A New Map for America

from NYTs

THESE days, in the thick of the American presidential primaries, it’s easy to see how the 50 states continue to drive the political system. But increasingly, that’s all they drive — socially and economically, America is reorganizing itself around regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters that ignore state and even national borders. The problem is, the political system hasn’t caught up.

America faces a two-part problem. It’s no secret that the country has fallen behind on infrastructure spending. But it’s not just a matter of how much is spent on catching up, but how and where it is spent. Advanced economies in Western Europe and Asia are reorienting themselves around robust urban clusters of advanced industry. Unfortunately, American policy making remains wedded to an antiquated political structure of 50 distinct states.

To an extent, America is already headed toward a metropolis-first arrangement. The states aren’t about to go away, but economically and socially, the country is drifting toward looser metropolitan and regional formations, anchored by the great cities and urban archipelagos that already lead global economic circuits.

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14 Responses to A New Map for America

  1. Matt Multer September 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

    Parag Khanna draws attention to a very interesting topic in his article for the New York Times. He says that America needs a new map. When I first saw this headline I was intrigued to say the least. A new map? What in the world is this guy talking about? Does he think we’re about to rearrange the states? Well, not quite. What Parag is talking about is that the US needs to rearrange the regions into seven mega regions. He explains how America has a two part problem. The country has fallen behind on infrastructure spending and Parag says it’s not about how much we spend on catching up. He claims that part one of the problem is how the money is spent and part two being where the country spends the money. Western Europe and Asia are reorganizing themselves around urban clusters in order to advance industry. But what American is heading towards is an arrangement in which cities take priority. The country is being anchored down by the large cities which already lead global circuits. Basically Parag is saying that America needs to re shuffle its regions so that smaller cities can also become hubs just as large ones. We do not have to create new regions we just need to utilize the regions already in our country. Instead of putting large cities first and only large cities America needs to connect smaller cities and towns with the larger ones for economic growth. Parag goes on to show how around the world there are already countries that are doing this. He uses two examples. One being China where they are using their large cities to broaden out throughout all of China. Where Beijing would be a hub and the surrounding smaller cities being absorbed into the region of Beijing in order to promote economic growth. What needs to happen in America is that we must strategically connect our hubs to smaller cities. The one question I have is why would America do this?

    I believe I have the perfect answer to the question I proposed in the last paragraph. We won’t do it. This is America! We have to be different. You do realize we’re talking about the country who insisted on having their own system of measurement. We can never be like anybody else. We have to be original, we can’t be the same as the whole other world. Since we have to be different I would highly doubt America would adopt this new infrastructure idea Parag talks about. It’s almost like it makes too much sense. The Metric system uses one unit of measurement for each physical quantity. Length in the metric system is measured by the meter, are is the square meter, volume is the cubic meter, mass is weighed by grams, force by newton’s, pressure by pascal, energy by joule, power by watt and temperature by degrees Celsius. But in America we use the English Imperial system which for length alone we use: inch, foot, yard, mile, fathom, rod, furlong, league, mil, pole, perch, hand, link and chain. It’s like using the metric system would have made too much sense for America. Since we seem to complicate everything that the rest of the world does I think it would make almost too much sense for America to refocus on helping smaller cities prosper. For example instead of only focusing on states we need to focus across regions. But we are America and connecting a high speed rail in the Midwest from Southern Illinois to Southern Michigan would not only link Louisville and Columbus but Dayton would be tied into that systems where workers could easily commute to jobs. But again, I doubt it will happen because America doesn’t like to follow the rest of the world.

    Another example of the United States not following in suit of what most of the rest of the world does is the twelve hour clock. While most countries use the twenty four hour clock America decided to reserve it for military use only. The only countries who mostly use the twelve hour clock are English speaking countries. The twelve hour cock format goes back to ancient Egypt and although other countries also use it besides us the 24 hour clock is extremely logical and intuitive. There’s no confusion in the 24 hour clock. For example, one time while I was using a parking meter it read no parking from 8am-6pm but I read it as no parking 8am-6am accidentally. So, naturally I parked my car and sure enough I got a ticket. While this sounds like a dumb mistake maybe I could’ve avoided it if the United States did use the 24 hour clock.

    I’m not sure that the United States would willingly rearrange the regions that we already have in place to a seven mega region that Parag suggests. I feel like America always has to be different. This country is great but the history we have of always being different I think sometimes deters away fantastic ideas the rest of the world has. Parag makes a real valid case in which the whole country and small cities and towns can economically prosper. While being different is great, and it comes with a ton of positives as a citizen, sometimes our country should hop on the bandwagon if we could benefit from it as a whole.

