Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, January 07, 2018

Migration is a common story throughout the world. Immigrants move from Poland to the United Kingdom, or India to Singapore, or the Philippines to Japan in search of better prospects. Rural migrants leave the indigence of farm life for the bustle of China's big cities. And in the U.S., people are always moving around the country as well as immigrating from overseas. My own parents moved from the Midwest to Texas. This constant churning serves a key function in the economy. Labor is reallocated from declining regions to growing ones, and from sunset industries to young and expanding ones. It's not just workers and industries who benefit -- the entire economy gains from more efficient patterns of development.

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This is especially important in the U.S. right now, since smaller cities are in decline. With fewer Americans employed in agriculture or old-line manufacturing, and with the rise of knowledge work and global supply chains, it probably makes sense for the country to have fewer, larger cities. That change will require a lot of people moving.

But in recent years the great American tradition of migration is under threat. Workers in a wide variety of occupations are moving less than they used to.

It's interesting to debate the causes of low mobility, but in the end, the real question is whether helping people move will improve their economic situation. For years, economists have been evaluating -- or creating -- programs that give poor people vouchers to relocate. The results are somewhat encouraging.

The most prominent relocation experiment was the Moving to Opportunity program. In the 1990s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development gave randomly selected poor families from Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City housing vouchers that could be used to move to neighborhoods with lower levels of poverty. A decade and a half later, economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Lawrence Katz evaluated the program, and found that it yielded strong benefits for younger children in terms of future income, education, and family stability. Other effects were more ambiguous -- the program didn't result in higher earnings for the adults who moved, though their mental health probably did improve.

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Given these encouraging results, it makes sense for the U.S. to experiment with more pro-mobility policies. One idea is to provide big relocation vouchers at the federal level during recessions, to encourage laid-off workers to move around the country. Another is to make sure that housing vouchers allow poor people to move to better neighborhoods -- a policy that's already being implemented in some cities. A final idea is to create systems of relocation insurance at the city, state or federal level, similar to unemployment insurance, so that poor people displaced by a local recession or rising rents can move to a better place with less of a life disruption.

Well, vouchers are certainly a more friendly incentive than a "Trail of Tears" type program.

#1 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-01-06 12:18 PM | Reply

Sorry, but Cubans build styrofoam boats and paddle to the Keys .... they aren't looking for a hand out.

People cross the border without a penny to their name or a shirt on their back.

Women travel from central America being raped along the way, they aren't looking for a handout.

I am not advocating any of the above for the literalist out there, just comparing true need versus the "poor me" snowflurries ...

Americans are such snowflakes.....

#2 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2018-01-06 12:36 PM | Reply

People would have to be interested in moving in order for a program like this to work. What's missing for is that motivation to succeed.

#3 | Posted by madbomber at 2018-01-06 01:30 PM | Reply

Per the link ...

The opening scene of "The Karate Kid" left a big impression on me.

A struggling, working-class single mom in New Jersey packs her family and all of her worldly possessions into a green station wagon and heads west to California in search of a better life.

As a child who had only ever known one town, I was astonished by the notion that you could move across the entire country on a wing and a prayer like that.


We're now getting words of economic wisdom from The Karate Kid ????

How about our elected politicians simply having the guts to enact policies that are opposite of what created this mess in the first place.

#4 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-01-06 02:00 PM | Reply

POSTED BY PINCHALOAF

In writing, there is a concept of crafting a relatable and engaging lede before presenting an argument.

#5 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-01-06 02:24 PM | Reply

In writing, there is a concept of crafting a relatable and engaging lede before presenting an argument.

#5 | POSTED BY GONOLES92

How dainty

If corporations want people willing to move across country looking for jobs ... like some dopey and schlocky 1980's movie starring Ralph Macchio, lol ... then try offering decent family-sized-sustaining jobs with REAL benefits.

Of course, in order for corporations to do that they have to start re-investing profits in R&D and workers instead of pocketing the profits.

And economists show that since 2003 corporations are pocketing 91% of their profits as compared to only investing 9% in workers.

Why would anyone uproot a family and move across country for a job that won't sustain a family and has minimal benefits?

