To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s take on homelessness: Most people living in poor rural areas live there by choice. North Carolina Republican social engineering and income redistribution through sales tax manipulation suggest putting new paint on a totaled car, or a Band-Aid on a broken leg.
The decline of our rural areas resulted from, among many irreversible trends, the industrialization of agriculture, urbanization, the collapse of industries such as textiles and the passing of the age of tobacco. Now pork and poultry conglomerates gravitate to rural counties in order to exploit a desperate potential workforce and an unprotected environment. Instances of desirable industries locating in such places are mostly anecdotal.
Republican socialistic efforts to “level the playing field” will never achieve economic parity. They will, however, serve to punish the despised typically younger, less white, more educated and progressive populations of our growing urban areas. And, of course, folks stuck currently in outlying economically disadvantaged regions could always ... move.