During the recessions, thousands fled the Dust Bowl. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a massive exodus from the Rust Belt. Today’s recession will also prompt mobility, probably toward more skilled, more centralized cities with less historical commitment to manufacturing. Government policies that try to bolster declining regions would artificially reduce that productivity-enhancing mobility. It would be far wiser to focus on aid that helps poor people rather than to throw money at poor places.
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