234 and counting

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The piece Alan Wirzbicki did in today’s Globe has pushed comments up to a level you wouldn’t ordinarily expect given the topic. 234 at 2:15. Not bad for a story on congressional seats. Down from 16 Congressional seats in 1920 to 10 a century later.

Two Congressmen who provided quotes proved that they are clueless. Richy Neal is a nice guy but in his quote he raises navel-gazing to a new art form:

“Everybody in the delegation is particularly well positioned with their committee assignments,’’ said Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Springfield, a member and subcommittee chairman on the Ways and Means Committee. “It obviously would present a challenge for the state.’’

The loss of a seat is a challenge for the state? The real challenge is what has led to the loss of seats. Just 20 years ago we had 3.2 million workers more or less. 20 years later we have at best that number and more likely less. That, even as the country’s employment base grew around 20-25 percent.

And the majority of the commenters get that. Few of them are opting for the nasty political jab at the hacks (though there are some of those, too). More of them are flabbergasted by Mike Capuano’s unbelievably cavalier and wilfully blind take on why we are losing population.

“I haven’t got any control over it, so why worry about it?’’ said Representative Michael E. Capuano, Democrat of Somerville. “I don’t think there’s anyone around who has figured out how to stop the population flow to the Southwest.’’

Try this list. For residents: cost of housing, property taxes, state taxes and fees, the cost of energy. For businesses, all of the above, plus outsized unemployment costs to employers, ever-changing fees, changing tax rules, regulatory requirements that are opaque and expensive to comply with.

What saves us is our much improved education system, great college networks, and the beauty of the place. It may not be enough to save Mr. Capuano’s seat. I’d hate to lose a seat in Congress. It just isn’t good for a state that during its history has inspired much of what has made the country great. But somehow losing Capuano after his comments seems like poetic justice.