Ugly truth

By AL DIAMON  |  October 11, 2013

Forbes skipped rating less subjective factors, such as “most hirsute chief executive” and “minor-league hockey franchise located in a municipality much too small to sustain it.” Instead, Maine got a mediocre score for “labor supply” (33) because the Official State Handyman was on vacation the week Forbes was here. We rated 40th for “business costs” because of expensive energy, high corporate taxes, and outrageously priced cocktails in Portland lounges. Our “economic climate” was 43rd due to an excess of elderly people protesting the construction of anything except housing for senior citizens. Maine’s “regulatory enforcement” was 45th, but this must have been before the Department of Environmental Protection let the business lobby rewrite its rules. We also got no credit for DEP commissioner Patricia Aho encouraging state employees’ fundraising by promising to dye her hair pink, using coloring agents considered toxic to all life forms except bureaucrats.

As for “growth prospects,” sizable increases in the gubernatorial waistline were offset by a lack of new jobs and barely perceptible increases in household income, a situation Forbes described as “lousy.”

(At least, the magazine didn’t venture into territory covered by a blog posting called “The United States of Shame” that dubbed Maine the “dumbest state.”)

According to Forbes’s rankings, Virginia is the best place in the country for doing business, which just goes to show what’s being ignored. Maine has better fall foliage than Virginia, better skiing, better beer, better maple syrup, better moose, and we don’t have anyone as odious as Democrat Terry McAuliffe or Republican Ken Cuccinelli running for governor. Nobody would cut the hair on those creeps without a hazmat suit. Not even for charity.

Also, we’re not nearly as close to Washington, DC, as Virginia is. That ought to count for something.

Like LePage, Maine’s economy has its faults. But in both cases, ugliness is only skin deep. Underneath, there are guts. Lots of guts. Both metaphorical and literal.


I’d shave my head for charity, but genetics beat me to it. Hairy comments can be emailed to me at

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