    • Mike Serritella September 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      The author Parag Khanna makes interesting points by saying that America requires a new map. The basic idea is that we rearrange the regions into seven giant regions. The big problem America is apparently facing is that we are falling behind on infrastructure spending and there are two reasons for this. The first being that we have no idea how to spend money and the second being where we spend the money. He uses the example on how other countries are reorganizing themselves and that the united states should to. If the country was organized into regions there would be central hubs that would be between state lines and would make life a lot easier. Apparently we need to cut down the number of cities that we have in America today and connect more with small towns. The central idea is that there would be on hub and a bunch of surrounding towns around it all thriving from that hub. Trade would be from hub the hub and it would make things a lot smoother right? Wrong, I really do believe that this would destroy the economy, everything that we have worked for since 2008 would be gone. I really do see this as a silly proposal and something that should not be done because we would be pooling a lot of money into creating these hubs and tearing down cities. This would honestly cost more money than we would make and it is really a silly idea when you think about it in the long run. The united states are not going to rearrange its own layout just because an author thinks it’s a good idea. While other countries are doing it we are not other countries, we have our own economy and our own growth we cannot model after other countries because it may end up hurting us.

      My response to this is just no, we have worked too hard since the economic crash of 2008 to try to reorganize now. Plus, this is America the melting pot where we like to be different. To be fair there is really no reason that we should follow after different countries because what works for them may not work for us. Every economy Is different and if we were to do this it really would not work because we have such a dynamic economy and it just would not work. I don’t understand why the author would want to redo the entire economy it really is beyond my comprehension it just seems rather silly to be doing this because there seems to be no research backing it and if it doesn’t work the new are actually in trouble. To top it off the united states would not be willing to rearrange its regions that are already in place to replace it with what the author suggests. As I stated many times before we have worked very are in the last couple years to stabilize the economy and there is no way that the country is going to reorganize its entire layout just because one person thinks it’s better. The economy would really go into turmoil if this happened and it’s not in the best interest for anyone for that to happen. While I do respect the authors opinion I do believe that they should stop trying to push this because this is really obscured and they need to be happy with the economy we have now. It can only get better from here and if we as a country continue at the same rate as we are now we will have a truly stable economy in no time.

  2. Kaitlyn Healy September 15, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    This article is a glimpse at what could be if the United States of America’s government stepped away from traditional politics in this country and looked at the future with a more holistic approach. The article toys with the idea of breaking down state boarders and keeping the government focused on regions and infrastructures that would create a central hub in each region. The article addresses the problems that the country faces when we are dealing at government at a state level .Individual States don’t necessarily budget for the infrastructure that would cross state lines and help small rural areas from benefiting from the larger more populated areas that are more economically stabile. The article identified 7 regions of the United States that is demographically divided and each has a hub to a larger city. Each region does have something to offer and each area would benefit because if we look at a regional aspect the less thriving areas could have easier access to where jobs would be because we are looking at building companies and strategically place them.
    Our country has so much to offer when it comes to resources because we are so diverse demographically. We need to think not only nationally but globally as well. The article mentioned how we could work with our neighbors and create global industries that would benefit everyone economically. I believe this is a great idea, because it will create alliance and make the world come together.
    I don’t believe in big government but the more I thought about this article I started to think about how things are run now. We right now have more government controlling our lives then we would if we broke down state boarders and lived in regions. Now we are controlled by state laws and federal laws and both at times do not coincide. Our state government is responsible for schools , roads, bridgework and our given money by the federal government but it is allocated out by the state government. I think taking out the middle man is not a bad idea. First of all where does corruption start? When there are too many hands dealing with money. Second, does the state distribute money just to benefit the state ? Does the state put all of its money in areas of economic growth and perhaps ignore the more rural areas that are in need? Does the states think about how jobs could be increased if they worked hand in hand with their neighbors and combined money to create easier ways for people to get to better job markets? I don’t think we are thinking like this in the United States because we are only worried about 50 induvial states and not combining our resources for the greater good. If this model is working in countries such as China that has seen economic growth why aren’t we trying it? we can learn a lot from our eastern countries and hopefully be as productive as them. I do have my ideas why but that is probably for another paper, but to sum it up in order to change the way Washington thinks we have to get people in politics who are willing to change our government. Change is difficult but we have to move with the times and keep up with the world or else we will suffer. We need to utilize what we have in this country and I believe this model gives us the best chance to work holistically and create a super nation that is under one roof not 50.

