Nebraska: Paradise on the Platte

Brief by Central Staff

Colorado economy – June 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

By all the normal indicators, Colorado’s economy is “booming.” One such indicator is the state’s unemployment rate, which is at 3.7%, about two percentage points under the national average.

But all this seems to come with soaring real-estate prices and stagnant wages, which means that the hard-to-define quality-of-life indicator is declining. Growth in Colorado seems to mean that somebody makes money, but not you, and that you lose what you had– open space, chance for solitude, easy-going life, etc.

Our neighbor to the east, Nebraska, has had a stagnant population of about 1.3 million since the end of World War II.

But the Cornhuskers have apparently figured out how to enjoy economic growth without population growth. For the third straight year, Nebraska’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation.

The result is that wages are higher than average, while living costs are lower than average, which strikes us as a good way to operate.

Let’s see here. Colorado, like 48 other states, has two houses in its state legislature. Nebraska is the only state with just one, and look how well it’s doing. Anybody care to experiment with having no legislature?