I guess you’ve heard the news.
El Paso’s not growing.
People have been leaving town for a long time. “Brain drain,” people call it. It doesn’t take much of a brain to figure out that the living situation is better someplace else.
It’s not just jobs. Even retired people are leaving town. The cost of living in El Paso is going up a lot faster than the benefit of living in El Paso.
Great Mexican food can only take you so far.
Taxes are going up. The streets are crumbling. Local government treats the citizens with disdain, and the local media are lapdogs to the oligarchs. For most people, it’s easier to leave than fight.
So what does El Paso stagnant population growth mean to you?
The fact that our population is stagnant, and declining, will mean that there will be fewer shoppers in your malls, fewer fans at your baseball games, and fewer passengers on your trolleys. There will be fewer people to buy your houses and rent your apartments and go to your bars and restaurants. Fewer people to read your newspapers.
That dwindling market will be compounded by the fact that the people who stay will have less money, because everybody will be paying more in taxes.
It’s not like the City of El Paso is trying to tamp down expenditures. They’re spending money a lot faster than we can earn it. And we’re not even paying for the 2012 Quality of Life Signature Projects yet, the Arena and the Children’s Museum and the Cultural Center.
Mayor Margo maintains that the city is growing, so don’t expect any relief from him. He has to maintain that fiction to keep the City’s profligacy flowing. The majority of City Council is only there to draw a paycheck and get along, so don’t expect any relief from them, either. And the newspaper is failing, so they’re grateful for any crumbs they can get, which includes the advertising revenue from the City’s legal notices, so don’t expect them to call attention the City’s falsehoods and failings.
Fewer people will pay more in taxes, and the voters will continue to be misinformed.
Not so many years from now, the City of El Paso will have to acknowledge its mistakes. They’ll likely blame the pensions, and the Federal Government’s immigration policies, and the “business climate,” and they’ll absolve themselves of any responsibility, and our local newspapers will parrot their responses, and the fat cats will leave the table fatter, and the average El Pasoan will read the news at their kitchen table in Austin, or El Lay, or Chicago, and congratulate themselves on their foresight for getting out when they did.
And then we’ll rebuild, poorer but wiser.