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Northwest rural/urban split(1 post)

Northwest rural/urban splitPdxMark
May 23, 2003 9:52 AM
I was told below that:
What the rural right blames you for is depriving them of their industry and replacing it with a subsidy. You have created a dependant class. While it is common for leftists to seek out dependant status, it is objectionable to right wingers, you wouldn't understand, it's a freedom thing.

Besides being based on an unsupported and nonsensical assertion that leftists "seek dependent status," it is entirely bereft of any connection to the economic and political issues here in the NW. Here's a little more context... so my critics can actually comment on what's going on here rather than making a generic retort that has no relation at all to our situation.

You've got your subsidies mistaken...

The subsidy to which you should be referring was a dramatic, unsustainable increase during the Reagan 80s of logging in national forests. Unsustainable in that the 2-3% of remaining virgin forest was being mowed down at 2-3 times the historical rate of logging.

Rural timber industry was hit with a combination of dramatic increases in mill productivity and depletion of the extracted resource -- large old-growth trees. The timber industry at large has no interest in the second growth timber because its profitability pales in comparison to the big old trees. There are lots and lots of smaller, younger trees...

Ignoring a broad consensus supporting continued logging of the renewed (2d growth) resource, the timber industry pushes to get wide-open logging of the pittance of remaining old growth timber - to maintain high levels of profitability. It's a go-for-broke political gamble that economically strands timber families and communities - leaving them angry and resentful. The latest example of this brinksmanship is the recent Congressional Republican abandonment of a bipartisan deal to open certain forests to loging operations, in part to begin returning the forests to a healthy balance.

The Big Timber Boys are playing an all-or-nothing game, but can't win because what they want is illegal under environmental laws. Rather than adapt to the FACT that the large trees are for the most part gone, they continue to push for every last one.

There is no evidence at all that rural folks resent that their schools are being subsidized by urban taxpayers. Rather, those rural schools were perpetually under-funded when left to local tax bases. The rural schools are generally better funded than ever before. On top of that, most urban voters support well-funded schools statewide. It's just when rural voters get their historically enhanced school funding, and then block attempts to prevent urban schools from being decimated by state funding cuts, that the issue even gets raised.

So, resource depletion, political brinskmanship, a structurally defective tax structure... it's a bit more complex than Liberals "seeking out dependant status."