Good piece in the WSJ about the crashing economy in the south. Some key points:
The American South spent much of the past century trying to overcome its position as the country’s poorest and least-developed region, with considerable success: By the 2009 recession it had nearly caught up economically with its northern and western neighbors.
That trend has now reversed. Since 2009, the South’s convergence has turned to divergence, as the region recorded the country’s slowest growth in output and wages, the lowest labor-force participation rate and the highest unemployment rate.***
To diversify and lure manufacturing, southern states, starting with Arkansas in 1947, began passing right-to-work laws that weakened unions and kept taxes lower than in the wealthier North. And they spent less, especially on education: an average of $1,869 per student in 2009 dollars, in 1960, compared with $2,741 nationwide, according to the Education Department. In part, this reflected the long shadow of slavery. In the Jim Crow era white taxpayers and politicians resisted spending that benefited blacks, according to historians.***
Many economists say the most effective way for the South to regain its momentum would be to invest more in education, which would over time create a more skilled workforce to attract employers. But Mississippi State University economist Alan Barefield notes that is difficult to reconcile with southern states’ historic desire to keep spending and taxes low.
Basically, it’s like a precursor of the MBA strategy for most businesses- they squeezed as much short term profit as possible by lowering taxes and refusing to invest, and now, after having eaten their seed corn (in this case, the people), there is nothing left.
It goes without saying that Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. BTW- if it is not patently obvious to you, I am Warren/Harris all the way this primary.