Last Saturday I argued that “The Future is Rural.” With the rise in urban violence (that seems to turn up every presidential election year) and unsustainable living costs, coupled with the spread of telecommuting and improved Internet access, I predict that more and more Americans will flee to the countryside.
Even with the tide turning in favor of rural and small town life, local and county governments can take some proactive steps to attract residents. If the goal is to attract working families consisting of committed parents, localities need to get creative.
The usual approach to building up revenue in small towns is to spend lavishly on parks and sports fields. Large cities famously subsidize the NFL with billions in stadium construction, but small towns routinely fall into these construction boondoggles. The premise is that new softball fields will bring in summer travel leagues, generating local tourism dollars, which is always how new ball fields are sold to the public. Of course, the maintenance of these facilities are added into a locality’s annual budget, becoming recurring expenses, on top of the initial cost of production, which is often debt-financed.
Rather than spend public money on baseball diamonds and—even worse—soccer fields, small towns hoping to attract working families should use that money for something far more precious: children.
Former South Carolina Governor and Congressman for SC-1, Mark Sanford, announced Sunday that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2020 against incumbent President Donald Trump. When Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Sanford why, he said that “We need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican.”
Sanford’s ostensible desire is to draw attention to America’s massive national debt, and our political unwillingness to address the ever-expanding, elephantine gorilla in the room. But as local radio personality and former Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard said on his show this morning, Sanford is shining a bright light on himself as much as he is on the national debt.
It’s been a crazy week, with President Trump successfully maneuvering the ultra-progressive “Squad” of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley as the faces of the entire Democratic Party.
Lost in the shuffle—indeed, what seems to be an afterthought for most politicians and Americans now—is excessive government spending. Virtually all of the major Democratic candidates for president in 2020 endorse policies like Medicare for All that would balloon an already-engorged federal deficit (around $22 trillion, I believe). President Trump, for all of his successes with deregulation and trimming bureaucratic fat, has not done much to cut the budget substantially—indeed, he didn’t even campaign on cutting entitlement spending.