Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Slow Motion Neutron Bomb

The neutron bomb, or "enhanced radiation warhead", was a nuclear weapon designed to kill off the population within it's blast radius with a lethal dose of radiation while keeping the buildings and infrastructure intact. Metaphorically, one was detonated in central New York in the late 80's and it's effects continue to linger:

The populations of Utica and Rome have continued to drop since 2000, according to U.S. Census estimates released today.

Each city lost about 3 percent of its residents between July 2000 and July 2007 — for a total decline of more than 3,000. Utica fell to 58,475 people, while Rome’s population was 33,872.

And Utica and Rome were not alone. The only village or city in Oneida and Herkimer counties to gain residents was Waterville, which gained 14.

The population loss in Oneida County can be attributed to many factors, including an aging population, a low birth rate and insufficient migration from other U.S. cities, Mohawk Valley Edge President Steve DiMeo said.

The Mohawk Valley also continues to lose out to areas that offer more employment opportunities and lower local and state taxes, he said.

I think Mr. DiMeo gets the cause and effect chain reversed. The unbearable level of taxes upstate almost singlehandedly explains the lack of economic opportunity, which in turn leads to generation after generation going elsewhere to build their lives. Since Mr. DiMeo's organization is generously funded with tax dollars it's not surprising he doesn't see high taxes as the primary problem.