Let the living wage be the minimum wage

Anyone who works deserves a living wage. When private businesses do not pay a living wage, the difference is paid by the tax-payer. If you work, your wage should allow you a living that is not dependent on the government. For example, in Allegheny county where I live, the living wage for an adult is $8.29. In Queens county in NYC it is $12.75. And when the minimum wage is $7.25, the difference to survive is paid by the rest of us, not the private businesses. Yet in many places of South Dakota, the living wage is less than $7. So rather than a federal minimum wage, maybe the fairer way would be to have each locality have their own living wage as the minimum wage. (All my living wage numbers are from MIT’s living wage calculator). And as far as the threat of job loss goes, it is up to the businesses to devise models to afford a living wage in their localities. Else might as well get rid of the minimum wage, bring down unemployment to zero, and have a large chunk of the working-age population be supported by the government. The biggest drawback of a living wage as the minimum wage is when someone has children. When small businesses hire single parents or a person who is the sole breadwinner of a household, paying the living wage can drive them out of business. Solving this issue will require a lot of work by the legislatures and society, and that is a separate topic. A couple of big points would be to promote stronger families, less divorces, and two working parents. That will lessen the burden on a single breadwinner. But when there are two working parents, there should be stronger support system for the parents including maternal/paternal leaves and better and cheaper childcare facilities. But as a starting point, I believe that the living wage in a municipality for a single adult should be the minimum wage in that municipality.

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The ‘other’ sexism

I always called myself a feminist because I believe women are equal to men. To me that’s what the word symbolized – equality and fairness. There are countless traditional/religious/cultural expectations of women which aren’t equal and which a lot of women complain about, and rightfully so. Expectations to be obedient, ‘beautiful and thin’, housewife, child-bearer, or to work outside and do house chores too, etc etc. But there are expectations of men that are equally unfair – to be the ‘provider’, to earn money, to not show emotions etc. Yet many women want all the equal rights of modernity while also wanting all the benefits of traditional gender roles. Many women get angry when men say – “that’s what women should do because it’s been done like that forever”. Yet somehow for many it is okay to say “that’s what I expect of the man because that’s how it has always been”. Just like a woman can do anything outside, a man can also work inside. Both can be child-rearers. Both can be earners. Whether both work outside or which one stays home and which one works outside should be up to the couple. But having traditional expectations of men when you don’t like traditional expectations of women is hypocrisy. And hypocrisy and unfairness extremely pisses me off.

Telling a woman “you can’t find someone because you aren’t beautiful or thin” is cruel. But somehow too many women think they can get away with telling a man “you are not ready to marry because you aren’t earning enough to support her”.  A man wanting a beautiful and thin wife is an idiot, and society is becoming better in letting him know that. But it still hasn’t reached that point when it comes to women choosing a partner based on his income. I am not saying let’s reverse the old system where only the woman works outside, and make it worse for her by making her work at home while the man stays inside and does nothing. My ideal scenario will be that the couple share the outside work and the inside work. And if someone has to stay home to raise children till school-age or even later, it should be up to the couple to decide who stays home. Yet many think “women can raise children, men can’t”. That is as insulting to a man as saying “men are better at working outside, women aren’t”. I have known men who have been excellent stay at home fathers.  Even when children aren’t involved, many say that “we wan’t to stay home because housework takes an entire day”. As an unmarried man, I do grocery, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and work outside. I do everything required to do inside the house, while also spending 50-60 hours a week working outside. So the excuse that housework even without children is a full-time job is baloney.

Now this isn’t about all women. This is about a small minority, but this topic doesn’t really get talked about as opposed to the sexism towards women. I have always been the first in line to fight sexism towards women, and I completely agree that sexism towards women vastly outnumbers any sexism towards men. But even that little sexist attitude towards men should also be part of the social discussions about sexism and gender roles. And the worst sexist comment is when men complain of sexist attitudes, they are taunted with the phrase that they aren’t manly anymore.

Do you “believe” in science?

I do not like the question – do you believe in this/that scientific theory? that is a stupid question to ask. the questions should be – do you understand this/that scientific theory and its strengths and weaknesses and how the scientists came to a consensus to formulate this theory? if you think it is weak, do you think that is because of a lack of scientific studies, or because it goes against yours or your group’s economic/social/political/religious interests? and if you have an alternate theory to a different topic, is your theory based on empirical data, or is it based on stories your parents told you while you were growing up?
that is how the questions should be phrased.

Education – another way to help improve income inequality

this is a nice article in yesterday’s New York Times about our attitude towards education and how it might affect income equality or upward mobility. here is my little take on this – wages isn’t the only reason for income inequality obviously. how about the lack of responsibility of many parents and students towards education, and the social attitude towards education/studious students? compare that to the attitude towards studying and scholarship in places like India. society doesn’t have the attitude of – “I won’t listen to the scientists, professionals, or the experts because what they say is going against my religious beliefs or my short-term economic interests”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/friedman-obamas-homework-assignment.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Time-travel…

so if space-time is a sheet of paper, mass causes the sheet to bend, which in turn bends light and also increases the distance traveled in time along the plane of the bent sheet. so based on wormhole theory, time-travel would be bypassing the curvature of space-time due to mass, and instead going straight ahead on a flat plane of space-time? but that wouldn’t mean you traveled in time before things happened in the present. whatever has to happen on the curved space-time happens, you are just on a separate plane and on a separate time. so 1 year on my time would be 5 years on a normal plane. so I didn’t really travel to the future as much as I reached there “faster” on my personal “time”. I think I am starting to get a hang of this…

The deepest answer we seek…

If it is part of the natural world, it must follow the laws of nature. If it does not follow the laws of nature, it is not part of the natural world. And if it is not part of the natural world, then no sentient being of the natural world can understand or quantify something that is beyond the laws of nature. The cruelest irony of our existence is that the answers we have sought for millennia will always be beyond us. Either we have to change our idea of the answers we seek, or the laws of nature will have to break, or we will stay forever in ignorance of that we search the most.