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shrine is a symptom of an inflationary currency. Our whole local/natl government is based on a super inflated currency that has to go somewhere to keep the economy going, so it largely goes into building public projects like that shrine.

As for firefighter's salary it's the same thing. Everything is over inflated because goods and services, like health/education etc. are over inflated. But 140K is not that much I don't think for a job where you know you have to rush INTO a burning building you might not come out of.