Our nation’s Rust Belt, also known as the Manufacturing Belt or the Factory Belt, is an area in parts of the Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic States, and portions of the eastern Midwest. Due to our nation’s severe economic downturn, these cities have suffered stark unemployment numbers and seen many of its residents pack up and leave.
2010 census figures reveal states in much of the Midwest and Northeast have been overshadowed in population growth by the South and West. Due to these dismal population figures, some of these Rust-Belt states will lose political clout along with their ability to attract government money and jobs.
Michigan, the only American state to suffer a population decline over the past decade, is now surrounded by a region with feeble growth rate of 3 percent in the Northeast and 4 percent in the Midwest. Our nation’s Southern and West regions would see growth rate results 4 times larger than our Northeast and Midwest.
Louisiana, one of 10 states to lose a Congressional seat due to census rules, is the only state losing a House seat that is not in the Midwest or Northeast.
Ohio and New York will forfeit two seats each. Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania each lose one.
With New York’s House delegation declining to 27 members, this will be the smallest NY delegation since 1823.
Terry Jones, a political scientist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, stated that a lack of Congressional clout can affect the region’s economy including farm subsidies, mileage standards for Detroit’s automobiles, and even the location of military installations and awarding of defense contracts.
With more than 140 federal programs, created to distribute money according to census data, these Northern states may not be able to depend on available cash for highway construction, housing loans, education, unemployment insurance, health care and more.
There is a bureaucratic glimmer of hope for Michigan. Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan will be a leader on the Ways and Means Committee, and Sander Levin, also of Michigan, will be the committee’s ranking democrat. The Energy and Commerce panel, an influential group, will be headed by Michigan republican Fred Upton.
“If you had a choice between having 10 more seats overall but no chairmanships, or having fewer seats but the ability to set the agenda on some of the most powerful committees in the House, you might well pick the latter,” Ornstein said.
“Public officials can’t do anything about the weather, but they can improve the business climate”, said Dana Johnson, Chicago-based chief economist for Comerica Bank.
“The reality is that businesses have tended to move to parts of the country where regulation is less intense, taxes can be lower and the union tradition is less prevalent,” Johnson said.