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Doing The Numbers On Universal Basic Income

COLUMN • View from Fly Creek

Doing The Numbers On

Universal Basic Income

By ADRIAN KUZMINSKI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

As the economic insecurity of a large segment of the country continues without relief (debts, taxes, low wages, health costs, education costs, etc.), some big new ideas (like the Green New Deal) are getting attention.

Andrew Yang and his T-shirts are becoming visible in Iowa,where the first caucuses of the 2020 presidential campaign will be held Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2020.

In my last column, I examined one of these big new ideas: the proposal for a universal basic income (UBI) put forth by presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who proposes to give every US citizen over 18 years of age $1,000 a month. He calls it the Freedom Dividend.

Yang argues that automation and robotics are relentlessly eliminating wage-labor jobs, hence the need for a UBI. He may be right. I speculated that a UBI might be paid out of corporate profits, but it turns out that that’s not where the money is.

To see how it can be funded, let’s do some math:

The current adult (18 plus) population of the U.S. is about 250 million people. Giving $12,000/year to each person would cost about $3 trillion. To put that in context, the federal budget is about $4 trillion/year, including $700 billion for the military, while total annual U.S. corporate profit is about $2 trillion/year in an economy of about $21 trillion.

The total net financial assets of American households, according to the Federal Reserve, are much greater than that. They add up to about $70 trillion. What are net financial assets? They include stocks, bonds, funds and other financial instruments. That’s where the money is.

The major asset for most Americans is their home. Net financial assets don’t include your personal property (your home, vehicles, furnishings, art, etc.); nor the debts you owe.

Simple Integrity Plans Net-Zero Apartments: 2 Stories, 12 Units On Chestnut Street

Simple Integrity Plans

Net-Zero Apartments

2 Stories, 12 Units On Chestnut Street

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www. AllOTSEGO.com

Josh Edmonds, principal in Simple Integrity builders, briefs the Cooperstown Village Board last evening on a net-zero 12-apartment building he is planning at 10 Chestnut St. in the village, next to the Inn at Cooperstown. “The village needs long-term rentals,” he told trustees at their monthly meeting. “And I see a need for more energy.” He was advised to take the plans to the Historical Preservation & Architectural Review Board (H-PARB) and the Planning Board. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – For Josh Edmonds, the lot at 10 Chestnut St. represents a chance to solve two problems in the village – adding housing and reducing energy consumption.

“The village needs long-term rentals,” he said. “And I see a need for more energy-efficient construction.”

Edmonds, a passive-house consultant through, Simple Integrity, his contracting company, has proposed a two-story, 12-unit building on the lot at 10 Chestnut St, next to the Inn at Cooperstown.

At the Village Board meeting on Tuesday, May 28, Edmonds revealed details about the proposed project:  12 two-bedroom units, with the six apartments on the first floor designated as handicap-accessible. There will also be 24 parking spaces.

SUNY Oneonta’s Ford Hall Picked As ‘Net Zero’ Project

SUNY Oneonta’s Ford Hall

Picked As ‘Net Zero’ Project

First-In-System Redo Paves Way For 500 Dorms Statewide
SUNY Oneonta’s Ford Hall during Eastman & Associate renovations a few years ago.

ONEONTA – “Net zero.”

That term refers to a building “that generates all its energy onsite, producing as much energy from non-fossil fuels sources at it consumes each year,” SUNY Oneonta’s Lachlain Squair, chief facilities planning and safety officer, said yesterday in announcing 213-room Ford Hall will become the first such building on the local campus.

Demolition Begins On Site Of CVS’ Future Pharmacy

Demolition Begins On Site

Of CVS’ Future Pharmacy

Jake Brown from Burrell’s Excavating, Norwich, smooths over the parking lot of the former Cooperstown Motel a few minutes ago after knocking down a fence and removing utilities from the ground. A small bulldozer is also on site, pushing hundreds of items – from furniture to appliances – from the motel’s basement; already, the bed of one dump truck has been filled and hauled from the property, and more material is being piled up in the property’s southwest corner. Brown said demolition of the building itself will probably begin Monday, and take two days. The hotel burned last Aug. 9, the result of what has been ruled an arson, although no suspects have been arrested. CVS is planning a full-service pharmacy there, to open next March. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Cooperstown Link To Tragedy Where 17 Died Is Unclear

Cooperstown Link

To Tragedy Where

20 Died Is Unclear

Times Reports Fatal Limo Headed Here;

Perhaps Cooptoberfest Was Destination

By JIM KEVLIN & LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN –  Cooperstown, and perhaps Brewery Ommegang, are being reported in the national media as the destination of the limousine that crashed Saturday afternoon in Schoharie County, killing the 18 passengers, plus two people standing nearby.

