The Oklahoma Minimum Wage Debacle / Why A Basic Income Is Good For America


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Today, a story from the state of Oklahoma went viral, and it involves some people and how much they make at their jobs.  Governor Mary Fallin today signed a bill banning any city inside the state from establishing a mandatory minimum wage.  Cities are also banned from enacting mandatory paid sick days or vacation requirements.  With this bill signed, cities can not enact a higher minimum wage than the current $7.25 an hour.  Fallin actually said the bill would prevent a hodgepodge of minimum wages in different parts of the state that could potentially harm the business community, really?  Is Oklahoma moving towards telling every city and country what to do?  I thought this was a free country?

At the same time, Fallin signed some other bills including tax credits for banking institutions and public investments.  Good job, give more tax credits to the rich and well off folks while leaving poor people in the dust!  Some people that say the minimum wage should not be increased say most of the people working at minimum wage jobs are students or people wanting only part-time work.  And these people are so wrong!  The average age for a person working a minimum wage job is 35 years old.  A half million people working minimum wage jobs are college graduates.  And 90% of people who would benefit from a hike in the minimum wage are over 20 years old.  Get the message, because of the bad economy, older adults with families to support are working minimum wage jobs, and it’s not right!

Years ago, the city of Talladega was about to get a Louisiana grocery store chain to move into town.  But there was one problem, the business had employees who were union represented, and that meant everyone working there had a good pay.  Not a huge amount of pay, but enough to live comfortably.  Some employees, like the bagboy for example, made more than a bagboy working at another store in town.  So the city council rejected the store from coming into town, because they were afraid the higher wages would drive up the costs of other things, really?  Even today, the Honda Plant in Lincoln will not work with the city of Talladega.  And the Talladega/Sylacauga region is the 5th poorest region in America.

So my point is this, yes, Oklahoma has more jobs available than what is available in Alabama.  But playing politics and denying cities an opportunity to raise their minimum wage is a slap in the face to all low-income working people in Oklahoma.  I thought this was also a good time to bring this up.  With more and more jobs becoming a thing of the past, what are people who can not find anything going to do?  Hope they can get on Social Security Disability?  Not everyone has an opportunity to find a job.  Some have gone through so many jobs no one will consider them.  Some have been unemployed for years, and employers look the other way.  And some are not attractive, and no amount of work experience and college education will help them.

From the CNN opinion article written by David Wheeler, what if the government guaranteed an income for everyone each month?  Just enough money to take care of the basic needs of everyone, like rent and utilities.  The current government safety net programs like Food Stamps and welfare costs more than $1 trillion a year!  If the United States Government gave everyone a monthly basic income, all welfare programs could end, people who are struggling could be comfortable with the funding to pay their bills, people would be lifted out of poverty, and economies in poorer areas would improve!

People who are struggling with long-term unemployment, like me, would gain some huge  psychological benefits knowing that people with no work do not have to worry about food and shelter.  Look, technology and new technology in the future will eliminate more and more jobs, even in places like China and India.  With fewer and fewer jobs available for the growing amount of people around the world, what are people with no prospects of hope going to do?  Starve and live on the streets?   If countries like Brazil and states like Alaska are already giving out money to everyone living there, this country can do the same thing.  Ever watch the series Star Trek?  Money in that series is not a basis for their economy and everyone lives at a comfortable level.

If everyone got a basic income, it does not mean jobs will disappear forever.  People can still find and work at a job and receive a basic income at the same time.  If something is not done, more people are going to remain unemployed, and if safety nets like SNAP are cut, as some politicians are wanting to do, than eventually civil unrest is going to happen.  People will not live in misery without doing something.  A basic income would prevent the misery and potential civil unrest, it’s the right thing to do!

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View The New Nathan Young Visual Resume Infographic


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I am putting a lot of stuff of SlideShare to get me noticed.  The first and original Visual Resume is now approaching 6,000 views, happy!

The Nathan Young Visual Resume Game Board Infographic is doing very well and is approaching 1,000 views, happy again!

And now, I have created the Nathan Young Visual Resume Infographic.  This infographic is a basic summary of what I do, and what I like to do.  It’s a condensed version of the original visual resume and is a very quick read.  If you know of something, e-mail me at barcncpt44@aol.com, enjoy!