  3. Vannesa Martinez September 16, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Initially when I read the title, I thought that this would be a social, economic, or political comparison to United States history and present day American and compare and contrast how times have change since today. Although the article did discuss the separation that is still seen in the country today, it discussed it in an interesting perspective that does in a way connect back to the history of this country. Writer Parag Khanna discusses the idea of getting rid of the fifty states of America and implement seven groups across America. In the seven groups, each state would be group with its respective region and each region would handle the development and progress of their land. The borders of each state would disappear which would create the “new map for America” Khanna references to.

    This idea seems fairly controversial because of the likelihood of this being established again in America. It has been seen in our history that with states forming groups like the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. There was a great disparity in progress that varied through each region that this it did not develop into a progressive move for the country. In addition, the government would never agree to drastic change. This move would essentially end up taking away rules from the government and governing positions because states have grouped together, so politicians would never want to risk their job, status, or power. This is too big of a change that the government would never want to risk instating. Likewise, unless all parties of the government are in accordance with this change, the legislature will make sure to block this move by groups who desire this change. Rarely people like change and the adjustment of it would hit this country even harder. We know the United States as it having fifty states and not being divided into regions, it would go against the title of our country.

    In one sense, it is understandable why the author who suggest this change because our country is not allocating enough percentage of its monies to helping fund the infrastructure of the country. I agree with his point who there needs to be a greater call to the government to increase the funds necessary to improve the highway and public structures of our country, that in turn help to start jobs and raise revenue for the government. Although the country is divided my political and economic matters, he is correct to state that the next president should worry more about the progression and welfare of America and devote more importance to these sectors. Or else, the country will fall behind to Europe and Asia, who are revamping their infrastructures at a faster pace than the United States.

    Advancements in our home structure is not about global competition, which always essentially comes down to that, but the improvement of its citizens lives. As the writer suggest, there needs to be a shift in the way the country now goes about the progress of alternate energy, digital technology, and transportation engineering. As the writer states, “The 21st century will not be a competition over territory, but over connectivity” is true because if we start falling behind every economic sector will follow suit. And if our economic sector falls, the country will be headed for times similar to those or worse than the Great Recession the country is slowly beginning to come out of. With a new president about to take office soon, hopefully during their term they can focus on how to upgrade the outdated structures across the country, providing the necessary aid to all states to progress.

  4. Dean Falcone September 16, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    While a lot about this country is beginning to change and move towards modernization, the map was thing I never thought would. As someone who never thought about such an idea, I am open to it. At first glance of the article, I was pretty skeptical about what was meant by a new map. I had a rather different picture in my head than the one given. I only imagined a few states merging together. Those would include North and South Dakota coming together, Rhode Island with Connecticut and Maryland joining Delaware. Also, some states in the Midwest would merge. My configuration was not too thought out, only based off of size and population. After reading this article, I can definitely see multiple reasons for doing the adjustments proposed.
    America being 13 small colonies only a few hundred years ago seems very hard to believe, knowing how grand it is today. Once the Louisiana Purchase occurred, there was little in our way of controlling this whole continent. I believe that if Canada was not as far north and as cold as it is, we would have taken over that land for ourselves. This new map that Parag Khanna would like to implement does incorporate Canada, which I think would definitely benefit us economically. There are major cities that have valuable resources. I like how she focuses around the bigger cities. There’s no need to dwell on the areas of the country that are lightly populated, but filled with materials.
    Being a business major has helped me understand the reasoning for wanting this new layout of America. We like to think of ourselves as a supreme nation with the best resources, best economy and best education. In reality, we all know these to be a little less than true. As a nation, we can and should be running more efficiently. After all, America is a just one giant business. I like how we are starting to realize that fact and trying to introduce a map that reflects that. Getting rid of the imaginary borders placed between states would help boost our economy. Instead there are seven regions, with the biggest cities, acting as metropolises, being the focal points. Having a regional distribution would lighten the burden of taxes based upon doing interstate business. Also, not having to worry about different regulations and other taxations from state to state would allow business to practice more freely.
    The issue of infrastructures in the U.S. is one of major importance to Khanna and the main reason for the new mapping. Most Americans would agree that there should be more money allocated to our infrastructure and less on war efforts. Both can be argued in the domain that they help our economy. Both infrastructure and going to war do create jobs, putting money into citizen’s pockets, but war involves the murder of our people and others. Not only would the proposed railways and highways be creating jobs, they would be helping the nation’s transportation problem. Too much of people’s time is taken up by just sitting in traffic. Long distance trucking would be easier with highways that span cross country.
    My biggest complaint with the article is with what Khanna is trying to compare the new map to in the existing world. I understand that to give an idea that a person has never heard of, it is best to compare it something that they are familiar with. Using China is a poor example to me. China had a different lay out than we do. We are 50 individual states, compared to large city like providences. It is easier to blend borders in the Chinese way of geography. For America, we need to rethink our laws that vary from state to state and how they would be integrated in the regional map. As that changes, the last thing I wonder is the fate of our flag.