People can stay right where they're at for the same crappy jobs.

#6 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-01-06 03:06 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"If corporations want people willing to move across country looking for jobs ... like some dopey and schlocky 1980's movie starring Ralph Macchio, lol ... then try offering decent family-sized-sustaining jobs with REAL benefits."

They do. This article seemed to be addressing workers the corporations didn't really need. When it comes to unskilled labor, we're all 100% fully qualified.

#7 | Posted by madbomber at 2018-01-06 04:51 PM | Reply

If you have a two income family, it becomes much more difficult to move for a job. If one spouse has a job and the other doesn't it does the family no good to move as one spouse would then have to quit their job. I see this less of a motivation for work problem, and more to do with the fact that it is difficult for a family to live on a single wage nowadays.

#8 | Posted by schmanch at 2018-01-06 05:00 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 6

#6 - That goes straight to my point for skilled professionals. My wife and I both have jobs, either one of us could find better jobs if we were willing to move, but as a family we would most likely end up making less money as one of us would probably end up in a lower paying job after we moved.

#9 | Posted by schmanch at 2018-01-06 06:34 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Schmanch, "it's easy if you have the motivation to succeed", and the Federal Government foots the moving bill, gives you the job and tells you where to go to work at, and pays for damn near everything in-between. You know...being a self-sufficient Libertarian and all. ;>)

#10 | Posted by madscientist at 2018-01-06 06:41 PM | Reply

Clearly some of silicon valley's jobs need to go elsewhere in Nor Cal.

Employees shouldn't be living in closets or sleeping in cars.

#11 | Posted by Tor at 2018-01-07 11:41 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Well, vouchers are certainly a more friendly incentive than a "Trail of Tears" type program."

Genocide jokes Make America Great Again.

#12 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-01-08 12:40 AM | Reply

"When it comes to unskilled labor, we're all 100% fully qualified."

There's no labor that doesn't require any skills.

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-01-08 12:41 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

Move to Arizona , we get paid in sunshine, hehe.

#14 | Posted by bruceaz at 2018-01-08 12:51 AM | Reply

There is a great difference between other mens' occupations and yours. A glance at theirs will make it clear
to you.

--Epictetus

#15 | Posted by madscientist at 2018-01-08 01:00 AM | Reply

Moving is expensive

Americans move more than other societies, except for the one's we've cruelly displaced.

Endless growth reduces the quality of life and increases the cost.

#16 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-01-08 09:18 AM | Reply

Sorry, but Cubans build styrofoam boats and paddle to the Keys .... they aren't looking for a hand out.
People cross the border without a penny to their name or a shirt on their back.
Women travel from central America being raped along the way, they aren't looking for a handout.
I am not advocating any of the above for the literalist out there, just comparing true need versus the "poor me" snowflurries ...
Americans are such snowflakes.....

#2 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

And I agree completely.

But I would consider two things.

First, many are living paycheck to paycheck or on very limited savings so the relocation may not be financially viable without some assistance.

Second, we can't fundamentally change people. This might be cheaper than continued safety net programs like food stamps and housing assistance. If so, we need to ditch the idealism and get pragmatic.

#17 | Posted by Sycophant at 2018-01-08 12:44 PM | Reply

TO often jobs in distant places require you to do an in person interview and either aren't equipped or are uninterested in a tele interview even if they can see you.

#18 | Posted by Tor at 2018-01-08 01:07 PM | Reply

The biggest issue is risk. You are asking people on the edge of bankruptcy already to give up what little certainty they have for a big fat maybe. There are many homeless people in LA who moved there from elsewhere and failed to find gainful employment quickly.

If there are 50 job openings and 100 people migrate to the location of those jobs then 50 people will be jobless AND in a place where they don't know anyone.

If they can't guarantee a job after the move these programs are set up to fail.

Then the republicans will blame the lazy poor people who moved to where the jobs are but didn't get the job because of simple math

#19 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2018-01-08 01:18 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

I saves the government money for people to be employed.

#20 | Posted by Tor at 2018-01-08 01:31 PM | Reply

LOL It saves the government money for people to be employed.

#21 | Posted by Tor at 2018-01-08 03:26 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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