The New York Times is quoting the aunt of a victim who said the riders in the limousine were heading toward a birthday party at “a Cooperstown brewery.”   CNN is reporting the brewery was Ommegang.

However, there are two other breweries in the Cooperstown area, and Eat Drink Cooperstown, the beer-tasting culmination of the fifth annual Cooptoberfest, was also underway that afternoon.

12 Net-Zero Apartments Planned On Chestnut St.

 EDMONDS BRIEFS TRUSTEES ON ‘THE GROVE’

12 Net-Zero Apartments

Planned On Chestnut St.

Josh Edmonds, principal in Simple Integrity builders, briefs the Cooperstown Village Board last evening on “The Grove,” a net-zero 12-apartment building he is planning at 10 Chestnut St. in the village, next to the Inn at Cooperstown. “The village needs long-term rentals,” he told trustees at their monthly meeting Tuesday. “And I see a need for more energy-efficient construction.” He was advised to take the plans to the Historical Preservation & Architectural Review Board (H-PARB) and the Planning Board.  Facing the camera are, from left, Trustees Jim Membrino, MacGuire Benton and Jeanne Dewey; with back to camera are Trustees Jim Dean, left, and Richard Sternberg.  (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

DETAILS IN FREEMAN’S & HOMETOWN,

ON NEWSSTANDS THIS AFTERNOON

Lofts On Dietz Parking, Energy Raised As Issues

Lofts On Dietz’s

Parking, Energy

Raised As Issues

SEQRA To Start Next Month;

Groundbreaking Next Summer

Addressing the city Planning Commission, from left, were Michael Stolzer and Mark Drnek, who raised concerns about parking; David Hutchison, who called for net-zero energy use in the proposed Lofts on Dietz, and weaver Liz Shannon, who asked if the size of the proposed units – about 800 square feet for single units and 1,000 for doubles – was sufficient; Kearney’s reply appeared to satisfy her. Mayor Herzig is at right. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Developer Ken Kearney outlines the project. Behind him is Dave Ohman from Delaware Engineering. At right, Planning Commission member Dan Maskin listens.

ONEONTA – Two citizens raised concerns about parking – a third called for “net zero” energy efficiency – when developer Ken Kearney outlined plans for a 64-unit art colony, The Lofts on Dietz, to the city Planning Commission last evening.

Vice Chair Overbey presided.

“As an artist, the building is an excellent concept, one we should embrace,” said Michael Stolzer, who lives in the Town of Oneonta but owns rental properties in the city.  “But parking spaces are valuable.  It seems kind of on the absurd side to build it on the parking lot.”

Mayor Gary Herzig saw it another way: “I truly hope we have a real parking problem, because it will mean we’re thriving and our businesses are successful,” he said as the meeting wrapped up.

YES TO CVS, BUT WITH 12 CAVEATS
READ FULL TEXT OF SPECIAL PERMIT CONDITIONS (updated)

YES TO CVS, BUT

WITH 12 CAVEATS

At this evening's public hearing, Todd Hamula of Zaremba Group, CVS' contractors, at left, discusses the drive-thru pharmacy for the Cooperstown Motel site, while, at right, Mike Tucker of BHB Architects, Albany, holds up the site plan. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
At this evening’s public hearing, Todd Hamula of Zaremba Group, CVS’ contractors, at left, discusses the drive-thru pharmacy for the Cooperstown Motel site, while, at right, architect Mike Tucker, Albany, holds up the site plan. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

With Revisions, Company

Must Return To Trustees

By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

An artist's rendering of "The Cooperstown Concept," designed by CVS' architects to be more in keeping with the village's ambience, was passed around at this evening's public hearing.
An artist’s rendering of “The Cooperstown Concept,” designed by CVS’ architects to be more in keeping with the village’s ambience, was passed around at this evening’s public hearing.

COOPERSTOWN – By a 6-1 vote, the Village Board a few minute ago approved a special permit for CVS’ drive-thru pharmacy, but with at least a dozen conditions, ranging from a detailed traffic study, to interior and exterior lighting safeguards, to ensuring safe access to Badger Park.

“I believe we kind of covered everything everyone addressed,” Mayor Jeff Katz said after the vote, addressing two dozen members of the public who attended the public hearing on the project.

