Tag Archives: Austin

Forget Washington — Cities Will Win or Lose America

by Jim Clifton

Throughout this year’s long election season, I was often asked: “Who will be better for jobs and the economy, President Obama or Governor Romney?” My reply most surely disappointed partisans from both sides: The president of the United States doesn’t make as much difference in terms of creating economic energy as you’d think, according to Gallup data.

In fact, if the president mattered that much, why is it that cities and states have such extreme variation in their local GDP and job growth? Shouldn’t they all go up or down together with each president?

Instead, Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn., are booming, while Albany, N.Y., and Stockton, Calif., are failing. Texas is prospering while California is almost surely going broke. Austin’s jobless rate is around 5%, while the unemployment rate in Stockton is above 13%.

The reality is, when it comes to creating economic growth and good jobs, local leadership trumps national leadership. For instance, Austin and Albany are both capital cities in big American states. Neither city is located by a port or a natural tourist attraction with beaches or mountains. They’re pretty much alike, except that Austin wins big and Albany loses big.

The difference, in my view, is that Austin has deeply caring, highly engaged business, political, and philanthropic leaders with principles, policies, beliefs, and values about human nature that work. They understand how to build a thriving, growing economy — one that welcomes business and entrepreneurship. Albany has the opposite, as I see it: Leaders with principles, policies, values, and beliefs that discourage business and entrepreneurship, if not outright scaring them away.

Cities across the country with great leadership are filled with booming startup companies, and those cities have thriving economies that create authentic, organically grown good jobs. These cities are saving America, while the others are letting the country down.

Great city leadership has never been so needed. Nationally, business startups are currently growing at under 400,000 annually. If this rate doesn’t double soon, in my view, absolutely nothing will fix our current nightmare of joblessness.

And this just isn’t a problem that Washington can fix, regardless of who is president. Of course good policy for small businesses is better than bad policy, but in my opinion, the estimated 10,000 business, political, and philanthropic leaders of all shapes and sizes who drive the performance of America’s top 100 cities are the most important people in our country right now. Nothing can be more important to these essential American leaders than turning their towns into roaring economic engines that encourage entrepreneurs to thrive. When it comes to building and sustaining economic energy, frankly, they matter more than the president.

The United States is at a critical juncture in its economic history. Whether the country makes a historic comeback or slowly goes broke, it will do so one city at a time.


Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO of Gallup. He is author of The Coming Jobs War (Gallup Press, 2011).



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How Wifi Has Influenced Music Sharing & Piracy

It could be said that people love to share. Whether a person wants to transfer a recipe or an idea, there is an audience available. The Internet allows people to share just about anything, including music.

1. People Do Not Need To Burn Discs

If a person wishes to share music, it is unnecessary to burn a disc. Burning a disc may take a significant amount of time to accomplish. On top of this, a person that wants the disc may be unable to receive it right away; this leads to frustration for both parties. However, the Internet allows a person to get the music from the CD through an email. Sharing can also be done on a website chosen by a participant.

2. Sharing Takes Place at Any Hour of the Day

No matter what time of the day it is, a person can easily exchange digital items with another person. In the past, it was necessary to wait until a reasonable hour before exchanging items; school buildings and college campuses were typical locations. Exchanging the item may take some time if one person is in another part of the building. However, the Internet allows people to share items at midnight or noon. It does not matter what the time zone is. There is little reason to leave an area to make a transaction or plan something.

3. Sharing Can Go Quickly

Sharing on the Internet is fast; a person can download a video or album within a few minutes. There are websites available for a person to search when he or she wants something specific; if he or she wants a sharing website that deals with foreign music, there are several on the Internet. A person can locate a website with files numbering in the thousands. People do not have to look far to find something that is appealing to them. When they click on a link, they get what they want in a swift manner.

4. People Believe That Items Should Be Free or Cheap

The Internet influences how people perceive pricing. People have grown up in a world where items are free on peer sharing websites. Because of this, it is not uncommon for an individual to believe that items should be free or cheap. The individual may assume that he or she should get something without paying money. People may go out of their way to avoid paying for something. This belief is all over the Internet, and it is likely to stay in the public conscience for some time. It cannot change overnight no matter what.


Peter Wendt is a writer from Austin, Texas. He loves researching and writing on a variety of topics, including technology and the influence of the Internet in our daily lives. If you are in need of Internet access, he recommends this wireless Internet solution.


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