Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Smart Cities, DeeCee, and Kitchen Table Conversations

Last night as I was channel surfing between snaps of the Patriots-Jets bash in Foxboro, I was momentarily distracted when I reached one of the local, Tampa area stations. They had a graphic up and were talking about the "Smartest Cities" as determined by Portfolio dot com. Boulder, CO was number one, Ann Arbor, MI at two and Washington, DC was third. I can't say I found any of these all that surprising given the criteria Portfolio used:

Portfolio.com followed Census Bureau guidelines in designing an educational ladder. The following are the five rungs, with average annual earnings for all workers, both full-time and part-time, at each level (as of 2007) in parentheses:

* Advanced degree ($61,287), including professional, doctoral, or master's degree
* Bachelor's degree ($46,805)
* Associate degree or attended college without any degree ($32,874)
* High-school graduate ($26,894)
* High-school dropout ($19,405)

Portfolio has a pdf download available that lists the top 200 in case you're interested.

However, I would contest the declaration of Washington, DC as the "third smartest city" even though it probably does fit the description based on the stated criteria. Educated? Yes. Smartest? Not hardly.

My father often used the phrase "educated idiots" to describe individuals with paper credentials but limited life experience or common sense. I was reminded of this when I had read President Obama's statement earlier in the evening concerning the tax cut sell out agreement.
For the past few weeks there’s been a lot of talk around Washington about taxes and there’s been a lot of political positioning between the two parties. But around kitchen tables, Americans are asking just one question: Are we going to allow their taxes to go up on January 1st, or will we meet our responsibilities to resolve our differences and do what’s necessary to speed up the recovery and get people back to work?

Now I have no doubt that around the cocktail party circuit in DeeCee that the topic of the tax cut extensions was right at the top of the list but on the list of things that people talk about around their kitchen tables, it is probably down below the visit to the proctologist. My SWAG is today people are talking about how they are going to pay the rent or deal with the foreclosure. They are talking about where or how they can find full time employment. They might be talking about what they will do when the unemployment runs out if they haven't found a job (and for many folks, that is an ongoing concern which the "agreement" with the Republicans does nothing to help). They might talk about the local high school's girl's soccer team or boy's basketball as a change of pace.

But only in the fantasyland of Beltway Villagers do people talk about tax cuts, especially when there are no jobs.

And Mr President? Those tax cuts did nothing to create jobs in the period of '01 - '09 so there's no anticipation that extending them will do anything more than to continue to widen the gap between the haves and have nots.

And because I can:

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