Long Island residents are being told that everything is so much better here than in the rest of the country. I decided to ask the owner of the ice cream parlor what he thought.
He comes from India and he came here to give his children a better life.
I’ve been going to this parlor for years but have never taken the time to talk with him. Since the recession hit, I’ve noticed that the store has gone from bustling to empty. I asked him how business was and he told me of his attempts to survive as a small businessman on Long Island.
He works seven days and nights a week. He has to work harder and longer for a lot less money. He can’t afford to hire help though he used to have at least 5 or 6 kids working for him. The expenses and regulations now make that impossible.
He told me that gas price increases for delivery alone cost him $5000 more a month. That doesn’t count the other costs related to gas prices. He said everything has gone up – LIPA (energy), real estate, everything.
He would love to own a home but could never afford the house he rents.
He has three children in middle school and high school. He wants them to have a better life. He came to America thinking he’d have first one store, then another and another, maybe 5 or 6, and eventually he wouldn’t have to work so hard. He looked into space wistfully and then said, “No more.” People are out of work or don’t have so much money and they don’t come to ice cream stores, he explained.
His Aunt died last week and he had to close the store for two days. Customers asked him why he closed. They were upset that he wasn’t there. He’s afraid some customers won’t come back.
A customer told him the payroll taxes went up 2% but he didn’t know. He doesn’t have time to listen to the news or read a paper, he said.
He came to America for the dream but “no more,” he said, “there is no dream.”
In one part of Long Island, there is a dream being fulfilled thanks to one of our many unions. Salaries for Nassau County DA investigators jumped 40%, pushing them up to $121,000 a year. The award came about because arbitrators decided the investigators were unfairly deprived of a pay raise. Many of them are retired police who already collect fat pensions. This raise will be retroactive as will the service, clothing and equipment allowances. Oh, by the way, Nassau County is bankrupt.