Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dayton, Ohio, "Left Behind, America", on PBS Frontline and Pro Publica



PBS Frontline, on Sept 11, aired another episode of “Left Behind America” focusing on Dayton, Ohio, link.

Alec Macgillis from Pro Publica narrates.

The broadcast showed multiple shots of dilapidated homes in the city, compared to the nice downtown, with broad boulevards almost empty.

The computer manufacturer NCR (which at one time was in the mainframe business) has left for Georgia.


The broadcast emphasized that the reason for economic depression is low wages that don’t pay enough to live on and stay out of debt. Yet some companies, especially a box company, say they have trouble finding workers who aren’t opioid or drug addicts.  There are jobs in newer companies that deal with imports.  Trump’s protectionism doesn’t seem to have worked very well.

The slide in wages seems to have gotten much worse after the “bailouts” of banks following the 2008 financial crisis. But globalization and technology have made many jobs less valuable.

The documentary showed a large food pantry, which needed many volunteers to operate and distribute food, with some attention to needs like diabetes. This one of the largest food security charities I’ve ever seen in the media.  In the DC area, Food and Friends does this for HIV and cancer patients. Arlington Food Assistance and Mt Olivet Methodist Church’s community assistance look much smaller by comparison.

Wright-Patterson Air Force base is nearby.

This episode should be appreciated in connection with a long New York Times "booklet" story today by Nelson D. Schwartz: "The Recovery that Threw the Middle-Class Dream Under a Benz". 

Wikipedia attribution link for photo of Mutual Office Building by Greg Hume, under CCSA 3.0 

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