  5. Tyler Hands September 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    Constant progression and innovation are two of the driving factors that lead Parag Khanna to write this article. The United States has been front runner of the supreme powers since the mid 20th century. Our military power, technological advancements, and economic possibilities are unparalleled, for now. But as the world keeps progressing and moving towards a more streamlined system it is clear that the connected nations will continue to rise in power. While America can excel in the linear fashion it has been for so long, many countries such as China have been leaping ahead exponentially. Is it time to change the American way?

    While this article may be a stepping stone to the future for America, there are several problems that may lie in the way. As the article clearly portrays, one of these obstacles may just be the way the United States is shaped. Unlike the ideals of an America made up of 50 individual states with their own socioeconomic status, the country has moved into a body comprised of several focal points and the regions surrounding them. However with these focal points in different states there lies a few problems. The Interstate Commerce Clause found in Article I of the Constitution (https://goo.gl/x4QDYM) grants several agencies the ability to govern commerce across state borders. If the United States were to move into a more regional make up, how would this affect commerce? Unless there are actual revisions of state borders, there will still be requirements to fulfill for trade regardless of how the perspective of the map is changed. If, however, there are different lines drawn, would this effectively cause agencies to be eliminated? All in an effort for a more connected America.

    Speeding across the map may be a closer reality for the connected America than expected. Vice President Biden signed off on a plan to build a High Speed Rail system (https://goo.gl/U9UHPE) very recently and development of this plan is already in the works. Think of a morning commute where instead of taking the L train over the east river into a city just miles away you’re traveling 20 or 30 miles in the same time if not faster. Traveling from one side of a state to the other in under an hour or maybe even crossing state lines as you commute to work may be years away. The effectiveness of these railways would make most modern forms of transportation inconvenient and obsolete. Financially, how effective is this plan? Some experts speculate that the costs of these tracks may not be worth the fuss ( https://goo.gl/HNCU86). Proclaiming that the country-wide rail system would be useless in all but one region, the Great Northeast region. Without the highly condense metropolitan areas, public transportation would still be needed when within the cities to navigate anyway so why build something useless?

    In all likeliness the system will advance before any real use of it takes place. Some problems will be faced but the article has a great pitch. Industrial focal points, seamlessly connected, with an agricultural surrounding. Truly these next few years will bring about some exciting infrastructure change in effort to form a utilitarian America.

  6. Robby Hazel September 16, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    In this article, Parag Khanna suggests that The United States should shift their attention away from maintaining the current fifty state model, and into developing a system where a few large metropolitan areas adopt smaller areas around them into their new state. This article is essentially suggesting that The United States become a nation of city-states, similar to the way it was in ancient Greece. This idea is based off the fact that the fifty state system mainly benefits the political system, while economic and social systems are basically left behind. Khanna suggests that a society that is connected by large cities, which act as an economic hub for the surrounding area, would benefit the poorer regions of America by bringing them in on the economic spoils that metropolises have to offer. While I cannot say that I am ready to shake up a nearly two hundred and fifty year old system that has certainly worked well for me, I personally believe that adapting to this new city-state system would greatly benefit the economic conditions of some of the more forgotten about areas of America.

    The article specifically mentioned the very destitute Appalachian region. I personally have been to this area as a volunteer to repair damaged houses, and can attest to the extreme poverty that has stricken the region. By simply absorbing the area into surrounding metropolitan areas, it would allow for the necessary funds to develop businesses, build livable homes, and improve the shaky infrastructure that is characteristic of destitute regions such as Appalachia. Beyond that, improving transportation methods used in poorer areas of the nation would also be extremely beneficial. I imagine that it is rather difficult to navigate an eighteen-wheeler carrying food and other goods through the winding, mountainous roads of Appalachia, making it extremely difficult to guarantee that everyone is afforded the opportunity to acquire basic necessities for living. The implementation of more efficient transportation, which would likely occur in this new system, would greatly benefit the economies, and overall lifestyle, of the many destitute regions in the United States.

