Lofgren's main criticism of Lauk's book revolves around retrograde Republican policies that purposly gave the Midwest the short end of the economic stick, but gave the heartland plenty of regressive social policy ...
Statehouses all over the Midwest have been taken over by legislators so stultified by the dominant atmosphere of social regression that they are incapable of thinking of any aspect of public policy aside from abortion restrictions.
The Missouri legislature seems to have nothing better to do than dream up dozens of ever-weirder abortion laws.
This from the state that sired Harry Truman, Thomas Hart Benton, and T.S. Eliot.
What has happened to the Midwest has been replicated in the regions of other developed countries with declining industries.
The fading ore and steel-producing regions of northeastern France opted for the National Front in recent elections.
The old industrial north of England, weakening since the shipbuilding and textile crash of the 1920s, chose UKIP and Brexit.
The worn-out industrial and coal-mining region of Silesia in Poland hopes for improvement from the proto-fascist Law and Justice Party.
And that is the principal flaw of Lauck's thesis.
The topics that Lauck writes about -- the cultural and intellectual trends of a region -- must at some basic level be influenced by the industrial or commercial changes in the society that gave rise to those trends.
That perspective is absent in Lauck's book.
A book about the decline of the Midwest in the 20th century should have given more reference to the epic industrial collapse and political transformation that has taken place.
Along with these misfortunes, massive changes in the federal regulatory structure over the last several decades have severely handicapped the region's competitiveness with the coastal centers.
All these adverse trends have resulted in the almost surreal physical aspect of post-industrial Detroit, Youngstown, Gary, and other cities.
They resemble the bombed-out wastelands of defeated Germany in 1945.
I did not leave Ohio because it had been derided by H.L. Mencken and a bunch of Eastern snobs.
I left because jobs were scarce and unremunerative.
Summit County, once a beacon of prosperity, now ranks 519th among American counties by median household income, well below the national average.
The post-industrial squalor that blights much of the Midwest is now reaching a tipping point of near-societal collapse.
Our recent fiscal policies since 2001 show we've spent nearly $30 trillion on: two Bush Cuts, the Iraq War, Medicare Part D, bailing out Wall Street, Obama's Stimulus, and now Trump's tax cuts for already record profit making corporations ...
At least Obama's 2009 stimulus came at a time when the tanking economy he inherited needed the requisite goosing to keep America's economy afloat and to eventually recover.
All other spending has been a monumental (or monstrous, take your pick) waste.
No one can ever convince me that the money, in even modest amounts (we're talking tens of trillions of dollars!) could not have been aimed at revitalizing the Midwest due to higher national priorities.
As someone born and raised in the Midwest (and has moved back there to work and live), I resent this willful apathy/disregard/negligence to the overall well-being of the region -- it doesn't take a genius to understand causal relationship between very little hope for dignified livelihoods and plenty of opoiod overdose deaths.