THE BIG IDEA: Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) says the decline in American manufacturing is as much a failure of public policy as anything else.

“Jump-Starting America,” a book published in April by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson, compares the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest average earnings in 2016 to 1980. Back then, five of the top 10 were in Michigan: Flint, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Midland, Saginaw and Monroe. None of those places make the list anymore.

“In the years since 1980, our country’s economic policy priorities have shifted to other industries like technology and health care,” said Peters, 60. “As a result of this shift, communities like Flint and Detroit have seen their economic opportunity decline while regions like Silicon Valley and Boston have prospered.”

Meanwhile, the senator lamented in an extended interview over the weekend, countries like China, South Korea and India have successfully implemented national manufacturing plans. He pointed to investments by South Korea to develop self-driving vehicles and by China to build better electric batteries. According to Peters, the United States has increased spending on research and development for manufacturing by about 10 percent over the past five years while Beijing increased it by 90 percent and Seoul increased it by 50 percent. Read More