Tag: tonytown

Thoughts on minimum wage increases…

minwageI am just thinking aloud here, but my logic is telling me that minimum wage increases shouldn’t and don’t have the effect some people and organizations say will happen.

See…here is what raising minimum wage gets everyone, the middle class pays for it, as the salary changes made to accommodate for manpower will initially result in price hikes, but in efforts to minimize client/customer impact, all middle positions will be the first ones hit as those are the easiest to justify. The $5 extra you might get from a raised minimum wage doesnt magically come out of the decision maker’s profits. It doesn’t work that way. Businesses are there to make money, and the owners of those businesses are rarely there on behalf of all their employees.

More importantly, lets touch on the targeted demographic: minimum wage earners, which is specifically NOT the unemployed demographic, which everyone immediately assumes to be the primary beneficiary. Nope, what we’re talking about are the people that already have jobs, because the businesses will not restructure themselves with a goal of spending more money on labor. they will restructure themselves in a manner that minimizes the impact of increases in cost of labor.

This doesn’t help the poor in the least, it just makes 10% of the country less poor, and 30% of the country more poor as the impact of adjusted salary plans are engaged to accommodate for the hike in minimum wage.

Now, do I have your attention? Good. Here is what I think will make it worse. This disconnect in income differences further segregate wage earners from each other. This meas those that make more are further separated from those making less, initially this is only a change in wardrobe or car model, but over years it quickly develops into a very clear social distinction between groups that average less and/or more annual income. I am saying that it will exacerbate a social division already present. Inflation hits and the cycle repeats itself.

Now, I am not an economist, and this is all pure streaming thought with only cursory research, but seriously, how is raising the minimum wage by itself going to fix the poverty line?


Why Read A Banned Book This Week?

banned_books_weekThe answer here is simple. Because somebody, somewhere, is afraid of it. Because somebody, somewhere, is threatened by it. Because somebody, somewhere, wants you to be ignorant of it. It sounds aggressive when I describe it like that, doesn’t it? I hope so. One of my greatest fears is that I’ll be caught in a position that doesn’t afford me the option to learn and grow from an experience…and books are huge part of this.

Strangely enough though, for the first time, I’m taking a closer look at books that have been banned from schools and libraries in order to understand why exactly we would ever ban books.

What I am quickly finding is that the banned books are more often than not incredibly important and some were even required reading when I was in school. These were the books that provoked us and forced us to weigh in on ourselves morally…and somehow managed to become scapegoats for religious/political agendas. Of course this makes me want to read them even more. Go figure.

Having been a direct target of this kind of censorship, I have always reached instantly for those books that people find offensive so much that they burn them or ban them. What is in there that people fear so much that they would try to restrict and/or destroy it? Even with my proclivities, I don’t even find religious ideologies so repugnant that I would want them banned. I simply feel that it’s too important to have that knowledge available to us, with very little exception. I’ll argue this point even unto the science-fiction critics that complain about accuracy and pseudo-science. Imagination and experience are simply too important for us to narrow the scope of our available content.

I know where this argument takes us though, and I want to point out that I am certainly not saying we should have literature teaching people how to intentionally endanger or hurt one another, but books teaching us why people would want to do this would be incredibly important in my opinion. It seems to me that far too many people have taken it upon themselves to declare war on things they’ve only heard about, rather than relying on their own experience…something our government’s foreign and diplomatic policy could stand to consider as we continue to forcibly alienate more and more countries that are culturally incompatible with us. It’s not good enough that these cultures are oceans away, we must instead keep them so politically and personally hated that our perception of options isn’t to live and let live, but to suppress and eradicate. I simply find the situation strikingly similar to how people get themselves so stirred up over whether or not people have access to a book.

Is my allusion such a stretch?

I’ll try it on a different way. Despite a very crazy, abusive, and oppressive childhood…I managed to grow up into an extraordinarily moral individual. I owe so much of this to a list of books I couldn’t even begin to list out, but I will say this: many of them are on that banned book list. Some were actually required reading in school. I didn’t develop my values from reading only what I was told to…I learned from a whole world of philosophers and teachers, some religious and some not-so-much. I sometimes saw wisdom from despicable and evil people, and sometimes read how incredibly virtuous people could single-handedly sacrifice thousands in political posturing. The crazy, the scary, the imaginative…far too many of them incredibly insightful…restricted at libraries because someone ELSE didn’t like the contents. I learned a very strong sense of self, of right, of wrong, and how easily people deliberately convince themselves something morally horrible is acceptable in the name of a higher power that expressly forbids the act.

It pains me to think that maybe if people read more, they would have less time to convince themselves to act in such extremes, and have more time for the insight and inspiration that inevitably arrives from reading a good book…even one that might offend them.

Links to many of the banned books are below. Enjoy!







Schrödinger’s Cat jokes might not be funny anymore, or they might be…

schrodinger-catYaknow… Schrödinger’s Cat jokes used to be the type of thing us nerdy types would mention and joke about and see who among us made “the cut.” Now…it’s on memes and tshirts and such.

I mention this because it occurs to me that the demographic that was inclined to know this 20 years ago is in no way shape or form similar to the group of people familiar with the experiment today. Quite the opposite, and despite the fact that information and education are becoming more available exponentially every day, the average IQ globally has been falling, and those of us more inclined and/or dedicated to scholastic endeavors find ourselves surrounded by a demographic that can only be quantified by their ability to Google their data rather than experience it.

Why experiment when someone else has already made a video of it?

To me this is like saying why should I sing when there are so many other people that sing better? In my opinion it’s lazy thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, sensationalizing human intellect has given elevation to those of us that would have had to otherwise either be a successful politician, athlete, or entertainer. It’s given smart people the motivation and self-respect to continue rather than elect to conform or worse…act as if they hadn’t the intellect.

The fist time I saw a Schrödinger’s Cat tshirt I thought it was the most awesome thing since relativity…now, I see kids that don’t even know who Schrodinger was wearing the shirt because they saw it on the Big Bang Theory, and thus I am presented with the irony of the situation and the foundation of tonight’s ponderous issue…

It seems that at least on some level, it’s become more attractive to people to act like a nerd rather than to actually be one, and it makes my arse twitch.

Be better.