Recently I was watching ESPN U's Coverage of National Signing Day for High School Seniors for College Football. One of the announcers who also happened to be an Ohio State graduate began to talk about why many of the best players come from the south and west and he blurted out- because all the older areas of the country have lost their manufacturing bases and populations and so sick people cannot produce good football players.
It was an unwelcomed reality check amid something that I am sure ESPN did not wish to become political. But this comment brings be back to the website that is featured on the top of this blog comparing Hiroshima to Detroit, Michigan.
Hiroshima along with Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Tokyo have been rebuilt from ruins and today those cities are places with levels of infrastructure and industry that no American city can even hope to attain. In both Japan and Germany a decision was made after the war to build public institutions. In the US for over 40 years the choice has been to "let the market dictate". The result of letting the market dictate is Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, St Louis, Missouri, and other formerly great cities that are now empty shells with less than half their populations. The reason for this most conservatives would lead you to believe is that the free market made these places obsolete and they could not keep up.
The truth is that a conscious decision was made. Newt Gingrich said in 1982 that Alvin Toffler's vision for the future where most American's would be "knowledge workers" was our destiny. The result of this is that the American fabric had been torn asunder. The knowledge workers dwell in southern states, a few urban cities of the north and university towns while huge swathes of the American landscape have become like Michigan and Upstate New York. Empty and destroyed. Smaller towns like Newton, Iowa and Galesburg, Illinois have seen a huge decline with the closing of factories places like this that were middle class towns are now devistated by Meth and Unemployment.
So who won World War 2?
The Big Corporations did.
In 1945 most states outside the South had good, free or cheap universities. Good public schools, manufacturing jobs, and the world's best infrastructure. We had so much money that we could afford to make the swamps and deserts of the south and west habitable. We transfered huge amounts of wealth to build cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Las Vegas. Big corporations did not want to pay the taxes needed to support this growth and so unlike the Europeans and the Japanese we began to neglect our great cities.
Just go to Detroit,Buffalo, Cleveland, most of New York City, Chicago outside of the rich areas, St Louis, Cincinnati or Philadelphia and compare them to any city in Europe or many new places in China and ask yourself what is wrong with this picture?
I think that President Obama has elicited so much vitriol because he has dared to ask these questions. The Republicans believe that it is because of Unions and Liberals that Detroit declined. The fact is it was corporate America that decided that they did not want to bargain collectively and they did not want to build their communities and moved jobs first to the south and then to China and they caused all of this and now they are complaining because Americans are not buying anything?
It makes you wonder and now a whole generation of "knowledge workers" are out there looking for jobs and the curtain is removed to show what a lie it all was.