Chicago, according to Mr. Badenhausen's article, has zoomed by Detroit to take third place on the list of America's Most Miserable Cities, bested (worsted?) only by Stockton, California and Memphis, Tennessee (they're still mourning Elvis' leaving the planet down there).
Misery is up all over the country, Badenhausen writes, in a nod to the obvious, but Chicago has been hit particularly hard. Not only do we have the highest sales tax rate in the country, he notes,
Illinois' record of public corruption, particularly in the governor's office, is staggering. Five of the past nine governors have been charged with crimes, and three, as of now, have served time in prison. Whether former Gov. Blagojevich will do any jail time is still to be determined.And then there's the weather. It is rare indeed for Chicago to have not even one January day where the temperature reaches 40. But that was our January this year. It was beautiful this past Saturday -- if temperatures in the 50's are your idea of beauty. It met our very low criteria here, let me tell you. Water was everywhere -- and mud -- and well preserved doggie doo. And, yet, everyone in Chicago who could stand upright, it seems, went for a walk on Saturday. Even me.
The misery in Chicago runs much deeper than just corruption, though. Unemployment is expected to surge to 9.2% in 2009, up from 6.6%. The Tribune Co. is mired in bankruptcy, while big local employers like Midway Games, Motorola and the University of Chicago Medical Center have all announced big layoffs.
And as for Detroit? Writes Badenhausen:
Detroit relinquished its 2007 crown of most miserable city despite a memorable 2008 that included a jailed mayor, the further deterioration of the auto industry and the NFL's first zero-win, 16-loss season.The Big Three automakers are spiraling into bankruptcy and yet Chicago is more miserable than Detroit?
The Motor City benefited from our revised criteria this year (we added sales tax and sports teams in addition to corruption). Its 6% sales tax is one of the lowest in the country. The success of Detroit's winter sports teams more than offset the ineptitude of the Lions. The Red Wings and Pistons won two-thirds of their games, including a Stanley Cup title for the Wings.
Sadly, that sounds about right.
Note: Second City Cop linked to the original Forbes.com post (a link that will probably last longer than the Yahoo! one).