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Economy

[Recession Guide]

You know what’s free? Perspective

Yeah, we’ve got it bad, but it could always be worse

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You are NOT here. And that’s a good thing.
Illustration: Jerry Miller

Obviousness alert—Nevada is not doing well. Our health care, educational system, housing market, casino-based economy and governor all suck big time. We routinely make top 10 lists, and for all the wrong reasons: auto theft, crime, obesity, even bad hair. But here at the Weekly, we’re all about getting you through the bad times, and what better way to do that than show you how bad some other states have it?

Yes, our unemployment rate is 10.4 percent and rising, but California and North Carolina in March posted their highest jobless rates in at least three decades, and unemployment spiked in 46 states during that month. California’s now at 11.2 percent, and North Carolina is at 10.8 percent, the highest for both states since 1976, when the fed began comprehensive tallies. Things are also worse in South Carolina (11 percent), Oregon (10.8 percent) and Rhode Island (10.5 percent). But hey, none of us hold a candle to Michigan, which is now at 12.6 percent.

And yes, our home prices are plummeting to 2001 rates, but in Detroit, the average home price is $18,000, and recently a home there sold for a buck. A buck! And it still took 19 days for it to sell!

We hate to pick on Michigan again, but General Motors recently had to recall 1.5 million cars over fire concerns, and is currently in the midst of laying off 1,600 workers.

California has never been a cheap state to live in (it had the sixth-highest per capita tax rate in the nation last year), but it just got a whole lot worse. Cash-strapped Californians just got hit with a triple whammy, courtesy of Gov. Schwarzenegger: a quarter-percent income-tax increase, a 1 percent sales-tax increase (which now puts it at nearly 9 percent in some counties) and perhaps worst of all, a near doubling of vehicle registration fees from 0.65 percent to 1.15 percent. All combined, the tax hikes ares estimated to cost the average family an additional $1,100 a year.

In Missouri, a man living in a cave home who is facing foreclosure has put his house on eBay. Yes, even those living in caves are not immune.

In Minnesota, one senator is doing the job of two, and will likely do so into the foreseeable future, thanks to a never-ending runoff election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

In Madison, Wisconsin, a nurse was actually called out of surgery so a manager could tell her she was being laid off, not only a violation of medical protocol but also a clear indication that we’ve got serious competition in the shitty health care category.

You don’t live in Alaska. Sub-zero temps, Sarah Palin and methamphetamine. ’Nuff said.

We aren’t the state that produced Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck—that would be Missouri, New York and Washington, respectively. Thanks, guys. Seriously, thanks.

States that have higher auto-insurance costs than we do—District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Alaska, Florida and Delaware. (source: insure.com)

Top 10 lists that we’re NOT on:

Home-insurance cost. We’re not even close to the top of this list. Turns out it’s actually very reasonable to insure here, much less so than your top 10 of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Florida, California, Rhode Island, Alabama and Kansas. (Forbes.com)

High cost of living. Yep, you’re got it pretty good here, unlike Hawaii, California, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Alaska, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont. (source: costoflivingbystate.org)

Most expensive housing markets. Once the economy rebounds and homes begin selling again, Las Vegas will have plenty of great, reasonably priced stock to choose from. But we can’t say the same for Hawaii, Washington, D.C., California, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Alaska and Massachusetts. (source: costoflivingbystate.org)

And, last but not least …

Differences between this Great Depression and the last Great Depression

1 | Much better soup in the soup lines.

2 | Better music. None of that depressing “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” nonsense.

3 | If things do get worse and we all have to pick up stakes and move, at least we have cars that might actually make it across the country.

4 | When crappy stuff happens, we get to read about it immediately.

5 | A great war pulled us out of the last Great Depression, not into it.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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