The Rockford Files

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery . . .

That, according to Forbes.com, is what I should be feeling, but as a native Michigander, I find it hard to be miserable, let alone depressed, on a cloudless day in February.  Even mere half-Poles are naturally pessimistic, but a blazing sun in a bright blue sky greatly diminishes the need to take a pull on the bottle of Zubrówka.

Still, the reasons why Forbes.com says I should be miserable remain.  On February 18, the website published its third annual ranking of America’s Most Miserable Cities.  The Forbes Misery Measure “takes into account unemployment, as well as eight other issues that cause people anguish”:

The metrics include taxes (both sales and income), commute times, violent crime and how its pro sports teams have fared over the past two years.  We also factored in two indexes put together by Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling that gauge weather and Superfund pollution sites.  Lastly we considered corruption based on convictions of public officials in each area as tracked by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Anyone who has read this column over the past decade can see where this is going.  Unemployment in Rockford is at levels not seen since the recession of the late 70’s and early 80’s, and our sales tax (8.25 percent...

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