Rusted Wardrobe? Rotted Retailville? Coin something as memorable and pithy as the phrase “Rust Belt” and you’ll have made a lasting contribution to the lexicon, because the service sector shuttering is upon us. The desolation of the country’s brick-and-mortar retail spaces, including bars, restaurants, botique shops, and the like will change the face of the American landscape in ways more profound, and probably even more devastating, than the hollowing out of the country’s manufacturing base has.
Drug abuse, listlessness, alcoholism, depression, suicide–the drivers of deaths of despair–are going to get worse. They’re going to metastasize all over the country. Work opportunities in suburbs everywhere have gone away and many are never coming back. Many of the 17 million and growing Americans out a job aren’t returning to work anytime soon, if ever.