Everyone Failed the Rust Belt (‘U.S. News & World Report’)



The Michigan primary made him realize how “both political parties are failing workers left behind in our post-industrial economy,” writes Dartmouth’s Charles Wheelan ’88 in a U.S. News & World Report opinion piece.

Wheelan is a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics.

However, he writes, “Before going there, let’s stipulate a few things: 1. Michigan and other ‘rust belt’ states have been hit hard by the prevailing economic forces of the last four decades. 2. One of those forces is foreign competition, which has steadily eroded the dominance of the ‘big three’ American automakers. (Autoworkers have been further harmed by the rise of technology, which favors skill over brawn and has made it possible to manufacture everything with less human input.) 3. Detroit and Flint are what happens when jobs disappear on a massive scale.

“So regardless of one’s views on international trade, there is no denying that foreign competition has been a bad thing for a lot of families in Michigan and the industrial Midwest. Hence the importance of trade in the current campaign. But let’s leave aside Hillary and Bernie and Donald for a moment. Instead, let’s look backward, because that is where the real insight lies.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 3/14/16 by U.S. News & World Report.

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