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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Decline Everywhere: What's Going Down in South Dakota?

Lots of things receding, not just the economy. Here's a random-sounding sample (though nothing is random, Alex tells me) of declining numbers, good and bad:
  • Traffic deaths in South Dakota: down 25% from this time last year.
  • Price of gas in Madison today: $1.799 for E-10 (uh oh... and I'm still waiting for grocery prices to follow)
  • South Dakota Retirement System: total value down 27%... since July 1.
  • Job cuts coming at Citigroup: 53,000 worldwide, on top of 22,000 announced last month (but remember, Citigroup: South Dakotans work cheap! Save money firing those darn Californians! We're you're Third World!)
  • Amount of open water on Lake Herman: less than 10% this morning, before the wind started blowing the ice around. Brrr!
  • Antelope population in South Dakota: down 17... in one shot! Eeeewww! That had to be an awful drive on I-90.


  1. Some numbers are up:

    Next year's taxes
    School computers waiting for repair
    Roads needing resurfacing

  2. One good number that's down... my weight! LOL

  3. Definatly can agree with the school computers waiting for repair. Im just hoping my motherboard and other circuits can make it through the year. LOL

  4. So much for the holy grail of endless growth. It is not sustainable, as we are now learning. In that sense a contraction can be a good thing, although not necessarily for those who die in the process.

    Ever since I started in this literary racket 25 years ago, I've been lucky if I could estimate my next "paycheck" to within an error margin of 50 percent. Moreover, I only get paid every six months. If my next "paycheck" is dismal, it will be nothing new to me.

    I feel a little like the operator of a small craft, all alone on his vessel, watching a rogue wave coming his way, and having no choice but to turn into it and take its full force head-on. But having been through numerous financial and spiritual hurricanes, I figure that rough times are the rule.

    So dad-burn the economy ... there's pain but let's go.

    I wonder to what extent the public will tolerate increased taxes when their incomes and retirement plans are taking such a beating. If state governments try to hike taxes now, the resulting fireworks should be fascinating to watch.

    Maybe South Dakota can take advantage of the current turmoil by keeping taxes down, providing a haven for ambitious, creative, hard-working people who can't afford to live anywhere else. Their ranks may well include some quite talented individuals in the coming months. As for the riffraff, we have a built-in mechanism to keep them out: our winters!

  5. South Dakota as low-tax haven for folks who've been hammered by the bad economy elsewhere -- sounds kind of like Alaska being the refuge state for the faithful during the End-Times. Of course, it can be a burden to be the high ground during a flood. If your scenario developed, Stan, I wonder if we would react at all the way the Californians did to the "Okies" seeking work.

    And keeping our taxes low -- I hope so, too... but the article on the drop in the retirement noted that South Dakota has been able to use some of the cushion in that fund to support other programs. Now that the cushion (and maybe an entire chunk of the couch) is gone, we're gonng to have a tougher time balancing the state budget. Even in a Depression, we've got to have roads. Hold on tight!


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