Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Saturday, April 10, 2010
  Treason Awareness Month

Jason Linkins gets it just about right:

Hey! Let's find people to defend the practice of celebrating traitors, and maybe have some pointless left-versus-right debates over it!

Look. I understand the concepts of heritage and history. My family fought for the South, for pete’s sake. I think a certain amount of regional pride is healthy. But this whole States-Rights-B.S. that propagates the white man’s modern day mythology of “Confederate Heritage” is really insulting.

Presenting the arguments of the Civil War (or the “War Between the States,” if you live down South) as though they are not completely resolved 145 years later is just stupid.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010
  Wal Mart and Jobs
While I am not on either side of the argument over whether Wal Mart should open a brand new Super Wal Mart in North Adams (I could really care less), I find it odd that people keep talking about the jobs that this new store will bring. Aside from several dozen temporary construction jobs and some money flowing to the developer's pockets, I don't see a net gain in jobs.

Wal Mart is no longer a destination store. People are not going to travel to North Adams to spend their money at a new Wal Mart when they have their own in Bennington, Pittsfield, Albany, Hadley, etc....

No, a new Wal Mart Super Center would simply rejigger the existing local economy. This is not necessarily a bad thing (lower food prices, etc...) However, people in North County are not magically going to be spending more on groceries or underwear just because a new store opened. For every job at the new store, one will be lost at Big Y or Price Chopper.

This is simple supply and demand stuff. Grocery and Retail rarely create actual new jobs without creating a new product or niche. Super Wal Mart does neither.

Jobs in North County will only come with actual growth in incomes and/or population, new/relocating firms or entrepreneurship. To think otherwise will only lead to disappointment.
  Wilco and Solid Sound are a Very Big Deal

OK. It’s official now. Wilco is coming to Mass MoCA along with a lot of other cool stuff for three days in August. Estimates put ticket sales for Wilco’s only east coast event of the summer at around 10,000 people.

That’s right. 10,000 people, almost all of whom are driving in from somewhere else will be coming to North Adams for a weekend in August. Many of them will have money and time to burn. Can North Adams actually capitalize on this event?

I often hear about people who complain that Mass MoCA’s patrons don’t spend their money in North Adams. Well here’s the deal folks – If some of us can’t make some serious bucks off of the 10,000 or so folks who will be wandering around the area looking for food, lodging, supplies, sundries, and more… then there is something wrong with us - Not Mass MoCA - Not Wilco, but us.

Who is going to have a huge Saturday & Sunday Breakfast Buffet for hundreds of weary concert goers? Thay can’t all fit into the restaurants.

Who is going to sell their art, trinkets and knick knaks on the street?

Who is going to rent out bedrooms because the hotels are going to be overflowing?

This is a very big deal, even if you don’t like the band or the fans. DON’T SCREW IT UP! This is could be the beginning of something even bigger!

  The Myth of Wealth Redistribution

Nate Silver spanks Jonah Goldberg for parroting the conservative myth that America gives massive amounts of tax revenue to the poor:

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The post is definitely written for statistics geeks (who? me?) but Silver makes abundantly clear that the U.S. is the least redistributive country of the 26  largest economies.

And his four frustrations with conservative views of American Taxation and Spending are spot on:

1. Dollar for dollar, America offers the most effective and efficient government on the planet, doing so for about 20 cents on the dollar nationally, 28 cents if you include state and local taxes. If you ask a conservative to name a country that provides as many quality services for less, or more and better services for the same price, they can't name one.

2. American government is redistributive, but not to the degree to which boogeyman conservatives would have us believe.

3. When it comes to deficits and fiscal responsibility, conservatives tend to focus on the spending and not the taxation side. If you're raising less than you're spending, you can either raise more, spend less, or some combination of both. But conservatives invariably turn the conversation to how big government is as a spender, rather than how small it is as a taxer.

4. It's just a myth that all this American "socialism" will only constrain our growth, turning us into one of those laggard western European nanny states.

It’s worth a read.

Friday, April 02, 2010
  More Contractor Woes
Jen H. has been doing great work for the past couple days on the proposed WalMart site:
The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the illegal dumping of demolition debris, including an unknown amount of asbestos, at the site of the proposed Walmart Supercenter off Curran Highway, city officials confirmed this week.
Norman Dellaghelfa Jr., owner of Della Concrete, has been accused of illegally dumping and burying demolition debris on land where the new Walmart will be built, according to sources familiar with the situation.
This Dellaghelfa fellow is beginning to sound like he might be a real hindrance to this project moving forward.
A blog of random thoughts and reactions emanating from the bank of a mountain stream in the farthest reaches of the bluest of blue states.

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greg at gregoryroach dot com

"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

My ongoing campaign for North Adams City Council

iBerkshires' Online Event Calendar

Because a Chart is Worth 1000 Words

Congressional Budget Office data

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