Statism never sleeps.
The Obama administration has apparently identified a significant constituency it hasn't been able to buy off, and is attempting to do something about it.
Of course, the ever-gullible Darlene Superville at the Associated Press is swallowing the White House line completely, as seen in these excerpted paragraphs:
Obama to create White House Rural Council
President Barack Obama plans to create a special advisory council to recommend ways to boost the economic outlook and quality of life for the estimated 60 million people who live in rural areas of the U.S., a White House official said.
Obama was expected to sign an executive order Thursday establishing the White House Rural Council and naming Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, of Iowa, to be its chairman.
The official asked not to be identified in order to speak freely before a formal White House announcement about the council.
The panel will be responsible for providing recommendations to the president on investment in rural areas, as well as coordinating with a variety of rural interests, including agricultural groups, small businesses, and state, local and tribal governments.
... the panel's initial focus will be on job creation and economic development.
... The remaining subject areas will be: agriculture, access to credit, innovation, health care, education, Internet access, infrastructure, conservation and developing regional economies.
It never even occurs to Ms. Superville that rural areas might not be interested in more government "help" or "investment."
Yesterday, the government released GDP by state information for 2007-2010. As the following graphic shows, eight of the nine states with the fastest economic growth are predominantly rural:
What was that about economies needing a "boost"?
Of course I recognize that oil and other natural resource discoveries are helping many of these states. So? And don't forget that the Obama administration is feverishly resisting efforts to explore and develop domestic energy resources.
As to "job creation," here are the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates of the seven highlighted states as of April 2011, all of which were lower than that month's nationwide rate of 9.0%:
- North Dakota -- 3.3%
- Wyoming -- 6.0%
- South Dakota -- 4.9%
- Alaska -- 7.3%
- Nebraska -- 4.2%
- West Virginia -- 8.8%
- Utah -- 7.4%
What was that about "job creation"?
The real "problem" with the seven highlighted states is that the government hasn't figured out how to "cure" them of their inherent hostility towards initiatives designed to increase Washington's control over them. I will suggest that this is what the "Rural Council" is really about. As seen in the stats cited, it can't possibly really be about "job creation" and "economic development" -- Washington's targeted clients are doing fine on their own.
Poor Darlene Superville and the Associated Press just can't (or won't) see past the superficial.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.