AHC: Midwest On Par With Southeast

With a POD of roughly 1960, how would the drastic decline of the Midwest be averted and the Southeast sun belt boom moderated. Here's my go at it.

In no particular order:

BIG CHANGES

1. Kennedy Lives in '63, Passes The Torch To Humphrey: Assuming Kennedy doesn't go whole hog in Southeast Asia, the worst of the traumatic events of '68 are avoided. I've always thought that the Vietnam War played the role of both the match and accelerant. You still end up with the difficult times around the Civil Rights Movement, but that dings the South harder than the Midwest.

2. The Southeast Takes Another Decade To Get From Lester Maddox to Jimmy Carter: Kennedy doesn't drive the Civil Rights movement as hard and fast as LBJ. Extremely tense race relations become a drag on economic growth and development in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Florida, and North Carolina.

MIDSIZE CHANGES

3. Humphrey Succeeds In Passing National Healthcare in '69: This produces less of a long term drag on growth for the giant manufacturing concerns throughout the Midwest.

4. Earlier Environmentalism: Lets say Lake Michigan catches on fire in '64 in Chicago, and with Kennedy rather than LBJ in charge, pollution is taken much more seriously. Leads to modestly increased fuel standards for cars, keeps auto manufacturing in Detroit and St. Louis within eyesight of Japan.

SMALLER CHANGES

5. RICO 20 Years Early: Breaks the back of the mob families in Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.

6. Best Federal Goodies End Up In The Midwest: NASA is headquartered in Cleveland, the Centers for Disease Control ends up in St. Louis, the National Institute of Health is in Detroit.

7. McDonnell Douglas Avoids DC-10 Problems: It sells twice as well as it does in OTL, and the increased resources produce an MD-11 twin that sells slightly better than the 777. ITTL, McDonnell Douglas is slightly bigger than Boeing.

8. Coleman Young Dies In Freak Auto Accident in 1968: Young was a one man wrecking machine for the City of Detroit. Avoiding him is a giant leap forward for the Motor City.
 
MDD's big aircraft, including the DC-9, the Death Cruiser 10, and the C-17, were built in Long Beach. The St. Louis factory built fighters, but that would be the same as OTL considering Boeing's use of thise facilities.
 
Kansas City International Airport, dedicated in 1972, was built specifically for larger, more modern planes. Its terminals were never fully utilized and the new single-terminal design, now under construction, represents a contraction of forecast growth expected in the late sixties. The location has space galore.

On another issue, if pollution awareness grows, the water resources of the Great Lakes; Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio and other rivers might become more significant for the expansion of industry.
 
MDD's big aircraft, including the DC-9, the Death Cruiser 10, and the C-17, were built in Long Beach. The St. Louis factory built fighters, but that would be the same as OTL considering Boeing's use of thise facilities.
ITTL to meet surging demand for the MD-11-800/900 and MD-12 hyper long range twin, the decision was made in 2005 to relocate narrowbody production for the MD-90neo and MD-95neo to a new production facility at Columbus Rickenbacker Airport in Ohio.
 
As someone who has lived and managed small businesses in the Midwest -Indiana for most of my life my take is the larger problem was local, not at the Federal level. One snapshot would be comparing my Hometown of Lafayette to similar cites nearby. Lafayette has been dominated by Democratic Mayors and City Council member for most of my life, similarly West Laf has had a high portion of Democrats in its government. Most of the others like Kokomo, Richmond TerreHaute ect... have traditionally been dominated by fiscally and socially conservative politicians. Lafayette or the county has consistently kept its unemployment several points below the national average, has had captured skilled labor industires like Caterpiller, Subaru, NanShan, & a dozen others. Meanwhile the cities I've mentioned have had much slower or negative industrial growth. Draw your own conclusions.
 
