COMMENT Bob Weaver

While West Virginia still clings to coal, chemicals, gambling and extricable resources to fuel the state's economy, all of which are requiring a smaller and smaller workforce, with WalMart and fast food now the state's largest employers, the state languishes near the bottom in per captia and median income.

The clinging has been a marriage made in hell between Charleston politicos and corporations, many of the governors and legislators having umbilical cords attached to those interests.

The legislature just struggled with raising the minimum wage twenty-five cents starting next year for fear that it would cost jobs.

While West Virginia is among the lowest in income, the US Census Bureau says the average family is now bringing home $5,000 less than they did just five years ago, with middle class wages stagnant for at least 20 years.


That dependent marriage in WV has long prevented the state from diversifying the economy that provides jobs and opportunities.

While most of the states congressional delegation, excluding Sen. Rockefeller, and most of the statehouse have been on the fast track to curb and deregulate those industries, they have been mildly embarrassed by the recent chemical spill that tainted the water of 300,000 West Virginians.

Also, tens of thousands of blue collar jobs have been globalized taking away opportunity, and politically, state residents have been stereotyped as "takers," the "takers" now being lumped with those who have work genes and lack few opportunities to improve their lot in life.

Perhaps more disturbing, the state is among the most under educated, while having an educational bureaucracy larger than highly populated New York State. It seems few changes have worked, but the public relations and re-naming initiatives have gotten better.

With the state's over-regulated, top-heavy educational bureaucracy, a case could be made that teachers can't teach.

Meanwhile, the state makes the "worst lists," impoverished, under-educated and very unhealthy, with the most of the blame placed on its citizens.

See also Two Counties, Separated By Fortune-Income Gap, Meet the Longevity Gap - NY TIMES

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