Sina-cism: When MLK preached in Worcester

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

When you want to get to the heart of something, count on Worcester, a city whose diversity, politics and practicality mirror our nation. Case in point: The views of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do Americans today still subscribe to King’s nonviolence, and his vision in which each of us is to be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character? Or has King’s vision been pushed aside by more militant forms of activism? Was King a liberal or a conservative? Would he endorse the views and methods of the Black Lives Matter movement?

There are no easy answers, but those seeking a clearer picture of King have another resource in the rediscovery of recordings of his March 12, 1961, address at Worcester’s Temple Emanuel.

Mariano: President Trump is right

I do not think that every Trump policy is wrong. Sometimes it is hard to see past his deplorable personal behavior to see the value in a Trump policy. But, even though there are only a few, there are some instances where I think President Trump is right.

Sina-cism: At a minimum, think about the economics of wages

Imagine that you are among the 2.7 percent of Americans who make exactly the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Would you like an increase in pay? Sure you would. Even minimum-wage workers in Massachusetts earning the state’s $11 per hour rate would likely answer the same way.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

More money, after all, can’t be bad.

Except when it is.

In economic terms, a minimum wage is a price floor. The difficulty is that some workers are neither skilled nor productive enough to justify employment even at the minimum. As the minimum rises, workers whose productivity falls below that level are likely to see their hours cut or their jobs eliminated.

As Henry Hazlitt pointed out in “Economics in One Lesson,” his magisterial 1946 primer on economics: “You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him anything less. You merely deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn, while you deprive the community even of the moderate services that he is capable of rendering.”

Mariano: Trump’s Medicaid work requirement is only half-baked

“Unfortunately, while the overall idea has considerable merit, in my opinion, the Trump proposal is only half-baked. Rather than a thoughtful program that will accomplish the laudable goal of helping more people get back to work and off of government assistance, this program is thin on program details and lacks the financial wherewithal to make it work.”

Sina-cism: Bitcoin may be as good as gold

Two weeks ago, I reassured you that net neutrality was not worth your worry. Markets and consumers will ensure your favorite shows continue to air and your web surfing habits remain unimpeded.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

But if you insist on having something tech-geeky to worry about, perhaps Bitcoin will do.

I’ve been mining information about Bitcoin for months, following its rapid rise and sudden falls. (What I have to say here about Bitcoin can be applied to any of the numerous other cryptocurrencies out there.)

If you’re like me, you were at first puzzled by Bitcoin. How did it work? How could it work? Once you read about blockchain technology, you became fascinated. Then, as Bitcoin rose from $970 to nearly $20,000 during 2017 (it’s now about $13,500 per coin), you worried you might be missing out on the next Apple or Microsoft.

Folks, it’s time to assume net neutrality posture and stop worrying.

Mariano: Ideas worth considering for Worcester

“It is important that city officials focus on the day-to-day operation of our city departments – on routine services, both big and small, that we receive. Many departments do a good job, but all of them can do better. Here are a few ideas worth considering.”

Sina-cism: Adam Smith’s cure for Trump Derangement Syndrome

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

One cannot plunge directly into a new year. It takes a few days to dispose of half-consumed bottles of Riesling and to admit that the desiccated date cookies upon the platter of Santa Claus are no longer a holiday miracle, but suitable for the winter mulch pile.

Now, the wine is drained, the sweet cheats gone. The sound of the angry commuting horn is once again heard in the land.

What will 2018 bring? To hear many tell the tale, 2018 will be a race: Will the forces of good impeach an insane Donald Trump before he can ignite a global nuclear cataclysm?

I very much doubt that we will, a year hence, be remembering 2018 in such terms. Sure, anything can happen, but I think so many Americans lavished so much attention in 2017 on the admittedly petulant and puerile aspects of Donald Trump’s first year in office that they lost perspective on many matters of far more importance.

For starters, the Trump administration is demonstrably not the biggest threat to world peace today.

Mariano: The real danger of the Trump presidency

“President Trump and his legion of darkness has caused so much pain and committed acts that have caused such great harm that it is hard to measure the damage that he has caused. As we begin 2018, I wanted to look back at Trump’s first year. What is the real danger posed by his presidency?”

Sina-cism: Resolve to ignore the net neutrality debate

I don’t work in telecommunications. I don’t really know or care about things like ISPs, LANs and VPNs. Most importantly, I am not under 35 years old, and do not spend my every waking hour worrying over the fate of the internet.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

For these reasons, I am perfectly qualified to explain why the debate over net neutrality is nonsense.

Now spare me your irate emails blasting my ignorance. I understand the basics of the debate, as well as the overheated politics surrounding it. In this age of ubiquitous media, anyone of sound mind can grasp the basic facts about net neutrality in a few minutes.

Spend half an hour on it, and you’ll learn about things like throttling, BitTorrent and deep packet inspection, along with scores of other obscure technical aspects that are as relevant to your life as whether the U.S. Postal Service stops Saturday mail delivery.

Keep going and you’ll soon lose touch with reality. You’ll begin to believe that the end of net neutrality is akin to the loss of democratic freedoms, and restoring it is as important as the issuance of the Declaration of Independence or the ending of slavery.

Sorry, not even close.

Mariano: Wishes for the New Year

“This past year has been exhausting. But, it is a new year and hope springs eternal. Maybe, just maybe, things will be better in 2018. Here are my wishes for the New Year.”