Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Economy Is Excellent, Comrade

Here's an interesting look at why upstate New York is so economically hopeless.

“We simply cannot continue to increase taxes and increase public spending even as our population declines, unless we want to continue to depress economic growth and drive our children from our doors,” said the Buffalo banker, who is widely known for taking a public stance on regional economic and political issues.

“Most countries in Eastern Europe had a socialist government and their economies were stuck in the water,” Wilmers said. But now, “the economies of Poland and the Czech Republic are some of the most dynamic in the world, and there’s no reason we can’t be like that.”

Take a moment, if you will, to let that sink in.

We're aspiring to be as successful as countries that spent decades under the boot heel of a totalitarian regime committed to idealogical purity at all costs. Places where the majority of the population struggled through their daily existence while a ruling elite enjoyed luxurious lifestyles beyond the dreams of avarice. Nations where central economic planning produced a nightmarish landscape of insipidly bland concrete towers connected by pothole filled roads and a tangled web of sagging power lines.

Come to think of it, it's a pretty apt comparison.