Barone: Hard Headed
Michael Barone's book, Hard America, Soft America, has already been shown to be so much ideological claptrap. The "soft" states subsidize the "hard" states, as Media Matters and various bloggers have shown.
Other obvious rejoinders: unions increase productivity, investments in education produce significant economic benefits, market compensation packages rarely reflect performance (especially for CEOs).
Barone is right that there are two Americas. One America thinks the proles will only work hard under threat of starvation, one thinks Americans take pride in their work.