 

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Looking For Work In A Economically Depressed Area Is Impossible


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First off, I made my latest infographic surrounding my never-ending job search called the Nathan Young Visual Resume Infographic.  Unlike the board game infographic, this infographic is truly special!  Enjoy below!

Today, I am at a local library for one simple reason, I don’t have any internet access at my apartment.  And since I don’t have a working car, and the bus system is way too unreliable, I walked several miles to get here.  If I was living in a metro area that was better than Anniston, I would have a full-time job by now, and would not have bills like these below.  These bills are several months behind without payment, and I have already taken care of the WordPress renewal thanks to someone I know.   As of right now, I believe my phone is about to be shut off as well.

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Look, I have looked everywhere in this town, and in surrounding towns as well before my car broke down.  Along with Gadsden being the fourth poorest city in America, and Talladega/Sylacauga being the fifth poorest region in America.  I really wanted to concentrate on the Anniston/Oxford area.  Late last year, the Milken Institute ranked the Anniston/Oxford area as the second worst small performing metro in America.  That is out of 179 small metro areas across the country.  In 2008, Anniston/Oxford was ranked as the 34th best performing small metro area in America.  How times can change in five short years.  Even some professors at JSU are saying “this is ugly for us.”  And I have already told several JSU students to leave this area once they graduate because they will find nothing here.

Even the real estate professionals here in Anniston are saying that home sales are way down.  Several Realtors that I have talked too have already moved away to better areas like Birmingham.  And this news makes the situation worse, according to HomeVestors, Anniston/Oxford is one of the worst metro areas in America to buy or sell a home.  Our market has been lumped into the dangerous category.

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Look, I don’t like talking about the bad news here.  But when report, after report, after report, comes out about the bad economy in this area, I feel obligated to talk about it, because I am one of the many people here in Anniston/Oxford looking for work.  When the metro area has hardly any jobs available, I am trying to climb an impossible mountain here.  Just like the last story that ranked US 431 in Alabama as the fourth most dangerous highway in America.  This area can not stay out of the bad news cycle, and it’s mostly because hardly anyone can find jobs.  Things are so bad, the local headquarters to the delivery company I used to work for before being fired, is about to move to the Lincoln area.

When I wrote the viral post about why I believe the American Dream is dead for me, I really meant it.  I enjoy helping others achieving the American dream, even though I am not living the American dream.  And have doubts that the American dream will ever come to me.  I believe the American Dream has come and gone.  Today, it’s like what you see during the Medieval period.  Where a fortunate few get everything they want, while most others are left with the scraps.  It’s almost like you could scrap the Statue of Liberty and give it to a country that has more successful dreams for people.  Or you could remodel the Liberty Bell with the money symbol, because America has lost its liberty because of money.  Or you could remodel the heads on Mt. Rushmore to four guys of greed, because it’s not about the dream anymore, it’s about greed.

And, you could replace the Lincoln Memorial with statues of donkeys and elephants fighting each other.  Because people in America can’t agree on anything anymore.  America has lost the art of the compromise and it has become the it’s my way or the highway attitude.   Someone left the comment on the original article, and it reads “Reading back through your job issues, you are very quick to blame someone else, but you’ve had a large number of jobs in a short period of time. In the eyes of most companies, you are a huge liability, and would be considered unemployable by most HR recruiters. I’m sorry for you, but I think you have some serious issues. This little blog of yours isn’t going to fix them.”

I am sorry I have held so many jobs since graduating from high school in 2006.  Hey, I know there are other people that have held this many jobs as well.  I just live in an area that is right now economy depressed, and it’s getting worse.  Since I don’t have internet at home right now, I had to cancel two Skype chats with people who wanted to talk to me.  And I know professionals online are going to wonder where I am tonight to share my latest thoughts.  Yep, I have one of the highest social media and online scores in Alabama, and I am reduced to walking and almost falling asleep at the library, is life fun!