    The only foreseeable downside to a city-state system is the negative political implications that can possibly come along with it. A smart, but twisted, leader could very likely use a system where there are few regions to control as a way to grab as much power as possible. If there are fewer representatives and senators who are tasked with making sure the division of powers remains intact, it would be easier to pass laws that enable a president to acquire unprecedented political abilities. Not to mention, the entire way that presidents are elected would have to change. The Electoral College system, which contains individuals who cast votes for their states, would be shaken up if borders were to change, possibly causing less voters to be in the College and making it easier for a smaller panel to have conflicts of interest against the overall health of America’s political system. I may sound like a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist right now, and maybe I should stop listening to Rush Limbaugh so much, but it would be foolish to ignore the possibility of such circumstances becoming a reality in a political system where there are not enough people to keep powers in check. However, if the shift away from our current system is carried out in the correct way, it very well could prove extremely beneficial to the health of America as a whole.

  7. Gregory Medina September 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    The role of industrial centers of a nation will always be important. Efficiency is key, especially in terms of time and money, thus an efficient infrastructure is needed. Parag Khanna does so by proposing, and predicting, the power lines between states will begin to shift towards regional urban and industrial centers. In reality, this is beginning to naturally occur with fiscal policy focusing on aiding the needs of the financial center of the US in the northeast and the fact that majority of Americans live in urban centers rather than rural areas. Plus, a need for a much more efficient infrastructure to aid such centers is also referenced. On the other hand, though its infrastructure is known to be universally needed, it comes at the expense of big government.

    Americans are not very keen to big government, especially when the rights of states are affected by the central government. Due to such, production of a central infrastructure can prove to be rather difficult since it involves crossing state lines. States have a different set of laws from one another which can affect production and so on. On the other hand, the central government can propose an infrastructure plan which the states can agree on, such as the interstate highway proposed by Eisenhower in the 50’s. Yet, compared to the rest of the world, especially in terms of business to business infrastructure and efficiency, the United States is relatively lacking.

    The majority of Europe is connected via trains, which businesses use for the transportations of goods. Moreover, when it comes to convenience on the consumer level of transportation, railways are extremely efficient. Moreover, countries in Asia such as Japan use railways as a primary form of transportation along the whole spectrum of goods to people. When it comes to infrastructure, these nations have nationally planned infrastructure at its core; however, that is not to say the United States does not. Interstate commerce in the United States is connected by a vast array of roads, canals, and railways, but at the expense of business and state management

    States are responsible for their infrastructure, this includes connecting roads from one state to another. Due to such, America has developed a road culture where the majority of our transportation is done through roads. Moreover, though the United States can implement a wide railway system, regional development makes such a process difficult. European cities differ from American cities greatly by design, it is much easier to walk around a European city than an American one. Moreover, railways in the United States are independently owned, unlike other countries. For example, France once had an infrastructure such as the United States with independent railroads; however, a government company now owns and operates all railroads in the country allowing them to mandate what is needed in terms of demand. In the United States, only a few lines are independently owned by Amtrak and, thus, must borrow other independent railroads from outside companies for use. Overall, business hinders business in the United States.

    For those who are in charge of funds in the United States, their views of economics general outline their structure planning, including state and central infrastructure. Politics plays a large role with a free market approach towards everything. This is why interstate commerce between states are extremely inefficient, the incentives and priorities of a company outweigh all others, especially the demands of the people. States can issue their own infrastructure; however, interstate laws come into play with tolls and road culture. Fundamentally, the infrastructure of the US is not at all centralized and, fundamentally where free market economics fails.

    If the US were to take control of all the railways within the nation; then, yes, an efficient unifying infrastructure between the economic hubs of the nation can be made. However, the issue of rights can prevent that. Moreover, the US road culture undermines the essential need for consumer interstate infrastructure, and in a sense business as well. Khanna states the eventual need for an interconnecting infrastructure for US urban areas and it will happen. But it will take time.

