Abandoned site near xyz, PA.
On our trip through the States I was confronted with two terms I was not familiar with. Fly-over-states and rust-belt. Oh yes, I could tell you how disgusted I am with the term fly-over-states and the people who use it, but not now. Rust belt is a different thing. I understand that the term applies to the former industrialized northern states, e.g. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to name a few. It is actually the industrial heart of America, the foundation of its wealth and freedom. I feel kind of drawn to it because the Ruhr in Germany is a lot like it.
Now when we left Ohio and came to Pennsylvania we crossed the green border, as we would call it in Europe. A border that does not present itself with a sign, a visitor center, a guard. There is nothing except a line on the map and the GPS. Pennsylvania is as green as a state can be and beautiful like all Eastern states.
When all of a sudden a refinery or a power plant emerges between the woods and the fields you know that there is more than landscape. Just like at home there is a fantastic mix of industrial sites, forests and pastures and corn fields. I like it when you see places where people can work and make a living. And just like at home once in a while you see that the region is right in the middle of a big change.
Right next to operting plants there are abandoned sites, rusty railroad cars standing on tracks that go nowhere anymore and deserted buildings with workplaces which seem to have been left a long time ago. Nearby there a modest homes some of which could use a paint job, some Trump flags. They will know by know that the promise to bring the lost jobs back cannot be kept and never could. What could be done in areas like this? Investment into education, smaller classes in schools for example, support when high school students go to college, support of new companies by considerable tax cuts, encouragement of successful firms to form subsidiaries here, help companies to export their products which is almost always a weak spot in American firms, e.g. create tariff free areas.
I do not know whether this has been done, but when the people feel neglected, it does not seem that way. The jobs that have gone will never come back, that is sure and often not even desirable. To tell people that the old jobs will return is not only false but wicked to put it politely.
Looking through a broken window
Push here will not help
Next to the broken window a rocking chair and a tv set