Heartland

Red State Conundrum

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How do you raise incomes when your state’s economic appeal is based on low costs?

That’s the basic conundrum facing a number of red states. They rightly talk about their cost climate, touting tax rates and such. But the biggest component of cost for many businesses is labor. Being a low cost state is tantamount to being a low wage one in many cases.  read more »

Subjects:

The Superstar Gap

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The biggest challenge facing many cities in transitioning to the knowledge economy is a shortage of “A” talent, especially true superstars.

All “talent” isn’t created equal. Crude measures such as the percentage of a region with college degrees, or even graduate degrees, don’t fully capture this. It is disproporationately the top performers, the “A” players and superstars that make things happen.  read more »

Where Manufacturing Is Thriving In The U.S.

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Throughout the dismal presidential campaign, the plight of America’s manufacturing sector played a central role. Yet despite all the concerns raised about factory jobs leaving the country, all but 18 of the country’s 70 largest metropolitan regions have seen an uptick in industrial employment since 2011.  read more »

The Great Betrayal of Middle America

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America’s vast midsection, a region that has been hammered by globalists of both parties, has been abandoned by the great corporations that grew fat on its labor and resources.

To many from the Appalachians to the Rockies, Donald Trump projected a beacon of hope. Despite the conventional wisdom among the well-heeled of the great coastal cities, these resource and manufacturing hubs elected the new president.  read more »

America's Heartland is Critical to Our Future

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The results of the 2016 presidential election have been ascribed -- by the winner’s critics -- to racism, hysteria, stupidity, or nostalgia. But what the results most reflected was a looming economic divide. Essentially, Donald Trump won in the parts of the country that grow most of the food, drill for oil and gas, and produce palpable things. The places that went for Hillary Clinton are where intangibles such as media, software, and financial transactions drive the economy.  read more »

The New American Heartland: Renewing the Middle Class by Revitalizing the Heartland

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This is the introduction to a new report written by Joel Kotkin and Michael Lind with a team of contributors. Download the full report (pdf) here.

The greatest test America faces is whether it can foster the kind of growth that benefits and expands the middle class. To do so, the United States will need to meet three challenges: recover from the Great Recession, rebalance the American and international economies, and gain access to the global middle class for the future of American goods and services.  read more »

Seven Ways Life Has Gotten Better in Rural America

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Rural America is taking a beating in the news. Part of it is deserved. I grew up in rural Indiana and am shocked at some of what is going on there: severe hard drug problems, HIV outbreaks, serious crime, etc.

Things are a long way from when I was a kid there in the 70s and 80s and people not only left their doors unlocked, they left their keys in the car.

While I don’t want to minimize the challenges facing rural America, there’s a lot that has flat out gotten better since I first moved to Harrison County in first grade around 1976.  read more »

Subjects:

Doing What Actually Works

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Last year I engaged in a failed attempt to renovate and expand an old house in an 1890’s era neighborhood in Ohio. It ended badly. So I thought I’d do a follow up on what actually does work given the legal parameters and cultural context.  read more »

Babes In Trumpland: The Coming Rise Of The Heartland Cities

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Contrary to the media notion that Donald Trump's surprising electoral victory represented merely the actions of unwashed “deplorables," his winning margin was the outcome of rational thinking in those parts of the country whose economies revolve around the production of tangible goods.

And their economies stand to gather more steam in the years ahead.  read more »

It Wasn't Rural 'Hicks' Who Elected Trump: The Suburbs Were -- And Will Remain -- The Real Battleground

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Much of the New York and Washington press corps has concluded that Donald Trump’s surprising journey to the Oval Office was powered by country bumpkins expressing their inner racist misogyny. However, the real foundations for his victory lie not in the countryside and small towns, but in key suburban counties.  read more »