Iíve been in New York city now for 6 years.
Iíve been here for assorted bombings, plane crashes, black outs, blizzards, floods, heat waves, subway fires, and track floodings, but through all of it NYC has kept grinding away.
Now, after all that, Iím finally seeing the city ground to a halt. Not by terrorists or riots or acts of God, but by a bunch of whiny union workers. Osama Bin Laden had it wrong all along. You donít need to blow up buildings to stop New York, all you need to do is get sideways with a union.
Whereís that leave me? Mostly typing away at 6:30 in the morning because I have no idea how Iím supposed to get to work. I seem to have a choice between a 5 mile walk across queens and the east river, thatís each way mind you, or a 4 mile walk to Woodside where I can roll the dice on catching a LIRR train. So, given that the average walking speed of an adult is about 3 miles an hour, given that Iíll be stopping every block for stop lights, etc, I figure Iím looking at a commute of 4 hours roundtrip by foot. And thereís people who have it a lot worse than I do.
One might ask, ďGood God man, what were those evil corporate whores doing to the poor subway workers that makes it necessary for them to strike and leave 7 million people without transportation and cost NYC businesses and residents an estimated 400,000,000 dollars a day?Ē
Well, Iím glad you asked.
Apparently, the union had the majority of itís demands met. Most of them seemed reasonable to me. 3% raises a year, each year for the next 3 years. Cleaner and safer facilities, etc. Makes sense to me. But what was the deal breaker, whatís truly wrecked the day of 7,000,000 New Yorkers? Well, the MTA (Metro Transit Authority) wants to raise the age when NEW hires get their pension from 55 to 62.
While I should be walking to work right now, Iíve instead sat around my apartment smoking and doing a bit of math.
According to the IRS, the average life expectancy of a 55 year old American at this point in time is 30 years, roughly 85 years old. Now, assuming you start your job with the MTA when you are 25 years old, that means you will be providing 30 years of service followed by 30 years of paid retirement. Thatís given current life expectancy. Feel free to add another 5 or 10 years of retirement for future health care improvements.
How about we also take into account the 20 years a person is alive before they probably even get a real job in the first place.
Now what youíre looking at is a group of people who expect to work 30 - 35 years out of their life and sit on their asses being taken care of by tax payers or their parents for the remaining 60 or so years (first 20 years on the parental tit, last 35 - 40 years collecting that pension).
I donít know about you friend, but I certainly think itís important for all good people to sit on their asses being a drag on society for at least 2/3rds of their lives.
Because Iím in a math sort of mood who about an estimate of man hours wasted by this strike.
So, we basically have 7,000,000 people a day who donít live in Manhattan, but who need to get there for work and who now canít in any reasonable way. Letís say that the average commute for these 7,000,000 people just increased from 1 hour a day to, ummmm... how about 3 hours (about an hour less than my commute would probably be today).
So thatís 7,000,000 people losing 2 hours of their life each day. 14,000,000 extra hours of human life spent just getting to work. Thereís 5840 hours in a waking year (weíre asleep the other third of the time). So, every day of this strike wastes about 133 years of waking life that commuters could be doing something better with. If we keep this up, we can waste a whole millennium in 7.5 days.
But donít get me wrong, in a year where two airlines have already declared bankruptcy and GM has laid off 30,000 people all due to the huge burden of hefty pensions, I personally think itís very important for the same people who canít keep the trains running on time, who canít be bothered to sell me a subway card without an angry glare thrown in my direction, who canít keep the stations clean or even enunciate well enough for me to understand what the hell their saying over the P.A. system, itís important to ensure that these people get to retire 10 years earlier than the rest of us instead of just 3 years earlier.
Cause friends, being a dead beat tax burden for 2/3rds of your life is really what itís all about..