This sweater was placed last week at a Starbucks on Scottsdale Road and Thomas. The board was adjacent to the barista who observed me place the sweater on the board that was also adorned with a crayon drawing of the store. I am, like many out there, guilty of satisfying my own caffeine needs by frequenting such coffee places that specialize in quality coffee (although, just for the record, I drink low-quality coffee too). Every time I enter a Starbucks, I think of the cost of the product and the ability for someone to use the same amount of money to feed themselves. And, for my conservative friends out there who would argue that many times it is a lack of an individual’s motivation to obtain proper education and employment combined with fiscal responsibility that leads to homelessness and hunger, I would like to acknowledge that for some cases this may be true. But as I observe state budgets getting cut left and right which often target such social institutions as public education, employment services and health programs, I can’t help but wonder if anyone in the near future will be able to afford the luxuries of a cup of coffee. A recent post on Facebook offers the following facts:
The average salary for teachers after 25 years of service is $67,000.
The average income of the top 25 hedge fund managers in 2009 was $1 billion.
So, on average, one top hedge fund manager makes as much as 15,000 top teachers.
(courtesy Martin Schiffenbauer, NY Times)
I can’t help but to think about the inequality this statement represents in our society as I sip my high priced coffee and continue to knit mini-sweaters that might possibly make people think and react.