Thursday, March 03, 2011

Rust Belt War Within

Ronald Reagan's first term as US President coincided with my middle school years in Upstate New York (near Schenectady). I remember my father reacting in anger to the local news when the issue of taxes were discussed. He framed the problem as Upstate subsidizing the Big Apple. Talk of secession was in the air. A revolt was at hand.

Cities are often at odds with their host states. Within metros are parochial fractures. And once again, the Rust Belt is not at war with the Sun Belt, but itself:

Gov. John Kasich painted a grim economic picture of Ohio on Wednesday night, saying a brain drain and a lack of investments are contributing to the state’s financial woes.

“I’ve come to realize Ohio is under siege. Not from India, but from Indiana,” he told more than 200 people during the Greater Springfield Chamber Annual Meeting and Business Expo at Kuss Auditorium.

Kasich said a third of college graduates are leaving Ohio to go to states such as Indiana, Texas and Illinois.

“Feeling Squeezed by Taxes?” is the tagline on a Northwest Indiana campaign launching Monday in Chicago print and electronic media, and it dovetails with a broader Indiana push rolled out late last month, using the tagline, “Illinnoyed by Higher Taxes?”

The tougher the times, the uglier the rhetoric. Much of this hot air is similar to scapegoating immigrants for economic woes. Ultimately, it is self-defeating. The Rust Belt GOP governors are in a race to the bottom, looking for a bigger piece of a shrinking pie.


Kevin said...

Kasich had a similar message when he spoke at the Greater Cleveland Partnership last month. It's more than a little depressing.

Jim Russell said...

"My competition is not India. My problem is Indiana."

When you don't have a plan, serve up some brain drain red herring.

Jim Russell said...

"We want people to say Ohio's cool again."

Taking a page from Jennifer Granholm's book. Weird.