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December 28, 2016


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Do you still follow Kunstler? He figured the Southwest would endure great hardship in the Long Emergency.

I’m really in no position to offer opinions on the economic performance of Phoenix – I’ve never been there. I am surprised that it is as good as the numbers indicate. Intuition would surmise that Phoenix should be a lot more like El Paso or Albuquerque than Seattle or San Francisco. In fact that five million people live there (on purpose) is mystifying.

In ranking the economic desirability of metro areas I prefer the cost-adjusted wage scale to the raw income numbers. Using this metric the top twenty metros (greater than one million population) are:

106) Metro Area Adjusted Pay
1 San Jose, CA $68,855
2 Houston, TX $62,305
3 Durham, NC $59,526
4 Bdgpt-Stmfd, CT $58,704
5 Hartford, CT $57,050
6 Boston, MA-NH $56,979
7 Atlanta, GA $56,647
8 Detroit, MI $56,421
9 Dallas-FW, TX $55,529
10 Seattle, WA $55,123
11 Charlo, NC-SC $55,122
12 Washington $54,525
13 Cincinnati, $54,265
14 Birmingham, AL $54,256
15 Pittsburgh, PA $54,168
16 Cleveland, OH $54,059
17 Minneapolis-SP $53,668
18 Denver, CO $53,526
19 St. Louis,, $53,519
20 Nashville, TN $53,144

Note that most of the top twenty are slow growing. It’s hard to maintain high incomes and high population growth. Most of the new arrivals are poor – even those who are highly credentialed.

IMO tech is over weighted in the Milken index.

FYI other Western metros:
28 San Francisco, CA $51
42 Phoenix, AZ $49,403
43 Sacramento, CA $49,323
44 Portland, OR-WA $49
62 Salt Lake City, UT $47
74 Colorado Springs, CO $45,
80 Las Vegas, NV $44,265
81 Spokane, WA $43,770
82 Albuquerque, NM $43,486
83 Tucson, AZ $43,484
84 Bakersfield, CA $43,464
85 Boise, ID $43,
89 San Diego, CA $42,
91 Modesto, CA $42,
94 Stockton, CA $40,512
95 Provo, UT $40,473
97 Los Angeles, CA $40,432
98 Fresno, CA $40,226
99 El Paso, TX $40,074
100 Oxnard, CA $40,049
101 Ogden, UT $39,966
102 Riverside-San Bern, CA $38,598
105 Santa Rosa, CA $35,370

Details can be found at


New Geography is a brainchild of pro-sprawl apologists like Joel Kotkin. Caveat lector. Man, the comments section is going to be tiresome if it's only the ones who I don't even understand why they read Rogue.

P.s. El Paso isn't the nation's sixth largest city with big carrying costs and competitive stakes.

I guess this is what happens when you have bad leadership at the state level. I cannot begin to fathom what is going to happen at the national level with that Trumpster clown car arriving in Washington. God (or whatever) help us all.

The best I can muster about Governor Ducey is that he is no Arpaio or "Sheriff Underpants" Babeu or that former blonde Republican governor whose face has seen better days. Unfortunately, the current guy keeps making blunders like underfunding our children's public education, which is making it harder for people who value education (like me) to want to stay here. What is Ducey thinking? And, along a similar vein, what are these other Republican governors like Brownback in Kansas thinking? Are they all too blinded by ideology to see that, sometimes, their ideas just plain suck?

For now, I guess I'll just keep renting nice places until it's time to move, probably further West since that's where a real biotech sector exists. :(

Basically, when a metro area like Phoenix comes to depend on "transplants" to drive its growth, there is no real incentive or desire to "homegrow" talent.

This shows up in the chronic and intentional underfunding of schools. Because the powerholders doggedly hold onto the idea that Arizona is paradise, they feel the transplants will always be there to supply businesses' talent requirements.

This is akin to a baseball team always relying on trades to keep itself competitive. The team never develops a "farm system."

It is likely that, in moving as far to the right as possible, Arizona's powerholders believe that ultra-conservatives will continue to flock to the state to avoid being around lefties, socialists, and "communists."

I couldn't stand the conservatives self-serving and avaricious greed (for wealth, power, social control, etc.), so I moved out.

As a coda to the overbearing and suffocating far-right presence in Arizona, when I factored in the conservatives hyped-up "religiousness,"
the hypocrisy was overwhelming.

When I asked myself if Jesus would really act like or condone the behaviors I witnessed in Arizona, the answer was crystal clear to me.

And because I believe in God, I had to get away from the mass heresy abundant in Arizona.

