Thursday, September 11, 2008

Small Towns

" Nonmetro areas contain 17 percent of the U.S. population but extend across 80 percent of the land area. Relatively slow growth characterized nonmetro America during 2000-05. Population increased by just over 1 million, a 2.2-percent increase compared with 5.3 percent for the Nation."...US Department of Agriculture.

I am continuously amazed at the McCain camps attacks on Obama as being disrespectful of small towns. It is just another one of those 'lipstick' issues that ignore real problems. Phony outrage in the hinterlands. Try and get small town people to hate a black man running for President. Get people to think that city slickers are immoral. You know the drill. Pick out a group and make them the enemy.

I look at New Mexico's small towns in the year 2008 and marvel at their lack of economic development and population growth. (I am not talking about growth in places like Los Lunas and Belen that are in commuting distance of Albuquerque.) In fact, many small towns are losing the majority of their young people to the Metropolitan areas. (Will they soon be looked down upon by the people they left behind?) So, the real concern here is how to bolster small town economies. The last thing we should do is another boom bust cycle like Grants, NM has endured with uranium mining. Real growth wont be easy with current energy and fuel costs and lack of transmission lines to bring in what I hope will be mostly renewable energy.

The next administration, if they end exporting dollars for oil and war, can help with this issue. We already know McCain will stay in Iraq so there is $10 billion a month that won't be available. Meanwhile, he has no program for getting us off an oil addiction. So small towns can't look for much help from him. But he does have a great program for lipstick issues.

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