Get up, stand up

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I find myself following foreign events with a closer eye than usual these days as democracy breaks out in the Middle East and North Africa (and Wisconsin). As a defiantly local newsweekly editor, it’s almost a guilty pleasure.

I don’t understand all the issues involved. There are too many cultural subtleties to even half-believe what I see on the news or read in the papers. Split that percentage in half again on the internet. But last week for our 15 Minutes feature, I interviewed University of Nevada, Reno political scientist Leonard Weinberg. It provoked some thought.

“Who leads and participates in revolutions?” Young people, educated people, economically suppressed people who are underserved by an unresponsive and corrupt government.

Hmm. That’s one of the great things about this country: Young, talented and educated people can always move to places where the local government has not fucked up the economy.

For hypothetical example, young people who’ve pushed themselves to get a good education in our K-12 system can always go elsewhere for their college educations and good jobs. If the K-12 and university system here are enfeebled by a bunch of pretend budget crises, and tuition is raised while quality is lowered, it’s even more certain that young people will leave to pursue better lives—thus helping to ensure that the people who do stay are less educated.

So, what’s that leave us? A stable, older, less educated populace who are paying fewer taxes and so can live on lower salaries—lower taxes because of all the statewide pretend but oh-so-predictible budget crises. Sounds like nirvana to out-of-Nevada-owned companies, right? Why would they care about local standard of living when they can have cheap, stable workers? High tech companies that require an educated workforce wouldn’t necessarily want to come here, but warehousing … service industry … meth labs.

Sounds like a great colony to me. If I didn’t live in it.