Appalachia, a group of 423 counties that stretch from Mississippi to New York through 13 states, has been a synonym for poverty ever since Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson toured the region in the 1960s. We’ve spent billions of dollars of federal aid through give-away grant programs like the Appalachian Regional Commission. None of that brought much development.
What does bring economic activity and jobs is free market policies.
Aaron Renn, a writer for the Urban Reform Institute, demonstrates this point by showing that today there are really two Appalachias: a northern one that lacks jobs and population inflows (green dots); and a southern red state game plan of adopting a pro-business climate through lower taxes and less regulation (purple dots).
Renn shows that “market forces—including Sunbelt growth, sprawl, and remote work—are beginning to generate a dynamism in the southern portion of the Appalachian region that is not shared by the north.”