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16      In The Name of Dough

  The green monster, cash, dead presidents, buck, cheese, paper, moolah — they all mean one thing — money.

They say it is expensive to live in New York City. Wrong! It is WAY too expensive to live here. Although its tenth spot dropped to the twelfth most expensive city in the world this year, its financial effect still affects New Yorkers’ bank accounts.

Most of us in the US are aware of the price increases on basic necessities such as food, dairy and gas. It is outrageous to learn that prices of certain things have gone up so rapidly they do not give us a chance to breathe. For instance, we used to pay three dollars for a gallon of milk and now it has gone up to four dollars, within weeks. The latest news, it will go up again.

We are not just talking about dairy products. It is almost everything you can think of. Apparels, jewelry, airfares, education and gasoline — to name a few. It reminds me of a highway 101 story. While going at 80, I remember seeing a price sign of a gas station, I was like “Damn.. $2.50/gallon? That’s cheap!”. It is sad when some of us think that two dollars and fifty cents per gallon is cheap.

Most people, who live in New York City, rent — due to such a high price tag of a house or aparment. Renting is not so cheap either. According to the New York Rent Guidelines Board, an 8.5 percent rent increase for two-year leases and 5.5 percent increase for one-year leases. In other words, you might as well buy your own property.

Taking a cab has never been this expensive before. Taxi and limousine fares in New York City have gone up more than 25 percent. A trip to JFK airport has risen by $10 per trip to a flat rate of $45.

Having a cellphone does not come cheap either. On top of a monthly bill, there are hidden fees as well. Ranging from fees for 911 access to taxes, other fees and regulations adding up to 18 percent to the monthly bill.

Ever since the Mayor banned smoking inside bars and restaurants, it has not been easy for smokers. Eg. a recent tax hike on cigarettes from 80 cents per pack to $1.50, which has pushed the average price of cigarettes to $7.50 per pack.

Not to mention, a city sales tax increase and income tax surcharge. But of course no matter how high those prices are, we still have to purchase them, use them, live with them.

Price increase on movie tickets? People still lined up at midnight to get tickets for the premiere of Harry Potter 3. Price increase on subway and buses? All of us still have to take them as means of transportation.

There is little we can do — except maybe hold a rally in front of the White House and demand them to lower the prices. Most likely, it will not happen.

So, folks, can you spare some change?