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Posts Tagged ‘Joel Kotkin’
June 17th, 2013 at 4:33 pm
In the Battle of Ideas, the South is Winning
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Federalism essentially allows us a controlled experiment in which we can examine which policies work and which don’t by examining the contrasts between states that have chosen different paths. The results, as Joel Kotkin notes at the Daily Beast, are pretty lopsided:

The North and South have come to resemble a couple who, although married, dream very different dreams. The South, along with the Plains, is focused on growing its economy, getting rich, and catching up with the North’s cultural and financial hegemons. The Yankee nation, by contrast, is largely concerned with preserving its privileged economic and cultural position—with its elites pulling up the ladder behind themselves.

… While the Northeast and Midwest have become increasingly expensive places for businesses to locate, and cool to most new businesses outside of high-tech, entertainment, and high-end financial services, the South tends to want it all—and is willing to sacrifice tax revenue and regulations to get it. A review of state business climates by CEO Magazine found that eight of the top 10 most business-friendly states, led by Texas, were from the former Confederacy; Unionist strongholds California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts sat at the bottom.

… Over the past five decades, the South has also gained in terms of population as Northern states, and more recently California, have lost momentum. Once a major exporter of people to the Union states, today the migration tide flows the other way. The hegira to the sunbelt continues, as last year the region accounted for six of the top eight states attracting domestic migrants—Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Texas and Florida each gained 250,000 net migrants. The top four losers were New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and California.

There are only two options for the boutique coastal states and the union-dominated interior: emulate the South or be supplanted by it. This should be fun to watch.

February 23rd, 2013 at 8:57 am
Kotkin: New Immigrant Hubs Are in the South

Demographer Joel Kotkin draws attention to a new study on America’s fastest growing immigration hubs, and the results are surprising:

Indeed an analysis of foreign born population by demographer Wendell Cox reveals that the fastest growth in the numbers of newcomers are actually in cities (metropolitan areas) not usually seen as immigrant hubs. The fastest growth in population of foreign born residents–more than doubling over the decade was #1 Nashville, a place more traditionally linked to country music than ethnic diversity. Today besides the Grand Old Opry, the city also boasts the nation’s largest Kurdish population, and a thriving “Little Kurdistan,” as well as growing Mexican, Somali and other immigrant enclaves.

Other cities are equally surprising, including #2 Birmingham, AL; #3 Indianapolis, IN; #4 Louisville, KY and#5 Charlotte, NC, all of which doubled their foreign born population between 2000 and 2011. Right behind them are #6 Richmond, VA, #7 Raleigh, NC, #8 Orlando, Fl, #9 Jacksonville, Fl and #10 Columbus, OH. All these states either voted for Mitt Romney last year or have state governments under Republican control. None easily fit the impression of liberally minded immigrant attracting bastions from only a decade ago.

True, these immigrant-attractive locales don’t fit the stereotype for red state resistance to open borders and amnesty.  But it doesn’t necessarily follow that a red state’s overall population is comfortable with the rapidly changing demographics of its urban centers.  While Kotkin is bullish on the economic benefits of increased immigration to many of the South’s growing metro areas, it will be interesting to see whether these red states can absorb and assimilate their new arrivals in ways that enhance their civic cultures and state budgets, not diminish them.

September 17th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
The Right Kind of Immigration
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In the half-dozen or so years since immigration reform has once again become a major issue, we’ve too often fallen into a false dichotomy between being restrictionist to the point of halting legal immigration on the one hand or throwing open the floodgates to all comers — legal or otherwise — on the other.

Lost in that oversimplification, however, are prudential considerations about what kind of immigrants we should be welcoming. If we’re looking to encourage traditional American virtues, Asian immigrants provide a hopeful example. From Joel Kotkin, writing at the New Geography:

Asia has become the nation’s largest source of newcomers, accounting for some 36% of all immigrants in 2010. Asian immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants tend to be better educated: half of all Asians over 25 have a college degree, almost twice the national average. They earn higher incomes, and, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, are more likely to abide by “traditional” values, with a stronger commitment to family, parenting and marriage than other Americans, and a greater emphasis on education.

“Most Asian immigrants bring with them a healthy respect and aspiration for the American way of life, so I don’t think any immigration alarmists need to be anxious,” notes Thomas Tseng, founding principal at New American Dimensions, a Los Angeles-based marketing firm. “With a large influx of them, you will get a lot of their kids in the school system who are told that getting an education is the surest way for them to succeed in life, a great deal of entrepreneurial energy and new businesses in a region, and most certainly the local restaurant scene will improve.”

Culinary considerations aside, Kotkin and Tseng make an important point. Indeed, why would we consider for a moment admitting immigrants who don’t have a “a healthy respect and aspiration for the American way of life.”?

My point is not to cheerlead for racial preferences that advantage Asian immigrants. In fact, the very idea is reprehensible. The beauty of American citizenship is that it is predicated on principles which are held to be equally accessible to all.