As someone who has lived and managed small businesses in the Midwest -Indiana for most of my life my take is the larger problem was local, not at the Federal level. One snapshot would be comparing my Hometown of Lafayette to similar cites nearby. Lafayette has been dominated by Democratic Mayors and City Council member for most of my life, similarly West Laf has had a high portion of Democrats in its government. Most of the others like Kokomo, Richmond TerreHaute ect... have traditionally been dominated by fiscally and socially conservative politicians. Lafayette or the county has consistently kept its unemployment several points below the national average, has had captured skilled labor industires like Caterpiller, Subaru, NanShan, & a dozen others. Meanwhile the cities I've mentioned have had much slower or negative industrial growth. Draw your own conclusions.
That's great that you are in one of the few pockets of the Midwest where industry is thriving. I think that the key to the Midwest remaining competitive with the Southeast is to focus on skilled labor and higher value industries with SMEs dominating key niches in the global market. This is how Germany does it with its Mittelstand, allowing manufacturing jobs to stay in the country and wages to remain high. The Midwest would always lose it's steel and aluminum jobs, the key is to replace those with higher value, heavier products like airplanes, tractors, cars, and semiconductors. Stuff that can't easily be loaded on a ship or made by sweatshop labor in poorer countries.
 
The problem is, the biggest pull of the South is climate mitigated by air conditioning. For example, Quincy Compressor Company abandoned Quincy, Illinois in 2015 mainly because Mobile, Alabama had better golf courses and warmer weather. So, the company left a 400,000 square foot facility for one of 160,000 and needed to downsize. Political factors might reduce the attractiveness of the South, but for how long? I still think environmental/pollution issues would help the Midwest most. How many air pollution issues were there in Kansas City, St. Louis, Des Moines or Chicago?
 
This is how Germany does it with its Mittelstand, allowing manufacturing jobs to stay in the country and wages to remain high
To be fair, they also have the natural effect on the value of the Euro from it being tied into the much less dynamic countries of Southern Europe to help dampen the natural rising value the currency would experience in normal circumstances which would make their exports relatively less comparative.

heavier products like airplanes, tractors, cars
Maybe this is less the case for airplanes, but wasen' NAFTA the real nail in the coffen for vehicle production? If I recall correctly, the ability to set up facilities for more complex production where the cheaper, lower skilled and capital intensive work could be done in low-wage Mexico and than shipped duty-free a short distance to sister firms in Texas was a big factor in the movement of manufacturing down in that direction.
 
You want to lower the South West put in reasonable water controls and stop folks from using enough water to turn a desert into a lush oasis. The water that is used in the Southwest is rediculus
 
You want to lower the South West put in reasonable water controls and stop folks from using enough water to turn a desert into a lush oasis. The water that is used in the Southwest is rediculus
Then expand here to the banks of the Mississippi River. We have lots of it!
 
To be fair, they also have the natural effect on the value of the Euro from it being tied into the much less dynamic countries of Southern Europe to help dampen the natural rising value the currency would experience in normal circumstances which would make their exports relatively less comparative.



Maybe this is less the case for airplanes, but wasen' NAFTA the real nail in the coffen for vehicle production? If I recall correctly, the ability to set up facilities for more complex production where the cheaper, lower skilled and capital intensive work could be done in low-wage Mexico and than shipped duty-free a short distance to sister firms in Texas was a big factor in the movement of manufacturing down in that direction.
And there was a giant sicking sound of jobs.
 
National Bill banning Right to Work laws.. less South stealing Midwest industry with bargin basement wages. Stronger labor laws added to earlier RICO cleans out mob and union corruption 15 years earlier. More investment in higher speed passanger rail. Passanger rail gets subsidies similar to avation through Congress.
 
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Given that the upper Midwest was in its greatest glory in the age of mob and union corruption, I don't think earlier RICO would have had any effect on the shifting demographics. What did matter was the work of Thomas Midgley, Jr. in the early part of the century. Take him away and you don't get so much of the leaded gasoline that made high performance cars (and jet planes) so popular and allowed them to eclipse the passenger railroads. He also was a lead inventor of the CFC's that made refrigerators and air conditioners safe enough for homes. Sure, somebody else would develop these attributes, but it might be delayed into a period of greater environmental awareness.
 
Unless one set up higher tariffs, overseas cheaper but skilled labour is going to be a competitor.
True, but at minimum without the particulars of NAFTA said competitive advantage would be more equitably spread to all low-wage areas of he world, which means there would be less of an incentive to relocate those arts of the supply chain down towards the Mexican border regions. That would at least partially mitigate and slow the "rusting" of regional industry, allowing for a more gradual and thus likely to succeed transition to new economic bases.
 
Better policy on the part of the governments(s). For instance, When Ford got bailed out the US gave its bailout on the condition of higher wages and better benefits (which only served to make the highly unionized midwest even less attractive), where as the Canadian government gave its bailout money on the condition that Ford expanded existing operations. More than a few jobs went north of the border.
 
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