Thursday, July 14, 2011

Country versus City: The Wall Street Journal Is Confused

My wife Freda stands outside our rehabbed cottage

A 1950s Levittown Family

The Ashokan Reservoir Is Two Minutes Away
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article that claims that life expectancy in cities is slightly longer than in the country and that the suburbs are still better for your health.  My wife and I spent about eight years rehabbing a cottage in a rural community, West Shokan, NY, in the Town of Olive, NY. About two years ago we moved here full time from New York City.  Besides the stream that runs through our back yard, we are two minutes from the Ashokan Reservoir.  The beauty in this region is remarkable. Many New Yorkers and New Jerseyites visit hotels in our neighborhood to escape for a few days or weeks and many more have weekend homes.  As an undergraduate I attended tiny Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, formerly a women's college (I'm no fool), a college that caters to the rich.  At least three fellow alumni, one in my class, live in our tiny West Shokan hamlet. I wonder if their life expectancy is below the national average.

Nearby Woodstock, Rhinebeck, New Paltz and Kingston offer culture, from Dweezil Zappa's upcoming concert at Woodstock's Bearsville complex (which also houses The Bear, a restaurant that has been favorably reviewed in The Boston Globe and The New York Times)  to a Shakespeare summer stock theater about 3 minutes from our cottage to great restaurants like Le Canard Enchaine in Kingston.  Residents in West Shokan through the decades have included Mary Margaret MacBride, the first lady of radio (and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, who used to visit her here), the left-wing lawyer William Kuntsler, and in neighboring towns billionaire Bruce Ratner, and the late William T. Golden,  financier and founder of the National Science Foundation.  My wife's Tai 'Chi instructor, who lives in nearby Saugerties, is a noted jazz musician with eight grammies.

We paid a huge price for our cottage: $77,000.  We spent a larger sum rehabbing it plus a lot of blood sweat and tears. But now we live mortgage free on a professor's salary.  

The problems that rural communities face, and the price they pay in mortality rates, are the direct result of big government progressivism. One of the few manufacturing firms left in our area has been under assault from the Department of Labor for years and may have to close because of pension liabilities that it is being forced to pay to employees of other firms under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act.  High taxes and the dollar's use as a global reserve currency (in lieu of a gold standard) have induced poverty in rural America.  A dismal educational system that brainwashes youngsters in left-wing ideology rather than educating them has led to the absence of employers interested in the region.  The public response here in Olive has been to expand government further, creating silly make-work jobs that destroy rather than create value, the failed nostrum still advocated in The Wall Street Journal's pages by crackpot economists with Ivy League pedigrees and nothing of importance to say.

Progressivism has been great for affluent newcomers such as my wife and me, but has hammered people with roots in the region. Many retirees and their children have been forced to leave.  So much the better for millionaires who can buy houses on the cheap.  It is not surprising that forced sellers die young, victims of  economic quackery, the Federal Reserve Bank and the United States's depraved political and economic system.

I have lost some respect for The Wall Street Journal.  Throwing around statistics without grasp of particular circumstances is part and parcel of Progressivism's failure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree