Economists Don't See Flyover Country and Whole Economy Pays the Price


We’re used to getting the short end of the stick out here in Flyover Country, whether it’s from a lack of regular news-media attention or from our vastly inequitable share of investments by venture capitalists.

Now you can add the dismal science to the list of coastal biases against the heartland that are doing real harm not just to how we’re perceived, but also to how we live.

“They don’t see the economy that many of us see and that I see,” Ernie Goss, an economist at Creighton University in Omaha, told me. “We’re speaking to farmers and bankers, and what they see isn’t the same as what [economists] in New York or D. C. see. They have blinders on. They don’t even have a feel for the distances involved our here for EV chargers.”

This major problem with the “experts” who run America’s economy has had real consequences. By now, it’s accepted wisdom that an early and urgent red flag from economists trusted by the fed and the Biden administration could have helped us avoid the inflation conflagration that now seems to be burning down the American economy, coast to coast.

It’s of little consolation that former fed chair and now Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, herself an economist, recently admitted to Congress that she erred in assuming last year’s strong inflationary signals indicated merely a “transitory” phenomenon. Nor is it helpful that among all the awful things it has done, Russia’s war on Ukraine has given the Biden administration’s off-target monetary policy a fig leaf in the form of the extra inflationary pressures the conflict has created on food and energy.

No View

Why did the president and the fed err so badly? Setting aside deeper theories about how a loose monetary stance was intentional for the politics behind it, one clear reason for this policymaking disaster is that the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve were listening too intently to the emanations of economists who were based strictly on the coasts and had little idea about — or interest in — what happens in Flyover Country.

Seventeen Nobel laureates endorsed the Biden economic agenda in an open letter in September, 2021, and 16 of them hailed from a coastal institution of higher learning: Yale, Princeton, Georgetown, MIT, Stanford, and Cal Berkley prominent among them. The specific subject of this open letter was their support for Biden’s Build Back Better plan for nearly $5 trillion in new government spending, which these economists endorsed even though the president had described the package as a cure for inflation that even then was rising.

It's hard not to see the coastal economists’ drastically wrong assessment as partly stemming from their lack of a broad view of the American economy or at least deep appreciation for important sectors of it. Most of the nation’s energy is produced not by windmill arrays set in the Atlantic Ocean or solar-panel farms in California but in the oil fields of Texas and North Dakota. And most of our food comes not from the vineyards of Napa Valley but from the row-crop fields of the Plains.

Read the rest of this piece at Flyover Coalition.

Dale Buss is founder and executive director of The Flyover Coalition, a not-for-profit organization aimed at helping revitalize and promote the economy, companies and people of the region between the Appalachians and Rockies, the Gulf Coast and the Great Lakes. He is a long-time author, journalist, and magazine and newspaper editor, and contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and many other publications. Buss is a Wisconsin native who lives in Michigan and has also lived in Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Photo: courtesy Flyover Coalition.

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"distances involved our

"distances involved our here"
out here

California's GDP is $3.4T USD.
Nebraska's is $140G USD.
Flyover is correct.