Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Brain Drain

There has been a lot of discussion this last year about the "Brain Drain" going on in Toledo. For quite a while, I thought that there was no truth to this assumption, and that all of the discussion was nothing but nonsense (and I believe that my expertise in nonsense is easily verifiable and cannot be called into question). I have to admit however, that recent events are causing my thinking on the subject to change, and that I feel that I am beginning to see some of this brain drain lately. 

  The final numbers for the city of Toledo's budget are almost completely gathered together for the fiscal year of 2008. They are supposed to show a balanced budget as submitted by the Mayor and passed by the City Council according to the Toledo City Charter. Unfortunately, those latest numbers show that the city will end up at least $16 million in the red for 2008. That means on top of $8 million that had to be pulled from the 2009 Capital Improvement Budget (the last time that they can do this under the Ohio Revised Code) when the numbers were released just a couple of weeks ago, it looks like we will have to find another $8 million more to patch the gaping hole in 2008. 

We have been told that our only hope might be to empty the "rainy day" fund of the just over $6 million that it holds and try to find another $2 million from ... well we just don't know that yet, do we. We do have a statement the Mayor's Chief of Staff however, that we might have to "inflate" the revenue numbers to make the whole thing balance. (In the real world, they call this "cooking the books", and you go to jail for doing it.)  

The city likewise claims that the budget for 2009 is also a balanced one. Of course we recognize in hearing this statement that it is made by the same discredited bunch of people who made the same statement last year at this time about the 2008 budget. It should also be recognized that it was made by this group of maleficent miscreants before they appropriated money out of the 2009 CIP budget to fill the holes in 2008. 

Now having heard a prominent city official admit when backed into a corner that it might be necessary 'fix' the numbers to achieve the desired result, one would naturally call into question how truthful the information in that budget actually is. Apparently, the members of City Council do not yet do so. As I have commented before and in various places, the Toledo city budget appears to be a work of poorly written creative fiction. The plot is rather shallow, with far too little relationship to the reality of the situation that it pretends to portray. It contains more than a few villains and close to 300,000 victims, which tends to make it confusing at best. The ending is unsatisfying, with it seems only the bad guys left standing. 

While that end should be easily discernible from the clues in the plot, it turns out that even the author(s) don't seem to know what it is, even after they write it. I believe that it has been edited either by or under the auspices of our favorite absentee landlord, and is printed and distributed by a publishing house that is all but bankrupt. 

The saddest part of this story however is the blind, innocent satisfaction on the part of those for whom the story was written (City Council). Perhaps it is simply that the affliction that I once wrote off has affected more than ever I realized. While those who compile the numbers, those who assemble them into reports, and those who compile those numbers into a budget are likely guilty of fabrication on the verge of criminal fraud; those who year after year have accepted this fairy story as fact must be guilty of something entirely different. 

It could be simple political pandering or favor trading. It could be complicity to commit fraud on the people who voted them into office. My hope however, is that they are simply victims of the scourge that is apparently sweeping Toledo like the plague, the dreaded "Brain Drain".



Hooda Thunkit said...

Regarding the alleged “brain drain,” once the fair City of Toledo collapses on itself those with a brain will return..., and prosper, for this part of the country is truly rich in natural resources and strategically located for ease of commerce of all sort.

For it is the government currently afflicting us that is the only real impediment to our success. And once the government collapses and the leaches on our society move and seek other sustenance, can the doers/providers live and prosper, for we/they will be able to do what we do best without an overbearing government to dominate/cripple us.

And, it/we will be free' free as the pilgrims of the 1600s. Hopefully wiser though; wise enough to never let government do to/for ourselves that which we can do for ourselves.

Tim Higgins said...


I'm not sure that I want to go back to the Mayflower compact (the original was rather socialist if you rememeber your history), but I would willingly go back to the days of the Founding Fathers, and the writings of Thomas Paine in "Common Sense".

Brass Collar Buckeye said...

The "brain drain" issue is a problem for all parts of Ohio that aren't Columbus, really. I worked in Cleveland on a project to attract and retain "young educated talent," and I think the fact that we had a budget speaks to the magnitude of the issue.

Bottom line: until our state government finds a way to make Ohio attractive to business again, it doesn't matter how "cool" we make our cities...the smarties aren't coming back.

Tim Higgins said...


What a concept! Who would have thought that smart people would choose to go where there are good paying jobs, as opposed to those with high unemployment, high taxes, and lousy prospects?