Monday, July 4, 2011

All Things Are Not Equal - Cost of Living

So because we're in the throws of planning our next geography, Christian and I have been researching how much we would need to live in various locations.  This led to some tangential searches, in particular, a comparison of Santa Barbara to Bakersfield.

First I should mention, Bakersfield is still on the table.  I know I knocked it, and my view of it certainly warranted it at the time. However, I did go with Christian to check it out, and we saw some reasonable areas of the city, and their BMW shop is pretty awesome.  Plus there is the added benefit of being close to family, the Sequoias, and the Pacific.

Now, Santa Barbara is often compared to paradise, whereas Bako (as I have deemed Bakersfield) is compared to an armpit. Keep in mind that minimum wage is around $7 - 8 in California. That said, California is a large state with a wide variety of climates and topographies, as well as demographics. If someone is making minimum wage in Bakersfield, when we account of cost of living, it is the same as living on $36,000 in Santa Barbara. Now, if someone is living on minimum wage in Santa Barbara, it works out to be the equivalent of living on a little over $7000 a year in Bakersfield. That is roughly $3 an hour. Put this in perspective - people picking strawberries, working illegally in Bakersfield, making $5 an hour, are living better than someone on minimum wage in Santa Barbara.

I say this to put things into perspective for those who think that the poorest people in the country are trying to take advantage of a system and they should pay the same percentage taxes as the richest one percent. Clearly, someone who works toward taxing the working poor as much as the richest 1%, is evil.

We don't want to pay more for our McDonald's hamburger, which means that some people will always make around minimum wage. There will always be poor people. To that end, we need to make sure these people are cared for. Even the aristocracy cared for their serfs (granted, it may have been a bit more heavy handed, but still...). Even the dogs get scraps from the table.  Having health care, education, transportation, and food for these people is not too much to ask. If they aren't cared for, who will do these jobs? What will happen when they won't accept being stepped on over and over again? I know what I would do...

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