New York’s foolish pleasure

Don’t know much about the exotic financing that is now causing even NYC’s real estate market to turn… but with investments, New York State has consistently failed to diversify its portfolio. For the past decade Wall Street grew fatter while Upstate grew thinner — industries, businesses, human resources lost. To what end? Wall Street gorged itself on steak tartare — while vast swaths of the rest of the state got an IV drip of sugar water, but no medicine. As the patrons of Hinerwadel’s could now tell you, maybe feasting for too long on raw delicacies isn’t such a great idea. And maybe it’s time for Upstate voters to demand real nourishment, or better yet, to find it for themselves. At the very least, let’s not return to our own vomit.

Sean Kirst wrote a column about people who grew up during the Depression and the challenges they faced and remembered, including the breakup of families. Even the early ’80s recession, which was much milder, had that ultimate effect on some families, as some of us well know. It’s pretty sobering to realize that a lot of what we take for granted about the resiliency of the American nuclear family is so very dependent on financial stability, or even the illusion of it.

I have in the past written about New York in family terms. Albany as a dysfunctional family, the Empire State as a bad and almost loveless marriage of two regions. But the situation for this “family” is getting grimmer by the day. The dashing husband has wasted his last dollar on his mistresses, and the unhappy frump at home has still not learned any skills. In their own ways, neither of them have lived wisely. Barring any supremely visionary management, a state fiscal crisis (the sort that even the rich will acknowledge) is not going to magically heal what’s broken.

Neither will parables — only specifics now, about specific ugly situations. We can start with this post about credit drying up for municipalities. Or maybe this story about the possibility of having to privatize everything from bridges to state parks. Or this one about how colleges all over America are possibly unable to make payroll next week, and discussing cutbacks already. (Weren’t colleges supposed to be Upstate’s saviors? Hmm.)