Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rural/Urban divide: Its getting pissy out there

The Trib has a worthwhile editorial on the timber payments issue--and the major screwing Oregon counties are in for if Wyden/Smith/Oregon Reps can't get the Congress to pony up the dough.

However the Trib's efforts aren't the hook here. The comments left behind are what drew me in. The first:

All of your rural Oregon Republicans are going to get a nice thank you from the Bush Administration for your votes. Enjoy it, you voted for it, and you deserve it.


Whether or not its legit to blame Bush for the lack of payments is reasonable fodder for discussion. But there is merit (IMO) to blaming Republicans in DC. The fever to "cut taxes and spending" in DC without a thoughtful discussion of the serious financial straights of the states (especially with the unfunded mandates handed out on No Child Left Behind and from Homeland Security) is fundamentally irresponsible and shows a tipping point of incompetence. This has left many Oregon counties with no mechanism to collect revenue for even basic government tasks and virtually no time to fix the problem.

But its the second comment that really digs. It reads in part:

Why should we continue to prop up communities that are living in places where there is either no carrying capacity for them or where they are not engaged in economic activity that is derived from the production of renewable resources, organic crops that can be harvested yearly. These harvested crops they could then use to make products that they can trade among themselves and in the region and thus survive.

A derivative of this statement is, I think, worth exploring. If those in the rural areas of the state are unable or unwilling to put up extra taxes/revenue to supplement their schools, roads and other services--why should those in urban areas continue to supplement them as well? Are we really this divided? Or does the supplement that the urban areas provide lift the tide for all boats, making the state better for everyone?