“Making Michigan the go-to place for the film industry will provide an immediate economic boost, creating jobs and revenues for our state,” said State Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, in a statement Thursday. “Working together, we drafted an outstanding package to attract this dynamic industry and fight the brain drain that sends too many of our young people to Los Angeles and New York.”
Representative Meisner hits all the right notes, appealing to the misplaced anxiety about out-migration. But the policy proposal is an example of what is wrong with the Rust Belt, namely the willful ignorance of what is going on in the region. Michigan will compete with Pittsburgh, perhaps Cleveland and even Toronto. So, add the film industry to the growing list of Rust Belt state or shrinking city projects to develop the same economic cluster.
Richard Longworth is proposing a regional institute to address such counterproductive practices. The "Global Midwest" would choose one location to compete with New York or Los Angeles in attempt to grab a significant market share of the film industry. Talent that stays within the region (better yet, attracting talent from outside the region) instead of going to one of the global capitals of entertainment is a win for the entire Rust Belt.