How would you like to make $357,832.60 in fifteen minutes? This is not a multilevel marketing scheme, nor do you have to pay in any money up front. It is not even an ad for Geico. It is one hundred percent legal, and even encouraged. You need not quit your day job to participate. In fact, by law your employer must allow you time off to do this. People who engage in this practice are praised for their efforts. Note that you must be at least 18 years of age to qualify, and must not be incarcerated or on parole for a felony. Are you still in? Have I got your attention? Are you ready to learn how to earn this fantastic sum during your lunch break? In a word, the answer is… vote. Unfortunately you may have missed your recent opportunity on November 7, 2017, but it is not too late to register for the next one.
The budget for New York City to spend in 2018 is $84,860,000,000. That is nearly 85 billion dollars, with a B. If the New York City budget were a person, it would be the third richest after Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Warren Buffet would get bumped to fourth place. Of course, those gentlemen do not plan to spend every penny they have by the end of 2018. New York City intends to do just that, and then do it all over again next year.
In July 2016 the US Census estimated that 8,537,673 people live in the five boroughs of New York City. Of those, 5,053,842 are registered to vote (as of November 1, 2017), which is more than half. That is a respectable number in my personal opinion, as there are a large number of minors in that 9 million who are not yet old enough to qualify. The problem is the paucity of people who actually show up to vote in primary elections (which often decides the final outcomes), or even in the general elections. Only about 440,000 people voted in the September 2017 primaries in New York City. In Chaim Deutsch’s 48th District, only 4650 votes were counted for the entire primary. Since there are 51 New York City Council members who vote on the budget, let’s split that $84.86B 51 ways. That yields $1,663,921,568.63 per district. Now divide that by the 4650 votes in the primary, and each voter’s share (in the 48th district) becomes $357,832.60.
The point is that this number is an abysmal fraction of those eligible and even registered to vote. In short, the 440k people who spoke up during the primary and the 1,097,846 people who voted in the general election put the people in office who will spend those $85 billion dollars of our money. The elected officials collect information at the polling booths, and they know precisely which demographics vote. Can you imagine how important the Jewish community in Marine Park alone would be if every Jewish adult were to register and then vote in every election? Political candidates at every level would be begging us for meetings. Every little issue that affects our community would be heard by the people who make the ultimate decisions. We would have one of the strongest united voices anywhere.
Even in good times, we have a tremendous incentive and responsibility to vote. How much more important is it as the tides of hatred and intolerance turn against us? There were 171 anti-Semitic incident reports in New York City last year, up from 89 the prior year. That is a whopping 92 percent increase. Those numbers have also increased across the entire United States year over year. Does “Greedy Jewish Landlords” as a campaign slogan ring any bells? It makes even more sense now than ever before to get off of our chairs and become very vocal about whom we allow to represent us. It is certainly worth our collective time to actively encourage every adult family member to register to vote, then to show up at every primary and every election possible. It really does make a difference.
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