  8. Jalal Zahir September 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    Mr. Khanna brought up a multitude of insightful and thoughtful points throughout his entire article. I would have never thought of the idea of splitting states in to seven distinct regions. Our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and Mr. Khanna’s resolution is the most original to date. Mr. Khanna’s critiques of the American government system are all factual and spot on. The two-party system has hurt the country in more ways than one, but it has especially crippled our infrastructure on a national level. The split between Democrats and Republicans has left Washington gridlocked, and because of this we have not given infrastructure enough attention. That is not the only problem facing infrastructure. The distribution of wealth is a major roadblock to the improvement of our nation’s infrastructure. The money for infrastructure is split up between the 50 states, and each state chooses how they want to spend their money. At first glance this seems like a logical way to split the revenue. I always assumed that leaving it up to the states was the best and most effective way to distribute money, because I never realized how important cities are to the economy. After reading the article I realize that I was mistaken and the 50 state system has failed to address our infrastructure issue almost as much as our government has. As Mr. Khanna stated, more importance needs to be stressed on our cities and their importance to the economy. San Francisco, the software capital of the world, is more important to our GDP than some states. Cities are having a bigger impact on our economy because of the 2008 crisis. The housing bubble burst and subsequent recession caused small businesses nationwide to go bankrupt. The government did not intervene to bailout locally owned businesses, and over 200 thousand small businesses were lost in the recession (Economy). The suburban economy was crippled because all of their local jobs were lost, but this did not happen in cities. The biggest corporations in the country are home to some of the biggest corporations. Banks, the auto industry, and major corporations of all types were bailed out by the government preventing them from going bankrupt. The GM and Chrystler bailout saved 1.5 million US jobs, the majority being located in the city (Auto). The bailout meant that cities did not get hit as hard by the recession as suburbs did. Their bounce back from the recession was quicker which is why their share of the GDP has increased since the recession. All this has only highlighted just how flawed our current system of government is. We need to change the way the government distributes its funds, and Mr. Khanna’s plan would do just that. It won’t, however, be able to fix all the problems as his plan does not, and cannot address all the issues outlined in the article.
    The main issue facing the United States’ infrastructure crisis is a lack of money. There is simply not enough funding to our highways, bridges, and roads to achieve the level of excellency that is required of it. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) states that the United States has only funded about 56 percent of its needed infrastructure spending. By 2025, the country will have fallen $1.44 trillion short of what it needs to spend on infrastructure. It will have cost us 2.5 million jobs and taken away $4 trillion from the economy (America’s Infrastructure). This is the main issue facing or nation’s infrastructure, and no amount of proper representation can change that. Changing our nation in to zones will allow for a proper representation and a better management of funds, but it will not stop the lack of funding that we have for our infrastructure programs. What we need to is raise the gas tax. States and the federal government get funding for infrastructure from the gas tax. The gas tax varies from state to state, but one thing is clear is that on a national level it is too low. The national gasoline tax has remained the same since 1993 at 18.4 percent (States). The reason for this is not because there is not a need to raise it, but because people are afraid to. Demanding a tax increase at the pump is the equivalent of political suicide. Congress is even afraid to suggest such an idea because they afraid it will anger any potential voters and ruin their chance of a reelection. No one wants to pay more taxes and even though people want a better and improved infrastructure system, they don’t want it coming out of their dollars. Some states have acted on their own raising the state tax rate, but for the majority of the country it has been left alone for many decades. Mr. Khanna’s plan does not account for how the country will be able to raise the more than trillion dollars necessary to raise our infrastructure to an adequate level. There is one other big obstacle that Mr. Khanna’s proposal does not account for, and that is the issue with the justice system. If we as a nation get split up in to distinct zones, how will the justice system function? Each state currently has its own set of rules regarding what is and is not illegal and what the penalty for said punishments can be. If the country is broken up into zones how will people decide what the law of the land is? Will the western coast zone take up California’s stance on marijuana because it was the biggest state in the region? The government could use a popular vote and let the people of each zone decide what the law should be, but it would be too much of a burden for them to vote and matters as minute as what the zone speed limit is and what the penalty for loitering shall be. It is also illogical for to expect that people will be properly educated regarding every issue that faces the zone, and it would be unwise to let those who are not educated determine the fate of the justice system within their zone. Congress could create the laws of the zone on their own, but that would take years to finish and in the meantime the matters of the states where they currently reside would be neglected and the government would be run even more poorly than it currently is. Mr. Khanna’s ideas are both respectable and commendable. His plan is well thought-out and evolutionary. However, it is also impractical and will not and cannot address the problems facing this country’s infrastructure.

    Works Cited
    “”America’s Infrastructure $1.44 Trillion Short through 2025: Report.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 10 May 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
    “Auto Bailout Saved 1.5 Million U.S. Jobs -study.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 09 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Sept. 2016
    “States Should Raise the Gas Tax.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.