Re: carrying costs. Solution: a public firesale aka private equity scam.


I like Bradley Dranka's comment comparing AZ to a baseball team without a farm system. We look to transplants and immigrants to provide the supply and demand in our economy and long time Phoenicians, I guess, are making their livings on the vig.

I don't want to go into the rabbit hole of debating how the stimulus/recovery was handled BUT -- the entire country has gone back to what they knew before 2008. Arizona is still in construction, mining (when prices allow it), and service. Silicon Valley is still Silicon Valley. The Rust Belt is still the Rust Belt. It's a huge undertaking, regardless of the economy, to change the economic focus of your community unless you are an early adapter (see: Detroit - auto; Silicon Valley - tech; Houston - energy; AZ - Spring Training). Look at Tucson - they have Raytheon, Davis-Monthan AFB, and the U of A. That is their economy. Aerospace outfits and tech outfits in Tucson choose Tucson because they are (or want to be) part of the Raytheon supply chain. If, say, Reno wanted to become an aerospace hub then they'd have to do so by building or importing a Raytheon (or Boeing, etc). That means big handouts to get them to move -- versus big handouts by their current locales to get them to stay.

This is the reason for all the investment in university towns. Like picking up a David Johnson-style stud RB in the 3rd round, generating a tech hub or "_____ Capital of America" from your local research institution is a bargain compared to looking for Bradley's free agents from Silicon Valley or Seattle (which, as Rogue mentioned, typically don't pan out in the valley to be anything more than a support hub anyways).

Phoenix is, effectively, an early innovator on solar because of our climate and space. Unfortunately, especially in the Valley, solar installation lags terribly. Why? Cronyism. APS packing the corporation commission w/anti-solar reps. If we'd get out of our own way here and stop putting publicly-protected monopolies ahead of our own interests, we'd see a solar boom.

I don't fault Arizona for construction and service growth. We have a lot space. Enough for people who want to live in the big suburbs with strip malls to do so and for people who want to live in a population-dense downtown or Tempe to do so. Prescott is 90 mins out of town for the mountain folk and Maricopa is 35 mins from Phoenix for the real desert dwellers. I do fault Arizona for not capitalizing on solar -- but that's not unique to Arizona. That's modern American government where C.R.E.A.M.

It seems the only tech companies coming to AZ are failures coming out of California due to regulation. The prominent examples are the scam known as Theranos and Uber's dangerous self-driving cars. Gov. Ducey claims these as successes, but they don't pay off here.

AZ has been the king of scams since the arrival of white Europeans.

As one of the ones who shouldn't be here, I thank you for broadening my knowledge. It was the natural progression for me to follow you from the Republic to here. Thanks to the blog I am able to call you, Cal, Michael and Jerry my friends.

I'm guessing civilization has a better chance of surviving around a table filled with coffee mugs versus a conversation on a blog. Just my opinion.

Coffee sounds good! Tastes even better with good conversation and friends.

I'm up for coffee. But we got to dig Ruben out of that White Mountain snowman. Maybe by melting it with the heat of blue hazy weed burning spligs.

Ruben. To quote Robert Redford, "you come here like everyone else. To get sick."
Except me I come har to get ed ju cated.
So to escape the Doldrums maybe we could do coffee in Mesa, near where the light rail stops. We built it U sons of a guns.

To Phoenix citizens who did a good thing by Denying The Donald a Trump tower.

Many, many years ago there was a local talk radio guy named John Sage. I recall him saying that Phoenix was a place that "glorified bankers and vilified teachers."

Nothing much has changed.

Until it does, we can expect to be governed by the Duceys, McCains, Flakes, Gosars, and Franks of the world.

People of limited vision cannot create a vital, modern economy. It is well beyond their capabilities.


People who see only their side and agenda as relevant by subtraction are predisposed to a limited visual horizon. The conservatives, having vilified anything and everything even remotely centrist or (heaven forbid) liberal, are suffocated by their own orthodoxy. It is the thought process becoming inbred because new ways of thinking are frowned upon.

Stagnation results.

With regard to "growth," I have concluded the Republicans in Arizona want only companies and growth that shares their ideology of far-right, reactionary conservatism.

To put it bluntly, the Republicans prefer ideological "purity" over growth. This explains the continuing political shift to the far right field corner (to use a baseball term).

I believe the Republicans' calculation is that most of the people who move to Arizona will espouse their conservative politics above any and all other considerations--including their pocketbooks.

Whether they continue to come when the drought deepens remains to be seen.

2017 "Lights Out"?

Restructure the Arizona University System to provide greater accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans:


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