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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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Taking it from the macro to the micro, is it Rahm Emanuel's job to manage the decline of Chicago? It is the hub of the region of the country most impacted by the trend you mention, has been bleeding population and jobs, has a less dense talent pool that many competing regions, and a dire fiscal crisis as recent Ravitch-Volker report shows.

This sounds a lot like Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech, to which, of course, the reply was "Morning in America".
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Legal Latino immigration and legalized "illegal immigrants" (some form of Dream Act) may be the next generation's "Morning in America" moment.

I guess my other piece didn't make it through so will try again.

I think the series has been great. I'm more optimistic though. We definitely have huge challenges to be sure, but the US has been down before (such as in the 70s stagflation era) and came back. A few strengths we possess:

- Other countries that have been going strong face their own huge challenges, especially demographic ones.
- The Harvard US Competitiveness Initiative research found that the US remained tops and was actually getting stronger in a lot of areas such as innovation and universities.
- Fracking and other technologies are producing a natural resources boom that should keep some energy prices lower and potentially eliminate our dependence on foreign energy. That would be huge.
- The fiscal crisis in state and local government has actually promoted real reform in many cases. This might act like a forest fire in clearing out some of the deadwood activities and rules to make way for healthier growth in the right things in the future.
- Many communities have been investing in the right things and transformation, even in the Midwest
- Our unparalleled ability to attract and integrate immigrants is a huge plus. The visa issue around graduates and such is almost sure to get fixed after the election.

Still many challenges to be sure, but I don't think we're doomed to decline.

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