Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the most affordable city in the U.S. Forbes ranked cities with populations over 100,000 on 5 measures: groceries, health care, transportation, cost of housing and unemployment. Being both a state capitol and a university city, Oklahoma City has good jobs and low cost of living. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; and Rochester, New York were second, third and fourth respectively. All 3 cities are recovering from losing manufacturing economies. Now they have newly diversified economies and histories of low costs. In 2010 there are affordable cities – where it makes “cents” to live.

Dubuque, Iowa is the best small city to raise a family. This time Forbes ranked cities with populations under 100,000 on 5 measures: percentage of residents spending more than 1 hour commuting to work, percentage of adults 25 and older with at least a high school degree, median household income, rate of home ownership and housing affordability. Based on those measures Manitowac, Wisconsin was second and Marquette, Michigan third. Not only were the top 3 cities all in the Midwest, 12 of the top 15 were. It seems the Midwest is the best place to raise tomorrow’s “middlemen and women”.

Thankfully the U.S. isn’t best for corruption. Somalia is the world’s most corrupt country. That’s according to Transparency International’s 2010 report, which ranked 178 countries. Because war and chaos breed corruption, it’s not surprising Burma was #2, Afghanistan #3 and Iraq #4. The least corrupt country is Denmark, New Zealand was second and Singapore third. Countries that fell in this ranking had financial crises precipitated by “integrity deficits”. Greece fell from seventy-first to seventy-eighth, Italy from sixty-third to sixty-seventh and the U.S.

from nineteenth to twenty-second. It seems the housing crisis, the Madoff ponzi scheme and fights over political funding put the “up” in U.S. corruption.

However, many things that used to be best about the U.S. are gone. Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, ended American production in 2002. Now 65% of production is in China. Levi jeans were last made here in 2003. Then production was outsourced to Latin America and Asia. Vending machines haven’t been made in this country since 2003; televisions haven’t been made here since 2004; and although 1.2 billion cell phones were sold in 2008, not one has been made in the U.S. since 2007. Soon Americans will only be able to make the best … of it.


Knight Pierce Hirst has written for television, newspapers and greeting cards. Now she writes a 400-word, news blog three times a week. KNIGHT WATCH, a second look at what makes life interesting, takes only seconds to read at http://knightwatch.typepad.com


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