Economics

The Killing of Kern County

kern-county-oilfield.jpg

Located over the mountains from Los Angeles, Kern County has always been a different kind of place. Settled largely by “Okies and Arkies” from the Depression-era South, the area has a culture more southern than northern, more Ozarks than Sierra. Home to just under 1 million people at the southern end of the state’s Central Valley, Kern is noted for producing the “Bakersfield sound,” epitomized by the late country star Merle Haggard, and is sometimes even referred to as “little Texas.”  read more »

Social Class and the Columbus, Indiana Success Story

Former_Republic_newspaper_office_photo-by-Don_Nissen.jpg

I’ve written in the past about Columbus, Indiana and its patriarch, J. Irwin Miller. As I said in the Atlantic, Columbus is the Rust Belt city that never rusted. It’s basically the only small manufacturing city I know of in the Midwest that never went through a real decline period.  read more »

The Next Entrepreneurial Revolution

800px-Elkin_NC_Downtown.jpg

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the future of American business. The virus-driven disruption has proved more profound than anything imagined by Silicon Valley, costing more jobs than in any year since the Great Depression.  read more »

How Work Will Change Permanently After the Pandemic

facebook-campus-sign.jpg

Last spring, the COVID-19 pandemic caused perhaps the worst job losses since the Great Depression. The decrease in the labor force participation rate — from 63.3% to 61.3% — has been steeper than that seen in the Great Recession  read more »

Winners and Losers: The Global Economy After COVID

bezos-by-steve-jurvetson.jpg

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world economy in ways that will be debated by pundits and future historians for decades to come. Yet, as hard as it is to predict a disrupted future accurately, the pandemic (not to mention its probable successors) looks likely to produce clear economic winners and losers.  read more »

Hispanics and the Global Heartland

Refugees-welcome.jpg

The Heartland continues to experience an influx of Hispanic immigrant workers, as seen in the last decade. Hispanic populations increased more than three times as fast as the national population from 2010 to 2019 (19.2% compared to 6.1%).  read more »

A Middle Class Rebellion Against Progressives is Gaining Steam

middle-class-protesters.jpg

A specter is haunting America, a great revolt that threatens to dwarf the noxious rebellion led by Trump. The echoes of a another potentially larger pushback can already be heard in progressive America. But it's not towards socialism, as many suggest. It's the opposite: a new middle-class rebellion against the excesses of the Left.  read more »

The Refugee Effect

New Flavors food truck.jpg

In September 2019, President Trump issued an executive order allowing local officials to decide whether their regions should continue accepting resettled refugees.  read more »

A Working-Class Bill of Rights

The_U.S._Bill_of_Rights_(3679495252).jpg

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights have always been aspirational. When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, it was hardly self-evident that “all men were created equal.”  It took almost a century before the 14th Amendment promised “equal protection under law,” and another century before could be seen as anything but a cruel hoax.  read more »

Joe Biden's Imaginary America

The_Grove_(10602410245).jpg

After two painful recessions and ever greater national discord, there is considerable support for a new beginning, even if it takes massive federal spending. The question we must ask now is what kind of spending makes sense given the character of the country, its geography, and its economic challenges. America remains a vast and diverse place, and decisions that make sense for one locale do not necessarily make any sense in others. A dispersed country needs dispersed decision-making, not edicts issued from on high by the D.C. nomenklatura.  read more »