Category Archives: public assistance

Living on the cheap

Recently I made a new male friend. This is rare for me as I am weary about having any new friends at this age. I have a complete collector’s set of useful, useless, user and multi-dimensional friends already.

Now this middle aged gentleman by all appearances is worldly, charismatic, youthful and self-driven. We had great conversations mostly about women, real estate, cars, investing, religion, politics and other middle aged guy stuff that I enjoy talking about.

One day he offers me a used jacket. I didn’t need or want it, but I did not want to offend. He goes into the trunk of his coupe and I notice it is filled with duffel bags and knapsacks neatly arranged in a stack. It seemed strange to me immediately that someone would keep so much stuff in his car. Admittedly I am a hoarder, and I still found that weird. This wasn’t hoarding, hoarders don’t keep things so methodical.

On another occasion, he invited me to go to the gym. I said what the heck, I can work out for free and have light conversation with a like minded person. So we went to the gym. He did what I thought to be non-productive exercises, that neither contributed to his aerobic or aesthetic improvement. Being the control freak I am, I had to restrain myself from saying ‘What are you doing bro?’ so eventually he finished his special workout and went to the showers. I continued my free workout and did some treadmill and some abdominal work. He was in the shower for maybe 25 minutes, which seemed like a long time to take a shower in a gym. He informed me that he goes to the gym, every single day. That was also strange as even a wimp like myself knows muscle has to rest.

All of the times we met up to have beers or talk shop we were at his office. He mentioned that he is in the office almost 24/7. That’s when I put it together that this guy was sleeping in his office(his military experience helps), showering at the gym and storing his personal effects in his car.

I found it to be economically ingenious and Ted Kaczynski like creepy at the same time. His overhead breaks down something like the following(approximately):

Old Car(Already paid off) – $0/ month

Car Insurance(Out of state) – $50/month

Car registration/tax(Out of state) – $10/month

Office space(works there) – $0/month

Food(Hes skinny) – $500/month

Gym membership – $20/month

Internet(office, starbucks, etc) – $0/month

Cable(Youtube, see above) – $0/month

Cellphone – $80/month

Gasoline – $100/month

So totaling all of the above assumptions comes up to $760/month  to live in New York. He could potentially work at a job paying $6.33/hour(before taxes) and pull it off. I am so impressed by the ingenuity that I really don’t care why he chooses to live this way. I have heard of tent cities growing in the woods of New Jersey, people living in RVs, people renting rooms, but not people showering at the gym and living in their office and car. The phrase [necessity is the mother of invention] seems to always ring true. Especially in a high rent market such as NYC, you have to be an inventor.

One bedroom studious in the dankest of areas go for close to $1200. Rooming and sharing bathrooms and kitchens start at $800. Your romantic life may suffer as ladies don’t want to snuggle at your office but you could amass a significant amount of saving in a short time and eventually purchase a home. The possibilities are endless when you have cash.

In conclusion. You can make it in New York. You just have to think outside of the box, small apartment or cubicle.

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Pater John’s Pizza Furlough

Some month’s ago, around the 2012 elections, Papa Johns Pizza threatened to cut workers hours in efforts to avoid paying health insurance under Obama’s health plan. There was a public uproar causing the head of Papa John’s to backpedal faster than Lance Armstrong on steroids.

Other companies and C.E.O.s also threatened to cut worker’s hours, close their businesses, and even outsource to Asia and in general repressive nations. Papa Johns provides a product and service that cannot be outsourced overseas so this is the best they can do. Also, I don’t think they could find a better market that a country with an obesity epidemic.

Let me get to the point in a New York Minute. We should applaud Papa John’s. There are still many unemployed and even though companies may cut part-time hours there customers do not stop eating. They will need coverage during the same hours they had previously by hiring more workers. They will have to have more workers and less hours per worker. Overall this will diminish the officially reported number of unemployed people. Maybe the Obama administration expected this reaction, but probably not. Either way this can be a good knee-jerk reaction by Papa John’s, Olive Garden, etc. for the hordes of unemployed.

The recent hub-bub about the sequester and the furlough or government workers is similar. Let us cut the individual worker’s hours to save the companies, save the jobs and give more opportunities to more people. I would be willing to work only three(3) days per week than have another guy work my other two(2) days. Or we can alternate some other way. We both would be able to live more, spend time with family, maybe even read a book made of paper, go back to school, write a screenplay. We would have enough money to eek out an existence and still have a real life! Let the furloughs begin!

People make the word go round.

We have done it to ourselves, as usual. In the attempt to plug small holes we have created one big hole somewhere else. I am referring to automated services that have saved companies on labor, therefore lowering overhead and increasing profits. TEMPORARILY. The increase is temporary because, when you eliminate jobs with automation you eventually and permanently eliminated a group of customers. Not only for your individual company’s goods/services but other’s goods/services.

This is potentially why the recovery was a jobless recovery. Stocks were moved around, markets and currencies manipulated, people were fired, wages/benefits were cut, and web-sites and automatic check-in/check-out machines were introduced. A large segment of the especially unskilled population became unemployed. Unskilled workers, who were WILLING to work are now have to use unemployment and other publicly funded methods of staying ALIVE. Creating a burden on local and federal governments.

So that’s a double whammy. No spending, plus leaning on the state. These people were WILLING TO WORK, but in our selfish and eventually collective shortsightedness we have screwed ourselves in the long term. We forgot Stylistics’ song “People make the word go round.”

I propose what the nut in the cabin in the woods proposed. Destroy these computers and job-killing automated systems. This will take people off state and federal doles and pump money back into the economy. FDR didn’t just give out money, he did public works projects. He put people to work. We just give out money and people become complacent. NO. Americans need to regain the culture of earning a living. Also while were smashing computers lets get rid of these reality shows full of wealthy people who are living off inheritances or non-working wealthy. That’s a terrible example. I dont expect government to do it alone that would be too hands-on. We the people have to hold public entities public and private to task. We come back to the fact that, “People make the world go round”.