All Grown Up

TNR's the Avenue blog has a strong post on how states and municipalities are taking their economic growth into their own hands. Bruce Katz, head of Brooking's Metro program, said at the conference:

“It strikes me that what we’re really describing here is the maturing of cities and metros, public and private [actors], civic players, university people, who are not waiting any more. They’re basically grown-up. We still have a system that’s almost the parent-child federal republic. Yet now the children are beginning to say `Wait a second, you know, if we really do drive the economy, what if we acted like it, and what if we started trying to steer, inform, reform policy.’”

This argument has far-reaching implications not just in the area of economic revitalization but also domestic policy as states pass their own versions of gay-marriage bills and immigration reform. While this is great on some level, we're creating a patchwork nation filled with different social values and regulations that in some ways effectively box in individuals to their region or municipality depending upon the laws effecting them.

Don't get me wrong -- I think it's good a state like Maryland could pass a version of the Dream Act for its undocumented students. But what happens when those students want to leave Maryland? Or a gay couple wants to move out of Connecticut?

For economic revitalization -- the 50 states all grown up may be great -- but in terms of social policy, they still need some kind of paternal guidance.