The Blue State Blues

At the very moment of blue state electoral triumph, it is the blue states that suffer most from the economic downturn, with the worst prospects of recovery.

The Blue-State Meltdown and the Collapse of the Chicago Model. Joel Kotkin of the American Enterprise Institute examines what ails the blue states, how the ordinary people in those states have been ill served by their leadership and how they how they saw Obama as their saviour. It isn't working out very well for those who thought a Democrat administration would invest in badly needed infrastructure in Blue states neglected by a Republican president and twelve years of Republican congressional control. The stimulus money isn't going towards badly needed infrastructure. It is going for more of the same pet causes of the post industrial elites and public employee unions as the prospect of tax increases on the middle and upper middle class to pay for it all looms large. 

Hope' may still sell among media pundits and café society, but the bad economy, increasingly now Obama's, is causing serious pain to millions of ordinary people who happen to live in the left-leaning part of America.

What caught my eye the most, was the section The Chicago Model: Obama's ‘Closed Circle'  In it Kotkin notes something I wrote about recently, how the white middle class continues to flee Chicago because the corrupt political machine does not serve their needs.  Kotkin quotes University of Illinois political scientist Dick Simpson, who was a two term alderman in opposition to Mayor Richard J. Daley in the 1970's, about how the system builds exceptional media skills and election cycle discipline among the political class but fails to work out well for the rest of the population.  Simpson notes.

"The principal problem is that the machine is not subject to democracy...."

Middle America's outrage over how the stimulus bill was jammed through without sufficient debate should have served as a warning.  That the administation is still insisting on ramming through health care suggests that things will not improve anytime soon.  

Kotkin talks about what is needed to wrest control  of the blue states from the twin axis of the highly unionized public employees and the "creative economy", the very high end private sector jobs that involve the manipulation of abstract concepts that controls the media and financial sectors as well as academia. The economic priorities of these groups have led to higher taxes and increased economic regulation that has stunted economic growth in the Northeast, the Rust Belt and California as well as creating an underfunded public pension nightmare.   With the Obama administration actively striving to bring many of these same policies to the rest of the nation, a phrase I saw in the comment section at the blog Belmont Club  sums up what the next few years may have in store for America.  This may be shaping up to be a Cold Civil War between what Kotkin calls "the bastions of the gentry" in Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Franscisco, their allies on campuses and in public employee unions and the rest of America.  
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