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City-interior divide afflicts even Connecticut

By in Press Enterprise on July 8, 2017

By James Poulos

Despite the vogue for using social science as the tip of the spear of policymaking — or perhaps because of it — research and evidence often actually trail behind politics. But in so doing they can call into question the whole framing of an issue, especially one carrying a lot of ideological freight or working as an ideological sorting mechanism.

This is what appears to be happening with Connecticut, still broadly assumed to be one of those wealthy blue coastal states insulated from the disorder and discontent of flyover country’s white working class. We now know, however, that the little old state is wracked with problems that underscore a crucial distinction in America’s current troubles.

Rather than a red/blue or heartland/coast divide, the United States is facing a pronounced divide between its cities — or rather a small slice of its cities — and its interior, which increasingly includes not just rural but semi-rural and suburban areas.

Connecticut, according to fresh studies of its gross domestic product, is one of five states (the rest are “interior”) that have yet to recover from the now almost decade-old financial crisis.

“While each of the states has individual obstacles, they illustrate how growth has lagged outside of the nation’s largest cities in New York, California and Florida,” Bloomberg Markets explained. “And though President Donald Trump won some of the states last November after highlighting sectors and regions that have lagged for years — including, for example, coal mining in West Virginia and manufacturing jobs in the Midwest — the pain hasn’t been limited to Republican territory.”

In a new exposé at The Atlantic, Derek Thompson crunches the numbers: “Despite being the richest state in the country, by per-capita income, Connecticut’s budget is a mess. Its pensions are woefully under-funded. Its deficit is projected to surpass $2 billion, or […]    

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