Saturday, December 1, 2018

Improving economic opportunities in regions left behind

In the US, “A rising tide raises all boats” has been used to justify unfettered growth in certain areas. The maxim might have been true at one point in our history but research shows it’s no longer the case. This economic inequality, I believe, is central to our political schism, reflected in the 2016 presidential election both in Trump and Bernie Sanders. They just had widely different perspectives on how to fix it.

You might assume these disparities are a recent phenomenon, triggered by the Great Recession that began in 2008. But economists who’ve studied the problem have found that its roots go back decades. Before 1980, there were richer and poorer areas of the United States, but income growth tended to be roughly equivalent, and the regions were even converging. But starting around 1980, that trend reversed. Some cities and communities, primarily on the coasts, continued to add jobs and increase wealth. Other cities and communities, often in the heartland or dependent on industry, began to stagnate or decline.

A bipartisan group of business leaders and policy makers have convened to come up with solutions. They have developed 9 strategies to spread economic prosperity more equitably across the country, whic might heal some of the divide.

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