To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pittsburgh Travel Blog

I just spent two days in Pittsburgh, visiting with some of the few companies that are still headquartered there. Spending time in Pittsburgh is de facto a little depressing, as you know that it was once a powerhouse American city and has been effectively hit by a hydrogen bomb and no one lives there anymore. The modern economy has killed this city, as the big financial institutions that called it home were bought out and moved to New York or London and the Pittsburgh steel industry has cratered. I have never in this country seen people who seemed more without hope.

At lunch time in the business district there are no lunch-time throngs that you see in DC or NY but just a few huddled idle men who might possibly be threatening.

What is so distinct about Pittsburgh, however, is its natural beauty. The city is nestled at the crest of three rivers, where Heinz field is. Above the rivers tower huge hills, and the river has about ten vintage bridges crossing it, some of them burrowing into tunnels, which is really cool. The city's natural beauty reminds me of San Francisco, but this is obviously no San Francisco.

What could get this city going again and give its people hope and opportunity? I thought about that on my four hour drive back to DC. As a libertarian, of course, my first instinct was that the state ought to become a right to work state, as Toyota, Honda, BMW and other car makers are providing thousands of good jobs in the South, which is booming, while avoiding Pittsburgh. In many ways, the plight of Pittsburgh and its people is an indictment of union tactics. In the 30s, when there was not a true market for labor, unions protected workers, and there was a need for that. But, today, unions mostly keep jobs away from employees in states like Pennsylvania and let them go to the South, while Pittsburghians love their city and want to stay there but there is no good work to be had.