Target Layoffs. While there’s a lot of news — or is that noise — about Hillary Clinton’s email, the iWatch from Apple and more nonsense than you can stand about the 2016 election cycle, some real news hits home in the Twin Cities as the crown jewel of Minneapolis Downtown, Target Corporation lays off 3100 people, mostly from the downtown headquarters. Target says the jobs will not be coming back. Of course the rah rah Minneapolis-Saint Paul media goes for the emotional angle; the human cost of layoffs and so forth, complete with soothing public relations from Governor Mark Dayton and the Target CEO. These people get 15 weeks of severance, we’re renewing our commitment to Minnesota and so on. Just last week General Mills, another Twin Cities mainstay let hundreds of middle managers go. When you look at these two big companies, you have to wonder if there’s something going on, despite rosy scenarios about the US Economic ‘recovery’. Over the years there’s been a lot of cheerleading and downtown boosterism from the biggest booster of them all, The Star Tribune. The ‘Trib’ is constantly promoting the Minnesota Miracle of Public-Private Partnerships and the wonders of what government can do for people. Is it a miracle? Or becoming a bloated, bureaucratic, crony-capitalist cartel benefitting the rich sports team owners and companies big enough to benefit from the tax breaks? Is it too soon to start asking whether the template – the whole philosophy – of development in the urban centers of this state, is really an outdated, early twentieth century vision? The boosters say Millennials will move in to these downtown areas in droves, you’ll see. This week a new study shows that while some millennials are moving into dense urban centers with hipster apartments, bike trails and light rail, built and subsidized at enormous expense to taxpayers, not enough of them are moving into those downtown areas to be significant, when considering metro areas as a whole. Meanwhile, the tax bill in close ring suburbs goes higher and higher, as does a hamburger and a beer in downtown or uptown. And the same vision is pushed for the first ring suburbs like Saint Louis Park, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Bloomington, and Richfield, to name a few. More and more big companies are using new technology to downsize and eliminate jobs in the vast middle level management job categories, especially in their ritzy downtown headquarters. 50 years ago Moore’s law established the integrated circuit as one of the most explosive forces in history. Today Moore’s law is back with a vengeance as we pass 25 billion transistors on one chip, we’re seeing exponential redoubling of capabilities, and the arrival of a very disruptive new age. Autonomous machines, robotics, drones, advanced communications, the Internet of things, and more, suggest the future imagined by the central planners in Saint Paul, The Met Council, the Capitol and at Minneapolis’ City Hall might be a dystopia after all. Live from the deck on the first Spring night
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