The conditions – the motion, running a page and a half single space, had been prepared in advance of the hearing and public input – will require CVS to appear again before the Village Board to show they have been met, and another vote by the trustees at that time.

Toss Old, Unused PrescriptionsDuring Drug Take Back Week

Toss Old, Unused Prescriptions

During Drug Take Back Week

COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Healthcare Network is encouraging people to get rid of unused prescriptions at its three pharmacies during Drug Take Back Week, April 22-27.

The disposal kiosks are available at Bassett, Foxcare and O’Connor pharmacies to help people avoid prescription misuse and help stem addictions tied to over-the-counter or controlled medication. These excess prescriptions can be managed easier with the help of pharmacy software development by SmartexLab or others, the software can enable alerts for expiring medications, as well as if the destruction of any stock needs to be carried out. A deployment of this type of software could decrease medicine waste greatly.

U-Haul Growth Survey: NY Drops Four Places

U-Haul Growth Survey:

NY Drops Four Places

New York is the No. 43 Growth State in America, slipping four places from 2018, according to U-Haul® data analyzing U.S. migration trends for 2019.

New York backslides four spots from its No. 39 ranking a year ago, registering as a slight net-loss state for procuring U-Haul truck customers. It ranked in the same vicinity the previous two years – 44th in 2017 and 35th in 2016 – after climbing to the No. 7 state for growth back in 2015.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MAR. 10
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MAR. 10

Cabaret Guest Conductor Contest

14-19eventspage

GUEST CONDUCTOR – 7:30 p.m. 3 candidates compete for YOUR vote at the Annual Cabaret Concert featuring the Mambo Kings. Alumni Field House, SUNY Oneonta. Call 607-436-2670 or visit catskillsymphony.net/how-to-help/volunteer.html

CRAYON CARNIVAL – 11 a.m. 3 p.m. Enjoy food, games, prizes gift basket raffle, the “Cake Walk” the Junior Cupcake Boss Competition, displays from Oneonta World of Learning, more to support the PTA. Cooperstown Elementary School. Call 607-547-8181 or visit www.cooperstowncs.org

Solar, Wind, Pellets, Geothermal Promoted As Energies Of Future

70-80 ATTENDEES FILL ROOM

Energies Of Future

Promoted At Forum

Among Them, Solar, Wind, Geothermal,

Pellets Seen As Fossil-Fuel Replacements

Len Carson, the Oneonta entrepreneur, asks about the viability of small-scale wind devices instead of industrial windmills at tonight’s forum, which brought 7-80 people to Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta. (Jim Kevln/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

“Cheap energy will kill us,” said Hartwick Professor Karl Seeley. Conservation and renewables will save us, he said.

ONEONTA – Fossil fuels – gasoline, fuel oil, propane and natural gas – that power Otsego County today were like an unexpected inheritance, allowing the Industrial Revolution and the world as we know it.

Buttermann

But 200 years later, Hartwick College Economics Professor Karl Seeley told 70-80 attendees at the Concerned Citizens of Oneonta forum this evening at Elm Park United Methodist Church, you discover the hidden costs of the bequest are bankrupting.

“It makes you rich enough to destroy your home,” Seeley said.  “But not rich enough to build a new one.”

The dynamics of the evening, moderated by Hartwick Professor Kate O’Donnell, followed an outline another panelist, Dan Buttermann, brought back from Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project” forum last year in Los Angeles:  “Must we do it? Can we do it? Will we do it?”

Only Grassroot Activists Can Save Our Planet

THE VIEW FROM FLY CREEK

Only Grassroot

Activists Can

Save Our Planet

By ADRIAN KUZMINSKI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Sustainable Otsego has been both a social network and political action committee since its founding in 2007. Over that time, it has advanced three principles around which local life could be organized:

  1. Sustainable Living.
  2. Economic Independence, and
  3. Home Rule.

Today let me address Sustainable Living; I’ll take up the other two in later columns.

Sustainable Living turns out to be a lot harder than many of us thought. The very word “sustainable” has been corrupted by phrases like “sustainable growth” and “sustainable capitalism.” Thanks largely to corporate propaganda and misinformation, it is less and less clear what terms like “sustainable” or “green” mean.

If it means anything, sustainable living means living on renewable resources on a finite planet.

At least that was the idea when the term “sustainability” went mainstream in the early 2000s.

Energy analysts had begun to worry about “peak oil” decades earlier, but by the early 2000s compelling evidence of limited conventional oil reserves, as well as of the depletion of other resources (fertile soils, clean water, essential minerals, species diversity), brought the issue of sustainability to a larger public.

