• Big cities like New York are thriving, economically, culturally, in terms of real estate values, and by a slew of other measures. Yet, at the same time, much of the country has been utterly hollowed out. In California, where I live, affluent coastal cities such as San Francisco and the Silicon Valley hubs have lower than national average unemployment, higher wages, higher tax bases. Meanwhile, there are inland counties in California where there's still nearly 20 percent unemployment.