But as our liberal friends so often forget, access is distinct from entitlement. American citizenship should be earned and a dedication to the country’s animating principles — hard work, education, civic and familial virtue — is as good a place as any to start.

We need not say that American needs more Asian immigrants. We may simply say that America needs more immigrants — of any background — who share their values.

November 2nd, 2011 at 1:02 am
More Crony Capitalism in L.A. Football Bid

Recently, Troy wrote an excellent indictment of the latest Los Angeles boondoggle, a debt-laden deal to bring an NFL team to a city with job-killing regulations and 12.5 percent unemployment.

Now, Joel Kotkin echoes Troy’s analysis with more scathing criticisms of the regulations-for-thee-but-not-for-me pay-to-play scandal pushing a publicly financed stadium forward.

Such projects often obscure the real and more complex challenge of nurturing broad-based economic growth. This would require substantive change in a city or regional political culture. Instead the football stadium services two basic political constituencies: large unions and big-time speculators, particularly in the downtown area. The fact that the stadium will be built with union labor, for example, all but guaranteed its approval by the city’s trade union-dominated council.

Downtown developers and “rent-seeking” speculators, the other group behind the project, have siphoned hundreds of millions in tax breaks and public infrastructure in the past decade. They have done so – subsidizing companies from other parts of Los Angeles, entertainment venues and hotels — in the name of a long-held, impossible dream of turning downtown Los Angeles into a mini-Manhattan. Perhaps no company has pushed this more effectively than the stadium developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, a mass developer of generic entertainment districts around the world. AEG has expanded its influence by doling out substantial financial donations to Mayor Villaraigosa and others in the city’s economically clueless political class.

September 16th, 2011 at 4:20 pm
Kotkin, Palin, and the Coming Middle Class Revolt

An interesting critique is starting to surface: Big Government and Big Business are conspiring to enrich themselves at the expense of job and wealth creation for the middle and lower classes.  Demographer Joel Kotkin is noticing it.  So too, is potential GOP presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

As Kotkin notes, grassroots Democrats are noticing that President Barack Obama’s neglect of job creation is costing their members dearly.  (Just ask California Democrat Maxine Waters.)  Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Perry is weakest on the issue of crony capitalism.  Palin’s critique of the Big Business-Big Government axis could expand a core Tea Party theme into a viable national campaign.

Of course, this argument may fizzle, but it’s interesting to see quite different commentators coming out with the same idea.

November 19th, 2010 at 4:38 pm
Joel Kotkin Rakes Green Liberalism, Unions Over the Coals

Demographer Joel Kotkin writes an insightful analysis of the state of modern liberalism for Politico today.  As you probably guessed, the diagnosis isn’t pretty.

Admittedly, Kotkin identifies as an old-school Democrat, the kind that sees the New Deal as a model for curbing unemployment while building the kind of infrastructure that advances civilization and secures votes for a generation.  He is not, however, a fan of the environmental left or public employee unions because they inhibit these kinds of programs for the benefit of insulated elites.

When FDR commissioned projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, he literally brought light to darkened regions. The loyalty created by FDR and Truman built a base of support for liberalism that lasted for nearly a half-century.

Today’s liberals don’t show enthusiasm for airports or dams — or anything that may kick up some dirt. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Deanna Archuleta, for example, promised a Las Vegas audience: “You will never see another federal dam.”

Harold Ickes, FDR’s enterprising interior secretary, must be turning over in his grave.

It’s also well to remember, as Kotkin does, that “In retrospect, it’s easy to see why many great liberals – like FDR and New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia – detested the idea of public-sector unions.”  Indeed.  If Kotkin can kick-start a bipartisan movement to end public employee unions, maybe we can at least get public policy’s focus back on private citizens instead of enriching government workers.

March 31st, 2010 at 12:43 pm
God Bless Texas Cities

When it comes to urban areas, things are not only bigger in Texas, they’re better.  Acclaimed demographer Joel Kotkin highlights the growth of Texas cities, especially Dallas and Houston.  Mixing effective local governments with job growth, these cities are growing at much faster clips than blue hued mega states like California and New York.  And it’s not just for the cheap(er) suburban housing.  Developments like The Trinity Project are attracting new residents while creating lush municipal parkland.

Dallas and other Texas cities substitute the narrow notion of “or”–that is cities can grow only if the suburbs are sufficiently strangled–with a more inclusive notion of “and.” A bigger, wealthier, more important region will have room for all sorts of grand projects that will provide more density and urban amenities.

This approach can be seen in remarkable plans for developing “an urban forest” along the Trinity River, which runs through much of Dallas. The extent of the project–which includes reforestation, white water rafting and restorations of large natural areas–would provide the Dallas region with 10,000 acres of parkland right in the heart of the region. In comparison, New York City’s Central Park, arguably the country’s most iconic urban reserve, covers some 800 acres.

So if you’re thinking about moving to either Texas or New York, would you prefer ten times the parkland, or ten times the budget deficit?