Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Right in the Middle

AEI's on-line magazine, The American, posits that "Middle America is a clear picture of how much the basics matter: Cost of living, job quality, schools, and opportunities to develop the right skills for the best jobs."

The Midwest's story is important because it serves in significant ways as a regional microcosm of how growth and opportunity should look in America today.

In a recent study we look at trends that upend the conventional wisdom about the Midwest. We find that it is neither doomed to a slow and dirty demise like an old house on an eroding slope, nor forced to reinvent itself Dubai-style in order to compete with Silicon Valley or Manhattan. The Midwest's future is rooted very much in its past--but with some important updates.

What do we mean? For starters, this means capitalizing on Americans' desire to reside where the cost of living and doing business is favorable. As the last Census showed, Americans move in droves to regions where the cost of living is low, businesses face fewer obstacles, and workers have choices. As Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin have shown, this goes for 25- to 35-year-olds as well as 55- to 65-year-olds. People want options and a good quality of life at a price they can afford.

In the Midwest, these trends have favored placed like Columbus, Ohio . . . .

Noting that 83% of manufacturers nationwide complain of "a moderate or severe shortage of skilled production workers," the authors suggest that the Midwest is on the verge of a "new industrial paradigm," which will be "characterized by a blend of heavy manufacturing, new technology, a more highly educated industrial labor base, and lighter labor restrictions." That last factor is a reference to labor law reforms such as the recent movement to quell labor unions and establish "right-to-work" states.

When you add to all of this the new energy sources discovered in some parts of the Midwest--such as new finds in Utica shale in Ohio--a new industrial paradigm in the region could end up being a large source of new wealth creation in the coming generation.

Let us hope that Ohio may provide the model by which to lead America from economic malaise. But to do so, those who are opposed to labor reform and who wish to suppress natural gas production will have to be defeated. Unions and environmentalists - that is, Democrats - continue to prioritize self-interest and disfavored ideologies above economic recovery. One hopes that these factors will influence voters in Ohio, the Midwest and throughout America in November.

Categories > Economy

Discussions - 4 Comments

While I agree in part, I respectfully dissent.

"But to do so, those who are opposed to labor reform and who wish to suppress natural gas production will have to be defeated."

In my opinion both labor law and natural gas production are best seen not as ideological principles, but as values which fluctuate as a result of leverage.

From time to time labor unions may overreach and be a negative or a drain. But the power of workers to have a say about wages, hours and working conditions is fundamentally Madisonian pace Federalist 51. If corporations were angels labor unions would not be necessary.

In this sense Karl Marx's predictions about Capitalism stand along side those of the ancients who said that a Republic could not be large. Madisonian legal tinkering has at the least thrown up internal and external controls which pits self interest against self interest.

The leverage in the Natural Gas Market is similar to the leverage against labor unions. Supply of workers and Supply of Natural Gas currently exceeds demand.

Drilling for more Natural Gas makes no sense, in part because in order to store it you will have to put it back into the ground, when you put it back into the ground you loose a good chunk of the Natural Gas just to get the right compression.

Drilling for Natural Gas makes economic sense, in part because a barrel of oil is worth so much.

What Ohio needs are some LNG plants. Ohio, Michigan and Indiana could also manufacture Trucks which run on Natural Gas. Why an ohio politician has not addopted some variation of the T Boone Pickens plan is beyond me.

As it stands however those who wish to supress natural gas production are the very companies that produce it.

In a similar fashion the very folks who oppose Labor reform are the folks who produce it. i.e. Labor.

Those who want to increase natural gas production are the very companies that consume it.

Those who support Labor reform are the folks who consume it.

Both Labor and Natural Gas producers favor policies which increase demand for the commodities.

No one in Ohio is going to agree with you that either wages hours and working conditions are too generous or that Natural Gas is too expensive.

If Columbus Ohio is flourishing it is because being a state capital it benefits from public sector labor law which is more just. In addition it has many firms which use natural gas as an imput in production.

Both Labor and Natural Gas producers agree that more cities should look like Columbus Ohio:)

I actually agree with Joel Kotkin, but as Craig might point out you distort his message.

It is good to see someone start to incorporate trademark and copyright into this sort of analysis.

I am pretty sure he is a geographical economist.

Additional factors in favor of the midwest.

Property values in the midwest are an incredible bargain.
What is more we are going to continue deficit spending.

This will drive up property values. But where?

If China doesn't like it, then it can turn those dollars into american goods.

If the U.S. ever closes its trade deficit, the main benneficiary will be the american manufacturing sector.

The midwest has more or less been screwed since 1971 when we fell off the gold standard. The nation as a whole has bennefited because we could turn fiat money into actual goods (from China or Japan).

But if we ever reverse the fiat money for actual goods trend, the nation as a whole will suffer, as the manufacturing sectors booms.

That is the Midwest is like a really really shorted stock. Folks don't realize that you can have bubbles of deflation and devaluation as well as bubbles of euphoria. BUT you can!

I am on the record considering a great majority of the unionized occupations as underpaid.

I consider the Trade deficit more or less like a percentage of the float sold short against the Midwest.

I really want to provoke China into launching the short squeeze.

Pop that Manufacturing Index 50% YOY, for 5 years and see what happens.

Not only should Midwestern Politicians be pro-labor and pro-natural gas, they should also be pro-deficit.

They actually need to be just about the opposite of Paul Ryan.

I am sure Paul Ryan is representing some economic interest, but it isn't that of the Midwest.

I live in the Stupid State, which is now the symbol of failed Marxism, socialism and communism.

The Stupid State is bleeding from all sides - 4 million people have left the Stupid State in the past 5 years - most of them the wealthy capitalists who foot the bill for everyone. Businesses have been regulated to death by over 600 Marxist regulatory agencies helped push Apple Computer's (the richest company in the world) to move a new facility that would hire over 3,600 people to Austin, Texas. There is an over abundance of oil and gas in the Stupid State, but drilling is off limits because the rich Marxists that control California are members of the Sierra Club and believe in the Global Warming Religion. Of course the President of the Sierra Club in California has a 7,500 square fooot REDWOOD deck around his house - Do as I say, not as I do (very Marxist). The members of the Global Warming Religion in the Stupid State have also cut off water from the Delta in the northern part of the Stupid State to the central part of the Stupid State which at one time produce over half of the food crops for the United States. The Stupid State now imports a great deal of their food from Mexico and South America in order to save the planet. The Stupid State is the second most heavily taxed state second to the other Stupid State - Home base for the Most Intelligent President ever - lllinois. We have the crappiest schools and owe over $500 billion in pension money to the Teacher's Union and the Prison Guard Union. The Stupid State consequently has the third worse school system in the United States and the worst prison system in the United States. And what does Governor Moonbean, the queen of Marxism and socialism desire to do to fix this problem: Well, just throw more Marxism after it - TAX THE RICH!

Yes, Marxism, socialism. communism, progressivism and liberalism all bundled into one train of thought and what do you get: The Stupid State.

The problem is, people run instead of fight. Ultimately socialism must be faced down, not escaped from. Pretty soon there will be no place left to run.

And labor unions are dead-weight that destroys any society that tolerates their monopolies. I think it should be the law that all firms must have two or more representative unions (or none at all). And NO public sector unions, period.

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