Finding America’s blue-chip entrepreneurs is not the federal government’s responsibility. It has to happen at the city level because most economic activity of any significance occurs there.
The reality is, when it comes to creating economic growth and good jobs — and replenishing America’s hollowed-out middle class — local leadership is far more important than national leadership. This is largely because cities, like companies, exhibit wide variation in economic outcomes.
There are examples of this variation all around the country. Austin and Albany are both capital cities in big American states. Neither city is located by a port or a natural tourist attraction with beaches or mountains. They’re pretty much alike, except that economically speaking, Austin wins big and Albany loses big. One city is a drain on America, and the other continues to save it. In another region of the country, Sioux Falls is booming, while Sioux City is not.
Think how different Detroit’s outcomes are from San Francisco’s. Detroit went from being one of the richest cities in the world to being one of the most spectacular failures.