Category: Economy

NYC Property Taxes

Ok so here’s my latest government run amok gripe. I received my property assessment and guess what? My property taxes are going up! Here’s what I don’t get…NYC has a budget. The tax burden amongst us property owners should be shared. If more property is being built, and there are certainly plenty of condos going up where I am in North Brooklyn,  you would think that would bring in more property tax revenue so the overall tax burden is spread across more property owners, thus it should get less for each individual owner. But no, it goes up! Yet for huge corporations like Google, their property taxes go down, despite what the City’s own assessors say!

Fair?  Hell no! What I would like to see is how the increase is being used to better my local community. Are there more trash collectors to pick up the extra garbage that’s going to be produced in my area due to the influx of condos? Is the local waste treatment plant ready for the influx of more crap? Will my kid’s public school get more teachers? More police? Firefighters?  What I would like to see is a before and after breakdown. A list showing what services we had before the tax hike and what we’re going to have after. Do we have that type of transparency?

As taxes increase, and my already huge monthly mortgage goes up, who do you think will actually be paying for the increase? The renters! So now you’ll have people who actually drive the economy with less money to spend in local businesses.

Thank you, new Mayor Bill DiBlasio.  I guess someone has to pay for the $170,000 salary for the First  Lady’s new Chief of Staff!

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Wars, Wars, and More Wars

Let’s face it. There will never be peace in the Middle East. Or any where for that matter. Why? Because the vast military–industrial complex needs wars and conflicts to continue to make money. Tanks, jets, missiles, arms, ammunition, etc, don’t get sold to countries that are at peace. They get sold to countries in battle. Not just military equipment though. Then comes the reconstruction equipment. The building materials. The bulldozers, diggers, and cranes. If there’s peace in the Middle East, if there’s no body to fight, what would happen to all these companies? What would happen to all the factory workers? What would happen to the Congressmen who represent the states that have these factories?  The money would dry up. They would all become irrelevant.  They won’t let that happen.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. — President Dwight D. Eisenhower

GOOD: A Few Things to Remind People Quoting That Organic Food Study

FINALLY!! Some sensible comments about THAT organic food study. Yes, the one all those websites were  posting and reposting and copying from one another about yesterday:

Whoa, slow down, internet and television news! Man, one document says organic food might not be worth the dollar and you’d think an organic vegetable had held up a bank.

and

The studies that the review looked at were small….Nutrients are only part of the equation…Highly quoted was that the conventional diet mostly fell within allowed limits for pesticides. Here’s what you should know: The EPA sets these limits…The review was inconclusive.

Read more from Good,

Same FUD, Different Site: io9 – “No, organic foods aren’t more nutritious than other kinds”

In their “Debunkary” section, io9 follows along NPR‘s footsteps and posts an article about how ORGANIC FOODS ARE NOT MORE NUTRITIOUS!! [ that’s me shouting to present my sarcastic shock and awe ].  They even claim that “A recent study suggests the $27 billion organic food industry is based on a myth.

OK, ok. I get it. They need a shock headline to get people to click onto their page, see the Ads, click on Ads, make money, blah, blah, blah, etc.

But come on…I’m getting the feeling that these “bloggers” are getting paid by Monsanto.

In the article, they say [emphasis mine]:

But what the researchers did discover was that lower pesticide levels could be detected among children who ate organic foods compared to those on conventional diets. The researchers found that organic produce is 30% less likely to be contaminated with pesticides than conventional fruits and vegetables — but they cautioned that the differences in biomarkers and nutrient levels in serum, urine, breast milk, and semen in adults were not “clinically meaningful.”

But earlier in the article, they note [again emphasis mine]:

It’s important to note that, for the clinical trials, the researchers did not look into any long-term studies of health outcomes of people eating organic versus conventionally produced foods. At most, the duration of the trials ranged from two days to two years.

Trials that only ranged from two days to two years! What I would like to know, what none of the articles mention, is how many people took part in the studies. For all we know, it could have been 240 studies, with only two people to each study for a total of 480 test subjects – a low number to garner an meaningful data from.

Classic FUD.

CSMonitor.com – US Postal Service cut: Do we really want another bailout?

So if the USPS goes out of business this year, I guess I’ll have to change my Netflix subscription to streaming only and make ALL of my bill payments online.

The most urgent $5.5 billion that’s needed is to finance retirees’ future health care. So we’re not talking about the post office needing the dough to gas up the trucks or even pay current employees. Taxpayers are needed to pay the cost for mail that was delivered years ago.

I don’t think you can blame the internet entirely for the USPS woes. Poor money management is the major cause of this problem. Can they not foresee the cost of pensions and workers healthcare?

Read on at  US Postal Service cut: Do we really want another bailout? – CSMonitor.com.

NationalJournal.com – Ag Committee Supports Cuts to Food Assistance, Not Farm Subsidies

Of course I’m not surprised:

The House Agriculture Committee endorsed a letter this week to Budget Chairman Paul Ryan arguing that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans purchase food, would make a better target for cuts than automatic subsidies to farms.

I have a better idea. Let’s quit the ethanol nonsense, and revert back to using corn for food and feed. Then perhaps the price of corn will go down, resulting in lower food costs. You still want to cut SNAP? Then stick to growing corn for food and feed and work towards reducing the cost of food overall.

Farm subsides have been given out since the Great Depression. Due to our current economic situation, it’s time to reevaluate the program.

NationalJournal.com – Ag Committee Supports Cuts to Food Assistance, Not Farm Subsidies – Monday, March 21, 2011.

Irving Picard hits Securities and Exchange Commission’s top lawyer with Bernie Madoff lawsuit