Wednesday, February 11, 2009

'America's most miserable' magazine: Forbes is the winner!

Alright, so I'm quite aware I'm being baited on this one. Also, I understand that responding to anything in the magazine[sic] 'Forbes' is basically the equivalent of tee-ball when it comes to exposing it for the moronic, tight-wad bourgeois drivel that it is. Nonetheless I have to say something about their recent "10 most miserable cities in the US" list.

Chicago, according to this list is #3. Why? Well because Chicago is the capital of "lousy weather, long commutes, rising unemployment and the highest sales tax rate in the country".

Rising unemployment, last I checked, was a nation-wide (global, to be exact) trend that is increasing rapidly due to macroeconomic factors. Find me a large city that is not experiencing increasing unemployment. Read about NYC lately? I'm sure Boston, San Fran and LA are surging right now in terms of job creation.

Lousy weather. Alright, point taken. It's cold here. But its fucking cold in Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and NYC as well. I hardly hear anyone say "I'm moving to Boston (or Philly, NYC, etc) just for the winter because its fucking beautiful up there this time of year!". The only place that has good weather in the winter is Florida and Southern California. Is this news to anyone? The summers are gorgeous in Chicago, and the fall and springs can be quite nice as well. But I guess I should move to a retirement home in a resort-town in FL so that I can enjoy the good weather and the tax shelter.

Which brings me to the next source of 'misery' in Chicago: the high sales tax. Yeah, its fucking high. It should be exchanged for a progressive city income tax (or better yet: federal funding allotted relative to federal tax revenue generated from the city, so that rich tax-evaders can't simply to try to move away from city taxes). But that's not what the idiots at Forbes would say: They give '#4 most miserable' Memphis 'extra points', for instance, because TN has no state income tax. Bwahaha. Didn't Forbes himself run for President as a Republican on a platform to scrap the federal income tax and replace it with a sales tax on the order of 28-35%? According to this moronic logic, Forbes should be rejoicing at the highly regressive city sales tax in Chicago and praising the city for having no income (or other, more progressive) tax. At least Chicago exempts food purchases from its exorbitant sales tax, which is not something I can say for other 'tax shelter' states like TN, for example, who hits their residents with a whopping 9.25% sales tax on all FOOD puchases. But TN gets 'extra points' from Forbes for having no state income tax. I'm sure the real beneficiaries of TN's lack of an income tax (the schmucks who live in the plantation-mansions in Bellemeade) really sweat paying an extra 9.25% on their food purchases.

Finally, Chicago is miserable because of 'long commutes'. This has got to be the worst complaint o this pathetic 'top ten' list. Long commutes for who, exactly? The morons who drive themselves from the loop to Glencoe (40 min north of city limits) every day? I thought we were talking about the CITY, not the stupid cookie-cutter suburbs surrounding it. Getting around town is extremely easy using trains and buses in Chicago, even if you are going from one end of the city to another. Also -if you are one of the douchebags that actually reads Forbes regularly, then likes are you have the cash to live virtually whereever you like, which means you could very well live quite close to your cushy place of employment. Where's the commute there?

The article also mentions that Chicago is trying to get the Olympics which, they suggest, might help improve transportation in the city. But that's rather vague, isn't it? I certainly hope the anti-tax zealots at Forbes aren't insinuating that the transportation infrastructure (which is all publicly owned) will improve with more funding (i.e. higher taxes). Also -which infrastructure are they talking about? Mass transit (rails, buses), the roads, the prevalence of bike-lanes, the interstates? They don't bother to say. That's because this isn't a serious article... its a largely a thinly-cloaked jab at the city "where one if its own just became the most powerful person in the world". It's almost as though Obama is the reason Chicago is so high on the list, and the rest of the 'knocks' against it are contrived to fit this end. Nonetheless, I dont want to suggest that anything about the criteria that Forbes uses is legitimate: its crude, suburbanite white conservative crap.

In fact, if we apply the criteria Forbes seems to rely upon consistently, it seems to me that the #1 most miserable city in America is clearly New York City. After all, unemployment is on the rise there, the city budget is in trouble, its not warm and tropical, commutes are 'long' and busy if you're trying to drive your Bentley from lower Manhattan to the Hamptons every day, the city has much higher taxes than Chicago, and its pro sports teams didn't win championships last season (the Giants just went 0-1 in the playoffs and the Yankees stunk).

But the only thing, however, that is really miserable here at all is this criteria used by Forbes to evaluate 'cities' (nevermind that they hardly discriminate between alpha world cities and small towns). According to their logic, the place to be right now (assuming you are an old, crusty, filthy rich straight white man) is some unincorporated tropical island that has no taxes whatsoever, nice beaches, no minorities (except for servants, of course) and is conducive to effortless drives from the country club to the beach mansion.

I guess things like the following are not relevant when evaluating a city:

-How walkable it is (fyi Chicago is the #4 most walkable in the US)
-How good the schools are (k-12, amount of Universities in area)
-Intellectual climate (public lectures, events, symposia, etc.)
-Culture (music, art, theater, film, museums, etc.)
-How cosmopolitan and diverse it is
-Natural beauty (umm... like natural bodies of water, for example)
-How Bike-friendly the city is
-Amount of space allotted for public parks
-Political climate
-Safety factor for non-heterosexuals
-Race relations
-Cost of living
-Comprehensiveness of public transit
-Food possibilities
-Pollution factor

Etc, etc...

1 comment:

EHR said...

I would move to Chicago in a heartbeat if I could afford to simply because the people who live there seem to be real, down-to-earth, and friendly without being overbearing. Of the three big American cities I've been to - NYC and LA being the other two - Chicagoans had the best attitude.