Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Is It The End Of Summer Already? Roosevelt Island Tram Station Heating Lamps Turned On This Morning

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:


CheshireKitty said...

Sunday, September 21, 2014:

"A new Census Bureau report: New York remains the number one state in the nation in wealth inequality. One in five New Yorkers remain below the federal poverty line. In Manhattan, the wealthiest 5% earn a mind-boggling 88 times as much as the poorest 20%." Read all about the study here http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/economic-recovery-city-poorest-article-1.1945916

Mark Lyon said...

...and? Are you attempting to imply that wealth is a zero-sum game or that it's somehow owned by society instead of the one who earned it?

CheshireKitty said...

If not, then are you advocating the repeal of all taxes - since they remove wealth from those who earned it? Think carefully about your answer, since it would spell the end of the US.

CheshireKitty said...

Wow! Check out the map comparing the city-wide occurrence of stop and frisk incidences before and after the practice of mass basis stop and frisk was discontinued! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-reifowitz/this-is-what-activism-can_b_5869714.html

OldRossie said...

just to be clear - are you citing a blog?

CheshireKitty said...

Widening inequality intensifies New York City housing crisis:

Mark Lyon said...

Megan McArdle tries to answer the question, "How the Poor Can Afford to Live in New York?" http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-09-26/how-the-poor-can-afford-to-live-in-new-york

Mark Lyon said...

Since you're so fascinated with class warfare, you might enjoy this: http://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/the-real-winners-and-losers-of-globalization

The full paper is at http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/IW3P/IB/2012/11/06/000158349_20121106085546/Rendered/PDF/wps6259.pdf

OldRossie said...

Now you're citing the World Wide Socialist Web Site...

CheshireKitty said...

You dislike the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS)?

Here's a more "respectable" web site, DailyKos, on the subject:


After all, you are living on an island that was previously named Welfare Island -before it was renamed for the architect of many "socialist" programs that millions of Americans continue to rely on to survive today, such as Social Security.

FDR's liberal vision continues to shape public policy through the ages.

Even Pres. George W. Bush expanded Medicare benefits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_Prescription_Drug,_Improvement,_and_Modernization_Act

in a program that, according to the above article, is estimated to cost $549.2 billion between 2006 and 2015.

If you dislike the WSWS, maybe you also dislike Four Freedoms Park, a shrine to FDR's vision.

There are even additional shrines to the Four Freedoms in the US: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms_Monument.

These monuments and the "socialist" programs you dislike, would not have been constructed and continue to this day if they were not overwhelmingly popular with the American people, which they are.

The only sector that consistently dislikes and vilifies the "socialist" programs is the 1%.

However, since the 1% is only 1% of the population, they or their proxies often face electoral challenges in getting their candidates elected despite the money they can pour into campaigns, as we saw with Mitt Romney in '12, and the defeat of all the conservative clones in NYC last November.

Finally, in the words of the DailyKos article, let's not forget, : "...socialism defeated Hitler."

OldRossie said...

Your tangents are amazing. To summarize, not liking a socialist site means not liking the park, and the ONLY people that dislike socialism are the 1%. Your words.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"The only sector that consistently dislikes and vilifies the "socialist" programs is the 1%."

Huh? Citation, please? I guess you and I live in different countries?

Mark Lyon said...

Shhhhh! Don't destroy the perfect little world she's built for herself.

And, whatever you do, don't suggest that FDR starved poor people, prolonged the depression or actively decided to oppress minorities.

Westviewer said...

It's time to start a new open thread. There are too many comments on this one, making it impossible to find the new posts.

RooseveltIslander said...

OK, will start a new thread soon. In the meantime, just click on "sort by newest" to view the latest What's On Your Roosevelt Island Mind comments.

CheshireKitty said...

LOL. I think the American people overwhelmingly like the benefits of socialism, but not the word socialism itself, given its negative associations with dictatorship/repression in a number of countries that tried to implement it in a so-called "pure/Utopian" fashion. I definitely draw a contrast between so-called "pure/dog-eat-dog/capitalism" vs. socialized/community social/safety-net, because the prior era of capitalism did lead to notable inequality/exploitation and so forth - if communism was the dictatorship of the proletariat (anti-democratic) then dog-eat-dog capitalism was also a sort of dictatorship, of the oligarchs, who could exploit with complete disregard for the masses. The inequality and exploitation under pure capitalism was only slightly different than outright slavery. It was for this reason that workers began organizing trade unions, and councils, to fight for improved wages, working conditions, and benefits. The experiments with communism that started not long after the American Civil War ended, were the result of the working class around the world wishing to take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, the negatives of communism outweighed the positives - and that "Utopia" eventually disintegrated in the countries where it was tried. However, even though communism largely died out, the idea it was based on, socialism, did not.

The most progressive countries have mixed systems of socialism blended with capitalism, such as Sweden. In the US, we don't want to admit it, but we have long had socialism in action in many of our most successful programs that the overwhelming majority of Americans support, such as Social Security and Medicare. As I said, even Pres. George Bush supported an expansion of socialism in the US in proposing and signing into the law the Part D pharmacy coverage program. All of these programs aren't termed "socialism" of course - they are instead called part of our social safety net. However, the underlying mechanism - whereby taxes are raised to then pay benefits, for example in old age, or to the disabled, is exactly based on the model of socialism.

