Obama's Midwest Strategy Takes Shape
March 18, 2011

I've been arguing that the question of what President Obama needs to do to win the Midwest next year is quickly being answered by the region's wildly unpopular Republican governors, who are trashing the party's reputation.

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).

Are Republicans Blowing Their Midwest Chance?
March 15, 2011

I've debated with Bill Galston whether or not Ohio has some singular importance to President Obama's reelection chances. (I say no -- it's getting more Republican while other states have grown more Democratic.) But the Midwest in general is certainly very important. And clearly, doing better in Ohio is better than doing worse. So it's pretty interesting that Republican governor John Kasich is already incredibly unpopular in Ohio, running 15 percentage points behind Ted Strickland, who he narrowly beat last November.

Bill Daley's Seediest Exploit
January 06, 2011

[Guest post by James Downie] Most of the media attention on Bill Daley’s corporate ties has focused on his time as a JP Morgan executive, but his record at his prior job, as president of SBC Communications, is perhaps more worrisome. Hired as the company’s president in late 2001, after chairing Al Gore’s presidential campaign, Daley told The New York Times, “[P]olitics is not something I will be involved in other than as a citizen voting.” But as the trade journal Telephony wrote: The Bell company has lousy relationships with many state regulators and little Democratic support in Congress.

We Almost Lost Detroit
August 02, 2010

Washington—Who could have imagined that the bailout of the auto industry, one of the single most unpopular moves by the Obama administration, would become one of its best talking points? But don't for an instant imagine that the comeback of the nation's rescued car companies, particularly General Motors, will change the way we debate government's role in the economy.

Financial Excess Still Claiming Car Country Casualties
May 21, 2010

In Michael Lewis’ disturbing but illuminating book unearthing the machinations behind the global financial crisis, The Big Short, one of the Wall Street investors enmeshed in creating the web of sub-prime mortgage-backed securities and related derivatives reports on how he knew the bubble was going to burst.

Jeremiah, American-Style
April 30, 2010

Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch By Eric Miller (Eerdmans, 394 pp., $32) In a moving tribute to Christopher Lasch written shortly after his death in 1994, Dale Vree, a Catholic convert and the editor of the New Oxford Review, wrote that “Calvinism was his true theological inspiration.” Lasch was certainly not one of the faithful.

A Jobless Decade? Depends Where
March 17, 2010

The first decade of this century was a dud for job creation nationwide. With a weak recovery from the 2001 recession followed by the Great Recession, the nation as a whole gained almost no jobs during the decade (actually, there was a 0.3 percent increase). That made the aughts the first decade since the Great Depression without any substantial job growth. But as with so many national statistics, this national average hides enormous regional variation. And since, for most people, job markets are regional, this regional variation really matters for working people.

Ex-Village People
March 05, 2010

However Americans feel about the federal government, they are generally happy with their local governments.  Last month, a CNN poll quantified this disparity: 26 percent of people trust the feds all or most of the time, about a third feel that way about their states, and 52 percent trust their localities. But those warm feelings have a downside: throughout the Northeast and Midwest, there is a profusion of overlapping, duplicative, general and special purpose governments that impose a staggering array of costs. Ohio has 3,800 local government jurisdictions, including 250 cities, 695 villages,

The World Without Obama
February 19, 2010

If you've been watching the hit TV show "Lost,"then you're familiar with the concept of parallel universes. That is, alternate realities in which history turned out differently, because people made different decisions. It's a useful concept when it comes to thinking about President Obama's current predicament.