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Key West Reactor column
[Published in Key West The Newspaper on December 2, 2011.]
More Key West Reactionaries
A couple of columns ago I wrote about how – if you go by local blogs, forums, Facebook walls or “the Voice” — Key West appears to be FULL of “reactionaries”. They’re experts at blurting sage advice or ridicule at the masses, without a hint of a notion that their reactions just might not bear muster. Many of them could stand to buy a vowel, Pat. So today I’ll examine a few more common overused blurtations….
[Like before, please note that, to avoid plagiarism, the quotes following are NOT direct copies of comments posted elsewhere. But they’re very close to what someone we know has spouted off in public media.]
I saw this rant posted recently…
“Unemployment is so high in Key West because a lot of people are hogging two or more jobs. Those jerks need to leave some of them for the rest of us!”
It’s a hoot to think that our employment problems could be caused by people working too hard! Indeed that concept is completely ass-back’ard. People are engaging those extra jobs BECAUSE of the employment problem — they can’t find a single job that they can survive on by itself. So they grab onto other ones when possible, to make ends meet. Are you begrudging them that? Were YOU in line ahead of that person applying for the same job? Why not?
Probably because the extra jobs were ones you didn’t want to do. Or you just snoozed and therefore losed – cough — lost. But such “second jobs” ARE available, even right now. It’s the GOOD jobs that are scarce. And the people offering them won’t be impressed to know that you expect others to quit and give you their jobs.
Probably the same guy probably posted this related rant….
“People complaining about how little their job is paying them don’t understand free markets. If more people want a job, then the pay will be less. If you don’t like the pay, quit!”
That’d be a real race to the bottom. If every job were filled by the person willing to take the least pay, our society would be rapidly moving into Ayn Rand territory. Can you imagine the state of our infrastructure if our bridges and buildings are constructed and maintained by the semi-skilled folks willing to work for bottom dollar? Thank goodness at least SOME of the managers out there are willing to pay a man or woman what they’re worth to keep the well-skilled employed. And keep our bridges from collapsing, and airplanes flying, and even make our visits to restaurants enjoyable.
I’ll bet the same complainer is also griping about the quality of service at the places where the skilled workforce has been run off in favor of low-wage place-holders. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
Moving on to reactionaries outside the workplace, I saw a comment like this:
“Anybody who owns a place in Key West should be able to vote here, even if they live away. I’m a Conch living off the island for now, renting out my place. Why can’t I vote for the Mayor or Commissioners?”
Staying away from the historical “only land-owners can vote” tableaus, it should only be necessary from this guy’s point of view to mention one thing: There are a LOT more second-home and “investment property” owners in this town than there are Conchs living away temporarily as you are. If you get your way, the side effect is you’ll be letting a lot of THOSE folks vote, too. Do you really think most of them will vote YOUR way?
Finally for this time, let’s look at a comment involving the channel dredging controversy:
“Don’t these damn anti-dredge people realize how much income the City of Key West gets from all those ships coming in? Do they want the City to go broke?”
This is a common misconception. People hear the City Manager talk about the gross “per head” dollar figures and assume that it’s a major part of our budget. Actually it’s less than 10% right now. And much of it is reserved for use in supporting the cruise ships (so: less ships, less needed). Regardless of what you hear from the trolley-driving doomsayers, the ship visits are NOT going to dry up completely. We’ll continue to have some of that income, regardless.
There’s also evidence that reducing the number of cruise passengers (which contribute less than 10% of our tourist income) will make the town more appealing to longer-term tourists (who contribute 90% or so), brining in other revenues. Why bother with such destructive (to the environment) dredging and destructive (to quality of life) passenger increases over such a small portion of our local economy?
Enough reaction(aries) for now, see you in two weeks…
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