Barack Obama has issued a brand new executive order that establishes a White House Rural Council. This Rural Council has been given the task of developing "public-private partnerships" that will seek to bring the "economic prosperity" of our big cities to rural America. In other words, the U.S. government and the big corporations are going to team up to dominate the economies of our small towns and rural communities just like they dominate the economies of all of our big cities. So should those that live in rural America be excited about this? After all, the U.S. government and the big corporations have done such a great job of bringing "economic prosperity" to places like Detroit, Michigan and Camden, New Jersey. Won't it be great to have the federal government come in and tell rural communities how they should be doing things?
The chair of the White House Rural Council will be Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Vilsack is a former governor of Iowa and a Democrat. Swing states like Iowa will be key in 2012, and so perhaps Obama is trying to show that he really cares for middle America.
But it is really hard to forget the remarks that Obama made about rural Americans during the 2008 campaign.
In particular, the following quote about the "bitterness" of those living in rural America got a lot of attention at the time....
"And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Look, the vast majority of the people who live in rural America do not want to hear that they need to let go of their guns or their religion.
And most of them certainly do not want the federal government to come in and tell them how to run their local economies.
But according to Obama, the U.S. government "has an important role to play" in managing the economies of rural communities. The following is a direct quote from the executive order establishing the White House Rural Council....
Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.
To many Americans, all of this will sound really great. The federal government is going to come in and help the "backwoods folk" catch up with the rest of us. What could be wrong with that?
Well, the truth is that whenever the federal government gets its fingers into something it tends to really mess it up. Many of the biggest problems our country is facing today can be traced directly back to Washington D.C.
Many small towns and rural communities are doing just fine without the interference of the federal government. In fact, large numbers of Americans have purposely moved out to rural areas because they don't want the interference of the federal government in their lives.
But according to this new executive order, the Obama administration plans to stick its itchy little fingers into just about every aspect of rural life. One of the stated goals of the White House Rural Council is to do the following....
coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, health-care providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America
This is yet another example of how we are rapidly becoming a centrally-planned economy.
Today, there are way too many Americans that expect the federal government to solve all their problems and take care of them from birth to death.
But that is not what our founding fathers intended, and our federal government has become so corrupt and so incompetent that it could not do those things even if we wanted it to.
Before the federal government "fixes" the problems of rural America, perhaps it should focus on "fixing" many of the other problems it has created first....
*Growing numbers of military veterans cannot find jobs once they leave the U.S. military. In fiscal 2008, the Pentagon spent $450 million on unemployment benefits for military vets. In fiscal 2010, the Pentagon spent almost twice as much - $882 million. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for military veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 is more than 30%.
*The housing collapse that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government caused is a nightmare that never seems to end. According to the New York Times, at the current pace it will take 62 years for the banks to repossess all of the homes that are in severe default or foreclosure in the state of New York.
*The recent commodity price increases caused by the Federal Reserve have resulted in much higher prices at the gas pump and at the grocery store. These higher prices are hitting the poor and the lower middle class much harder than they are hitting the wealthy.
*The federal government has piled up the biggest debt in the history of the world and the U.S. dollar is dying. Standard & Poor’s has altered its outlook on U.S. government debt from "stable" to "negative" and is warning that the U.S. could soon lose its prized AAA rating. Russian presidential economic adviser Arkady Dvorkovich says that his nation is going to keep dumping U.S. government debt. China has been dumping U.S. government debt. The entire U.S. financial system is on the verge of financial collapse and the federal government seems to be powerless to make any meaningful changes.
But instead of fixing the glaring problems that are staring them directly in the face, the control freaks and the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. seem obsessed with figuring out more ways to interfere in our lives.
Over the past couple of months, bad economic news has been pouring in almost constantly. Our economy appears to be in danger of breaking apart. We are in the midst of a horrific economic crisis and nobody is sure what is going to happen next.
So please excuse the good folks of rural America if they are not in the mood to put up with federal government interference in their communities.
The federal government has failed so dramatically so many times before that it is really hard to have any faith that the federal government can do much of anything right at this point.