Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ZPG

Census data show that Maine gained about 4% in population this past decade. This is one of the lower rates in the US. Generally, the Northeast and Midwest had low increases, or even losses; the Sun Belt had larger gains. For a lot of people, apparently, a low increase is a disaster. Loss of influence! Loss of federal funds (even though they want smaller government)! Loss of US Representatives! More is better!

With apologies to Edward Abbey (The Great American Desert) I offer a contrary view: If you're thinking about moving to Maine, don't, because:

It's very poor. You won't find a job, there are hardly any amenities, electricity and fuel is expensive, it's the worst state in the US for business (according to Forbes), taxes are high....

It's dangerous. Lobsters pinch, rogue waves wash people from the shore, black bears roam the woods, hikers have to be rescued regularly, a logging truck could crush you, you could run afoul of black flies and barnacles and mosquitos and the most dangerous animal of all, the Ye Olde Gift Shoppe, hunters abound, you could be struck speechless, maybe even dead, by a view....

It's a slow, boring life. People drive slowly, talk slowly, eat slowly, there's nothing to do except nature stuff, people enjoy splitting wood (!), you'll be shunned for several generations for being from away, you'll be caught in monumental traffic jams on Route 1, garage-sitting is a major sport....

It's cold and dark. It was 46 below in Greenville a couple of weeks ago, winter starts in September and lasts until June, whereupon cold fog blankets the coast, ice storms are legendary, in winter snowmobiling and alcohol are the major distractions in the north, shopping and alcohol in the south, cars don't start, pipes freeze, cabin fever is the state disease, there are seven hours of daylight in December....

It's scary big and remote. You'll need a car all the time, there's no public transportation, everything's an hour away (at least) from where you are, you could get lost in a vista....

The Sun Belt has much more to offer, so please move there. Visit Maine, of course, enjoy yourself and spend lots of money, but whatever you do, don't even think about making it your home. In accordance with our new policy of zero population growth, we have to eliminate someone else if you do.

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