What were they thinking?

What were they thinking?

Too often – way too often – in contemporary society, we are forced to scratch our heads (as we shake them) wondering how in the world even mildly educated human beings can make the conclusions they do.

Two of the latest are representative of the intellectual vapidity that has become the hallmark of supposedly critical discourse.

To wit, the first:

U.S. News and World Report, in its “2023-24 Best Places to Live” ranking, lists Pittsburgh as 47th  out of 150 it ranked.

From the magazine’s assessment:

Pittsburgh “is attracting major corporations looking to set up shop. Transplants are surprised to find a hub of technology and education in the region.

“A rise in job opportunities has made Pittsburgh an attractive place for families and graduates.

“Pittsburgh also offers a cheaper housing market than other large cities. Its old blue-collar reputation is being replaced and the quality of life continues to improve with new industries that make Pittsburgh home.

“In addition to the ample green space and increased job opportunities, Pittsburgh has wooed residents with its strong sense of community.”

U.S. News and World Report says its ranking is based on data from the National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Census Bureau, the FBI, the Labor Bureau, Sharecare, and its own rankings on the nation’s best high schools and best hospitals.

Oddly missing from the magazine’s ranking criteria are the City of Pittsburgh’s utterly failed and astronomically expensive public schools; a continually declining population; virtually no economic growth to speak of; taxpayer shakedown after taxpayer shakedown in an evergreen attempt to tax our way to prosperity as various government agencies (with hubris never in short supply) believe they can command the economy; evermore onerous regulation on top of evermore onerous regulation and a wholly misguided acquiescence and blind devotion to the thuggish policy failures pimped by organized labor.

Our list could go on and on — a badly broken mass transit system and a quite dubious rejiggering of Pittsburgh International Airport, among the other problems.

But the bottom line is how sad that U.S. News and World Report could be so blind to, and ignorant of, the lacking fundamentals that is the reality of modern-day Pittsburgh.

To wit, the second:

The Post-Gazette reports that a “push to extend Pittsburgh’s ongoing experiment with so-called ‘e-scooters’ – and to allow similar programs in other cities” has advanced in the state Legislature.

“In a split vote, the state Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill that allows the city to extend the two-year pilot program in which rented, electric motor-powered scooters can be operated legally on city sidewalks and streets,” the P-G reported. “The program received good reviews in a letter from the administration of Mayor Ed Gainey.”

The phrase “On what planet?” comes to mind.

For the e-scooter pilot program has been an unmitigated disaster in Pittsburgh.

Leading the way are scooters that renters simply abandon, anywhere and everywhere, creating myriad hazards. Stories of scooters left on sidewalks and driveways abound.

Additionally, as the P-G notes, is that the program only allows for the use of rented scooters from a specific vendor; private scooters are strictly verboten.

And the pilot program has proven to be so bad that even one of its original co-sponsors two years ago, Democrat Sen. Jay Costa of Allegheny County, opposes any e-scooter extension/expansion without major changes.

Ah, another government command program run amok. A failure trumped up as a “success.” To what end? To cover up yet another government interventionist failure.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).