According to the Census Bureau, Massachusetts was one of only three states to lose population last year, and the only to shed citizens two years in a row. The Boston Globe’s token conservative Jeff Jacoby puts some of the blame on cold winters and a sluggish job market, but saves the bulk for an entrenched and unresponsive government:
I suspect that fewer and fewer people want to call Massachusetts home not because of its oppressive winters but because of its oppressive and demoralizing political culture. In the state that produced Michael S. Dukakis and Sen. Kerry, the concerns of ordinary citizens are so often met with disdain, while the political class lets nothing get in the way of its own appetites and priorities. A state legislature that stays in session year-round? A supreme court that turns same-sex marriage into a constitutional right? Public ''authorities" that answer to no one? In most of America, no way. In Massachusetts, no problem.It goes without saying that the state Republican party in Massachusetts is moribund, capable of capturing only the governor’s seat as a check against Beacon Hill. My congressman, John Olver, only has to run a handful of commercials every two years and he’s re-elected without a second thought despite having achieved nothing perceptible in all the years I’ve lived here. I have to commute to Connecticut for work and now I’m paying taxes to complete that rapacious Big Dig in Boston. Yet, even after costing seven times the original price tag, Massachusetts officials don’t betray a hint of embarrassment over the boondoggle:
On Beacon Hill last week, the big issue for Massachusetts lawmakers was whether tuition should be reduced for illegal aliens at the state's public colleges. On Capitol Hill, the senior senator from Massachusetts was busy implying that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. is a racist and a liar. Is it such a stretch to imagine that an awful lot of Americans look at Massachusetts and think: How can people stand to live there? Or that a fair number of Massachusetts residents eventually decide that they can't stand to live here?
This is a state in which a tax cut can be decisively approved by the voters yet never go into effect. In which grocers can be prosecuted for pricing milk too low. In which archaic blue laws decree when shops may and may not open for business. In which a $2 billion Big Dig ends up costing $14 billion. In which Ted Kennedy keeps getting reelected.
"The project is a success," declared Massachusetts Turnpike Chairman Matthew Amorello. Asked if after the leaks, the cost overruns, and the politics he'd do it all over again, he said, "absolutely."It was so cold here today.