Monday, March 1, 2010

Why the Poor Get Poorer

Earlier this week, I got a $50 parking ticket; it was my fault, but to be fair, in the 2 years we have live at our apartment, the street has never been monitor. It was a known fact that the city just did not have the time or resources to make sure cars parked in the 2 hour curb parking were in fact only there for 2 hours--I once saw a car parked there for a week and a half straight with no ticket.

My city (Anaheim) is running dry on funds and found new ways to collect--one is parking tickets. What I’ve found is the cities small little money getting programs target the poor and middle class.

Even the library is playing a role; the Anaheim Library no longer let’s patrons with fines above $5 use the computer. If you need to use the library computer to find a job, but you can't because you don’t have money to pay off your fines, then something is seriously wrong.

Interestingly, the city is rewarding the rich by giving tax breaks on purchases of $20,000 or more.

Last month, I posted about giving $50 dollars away to one reader; it is our way of rewarding people for no reason. There are a lot of ways to put a smile on someone’s face—money is one of the easiest. We’ll announce the winner a little later this week, but I’m sure, at the very least, there will be the hint of a smile on someone’s face.

Times are not great now—there are lots of cities, like Anaheim, that are penalizing lower classes. There is one thing to be joyful about in spite of all of it: it makes it easier to make someone’s day, and trust me, there are a lot of people out there that really need their day made. 


  1. Thanks for putting a positive slant on this. It's really easy to wax eloquent on how the poor get penalized (Ray Bakke has some great stuff on that), but you have reminded us that we can counteract that by being generous.

  2. Sorry about the ticket, Scott. But please don't turn this into a turf war between the supposed rich and poor. Anaheim's tax move isn't an issue of tax breaks for the rich. The vast majority of $20,000-plus purchases are going to fall into three categories: (1) new vehicle purchase, (2) major home remodel or repair, and (3) business-related purchase. None of these are rich-versus-poor issues. The 0.5% discount is only a reduction of $100 per $20,000 spent. I doubt a multi-millionaire is going to drop everything and run right over to Anaheim for $100. But for someone on a tight budget needing to replace a roof on their house, a $100 discount could mean selecting an Anaheim-based contractor over a Buena Park-based contractor. Anaheim wants to increase the chances that it will get some tax income instead of all of it going to other cities.

  3. Trust me, Tim, if you live in Anaheim and are paying over 20,000 for a car you don't belong to Anaheim's middle class! Plus, I don't even think Anaheim has a car lot (lots of used ones though. There are much better things Anaheim can do that a tax break (and, yes, I still believe it favors the rich). Could you spend 20,000 on home improvements? Or Business related expense? Yes. But if you do, again, you probably are not falling into the middle class category (a new rough or pipes isn't going to run you over 20 grand...maybe a room addition, but I don't know many people who do that out here). If Anaheim wants to jump start the cities economy, then they need to do more to get families out of motels (which is HUGE) in this city...why is it huge? Not because people can't afford the rent; they are there because they can't afford the first and last months rent. Did you know the average motel family spends around 800 a month on the room? You could find a 1 bedroom place for that! Anaheim had to pass new laws regarding the amount of time people can live in a motel, because it's so popular here. There are so many library kids in this's disturbing; they couldn't have a home cooked meal even if their parents were home to make it, because they don't have stoves! They live off vending machine food for lunch. So when Anaheim says they will help out the economy by saying they'll give a rebate to people who spend 20 grand, I take it as a HUGE insult.

    Anaheim is a very big business friendly city, and the rebate is more about councilmen doing something to get business leaders (who donate big chucks of change to see them elected) like them. If you look up how much campaign contributions it takes to get elected to Anaheim's council it will literally sicken you. It's thousands and thousands of dollars, which is ridiculous for a city election. Anaheim was also a HUGE reason OC put laws in place regarding government officials who got kick-backs.