Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: Remember Richard Cheney?

I am genuinely confused here: Do we have an "eastern heartland" problem? Or do we have a "prime age male joblessness" problem? Those two problems would seem to me to call for different kinds of responses. yet Summers, Glaeser, and Austin are smooshing them into one: Edward L. Glaeser, Lawrence H. Summers and Ben Austin: A Rescue Plan for a Jobs Crisis in the Heartland: "In Flint, Mich., over 35 percent of prime-aged men—between 25 and 54—are not employed...

...In Charleston, W.Va., the joblessness rate for this group is 25 percent. These places represent some of the more extreme examples of what may be America’s largest and least understood social problem: the rise of prime-aged male joblessness, which has reached over 15 percent for most of the past decade from under 6 percent for all of the late 1960s....

The Eastern Heartland['s]... relative G.D.P. would have been more than 50 percent higher had it grown at the rate of America’s Coastal states....

The earned-income tax credit has been effectively promoting employment for over 40 years, but its design makes it poorly suited to fighting the ocean of male joblessness..."

And I am confused about the geography. Pennsylvania is not a coastal state. And I would assign Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa to the "eastern heartland"—i.e., the midwest plus the non-seaboard south—rather than to the "western heartland". And the "western heartland" seems to me to be Texas-Arizona-Colorado (40 million total, and Colorado is very different from the other two) plus a whole bunch of other places that are very different and add up to only half as many people.

Opinion A Rescue Plan for a Jobs Crisis in the Heartland The New York Times

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