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This is something the folks that knows me are going to have to realize.  After talking to several people in and around the Anniston area, we all agree on one thing, that Anniston is dead and my only hope to find any job is to move away.  Over the past few weeks, several more businesses in Anniston/Oxford have closed.  And add the over 400 people who became unemployed because of the holiday work ending, and you can see why this area is in trouble.  There are thousands and thousands of people out of work in Anniston/Oxford and I am one of them.  I mean, I have tried registering for many sites, networking, and creating visual presentations to show off what I do.  My visual resume has close to 6,000 views now, but no one has contacted me for any job offers.

I have even tried the Social Security Disability route, and the attorney has basically said my chances on getting on disability are close to zero.  And yes, even the attorney has said my best chances are to move away.  And thanks to some lawmakers in Montgomery, soon, my food stamps card could be getting cut off, because I don’t have a job.  Oh joy!  Several people I know here in Anniston have already moved on to places like Birmingham, Atlanta, Huntsville, Nashville, Auburn, and other places like Oklahoma.  How do I know, well they follow me on social media and have updated their city locations.  If some people in my social media networks see the writing on the walls and left town, I think my time is coming soon to leave as well.

The only reason I feel like I am Anniston/Oxford, is to continue to drain the bank accounts from some people I know.  People around here wish they could pay me for what I do with event coverage on this blog, but since this area is one of the poorest in America, you can see why they can’t pay anything.  I hate to be harsh to the Anniston/Oxford area, but this area is in deep trouble.  More and more jobs are being lost each week, and people are either giving up and becoming homeless, or moving away from Anniston to find anything.  To anyone who thinks they can come to Anniston/Oxford to find a job, think again!  Just keep on going down I-20 towards Atlanta or Birmingham.

So for the rest of today, I will continue to walk around town bouncing from place to place with wi-fi so I can do my online work.  And using the little money I have to buy wi-fi time.  I stayed up all up last night finishing up the new infographic before the internet was closed down, and I wonder if I will even make it back to the apartment to sleep, or crash someone else.  It sucks to live in one of the poorest and jobless towns in America.  To sum things up, if I am going to find anything full-time and for good pay, I will have to move on, whether I like it or not.

 

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Sunday Discussion: The Problems In East Alabama Continues


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Update:  According to Neighborhood Scout, Gadsden is ranked the 87th most dangerous city in America.  Anniston’s crime statistics are not much better.  And did you catch the announcement that Covalli’s Italian Kitchen is closing?

The last week has not been good for the East Alabama region.  First, Outback Steakhouse closed in Oxford on Sunday.  Several Outback Steakhouse’s in the country were also closed   Second, Sbarro closed many of their mall pizza locations last week, including the one in the Quintard Mall.  I believe there was one in the Gadsden Mall, which is closed as well.  And third, EMS workers in Gadsden walked off the job because they have not been paid in weeks.  What a lovely week for East Alabama, not!  In addition to the job losses, the Anniston Army Depot announced they are predicting around a $75 million budget cut for 2015.

While the budget is not set in stone yet, and Congress will depend on how much the army depot gets its budget cut, seeing the news of up to a $75 million budget cut for 2015 is not good!  I know the folks out at the army depot are saying the budget cut will not result in many job losses, but let’s be real.  A $75 million budget cut is going to result in a massive amount of job losses, there is no way around it!  Last year, the depot laid off over 370 people, but soon hired those people back.  My concern is how many people are going to be laid off if the $75 million budget cut comes true, and yes, more people being laid off is going to continue the destruction of the East Alabama region.

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In the East Alabama region, jobs have been lost left and right.  Things are so bad, there was a reality show on History Channel that featured unemployed men going to Central America to mine for gold in the jungle.  Alexander City has lost over 10,000 jobs, Sylacauga/Talladega is the 5th poorest region in America, Gadsden is the fourth poorest city in America, and the Anniston/Oxford area is the second worst performing small metro area in America.  Yep, East Alabama is doing so good right now.  And that is the big problem, cities, counties, leaders, and chambers are not doing nearly enough to market the East Alabama region to recruit new jobs.

