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Tough Times in Queens

Aman Gill Apr 12

“Starting in January 2007, it’s very bad.
People who spend money only buy very
important groceries; that’s it. People are
scared waiting for immigration. … We
don’t make money whatever my expense
is. We work the whole day and at the end
of the day we lose.

—Amarjit Singh, owner of Sona Music
Store; Jackson Heights

“Everything is very difficult, like business
is slow and expensive. Not like before.
… People don’t have jobs and are not
making good money.

—Lipi Begum, owner of Lipi Fashion, Inc., a
sari shop; Jackson Heights

“Work is slow. The company is [doing]
bad because there’s no work. It never
happened before.
… We try to cut what
you spend because it’s too much. You
can’t save no money at all. It’s very hard.”
—Paulo Gonzalez, plumber;
Jackson Heights

“It was easier [2 years ago]. … it was more
easy to find a job. Before when I was
working, it was $8 an hour. Now it’s $6
an hour.
… the house I can’t pay [for]
because it’s so expensive for me.”
—Yunis, student (studying English) and
part-time supermarket cashier and
caretacker for the elderly; Corona

“Too much they spend money for war. Iraq
you know, too much money. The reason
[for economic problems] is war.

—George Casapia, stocker for A&P
Supermarket; Jackson Heights

“It [the economy] affects us because
my wife can’t find a job, not like before.
Part-time she’s working as a baby nurse,
sometimes housekeeping.”
—Gerry Salagsag, unemployed (because
he’s ill); Elmhurst

“Business has been extremely slow. Compared
to last year it’s been horrendous.
On a national scale it’s affecting
everybody because the economy is going
down.
I think the poverty level now,
instead of trickling down, is actually
trickling up. So people at the top are now
actually starting to feel it. In the middle
class it is becoming very, very difficult
because everything is being affected.
You’re seeing it in the supermarkets,
you’re seeing it everywhere. The bottom
line is just that everything the [Bush]
administration is doing is affecting
everyone on a national scale. And I think
that is really scary and it’s very, very
wrong. … I think we have to stop the war
in Iraq because the economy is hemorrhaging.”
—Felicia Persaud, founder and CEO of
Hard Beat Communications;
Jackson Heights

“[There are] big changes in the business
because the prices in this neighborhood
have gone very high. The sellers don’t
want to come down with their price.
… People are scared and they want to
hold on to their money. Some people are
thinking, ‘when the prices will go more
down, we’ll buy at that time.’ So the
buyers are also holding, and the sellers
are also holding, so there’s not too much
action. … People who want to retire this
year or next year, they are having a hard
time because [the value of] their money
has gone down.
Homeowners, they don’t
have so much equity in the house like
they had before. So banks are very tough
in giving loans.”
—Vino Sharma, real estate broker in
Jackson Heights; Woodside

For more information see:

Inflation Nation: A Guide to Your Pocketbook Blues by A.K. Gupta

Bailing Out the Billionaires by Max Fraad Wolff