The idea of sustainable living was a response to this brewing eco-crisis. It meant avoiding practices that led to pollution and a deteriorating natural world. The idea was to recycle everything, go organic, and use less energy and resources. We were supposed to lower our “carbon footprints” to minimize global warming and mitigate climate change.

Sustainable living became no less than a moral movement, a kind of secular religion where

Nature takes the place of God, cooperation takes the place of competition, holistic thinking replaces partial thinking, and harmony and compassion replace strife and tribalism.

That was a profound cultural moment, and it changed important human behaviors. It’s been the main force behind the progress made in recent years towards surviving on this planet. The hope was to maintain something like the middle-class lifestyle to which we have become accustomed.

The plan was to do it by replacing fossil fuels with eco-friendly renewables, poisonous chemicals with “natural” ingredients, and accumulated waste by recycling and composting.

But it didn’t quite work out that way, at least not yet. New technologies (fracking) expanded access to oil and gas reserves, postponing “peak oil” indefinitely, while locking in our reliance on fossil fuels through low prices. Recycling has yet to absorb the vast waste stream, and organic alternatives, popular as they are, are far from replacing cheap, chemically based products.

In the meantime, the methane and CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by continued fossil-fuel use has brought us to the verge of uncontrollable climate change.

The easy steps of sustainable living – buying a Prius, recycling, eating organic food, switching to

LED lighting, etc. – are no longer enough. We need structural, not just personal, changes.

Our continued post-fracking reliance on cheap fossil fuels has allowed the oil and gas industry to dominate the political system, frustrating the transition to renewables. Corporate-led deregulation has rolled back the environmental standards necessary to fully promote organic products and eliminate waste. Indeed, under Trump we’ve gone backwards on all these fronts.

At this point, only upheaval from below seems likely to change national politics. And that will happen only when the urgency of the biggest threat – climate change – reaches a critical threshold in most minds. Because of it, we’ve witnessed in recent months massive wildfires out West, catastrophic floods in the Midwest, melting glaciers and polar ice packs, another record heat wave in Europe, accelerating wildlife extinctions – the list goes on.

The floods a few years back gave us a taste of what can happen here, though climate change for us so far has been mostly incremental and cumulative, rather than sudden and overwhelming.

But it’s not any less significant for that. Hundred-year floods now occur a lot more than once a century. Storms and power outages are more common. The growing season has lengthened.

Winters are milder. Tornados, once unheard of in our region, now occur repeatedly.

If you experience the weather mostly when walking to and from your car, it’s easy to dismiss all this as some kind of delusion, a fake crisis. But if you’re a farmer, a gardener, someone who works outdoors, or manages infrastructure (powerlines, roads, etc.) exposed to the weather, you’re more likely to recognize that climate change is happening right before your eyes.

Sustainable living is both more important than ever, and even harder to achieve. To recognize its challenge is to feel its urgency, and especially the vital need to replace fossil fuels with renewables.

This is evident in the deliberations of the new Otsego County Energy Task Force, where climate change concerns and economic-development issues are coming together for the first time locally.

In response to this growing crisis Sustainable Otsego has evolved into a political action committee focused on local government. Given the failures of our major parties nationally and locally, Sustainable Otsego remains resolutely non-partisan. Visit us on Facebook, and at sustainableotsego.net.

If we’re to respond successfully to climate change from below, it will be because local grassroots activists – conservatives and liberals alike – insist upon it. Only they can force our representatives – local, state, and national – to do what’s necessary to secure the transition to sustainable living. No one else is going to do it.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor

and co-founder and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.

 

Trustees To View Plan For New CVS

Trustees To View

Plan For New CVS

This site plan is part of the packet from CVS' developers that will be reviewed by the Cooperstown Village Board at its 6:30 p.m. meeting this evening.
This site plan is part of the packet from CVS’ developers that will be reviewed by the Cooperstown Village Board at its 6:30 p.m. meeting this evening.
The Cooperstown Motel will be demolished to make way for a new CVS.  (AllOTSEGO.com)
The Cooperstown Motel will be demolished to make way for a new CVS. (AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board will get a first look at CVS’ site plan and application for a new pharmacy on the Cooperstown Motel site at Chestnut and Beaver, Cooperstown’s southern gateway.

“The project consists of demolishing the motel and construction a 9,516-square-foot CVS/pharmacy with a drive-thru,” according to an application submitted by the Zaremba Group, Lakewood, Ohio, the developer.

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