A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal from David Beito and Daniel J. Smith, which compared the post-tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, Missouri to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is illustrative. According to Beito and Smith, “Joplin is enjoying a renaissance while Tuscaloosa’s recovery has stalled.” Why? Whereas Tuscaloosa has pursued central planning and federal aid, Joplin has taken a decentralized, bottom-up approach that has enabled local businesses to spur the recovery.
Beito and Smith conclude:
In an age of mounting deficits and limited federal attention spans, hoping for more subsidies from Washington, D.C. is a risky bet at best. Joplin’s safer wager is in the good sense and independently generated resources of those individuals and businesses most directly affected by nature’s fury.
Detroit and other cities that are in financial trouble should take note.