I know some of you are going to say, “well Oxford is doing okay”, well Oxford is starting to see a decline as well.  You just had Outback Steakhouse close, mostly all of the jobs recruited to Oxford are low paying retail and restaurant jobs that does not support a economy, and mayor Leon Smith just had a wastewater treatment plant named after him.  Nothing is better than having your mayor’s name on a sewer plant!  For Anniston, we are getting close to the halfway point of Vaughn Stewart’s first term as mayor, and we are still planning and planning.  I know there is a thing on Thursday night where they say they will announce their plans for Anniston, but we should have already have a plan in action now!  And what about the Clear Plan 2030 plans, why is that not moving forward as well?

It should not have taken almost two years of planning to get something moving!  That is the biggest problem for every city and county in the East Alabama region.  We plan, plan, and plan some more, but we don’t put those plans into action so people can come out of poverty.  East Alabama has some of the highest concentrations of people in poverty in Alabama, outside of the Blackbelt region.  I have talked too many people in the region who are struggling because there are no jobs, or opportunities for people to start something to get out of poverty.  Many people have simply given up any hope of advancing in their careers to get out of poverty, and these people are on food stamps, disability, welfare, or other government assistance programs.

There has been some good news for parts of Alabama job wise.  Like that Remington plant that is moving to Huntsville, that is bringing in new jobs.  But all of these job announcements are skipping over the East Alabama region including Anniston and Gadsden.  Why is the cities, counties, and chambers not actively recruiting to bring these jobs to East Alabama?  People need help now!  They don’t want to continue seeing our leaders planning and not putting those plans into action.  I mean, some people are getting so desperate and bored, they are going around and shooting horses, sheep and even zebras to death.

Unless our leaders in our cities, counties, businesses, and chambers changes how they do things, East Alabama will continue to struggle with massive job losses.  Maybe people living in East Alabama needs to really think about who they vote for in the next election?  You know, Republicans are always not going to do a good job, there are Democrats as well, but people despise the left because they are ruining America, right?  I wonder what will be the next TV show, or news story, or online video, that will embarrass the East Alabama region once again?  Unless we make some radical changes to market the East Alabama region, which will take some funding by the way, East Alabama will continue into that deep, dark spiral of a depression, and people will give up hope.

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No Matter What I Do, I Believe The American Dream Is Dead


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UPDATE: I wrote this post for the Huffington Post’s All Work, No Pay series about people who believe the American Dream is dead.  I have contacted them, but have not gotten a response yet.  For now, enjoy my article!

Different, that is the one word many people have called me through the years.  Some of the reasons I am called different is because of my size, the way I look, the interests I like to follow, the way I speak, my political views, and yes, because I have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Different is the reason why I was bullied and almost beaten by many kids while I was in school.  Different is the reason why I was abused by some of my family.  Different is the reason why I have held 13 different jobs in the last seven years.  And different is the reason why I am sitting in my apartment and unemployed.  As well as living on very limited income and on food stamps.

I want to rundown some of my job history.  I have been a dockhand, screenprinter, temp worker, fast-food worker, shift manager, front desk clerk/server, truck driver, and a delivery driver.  And in every job I have done, either the management or the employees have found any way possible to take advantage of me.  I have broken the soda machines and other equipment at the fast-food restaurant.  I had employees sabotage me while at my shift manager job that got me fired.  I worked in a run down resort hotel with no hot water and broken windows, while comforting four young women from Romania who were crying because of the horrible working conditions.  And I was fired from the delivery driver job because I was out for 14-16 hours a day, for $400 a week.  I asked management for help but I was denied.  The contractor I worked for sued the company back but they lost.

Now, I am on food stamps and only get $189 a month, which means I only eat one meal a day with a snack sometimes.  I am supposed to take medicine during the morning, but without food, I can’t take it.  I have a cap missing from one of my teeth, and more teeth needs their fillings replaced.  I have not had a haircut in over six months, and my hair looks very interesting.  And I am surviving, thanks to relatives.  If something happened to my relatives, I would be sleeping in an abandoned building in town, because there are no jobs in East Alabama.  And if anyone is hiring, they usually turn a blind eye on me.  I have been homeless before and know what it’s like to sleep on the streets.  I wonder if God put me on this Earth to always struggle, remain jobless, be abused, be ignored by most people, and be in poverty?

