Saturday, November 01, 2008

Save Our Cities!

Responding to Sarah Palin's recent claims that small town America is the "real America," Good Magazine writer, Cliff Kuang, has written an interesting article passionately arguing for a strong urban policy in the next government. He asks,
Is pitting small town against city just another ploy devised to hide distortions on taxes and foreign policy with a grotesque quilt of resentments? And what if that pastoral vision is blatantly false?

Hoopla aside, with the economy sowing so much worry, the town vs. city-issue should be a reminder of an important fact: Towns have not kept our country’s economy vital, no matter what Eleanor Fudd [Sarah Paln] says. Cities have; and they present our best prospects for creating the jobs and prosperity that will pull us out of the economic hole we’re in.

Most Americans simply don’t understand the role that cities play in their own economic well-being...

Kuang goes on to explain the central role of cities as the engines of economic innovation and productivity in the U.S. (cities account for 76 percent of knowledge-economy jobs, 78 percent of all patents, 75 percent of graduate degree holders, 81 percent of R&D employment, and 94 percent all venture funding!) Statistics also make clear that the wealth generated in cities strongly benefits rural America through a federal tax system that redistributes state monies disproportionately to smaller states. So, in fact, our cities are under-served, under-funded, under-appreciated, scorned and too often on the political Right, attacked and condemned as the engine for all that is bad in our society. Kuang concludes that despite the continuing economic struggles of rural Americans, "in the long run, we’ll all suffer if we don’t double down on the places that promise the most return: Cities."


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