Colorado Misses Out On Another Wave


The Wall Street Journal reports that resource-rich states are recovering quite well from the recession:

Wages of workers in 10 states and the District of Columbia have more than regained ground lost during the recession, with the recovery concentrated in regions benefitting from the commodities boom and federal spending.

Many of the laggards, meanwhile, are states where the housing bust hit hard or where the collapse of the auto industry and other old-line manufacturing pulled down wages during the slump, according to a Commerce Department figures released Friday.

That Colorado is a resource-rich state can hardly be doubted.  We have coal and natural gas in abundance, minor metals like molybdenum, potentially uranium.  While real estate has suffered, we never had the kind of overbuilding seen in Florida, Arizona, or southern California, so we never had the kind of collapse, and manufacturing hasn’t been a mainstay of the Colorado economy for a while.

So why aren’t we recovering?  Why is the state’s unemployment up to 8.8%, with only modest improvements projected (for whatever that’s worth)?  Well it’s true that, unlike DC, northern Virginia, and suburban Maryland, we lack the ability to coerce the rest of the country to pay for our standard of living.  But more importantly, the outgoing Ritter administration and its Democrat allies have waged an ongoing war against the exploitation of our natural resources.

I don’t want to see the state return to the boom-bust cycle that characterizes an economy overwhelmingly dependent on drilling and mining.  But Colorado is clearly suffering from a national policy -seemingly unique in the industrialized world, and reinforced by state government – of refusing to exploit natural resources that our economy actually depends on.

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