John Austin

Boosting the Great Lakes International Economy
July 18, 2011

The regions on both sides of the Great Lakes international border need to team up to strengthen their highly integrated economies. That was the conclusion of over 250 public and private leaders from both the United States and Canada recently brought together by Brookings and the University of Toronto Mowat Centre in Detroit-Windsor. The tone was set by Bruce Katz’s keynote--where he pressed for international metro action to expand exports and encouraged the industrial Great Lakes to seize and lead the low-carbon, clean-tech economy. Overall, two topics dominated discussion by delegates as ripe

Does the Auto Bailout Have Lessons for the Midwest's Public Sector Unions?
March 17, 2011

It is not surprising that the focus of the fighting around public employee benefits and collective bargaining is in the industrial Midwest. As noted in the Brookings report The Vital Center: “Today’s employee benefit, job, and income security systems, like so many of the nation’s economic and social practices, were forged in the Midwest." These states have the most to gain economically by modernizing the social compact between the worker, the state, and employer (particularly where the latter two are one and the same).

Michigan Looks Outward to Reboot Economy
January 24, 2011

Following an export-oriented week in Washington--with China’s president visiting, a new White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness created, and capped by an Obama visit to a GE plant in Schenectady New York--new Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s first State of the State message  took a similar “think globally, act locally” tack.  Snyder’s proposals for increased exports, export-boosting infrastructure, and welcoming immigrant talent to reinvent Michigan’s economy showed how governors can pragmatically boost their state’s economic fortunes by increasing international trade and global connect

Michigan’s Sunny Pragmatist
January 05, 2011

Theater is an important element of politics, and the show that Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder orchestrated for his inauguration was encouraging.   Two-thirds of the incoming state legislature is new, among them many tea-partiers.

In Lansing, the Incoming Governor Plans to ‘Cut to Invest’
December 17, 2010

At an event carefully choreographed by Michigan’s incoming Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s transition team--a parade of corporate, civic, and political leaders previewed and validated the Snyder agenda, calling for big changes in government service delivery to save money and promote a more competitive business climate; while also calling for strategic investments in education, infrastructure, and Michigan’s metro regions as engines of the next economy. The Center for Michigan, a centrist “think and do tank” created by retired newspaper publisher Phil Power, and Business Leaders for Michigan

Mid-America’s Might
September 27, 2010

As seen here on the Avenue, our colleagues have been hammering on the fact that, just as the nation’s metropolitan areas went into the Great Recession carrying their own unique economic baggage, so too, are they are emerging from it differentially equipped to participate in the economy to come. The metros of Great Lakes, region, for example, did not enter the crisis on the housing and finance-fueled bubble that “popped” the economies of many metros in the south and west.

More Oil Spills Grim Reminders of Needed Energy Revolution
September 22, 2010

This week we got news the Gulf oil spill was done, finally. Last week another oil pipe broke outside Chicago.

Beyond Auto Exports in the Great Lakes
August 25, 2010

What the Great Lakes region exports to the world now is, mostly, cars. But its rich network of universities and medical complexes may be one of the best bets for its export future. A recently released University Research Center report documents how Michigan’s leading universities are helping to move its manufacturing base to more diverse and higher end advanced products in energy components, pharmaceuticals, sensors, circuits and robotics.

Old School: Land Grant Universities in the Global Economy
August 05, 2010

In places like Michigan, where the loss of auto and other manufacturing jobs has been so numerous and painful, China is viewed as a job-stealing, economy-weakening threat. But in Lansing, Michigan State University is the fulcrum of new business, research, and learning partnerships that are bringing Chinese spending, investors, and, thus, new jobs to mid-Michigan--and a new round of increased diversity and immigrant-led economic renewal to the local community. Leading science and technical universities, such as MSU, have always been a draw for foreign students.

Michigan’s Troubled Bridge Over Trade Waters
June 28, 2010

Regular readers of the Avenue have seen this blog more than once make the case for a national infrastructure policy, focused on strategic investments that boost our competitiveness in a global economy. We recognize that repetition doesn’t necessarily make the national infrastructure debate seem any less wonkish or abstract.