From today’s Argus Leader:
Rural America faces the same challenges in this recession as corporate America, but the federal government has the ideas and money to energize small communities, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official says.
That paragraph doesn’t sit well with me: a small-government, fiscal conservative.
First, the government has OUR money. That it now has even more of our money to give back to us is not reassuring.
Second, economic development in “Rural America” is the responsibility of those who live in “Rural America.” It is free-enterprising individuals who devise the viable ideas that “energize small communities.” Each community is different. Each has its own particular needs. The members of these communities know better how to meet these needs than any bureaucrat from Washington.
Government’s proper role in economic development is debatable. If any form of government is involved in economic development is should start at the local level, but not proceed beyond that of the state. The federal government may have ideas that work well on paper, but their one-size-fits-all nature severely limits their effectiveness across the cities and town of this nation.
The best thing the federal government can do to promote economic growth in “Rural America” is to let us keep our money and stay out of the way as we find the best ways to invest it.
According to the USDA, rural America is home to 1/6th of the nation’s populace and consists of 3/4ths of the land. To say that the government has the money to energize this sector is remarkable–given how deeply in debt we already are. Perhaps that money (if it actually exists) should cover existing obligations?