Maybe it was the Weather


For the past century, we in Raleigh have profited from a steady stream of refugees from the north. "Send us your cold, your overtaxed, your frustrated by unions," we said.

We benefited from a steady influx of newcomers we hadn't had to pay to educate, who bought our property, grew our economy, and adjusted to our culture. They even wrote home to tell everyone how great it was here, helping us drain many states north of us of their valuable youth.

This huge influx helped us to adjust to the loss of tobacco and industrial jobs. It guaranteed us stability and growth during a period when much of the country faced mounting bills and fewer opportunities.

Unfortunately, this has reversed in the last ten years. After investing millions in expanding the state university system, we've seen our own massive brain drain, as our educated youth move north to places like Burlington, New York City, and - who'd have imagined it? - Upstate New York.

This paper has warned our politicians for decades that they were losing their edge on taxes. We have warned that the counties spent far too much on roads and schools for developments that never quite happened the way they were supposed to. We have warned that the state put far too much effort into environmental protection while neglecting the need to generate cheap power. We have warned that the creeping bureaucracy threated North Carolina's competitiveness, and that supporting it with taxes was killing business.

Still, it seems that the cause of this exodus may be a problem this paper has no way of fighting: it's just plain warmer here. We may have the finest air conditioning on earth, but running it nine months a year is expensive, and we don't want to use it on fields of parched crops.

Perhaps the best we can say is that Upstate New York stole our weather, and is now stealing our people.


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This page contains a single entry by Simon St.Laurent published on March 4, 2008 7:32 AM.

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