I’ve been driving through the City of Niagara Falls on business recently and am just wondering if anyone else has noticed that it’s a dying city? Maybe if you live there, you become used to it, but I don’t live there so I noticed some things that maybe the residents miss. For example, your roads are horrible, nearly bordering on third world quality. Your housing stock is horrendous; your business districts are sparsely populated and there is very little evidence of market-driven investment. Most of the newer projects are one way or another subsidized by tax dollars, not a good sign.
This impressionistic, drive-by view is buttressed by the statistics. Crime of all kinds is way above the national average. 37% of the people are obese according to City-Data.com. Ten percent have diabetes and 26% have high blood pressure. According to census data, 27% live in poverty. Basically, all measures of social dysfunction are high in Niagara Falls.
Is anything useful being done to fix what ails Niagara Falls? I have seen no evidence of this on any level of government. This publication has often bemoaned the lack of local control in Niagara Falls, for example how the State controls the Falls itself for its own benefit. The primary public policies afflicting the City, taxes, schools, regulations, drug policy, housing and welfare, are imposed from Washington and Albany. The long-suffering residents have virtually no say in their own communities and very little personal freedom when it comes to schools and the economy. As Ayn Rand said, “what the have-nots have not is freedom.” Like Buffalo, Niagara Falls suffers from an extremely high cost of government imposed by our colonial masters in New York City who control the state government in Albany.
Ultimately, underlying this system of enormous government imposed and controlled by strangers in distant capitals is the destructive political mindset of progressivism, a mindset unfortunately shared by virtually all local politicians and by the vast majority of the residents themselves. As I have explained before, progressivism is a self-imposed mental disability that robotically prevents the progressive from noticing certain facts and impels the progressive to exaggerate the importance of other facts. Because the progressive is, in effect, trapped in his own mindset, it is not surprising that he fails to perceive his own trap, his own bias. Specifically, since the progressive believes that some government program or another is the solution to all human problems, the progressive can never bring himself to accept that their favored government programs have failed miserably. Rather, they end up in an endless search for non-governmental scapegoats to blame for their policy failures. Racism and corporate greed are the current favorites.
Thus, the decline of Niagara Falls continues apace as you can tell by the rumble of your car over the endless potholes. Don’t let this message in a bottle interrupt your death throes, Niagara Falls. As Emily Litella would say, “never mind.”
Jim Ostrowski is the CEO of LibertyMovement.org and the author of five books including Progressivism: A Primer.