Saturday, November 22, 2014

"If we're going to keep our young people in the state..."

"If we're going to keep our young people in the state....."

How often have you seen that phrase used by Wyoming politicians, community leaders and newspaper columnists?  I saw that phrase twice on the op-ed pages of this morning's paper.

"If we're going to keep our young people in the state we have to....."

We hear solutions. Diversify the economy. Transform our downtowns. Emphasize the state's "quality of life." Enhance our recreational opportunities. Give every UW grad a lifetime smartphone subscription and his/her own coffee shop or craft brewery.

I made up that last one. Although it's not bad, as ideas go. Wyoming has $2 billion in its rainy day fund and millions more stashed in coffee cans buried in Republican legislators' backyards. Let's take some of that dough and put it to work keeping our young people in the state and energizing the economy.

Alas, even this modest proposal is doomed to failure. There's more to life than crazy apps and pumpkin spice lattes and bitchin' IPAs.  Once these young people discover Wyoming's rapidly aging population, they will desert their funky new shops in Cheyenne to do what millennials do -- find other millennials to hang out with in FoCo and LoDo and Boulder and -- God help us all -- Greeley. Cheyenne could end up with legions of drunk, caffeine-infused oldsters tottering around downtown. Many of us will be flush with cash, recipients of those gold-plated state retirement plans. I, for one, plan to buy a gold-plated house and a gold-plated Caddy with all of my gold. I may even gild a lily or two and sell them in the Ye Olde Gilded Lily Emporium which I hope to open downtown.

It's hopeless, you see.

"If we're going to keep our young people in the state...."

In a pig's eye.

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