Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blue States Will Suffer Under Obama

Back in the Nineties and the Oughties, advanced people were talking about the new "creative" economy. Their notions were boosted by people like Richard Florida in The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life.

The notion was that people that worked in creative occupations were concentrating into creative-friendly "ideopolises" and that these metrosexual cities with their vibrant creative life were the wave of the future.

Obviously, in President Obama the creative class has elected one of their own.

But Joel Kotkin in The Blue-State Meltdown and the Collapse of the Chicago Model asserts that the creative class model is a mirage. Worse, the creative-class illusion is bankrupting the big blue states like New York, California, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.

There's nothing wrong with the idea of creative work becoming more important as we outsource manufacturing to low-wage countries like China and India. The problem arises when blue-state elites privilege themselves and their political supporters and put a thumb on the scales.

The model they develop nurtures a highly-paid creative elite to pay for a large and expensive public sector. New York City is the prime example. Its financial elite pays for the services and the public-sector jobs for which New York is famous.

Left out in this model are all the ordinary people in the middle that work in the private sector at more ordinary jobs. And worst off of all are the workers in the declining industrial sector in the blue states. The creative class has an "instinctive distaste for 'sprawl,' cars, and factories," and its distaste has real-world effects in the anti-business politics of blue states.

Many blue-staters thought that Obama would rescue them from their decline. But that now seems unlikely. Obama "policy is tilting to favor all the basic blue-state economic food groups—public employees, university researchers, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street, and the major urban land interests." The old rust-belt interests need not apply.

Kotkin judges that this Obama tilt will not end happily, not for the blue states at least. The red states will continue to grow because their economies are not suffering so much under the clipping and training and meddling of liberal elites.

One day soon, the old lunch-bucket crowd will understand that the Republican Party best represents its interests. But it seems that they are determined to have one more fling with the Democratic Party and its addiction to political power as the solution to all problems.

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