In the East Alabama region, jobs have been lost left and right.  Things are so bad, there was a reality show on TV that featured unemployed men going to Central America to mine for gold in the jungle.  Alexander City has lost over 10,000 jobs, Sylacauga/Talladega is the 5th poorest region in America, Gadsden is the fourth poorest city in America, and the Anniston/Oxford area is the second worst performing small metro area in America.  Yep, East Alabama is doing so good right now.

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Some people have called those on government assistance receiving section 8 housing, medicaid, food stamps, and disability, as lazy. These people say people on welfare drive a new car, have new clothes, have a cell phone, buy cigarettes and booze, and other false claims.  Some people claim living in poverty and using welfare is a career choice.  And that is far from the truth.  I am living on food stamps and applying for Social Security disability because no one will give me a chance.  I have some health and dental problems I can’t treat because I don’t have the money.  And I have a car, that is broken down.  That means I have to walk miles to get to places like the store, since the bus system here is often full and unreliable.

Today, I write the blog Geek Alabama that has many readers, I just don’t make hardly any money off of it.  I have taken my photo and video taking skills and covered many events ranging from concerts, festivals, conventions, 5K runs, charity events, and even the arts like dancing and singing.  I often go to cover events by walking several miles down the road, and hoping I get a ride back.  I also give time on my website to talk about shows, products, charities, small businesses, and crowdsourcing projects so other people has a chance to live the American dream.

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I enjoy helping others achieving the American dream, even though I am not living the American dream.  And have doubts that the American dream will ever come to me.  I have tried various avenues hoping to find funding so I can grow the website instead of job searching.  I have tried banks, my own crowdsourcing project, area chamber of commerce’s, family and friends, and other means.  But nothing has changed.

Even though I am the only one who writes all the posts, covers all the events, and does all the website maintenance.  I enjoy what I do, and it gives me a small smile on face that is overwhelmingly sad and in doubt.  You can see why I have given up hope and somewhat depressed as well.  I have applied to over 500 jobs.  I have also been to 14 job fairs.  But hardly anyone calls me back.  Most of the time, I get those nice e-mails saying I have not been considered.  I have done some things most people have not done in their job search, like create a visual resume, that has over 5,000 views.  But still, no one has contacted me back and I wonder if anyone will ever contact me back.  You can see why I have almost given up all hope.

Some people have asked me if I applied to media organizations in East Alabama.  And I have done so, but the media folks do not like me because I am considered competition.  The owners of the local newspaper wants me out-of-town.  I volunteered my time for the local TV station for a few years, but never got recognized or paid.  The only media that actually supports what I do in East Alabama is the radio stations, and that is because photos and videos is not a competition to radio.  I also believe the ones who were the bullies while in school, are the ones who are running the companies and corporations today.  And they continue to prey on the ones who can be taken advantaged of.

I believe the American Dream has come and gone.  Today, it’s like what you see during the Medieval period.  Where a fortunate few get everything they want, while most others are left with the scraps.  It’s almost like you could scrap the Statue of Liberty and give it to a country that has more successful dreams for people.  Or you could remodel the Liberty Bell with the money symbol, because America has lost its liberty because of money.  Or you could remodel the heads on Mt. Rushmore to four guys of greed, because it’s not about the dream anymore, it’s about greed.  And, you could replace the Lincoln Memorial with statues of donkeys and elephants fighting each other.  Because people in America can’t agree on anything anymore.  America has lost the art of the compromise and it has become the it’s my way or the highway attitude.

When I think about my situation while my stomach is growling, I think of this Bible verse from Exodus 5:9; It gets worse before it gets better.  Even in the Bible and in church, the good book and pastors keeps telling you that you start at the bottom and work your way up.  That might have been true 50 years ago, but today, you start at the bottom, and stay at the bottom with very few opportunities to work your way up.  America has become a country where employers screw their employees and keeps most of their profits to themselves.

America has become a country where our politicians work for the corporations and not for the people.  America has become a country where average people fight each other over money, religion, politics, the people next door, and just about anything else.  More and more people are taking the it’s my way or the highway attitude, and that is destroying this country.  I leave you with one of my road drawings, it’s starts off as one great road, but then splits off into many different directions.  Which direction will be the one that will that lead me to my American dream?

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