Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Minimum Wage

Mr. Obama said in a speech on the economy and the widening gap in national income that he will devote the rest of his presidency to the crucial issue of social mobility.

I agree that this is a serious problem. It is observable at many levels. The people who "earn" 100 times more than I do are not 100 times smarter and they do not work 100 times harder. It doesn't even make sense.

I put myself in one of the lower income tiers to offer as an example. So, I must quickly add that my life is not a living hell. I do not need the Food Bank, although I know it is there and recently they had so much food that they ran out of storage space. And during some times of low unemployment this summer, I put in extra volunteer hours at the community garden which donates its produce to the local Food Bank.

We are getting by, those many of us who are statistically broke.

Even so, I want to put the hammer down on those rich bastards..... and I soon as I typed those words I realize that I ought to manage such a harsh sentiment.

Anyway, President Obama has raised the issue of inequality. It is a problem. Government initiatives are dubious, but raising the minimum wage is a workable partial remedy.

If there is no solution, there is no problem.

Say it again. If there is no solution, there is no problem. I composed this sentence recently and I had a chance at a Thanksgiving dinner to launch it into the public sphere. I was sitting next to a planetary researcher from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena -- a genuine rocket scientist.

We were talking about asteroids, large ones, hurtling toward us from outer space, on a collision course that will end all life on Planet Earth. He said it will happen, it's only a question of when.

This gave me an opening. I said, "If there is no solution, there is no problem."

The scientist paused for a moment and replied, "You're right."

The Frog Hospital assignment this week is for readers to come up with other unsolvable situations which, therefore, are not problems.

Why the Dutch Love Black Pete

Washington has the Redskins and the Dutch have their Black Petes. These are old-style ethnic monikers that may have served their time.

But I don't react one way or the other. Do you know what I really want? I think I would like to go to Amsterdam -- ....... Go there for a week, and then two or three weeks in France, and some time in Italy and then come back.

Actually, I could skip Amsterdam and just go to France and Italy -- that would be on my way to the Middle East. Of course, if I go to the Middle East, which country would I visit? Not sure about that just yet.

Anyway, here I am in Santa Barbara (can't complain) reading about an important social issue in the Netherlands, and realizing that I have such a poor understanding of Europe because I have NEVER been there -- except for three weeks in 1969 which was such a short trip and so long ago that it doesn't really count.

I hear people say Europe this, Europe that, and how can I respond? I need to get there and soon.

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