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I'd be really interested to hear opinions about this. I found some of the statistics in it close to unbelievable, but I trust the writer.

It's about poverty in Ohio.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1076608,00.html

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timesink
Nov. 3rd, 2003 11:29 am (UTC)
the region's prosperity was built in manufacturing

And coal, right? High-sulfur coal, the kind that causes acid rain. The kind that costs companies a lot in scrubbers and other environmentally-friendly whatnot, so why not buy low-sulfur coal instead?

leadensky, I recognize your name from other political discussions, and generally you and I share a worldview. But this article is dead on. Rural America is taking the brunt of the paradigm shift to a service-driven economy, and there's little that's been done about it -- unless you count government cheese.

qowf
Nov. 3rd, 2003 12:33 pm (UTC)
>>And coal, right? High-sulfur coal<<

Yep, said the woman who's grandfather and uncle worked at the steel mills in the area, whose aforementioned uncle still walks the coke pits on holidays for quadruple pay. It's the only way he and his family can afford Christmas.
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 01:48 pm (UTC)
Rural America is taking the brunt of the paradigm shift to a service-driven economy, and there's little that's been done about it -- unless you count government cheese.

As a person whose family has traditionally been farmers on both sides for several generations, I am well aware of this. The problem is that there is, actually, fuckall that can be done.

Farming, logging and mining jobs are going away. The people involved in those will have to re-train, and, in most cases, re-locate. Most people are resistent to that. In addition, the people most able to do so, have already done so, before the situation got desperate.

Wages are linked to the value of product produced. Jobs are linked to the number of manhours required to produce the product.

Automation lowers the cost of the product by decreasing the manhours required. Iron, coal, wheat and lumber are commodities that face pressure from overseas producers who can pay top wages for their products in that area and still undercut American wages by 50 to 90%.

There is not a government program on the planet that can make companies employ people at a loss to that company. And there's very little one can say to make me pay more taxes to support people who aren't working.

(Charity I do. Charity I do a lot. But I won't pay the government waste monster in the middle.)

And with dairy price supports declining, there's not even much cheese to go around.

- hg