Why does the Pittsburgh region continue to outperform the nation economically? ("As More Seek Work, Pittsburgh Area Jobless Rate Up," Aug. 8) One reason has been smart federal government policies toward two critical industries -- one from the old economy, one from the new.
President Barack Obama's rescue of the auto industry in 2009 not only preserved tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in Western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, it also led to a revitalization of American auto companies that has boosted profitability while also making their products more popular at home and overseas. In this case, extreme government intervention had a positive effect.
Ironically, the opposite government policy -- private sector competition in lieu of heavy-handed government regulation -- has worked wonders in the broadband sector, where providers have invested more than $1 trillion nationally since 1996 to compete for rapidly rising demand for high-speed Internet. This trend has not only brought broadband to almost all Americans, along with on-demand video and an explosion of "apps," but enabled the rapid growth of Pittsburgh's high-tech sector, the basis for our post-steel economic revival.
Opposite policies, both of them successful. Maybe government is more complex than the bumper-sticker slogans indicate.
Pittsburgh Chapter, A. Philip Randolph Institute