  9. Robert Andrew Luba September 23, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    This article concerns the extreme contrast that is forming between the minority of large, advanced cities and the copious amount of small undeveloped cities and towns scattered across America. This is no doubt a problem. Although the article notes that slow, relatively small towns and cities are needed for retirement and low-income areas. The demand for these places, however, is in complete deficient considering the supply. The article also mentions that over thirty percent of Americas profit comes from a fraction of the east and west coast. The center of the United States goes broadly underused. This is another problem. The United States is too large to be producing such little G.D.P. Across the nation as a whole.
    There is too much land, labor, and presumably entrepreneurship going untapped in the center of the nation. This may not sways have been viewed as the case, though. For a long time in the developmental history of American business that in order to develop large capital, there had to be a feasible means of transportation of goods. It used to be that California and the east coast excelled through their sea bordering land. In the modern age of industry, through the use of planes, locomotives, and highways, goods can be feasible shipped to every corner of the world. This all backs up the idea that center of the United States should be thriving just as much as any sea bordering state does.
    The article suggests that America go from a system of states to being separated by economies and this is the type of innovation that they feel they need from an ever less imaginative congress. The article notes that perhaps America has become too large to be managed by a single congress. The author, Parag Khanna, mentions several instances of ingenious planning and examples of advanced infrastructure that the congress has done and supervised in the past two centuries. National railroads and highways were where they have stopped, however. She also put the U.S. in contrast with Europe, a union of nations that has been investing greatly into smart cities and other forms of infrastructure. I might project that this is due to the large number of small independent nations within the union being comparably minuscule to the expansive American landscape. Also, America puts high stress on military, homeland defense, and foreign outreach program funding, preventing it from focusing on domestic infrastructure advancements.
    The article, I would say pretentiously, suggest interstate teamwork and to liquidate boarders when necessary for economic advancement. Though this would just be a transitional phase before states would cease to be states and go on to be regions of like economic growth. This plan does have good connotations. By separating and splitting up the nations into regions of equal growth and speed of economics, congress could put stress on those areas that are growing at a slower pace and create government projects perhaps to surge growth. This, presumably, would continue until all of these new ‘sectors’ of the united states become of similar economic speed and the nation would then grow as a whole until one gained an edge on the others and the cycle of catch-up would continue. This system, Khanna explains, exists in other nations such as china and Italy that have become more oriented towards inter-province communication and teamwork. While a grand idea, and perhaps this is just the traditional state boarder-knowing American in me speaking, I don’t think it would prove functional in the United States. Our nation is simply too large and focused on singular state advancement and individuality for differing states to work in unison. Unlike Italy where the nation is small enough to function, effectively as a single American state; and unlike china, where government regulations are much tighter and focus more heavily on productivity rather than individuality, America is much unrulier. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it is what defines us as a nation and sets us apart. This fact does, however, prevent us from large scale boarder elimination and cross boarder assimilation.

  10. Javon Diggs September 23, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    When I first saw the headline of the article, I thought that writer must be insane. Why would anyone in the world want to give a new map? The United States has had the same geography since it”s inception, why would somebody change it. As I actually sat down and read through the article, I must admit, Parag Khanna did make some excellent points. So much so that I now admit a new map may not necessarily be such a bad idea.
    One of the best points he made was the fact that it would greatly help the economic problems that plague the center of the United States. Khanna mentions how the Northeast region from New York to Boston and the Los Angeles metropolitan area combined account for 30 percent of America’s GDP. The rest of the country barely makes more than half of those 2 relatively small areas combines. While New York and Los Angeles are major global cities, America should not have to rely on them as much as it does.
    With all off the other major American cities struggling to maintain financial stability, it would make sense for many of them to try to combine their markets together. One good example would be the city of Detroit. Khanna mentioned how Detroit as been in a major financial crisis for a while now, so much so that its population has now fallen to under a million people. If it were to combine it’s market with other major cities near it such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, it would help bring in more money and resources to finance rebuilding projects. This could also help establish a firm law enforcement to help reduce crime, and help settle the cities’ financial problems as well.
    Likewise, if we stick to Khanna’s proposed map and combine other major cities with the two powerhouses in New York and Los Angeles, it would help give all of those cities good financial structure as well. For example, as a person who grew up outside of Philadelphia, I can tell that the crime rate over there has been rising exponentially. If it were to join the same market as New York and Boston, it could help finance better law enforcement agencies to help reduce crime.
    In addition, as Khanna mentioned, there is a social aspect that goes into geography as well. Most days when people talk about where they are from, they often just group themselves with the major city that is closest to where they are from. I am even guilty of this as well. When people ask me where I’m from, I say Burlington (which is a suburb of Philadelphia), but most people do not know where it is. When I tell them it’s on the right next to Philadelphia, then they have a much better idea of where it is. Since people like to associate themselves with major cities anyway, it wouldn’t exactly be crazy to group the regions together as one.
    While at first I thought the author was crazy, I have to say that a new map actually may not be such a bad idea. After all, it would greatly help the center of the United States fix it’s economic issues, and would be much easier and simple for everyone to remember. The only potential major issue I could possibly see is if a person was elected that was power mad in a country with so few regions that they could possibly try to use that power to escalate themselves as much as possible and become greedy. But to that I say, that is why we have the American voting system where people have the opportunity to keep people like that out of office.

