11.4.16

OUR NEIGHBORS ARE NOT HOLDING THEIR OWN.

Last month, we reviewed the Distressed Communities Index, as evidenced by the condition of the neighborhood.  Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel contributors John Lettieri and Steve Glickman
look through the index numbers in Milwaukee, where Hope and Change have not reached Our President's most loyal voters.
Economic growth and recovery has too often failed to reach the neediest communities. In fact, the country's worst-off ZIP codes experienced double-digit losses in employment and business closures while the most prosperous enjoyed booming double-digit growth.

In light of these findings, it is clear why so many Americans feel anxious and disconnected from the overall growth of the U.S. economy. Policy-makers must evaluate how to systematically attract new sources of capital, a new generation of entrepreneurs and new skilled workers to bring economic opportunity back to Wisconsin's distressed communities — and to make sure opportunity endures in more prosperous ones.
The state, as a whole, has "done quite well by many measures," with eight percent of state residents living in distressed neighborhoods as contrasted with the national average of fifteen percent. Perhaps there might be some connection between Wisconsin's governor surviving a recall election and a re-election campaign despite all the efforts of the Angry Left to frustrate his legislative initiatives.  The Peoples Republic of Madison underachieves relative to the state, with 25 percent of the populace living in distressed zip codes.  Milwaukee, now several generations removed from the era of blue collar aristocrats, has 95 percent of its residents living in distressed zip codes.  Here's the interpretation from Messrs. Lettieri and Glickman.  "In Milwaukee, the slow transition to the new industries of the knowledge economy, the lack of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and endemic segregation have contributed to the economic distress of half of the city's ZIP codes."  Some specifics.  My old neighborhood, 53219, is still relatively prosperous, although when I last met up with Milwaukee Hamilton graduates from my time there, I recall none still living in the city.  My grandparents' old neighborhood, 53209, is highly distressed and the most severely distressed tracts are just the other side of Capitol Drive.

But Messrs. Lettieri and Glickman can't do any better than passive-voice wishful thinking when it comes to recommending policy.
Economic growth and recovery has too often failed to reach the neediest communities. In fact, the country's worst-off ZIP codes experienced double-digit losses in employment and business closures while the most prosperous enjoyed booming double-digit growth.

In light of these findings, it is clear why so many Americans feel anxious and disconnected from the overall growth of the U.S. economy. Policy-makers must evaluate how to systematically attract new sources of capital, a new generation of entrepreneurs and new skilled workers to bring economic opportunity back to Wisconsin's distressed communities — and to make sure opportunity endures in more prosperous ones.
Opportunity endures in prosperous communities that continue to respect bourgeois norms.  It flees communities, including formerly prosperous communities, where the mores of the hippie commune and the trailer park prevail.  The tax code matters, yes, but more fundamental things matter more.

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