Monday, June 27, 2005

NE: 2004 Stagnation National Champion

by Kyle Michaelis
Disappointing news about the health of Nebraska's economy was released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that few in the Nebraska media seem willing to recognize. We ranked 50th, that's right - DEAD LAST - in terms of economic growth for the year 2004. Our Gross State Product from 2003 to 2004, the equivelant of the nation's GDP, was a meager 0.9%, far below the national average of 4.2% and more than a full percentile below any other state save Michigan, which came in at 49th with a GSP of 1.5%.

Maybe this isn't the worst news ever, but it sounds pretty bad for young people (like myself) deciding whether or not Nebraska is the place they want to live the rest of their lives. As much as I love it here, opportunity is largely a matter of economics and these numbers aren't promising. Perhaps most disturbing is the approach of the Nebraska media to this news, which appears to consist of dismissal and outright denial.

This Lincoln Journal-Star article includes countless justifications and explanations of why Nebraska's horrendous showing isn't as bad as it looks, with Gov. Dave Heineman promising "a year of good weather could go a long way toward improving our standing." This despite the fact that last year's crop production was about as close to ideal as it gets.

Meanwhile, it appears the Omaha World-Herald has chosen to act like this report doesn't even exist, except to run a single short little article from the AP about our neighbor to the east Iowa actually having the highest GSP of any state in the country at 8.1%. Yes, Iowa officially kicked our ass, as well as every other state's in the country save Nevada, which came in a close second. Astonishingly, the article the OWH ran didn't even mention Nebraska's pathetic performance...not one sentence.

How could they miss this sort of story? What possible reason do they have to hold off on it? Is closing our eyes and wishing this state were in better condition suddenly going to make it so? Hopefully, I just missed the article and it fails to show-up in their archives because it's horrifying to think they wouldn't report on this distressing data that SHOULD serve as a wake-up call to all Nebraskans that our leaders might not have this state moving in the right direction.

Iowa #1...Nebraska #50...if that doesn't scare you just a little bit and make you wonder what the hell is wrong, well, you must be from Iowa. Maybe this is the ultimate effect of 6 years of Iowa-born and bred Mike Johanns as governor. Either he was an economic Benedict Arnold or simply an economic disaster - take your pick. And, heaven help us, it's his same people that are still calling the shots.

Sure, someone has to be last, but does it have to be us? Seriously, it's time to demand new leadership. This state is in trouble. Whether it's as bad as this report indicates or not, things are pretty bad either way. As it looks now, in 2006 you'll either be able to vote out of habit for Heineman, out of obligation for Osborne, out of humor for Nabity, or out of common sense for NONE OF THE ABOVE.

Here's praying the Democratic Party gets someone respectable to run for the office. This state can't afford to be without an alternative any longer. Nebraska not only deserves a choice, but it's survival may depend on it.

Iowa #1...Nebraska #50...remember that come Election Day 2006.


Anonymous Nebraska Mom said...

So this is "the Good Life" of Nebraska? No wonder our best and brightest youth look elsewhere for their future. Nebraskans need to wake up and vote for a true leader with common sense, rather than a person who has the most money or name recognition.

Anonymous Cowpunk said...

I'm sure the World Herald editors don't want to give the pro-gambling folks any ammo.


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