  11. Samantha Frank September 25, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    The beginning of the article states that the only purpose that the 50 states in America serve is for politics and there are other divides that separate regions into centers around cities rather than states. The article says that these divides are because of social and economic reasons. I think it is also important to mention that culture is a big part of the new divides that are happening around the United States, people that are from the North Eastern part of America tend to have different values and accents compared to people that are from the South. As far as the economic divides go it makes sense that the bigger cities around the country have rebounded from the recession than the smaller cities. The economy is easier to gage in a region as a whole rather than each individual state. Something that is making the United States dated is the infrastructure. The infrastructure of the United States provides many barriers to merging the state, as other countries have already done. There are projects that are currently being put into motion that will connect cities to one another rather than states. This article is proposing that the state lines be dissolved and urban archipelagos emerge and the infrastructure of the surrounding area changes. This would help cities such as Detroit, be more prosperous and live up to its full potential. There was a reason why it was such a happening city in the 19th and 20th centuries and better infrastructure would help it get back to that. I think that it is a great idea to move past the standard state boarders that we have and make everything connected. It would make the United States a more unified and efficient place to be if states were no longer bickering back and forth about who needs to do what, but instead working together to make America more modern. This would also benefit the companies that have offices in the United States because resources would be more accessible if the infrastructure is improved. If this happens the United States would no longer be considered so far behind other countries in adapting innovative ways of doing things.
    The change of having regions instead of states would change the law system that each state has. The federal government grants states the power to regulate some areas within their boundaries. If there were no longer states then there would need to be some sort of middle governing body to take over the areas that the state governments once covered. This new governing body would then have to decide what laws from what states to keep or to start completely from scratch. These are some big decisions and changes that the next president has to keep in mind and decide if it is a good move for the United States to do.

  12. Briann Downes September 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    “A New Map for America” discusses how America can solidify its position as the world’s leading superpower by connecting American cities. If this were done, it would put America in the lead for global trade volumes, investment flows and supply chains. America is in need of a new urban economy created around advanced sectors such as technology, transportation engineering, and alternative energy. America has increasingly been evolving itself, socially and economically, around regional infrastructure lines by ignoring state borders; however, the political system seems to still be focused on state lines. If the country wants to be ahead, the government must invest wisely into infrastructure advancements.
    Of course, the states are not going to disappear, but the political system has to catch up on the metropolitan formations that have the potential to be at the top of the global economic scale. Regions such as the Northeastern megalopolis and the Greater Los Angeles are more important to the US economy than some states. Improvements, nonetheless, can be made in these regions with renewed transportation corridors. For example, networks between New York and Washington or New York and Atlanta could greatly enhance the inactive towns located in-between. Furthermore, the country must improve the smaller cities that lack the infrastructure to make an economic impact. Going in the direction the country is, the smaller cities are bound to become low-cost immigrant and retirement areas. Although efforts to organize metropolitan regional areas are underway, a need is still seen in these minor areas.
    The decisions to create new transportation lines cannot end at the state level; rather they must connect the important cities within different states. I agree with the article that if better railways and highways were put in place the country could push through economic limits; it is all about strategy and where the lines are placed.

  13. Amir Omar November 10, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    This maybe one of the coolest articles I’ve read so far, I found the idea brought up in the article fascinating. When America was first founded it was 13 Colonels originally, not states. It wasn’t till later in history that the colonials were divided in states. And from that point on we’ve lived like that since but who says that was the right way. The articles topic of whether or not the united states could benefit from taking a step back and divide its self into multiple territories that are paired together for geographic reasons. It would be a little bit of a change but I think it could ultimately lead America into the new world. As time passes on we as people constantly upgrade our phones, houses, cars and even our constitution. When America was developed I feel like the guys were really just winging it, not knowing how things might actually work out. The outcome was amazing, they created one of the greatest nations in the world but as the world and we continue to upgrade and update so will the nation.
    By re drawing the map we get to position ourselves in a more up to date map. This could lead to potential economical benefits and a better balance of power through out the country. We currently have already done this, we have a west and a east coast and a central region, by remarking the map you can build on common goals that only that section would need. For Example California is currently in a water shortage situation, along with most of the west coast, that’s something that the people of the West coast would have to solve. I believe that this would divide the nations issues while adding more people to the solution. Each part of the states would receive more attention per square mile. In this one big nation often states fall into the shows of these large cities. Look at Chicago for example, the crime rate has no ceiling, leading in many categories. As said in the article the states would just go away we would still have states, we need to move with time not against it. Although personally I would want to see this carried out and put to the test, but it would be extremely hard. We would have to rewrite everything; there would be anarchy when it came to the break down of power.

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