As Bloomberg recently reported, the combination of joblessness and poverty points to a breakdown in the economic strategy favored by many Southern states, which for years promised low, union-free workplaces to lure industry. That brought jobs, but they didn't pay well, leading to high poverty rates.
But today, the jobs aren't even coming, adding unemployment to the list of economic woes.
Tennessee, for instance, ranks 14th in joblessness and 13th in poverty.
The question is, what can be done to turn this around? I think we're all still hoping there's going to be some quick-fix, easy answer, but I'm not sure there is. We need to be better educated, but that takes time. We need to be a place people want to come and create new jobs, but we have a tendency to be unfriendly to non-tourist outsiders. And we don't really value work. Look at how we treat the people who actually work in our own government. We don't pay them enough to live on, and we're constantly deriding them and threatening their jobs. We've made government employees, including teachers, know we think they suck.
And yet, if we want a robust economy, it's exactly the teachers and the bureaucrats who we'll need to make it happen.
So, there we are. And I fear, there we'll stay.