Instead he said, "that's why we put up mirrors at the end of the hall, so you can see if some one's coming."  He made it sound like an amenity....
Things are getting bare-bones in America.  Doormen, security, bellmen, people working the floor - that's maybe a dozen jobs that should have been filled, at one little hotel on on day in own town.  Everyone's keeping costs down, not hiring.
What that hotel looked like is America without is muscle, its efficiency, its old confidence.
What she doesn't say - and what I fervently believe - is that each time we raise the minimum wage, we are eliminating low-paying service jobs.   No longer do we have janitors in buildings, doormen at apartment buildings, (except the very wealthy) gas station attendants (my personal pet peeve) and bellman to handle your luggage for you at the airport, train station, or elsewhere.\

Riding Caltrain - no station master - coming back at night, it's spooky because there is no one to protect you if you need protection.  No one to ask a question of if you aren't sure of what you are doing.

We raise the minimum wage we throw jobs away and make our personal lives so much more inconvenient.  It's backwards!


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Abraham Lincoln, (who for those of you who might not know, was our 16th President and freed the slaves - and created the 13th Amendment so that they would be freed for all times) quoted Euclid (from geometry) as follows:

"Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other."
Think about those words - don't they apply equally well to allowing gays to marry? 
Marriage today is a legal contract between two consenting adults and the state government in which they live.   If we can legally marry (and use that word - not a substitute) why can't two men, or two women?
We can no longer state as we did in the past that marriage was for the purpose of procreation (oh, that's sex, isn't it?) and maintaining family.   If that were true, than people either unable to - or choosing not to have children shouldn't be allowed to marry.
Today, marriage is about commitment and legal benefits, obligations, and responsibilities.  So, what's wrong with gay marriage?
Don't get me wrong, I vervently believe that any religious institution has the right to make its own decisions as to which type of couple it will sanctify in a religious marriage..... even if I disagree with their choices.
Just as I think the boy scouts are stupid for not allowing gay kids into their organization, I respect their rights as private organizations to make such stupidly thoughtless and prejudiced decisions.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Simplifying Services

I recently took on a project to compile a list of transportation services for seniors in Santa Clara County.  What a nightmare. 

It reminded me of the nightmare a client of mine received years ago when he was seeking help with medications.  He was mildly schizophrenic and didn't drive.  He had to take busses everywhere - and the process of getting a prescription filled took traveling to three different places, and he spent all day doing it.  It was so unbelievable to me that one day I accompanied him (but by car).  He had to go to one place miles away to get permission to get his prescription and then travel across town to another place altogether to get the prescription - and finally to a third place to get the medication.

Transportation - I, who am computer and internet literate, had to hit link after link and inside links until I finally found a list - but in many cases the service required proof of eligibility - and made it almost impossible for seniors who are not normall computer and internet savvy to get what they needed comfortably.

I don't believe in giving handouts - but I do believe in our helping people who really need help.  Because we spread ourselves so thin, we fail to adequatly take care of those who really need our care.

Stop the foolishness.  Stop the waste.   Stop letting free-loaders get in the way of our being able to effectively help those really needing our help.

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