CheshireKitty said...

Do you hear the 1% advocating for a return to the 90% tax bracket for the uber-rich? You never hear them lobbying for it.

The 1%, since the time of Franklin Roosevelt has been opposed to all the social safety net programs we enjoy today, calling them socialist.

Roosevelt was vilified as a socialist by the wealthy when he was President. The wealthy fought and opposed his social safety net programs tooth and nail.

None of the programs we take for granted today such as Social Security, OSHA, NLRB, and so forth, were passed in Congress without a struggle. The mentality of the rich with regard to retaining their wealth, never changed.

Today, the wealthy or their proxies usually use an oblique form of attack, saying Social Security is "bankrupt" or government regulation is no good, the minimum wage leads to job loss, and so forth. They are masters of suggestion and indirection, subtly trying to weaken the gains of the vast majority of Americans who are not in the 1%.

Because the social safety net is so popular, they cannot engage in direct attacks - they have to pay lip service to the programs they abhor. Even Pres. George W. Bush expanded the social safety net in '03 - a popular move which, along with the war on terrorism, guaranteed him re-election in '04.

The aim of the 1% however is to have more favorable tax brackets, more tax loopholes, the ability to transfer wealth out of the country and out of reach of the tax collector, and many other ways of retaining wealth.

The unbelievable level of inequality today proves what I say. The 1% will never allow a return of the 90% bracket, which was the most direct way of income equalization.

Mark Lyon said...

What is the benefit of "income equalization"?

Bonus questions: What would be the source of the government's power to impose same? What would be the economic effect if your dream of "income equalization" were to occur?

CheshireKitty said...

You can certainly see the negatives of inequality. I don't have to lay out for you what income inequality has done.

The benefits of steep brackets, including 90%, better pay for workers (at least a minimum wage whereby workers do not also have to apply for public assistance/Food Stamps/etc as many if not most fast food workers, Walmart employees currently require) would mean you would have the restoration of the middle-class as we once knew it.

The government (Congress) has the power to change the brackets; just as the government previously chipped away at the 90% bracket, it can reverse the trend and increase the brackets for the wealthy, take away some tax loopholes and so forth.

The effect would be more economic activity as the 99% would have more money to spend, probably many other unexpected benefits as well - for example, better health/nutrition for the 99%, leading to lower expenditures for Federal health insurance programs.

The brackets were extremely "onerous" on the wealthy in the 50s - an era of economic expansion. The less the wealthy pay either in tax or in wages, the more misery/poverty for the 99%, and the less economic activity. It stands to reason that during the eras when we did not have a robber-baron level of income inequality, there were economic "booms" as there was more money in more hands instead of more money in less hands, as we have today.

People today, however, are mostly satisfied with crumbs - they are lulled into complacency, because they have mostly given up on politics, which many see as a corrupt game. They turn to sports and many other activities instead, rather than worry about the plight of their brothers.

The little world you say I have constructed for myself, what about you Mark? And what about most Americans?

Most Americans have constructed their own little worlds, obsessed with their devices or cars, as long as they got their own, they don't worry too much about those that are just getting by and so forth, and why it is so many are just getting by.

The problem is, those just getting by, constitute a sector that is getting larger and larger.. the working poor, the under-employed, the people who work multiple part-time jobs, and so forth.

The result? Just as in NYC, where a liberal was elected Mayor, the same trend will play out on a national level, as the misery/inequality worsens.

Income equalization is simply a return to brackets we had under presidents like Eisenhower. There is nothing "revolutionary" about it.

We were just brainwashed since then to accept the ideas of the tax-cutters (Friedman), as if cutting taxes on the wealthy would lead to an increase in economic activity.

It doesn't - the proof of that is the luxury apartment towers going up along 57th St for example, which contain apartments that are mostly going to be purchased for investment purposes only. These developments are great for the developers and the real estate people that cater to those looking for investment apartments; you also get economic activity from the work generated for the construction industry and many other ancillary industries - finishes, myriad products that go into the finished product.

But, land that could have been used to construct affordable housing and ease the housing crisis, instead will be used to provide investment vehicles, more or less as if the buyer had bought an expensive painting or jewel. The economic activity of constructing these luxury apartment leads to even greater concentration of wealth.

How does money parked in these investment apartments lead to economic activity? It doesn't. It leads to stasis, and lack of economic activity, or maybe speculative buying and selling of property - a real estate bubble.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I don't think you understand. Let's make this clearer... many people in this country, form poor to rich, have a problem with socialism (Joe Plumber, anyone?), as you can see from the fact alone that the GOP gets more than 1% of the votes. This goes against your words "The only sector that consistently dislikes and vilifies the "socialist" programs is the 1%."

Now, we can discuss why Joe Normal from Oklahoma City would vote against his own self-interests but that's for another time (and definitely not something I would want to do with you.)

YetAnotherRIer said...

