Barack Obama’s White House Rural Council: Central Economic Planning For America’s Heartland

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.

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