A lot of well-connected St. Louis Democrats like to say “everything’s fine” with the city and the St. Louis region. You know, though, that St. Louis is a mess. A hot, simmering mess covered with rot. (Check out StLouisPatina’s photo essay of St. Louis decay.) But the people responsible for St. Louis’s decay want you to pretend there are no problems. Of course, they do.
And it’s getting worse. You might find yourself wondering how bad things are in St. Louis. You might remember that St. Louis has a bigly jobs problem. Even the St. Louis Post-Dispatch admits that there are so few good jobs in St. Louis. So few jobs.
Since 2009, the year the recession ended, the number of jobs in the nation has increased by 8 percent. In metro St. Louis, it is 3.6 percent.
Then there’s the population loss. St. Louis City and St. Louis County are both losing people. In 1950, one year after St. Louis’s last Republican mayor left office, the city’s population was 856,000. Today it’s barely 300k and shrinking (source). St. Louis County had over 1 million people in 2000. By 2010, it had fallen to 998k (source). The 2020 census could be devastating. People are moving out of St. Louis
People are moving out of St. Louis because St. Louis is a mess. Why wouldn’t they?
Between 1993 and 2013, the area population grew by 6.7 percent, while the nation grew by 21 percent, according to the Census. (Source)
Then there’s the loss of big companies. In 1980, St. Louis was home to 23 Fortune 500 headquarters. Today, we struggle to hold onto the remaining nine. They could all go at any moment. While mergers and acquisitions pulled some of those HQs out of St. Louis, St. Louis’s many problems drove away others.
Then there’s the crime problem. Travel to another city and tell a native you’re from St. Louis. One of two things happens: 1) they say something like ‘oh, I hear St. Louis isn’t that bad,’ or 2) they freeze up in terror expecting to be robbed. Or worse. For a guy, it’s kind of cool to have everyone assume I’m tough and a little dangerous because I come from St. Louis. But it’s probably not a good reputation for tourism or migration.
You know what caused St. Louis’s remarkable decline: blame the Democrats. When the Democrats took over city politics, the city’s slow death began. (The last Republican mayor of St. Louis was Aloys P. Kaufmann from 1945 to 1949.) When they took over the county council and county executive posts, the whole region started to collapse. It’s because Democrats tend to be very fixed-pie thinkers. To many, many Democrats, economic growth is a myth. So they cozy up to the wealthy by thwarting innovation (like ride-sharing services) and transfer wealth that dwindling pool of uber-wealthy folks to the poor.
If you want St. Louis to make a rebound, you have to end one-party rule in the city and county. You might find yourself voting for Republicans. It’s the only way to save St. Louis from Gary, Indiana’s fate. City residents can start by voting Republican for Mayor. You’ll want to check out Andrew Jones for Mayor. Mr. Jones will reverse St. Louis’s terrifying decline and make St. Louis a place people want to live, work, and invest again.
Or you can get used to visiting your kids in some other city far away, where all the opportunities are. You don’t have turn St. Louis around. But if you want to, you’ll need some help from Republicans.
Also published on Medium.