Forgotten or marginalized: NC's rural communities in jeopardy

Cutting away the lifeline:

The governor is asking the legislature to gut the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, which oversees efforts to help rural development. He is proposing to cut its annual budget from $18 million to $6.6 million. The center funds hundreds of grants – money for water and sewer or to fix up buildings – for businesses in rural areas.

I recently took part in a panel discussion, where a conservative economist was asked what should be done if North Carolina’s rural economy continued to collapse. Well, he replied, they could always move to the cities.

Rob doesn't reveal the name of said economist, but I'll wager it's this guy, who has done more than his fair share of damage to the way our current leadership understands NC's economic situation. In order to understand why Art Pope would want to cut the Rural Center so deeply, how they operate is the key:

Research and innovation are central to the Rural Center’s work. They ground our understanding of where rural North Carolina is today and what it can become in the future.

To provide state and local leaders accurate information on which to base their decisions, the center collects and analyzes data from a range of national and state sources. The online Rural Data Bank gives you easy access to much of that information. You may view standard reports – county or small town profiles, for example – or use the custom search function to compile a report on data you specify.

Each year the center identifies specific issues for in-depth exploration by center staff, who work in concert with local, state, and national experts on research initiatives. Current initiatives include research on the potential for homegrown philanthropy to assist communities in addressing economic development priorities and an investigation into the barriers that prevent people and communities from breaking out of the cycle of poverty.

Well-researched and real-world tested, both factors that are anathema to those who worship at the altar of economic theories that have never been (and simply can't) be proven. One of the main reasons these free market principles can't be proven is that their stated goal, economic vitality, is not the primary hoped-for result. Accumulation of wealth is, which cannot coexist with the "prosperity for all" meme they're selling.

And just like the inability of those two conflicting behaviors coexisting in harmony, neither can Progressives and Libertarians occupy the same side of a political debate. I know some reading this would like to build bridges there, at least on the few issues in which we agree. But as far as I'm concerned, that's a marriage made in hell. Wherever their influence finds purchase, people suffer, and the last thing Progressives need is to be even tangentially associated with such activities.


Petition in favor of Rural Center

So glad to see other people bringing this issue to light. Please sign the petition (there's a video here that helps with understanding how we need the center!)