|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
|The Morning Mendacity
Wednesday, September 1st, 2004
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|The BBC World Service reporter at the GOP convention in New York was incredulous. Is it possible that so many of these Republican delegates have never visited the big city before? So he did what comes naturally to a journalist, and questioned the nearest delegate. This proved to be an articulate, clear-voiced citizen from Dick Cheneyís home state of Wyoming. No sir, heíd never been to New York City before.
The BBC man grappled with the conundrum, trying different approaches to get at the truth. Finally he asked the $18 billion question: why do urban citizens vote Democrat, and rural citizens vote Republican? That was the clarion call for the man from the Cowboy State. Itís simple, he explained. We folks in rural America believe in family, self-reliance, community, hard work, honesty. We farmers and ranchers solve our problems ourselves. We donít want or need government to stick its oar in. In fact, most of the time government IS the problem. Thatís what the Republican party stands for, so we vote Republican. In the cities, folks rely on government for solutions, so they vote Democrat. The Cowboy Stater let listeners fill in the blank for themselves: those urban Democrats sure are shiftless, immoral, dependant, and lazy, are they not? Or should that be, ainít they?
Trouble is, straight-shooting Wyomingian spoke with heap forked tongue. His account of the Republican credo was accurate enough; itís the credo itself thatís a lie. The conservative Heritage Foundation (heritage.org) reports that the Bush farm bill of 2002 will make $180 billion in direct government transfer payments to those self-reliant farmers over ten years. Two-thirds of that money goes to the farm welfare kings, large farmers making more than $135,000 a year. Leaving urban welfare recipients mere crumbs, in 2002 seventy-eight farms got more than one million dollars in handouts, each. The Heritage Foundation concludes that farm subsidies are the largest and most wasteful corporate welfare program in the U.S.
That $18 billion or so in annual direct handouts doesnít include the additional billions the taxpayer spends to subsidize rural water, power, roads, and so on. As Lexington wrote in August 15th, 2002's The Economist (economist.com), a quarter of every dollar of revenue earned by those government-despising farmers comes as a cash handout from the very government they despise. That of course would be the taxpayer, mostly consisting of the contemptible critters who live in sin on either coast. Economist Paul Krugman estimates that the labor of the lazy urban Democrats provides $90 billion in subsidies every year to the hard-working rural Republicans. Even so, six of the ten poorest counties in the country are western and rural. One in six rural children lives in poverty.
But at least those salt-of-the-earth rural Republicans are cut from a finer moral cloth than their urban brethren? Perhaps not. Lexington further notes that states voting for Mr. Bush in 2000 had higher murder, illegitimacy, and teen pregnancy rates than those plumping for Mr. Gore. While drug-related murders decreased by half in urban settings during the Ď90s, they tripled in law-abiding rural America. Drug addiction is of epidemic proportion in the countryside. Maybe watching the town traffic light change colors eventually loses its thrill.
And maybe those good Republican country folk ought to visit the big city once in a blue moon or so. If they were really honest, they might learn something about true industry, community, and self-reliance from the people who pay their way.
©J.C. Nossiter 2004
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