Changing Gears
3:43 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Recap: Everything you need to know about the Midwest economy's magic bullets

History is filled with searches for Magic Bullets.

Economically speaking, those are quick-fix endeavors that promise to fix sour economies, provide jobs and bring prosperity to communities and regions. Changing Gears reporter Kate Davidson wrote earlier this week that, “Some have soared; many have backfired.”

Communities across the Midwest are employing a new round of Magic Bullets in attempts to rescue themselves from the Great Recession. All sound promising, but which ones stand up under further scrutiny?

Here’s a look back at Changing Gears coverage from the past week:

Sunday: A very brief history of the Midwest Magic Bullet

From failures like AutoWorld in Flint, Mich. and Chicago’s failed bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics to the (historic) success of Detroit’s auto industry, Kate Davidson offers a look back at Midwestern Magic Bullets over the years and slots them into four categories: The one-industry town, the “if you build it, they will come” big public projects, the great event and, most complex, urban renewal.

Monday, October 17:  Obama, Werewolves and Silver … Err … Magic Bullets

What exactly is a Magic Bullet? Depending on who you speak with, it’s a matter of semantics. Some people, including President Obama, seamlessly substitute the phrase “Silver Bullet.” As Kate Davidson found out in a visit to an Ann Arbor comic book store, the terms are definitely not interchangeable.

Tuesday, October 18: Can battery plants charge up Midwest jobs?

Western Michigan has become a hub for lithium ion battery plants. Estimates say the battery plants and their suppliers could create 10,000 jobs by 2020 in the region. Not everybody, Changing Gears contributor Dustin Dwyer learned, is on board with those projections.

Wednesday, October 19: Can healthcare fix our ailing cities?

Cleveland’s hospitals have been growing for nearly a century. In the past decade, health care has become the epicenter for economic development plans in the city. Other cities in the Midwest are trying to learn from Cleveland and become medical destinations. But Dan Bobkoff reports that Cleveland could prove tough to copy.

Thursday, October 20: Can small businesses rebuild our economy?

Politicians from both sides of the aisle have hailed small-business growth as a core requirement for fixing America’s economy. Niala Boodhoo spoke with a University of Chicago professor who researched the impact of small businesses on the economy. Do they contribute to job growth? “No,” he said.