Freelance journalist and Windsor Square resident Corie Brown’s latest piece is a timely read for this unusual July 4th holiday, which finds much of the nation quarantined at home and thinking about the future of the country.
Brown’s article, “Two Midwestern cities. Two local billionaires (Koch and Buffett). Which one can boost prosperity?” examines two approaches to prosperity that dominate our national conversation as we struggle to become the nation we want to be.
“In the middle of America, without intention or, really, anyone noticing, a decades-long, real-world experiment shaped by the money, politics and eccentricities of two 80-something billionaires is underway in two equally white, Christian, Republican cities,” wrote Brown.
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Brown found herself looking around at her hometown wondering why it seemed to be struggling.
“It wasn’t readily apparent to me what was going on,” Brown told the Buzz. “When I realized what was happening in Wichita, which is struggling while Omaha is soaring; I pitched the story to the paper and they made it happen.”
Brown started working on the story for the LA Times a year and half ago, examining how each city and its local billionaire invested in their home towns, and which city is winning the race to attract millennials to sustain it for the future.
In her reporting, Brown was granted a rare interview with Susie Buffett, Warren Buffett’s daughter, who is credited with investing nearly $1.5 billion in Omaha’s public sector, mostly schools and childcare, with the guidance of local leaders. In contrast, Brown learned, Charles Koch’s foundation invested $90 million in Wichita. It was the first time Koch has ever detailed his local giving, explained Brown.
“Koch is very proud of his record of giving,” said Brown. “He is giving according to his philosophy of how to create prosperity.”
Brown’s article is an important examination of how economic theory plays out in real life…and it’s particularly timely as we approach the presidential election during the nation’s greatest economic downtown since the Great Depression.
“It feels like everything is broken, [so] let’s take advantage of that and rebuild it to last,” said Brown, who told us her story reflects a year’s worth of reporting and her deep dive into various economic theories of how to create prosperity.
The article can be found here or in Sunday’s print edition of the LA Times.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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