Wow, if you have to use so many words to explain a simple statement you made, you did something wrong.

OldRossie said...

You're a clueless extremist - that's the best description I can come up with to describe why these tirades are meaningless. If this were a discussion about carried interest, AMT calcs, or defined brackets, we'd likely be in agreement. We would only ever argue on spending.
But that's not possible. Because you have convinced yourself that everyone here, and "most Americans", as you say, are not as open minded as you are.

You started by saying all 1% hate socialism. There's no basis to that comment, and everything you've said since has either been wrong (see Warren Buffett) or unsubstantiated.

sam1602 said...

is this a serious proposal? http://www.eastriverskyway.com/

RooseveltIslander said...

It certainly got alot of publicity. Here's more info.


CheshireKitty said...

These might be overwhelmed by demand. On RI, it's different, as the tram just serves our little island. On Brooklyn or Queens, these are boroughs of millions - many more people would love to be able to avoid the train, and simply hop on the tram to go to work in Manhattan.

It is cheaper to build and can be inserted relatively easily into the built-up urban fabric, as opposed to the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to build new subway lines and so forth. However, I don't see it as feasible in densely populated areas of the city because of potentially overwhelming demand.

OTOH, the company floating the idea does say that that with new technology the trip would be a lot faster, so there would be more frequent trips to handle the increased volume.

I just don't know if it would work out though. Look at the packed trains from the boroughs + Upper Manhattan into Midtown and Lower Manhattan every day. If even a fraction of those riders decided to use a tram link from Brooklyn or Queens to Manhattan, the system would be overwhelmed.

CheshireKitty said...

LOL. I don't know why you guys jumped all over me: All is said was Americans love socialism, or rather, the benefits of socialism, in the form of the social safety net. You can disagree with me if you wish, but the fact is, what I say is true, as poll after poll bears me out. Today, in the words of the above-referenced article: "Widening inequality intensifies New York City housing crisis." This is not really surprising: Wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few as income inequality increases. If legions of poorly-paid workers actually qualify for benefits even though they are employed full-time, how likely is it that they will be in a position to afford housing, other than a share (perhaps). Thousands are waiting to get into projects. The remedy that de Blasio has recommended - 200,000 new affordable units over ten years - is inadequate. Plus, he is assuming he will be re-elected and will continue the affordable housing policy for a total of 8 years. The need for affordable housing exceeds the 20,000 per year he has recommended and will continue to exceed it as long as workers are not being paid enough to afford the market-rate housing and there isn't enough affordable housing.

Mr. de Blasio and his advisors must go back to the drawing board and enact legislation that takes into account the realities of NYC. There are simply not enough low-income/affordable units, and the commercial developers are not building them fast enough.

The billions of dollars being poured into improvements such as waterfront redevelopment and subways, could be directed into mass affordable housing projects. Affordable housing could be constructed along the de-industrialized waterfront, or on Governors Island. Spending billions of dollars to extend the 7 line to the Javits Center vs spending that money to build a few new housing projects, we know that under Bloomberg, who started the 7 extension, we know what Bloomberg's priorities were: Certainly not to help the masses in need of affordable or low-income housing. But now we have de Blasio, who was elected on the strength of his "two cities" message. Is he going to put his beliefs into action?

Priorities must be re-oriented. Whereas large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Air train, or the SAS, or the 7 extension, or all the new parks along the de-industrialized waterfronts, or the High Line, are nice, they do not exactly address the need for affordable housing. Why isn't energy, or design attention, focused on building thousands of units annually - probably much more than 20,000 annually, of affordable housing? Money could also be used to finance incentives/tax breaks to owners that might voluntarily sign up to place units in RS for example, so their losses could be offset somewhat. Why not push to convert in this way luxury housing to the affordable category? Yet, you never hear de Blasio suggesting these things - instead, the goal is outlined, but not much is done to achieve the goal of expanding the supply of affordable housing.

CheshireKitty said...

Check out this poll: More than 8 out of 10 Americans would be happy to pay more tax to continue funding Social Security. The program is wildly popular - and it epitomizes socialism.

People do not call Social Security socialism, because of the negative, anti-democratic associations of socialist revolutions (so far) such as the Russian Revolution which went on to enable long-lasting and murderous dictatorships. However, the social safety net - as highly elaborated as it is in the US and the progressive democracies of W. Europe, Scandinavia, & England proves that the benefits of socialism are perfectly compatible with democracy. Populations can democratically vote in progressive tax brackets so as to enable funding for social safety net programs - which is exactly what you have in W. Europe and N. America.

If you explained to Joe Normal that he and everyone else would have to fend for themselves if they were suddenly disabled (for example) or if their kids didn't come through to help them in their old age (or example) would they be willing to risk those eventualities because they would rather not pay any income tax (of course there are the other myriad socialized state efforts such as public education, state university systems, rural electrification programs, the military, interstate highways, and on and on, that are funded by tax revenue) then you might see Joe Normal turn all of a sudden into Joe Socialist, or Joe "I want my Social Security benefits in my old age" or Joe "I want my interstate highway system well-maintained and well-funded" etc.

Here's the link to the poll: