America is still the land of opportunity, but in a way that has become increasingly concentrated in a shrinking number of locations. Once-thriving regions across the United States are struggling with the collapse of industries and shrinking tax bases. It’s time to get serious about the regional nature of inequality, and push the frontier of research into the issues facing struggling communities, both rural and urban.
Regions on the upswing have the revenue for tax incentives and quality public services, making the region all the more attractive. For struggling regions of the country, collaboration should replace competition, rather than spending scarce time, energy and resources in the usually fruitless struggle to land the few HQ2-like opportunities out there.
For our part, the Struggling Regions Initiative is committed to producing objective evaluations of their impact as data begin to accumulate. Reversing the growing chasm between have – and have-not regions is simply too important for the health of the nation – we cannot afford to approach it with a closed mind.