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Suicides in Rural America Increased More Than 40% in 16 Years (acsh.org)
194 points by AaronFriel 102 days ago | hide | past | web | 402 comments | favorite



The lack of opportunity in rural America is disheartening to say the least. I feel the election of Trump is a direct reflection of the lack of empathy people have from cities have for rural America.

I grew up in New Hampshire in a very rural town with a population of 4,000. Rural life sat well with some of my peers, but I loved tech and quickly left through college enabled by my parents ability to point me in the right direction, which many of my peers didn't have. The difference in opportunity I saw in the cities versus New Hampshire was staggering, not even comparable. I've enjoyed my life as I've explored more of America and ended up in the Bay, but every time I go back to New Hampshire there is always a tally of people I knew who died to Heroin. That or one of my friends succumbing to their addictions again. I know these people extremely well and I can confidently say the only difference between me and them was opportunities to enable my mind and parenting. It's disgusting honestly.

Now I would love to solve this problem, but the lack of empathy I've seen in the cities for these people is the worst piece of this puzzle. People in cities have the privilege of wealth and the ability to direct America in a way rural America doesn't. The issues they face in rural America are completely ignored. While they cite that the popular vote strongly favored Hilary, they forget why the electoral college was created. To help rural America from being completely ignored while the cities with denser populations sway the votes towards their issues.

I encourage everyone to go talk to a person in a rural county that is provided cheap heroin through foreign drug smuggling groups that don't have any opportunities. Empathize with their problems. Do I think transgender deserve equal rights? Absolutely. But go to a town ravaged by heroin and lack of financial growth and bring up transgender bathrooms to them. They will be baffled by your lack of knowledge of how their lives operate.


"People in the cities" (who tend to be strongly left-leaning) literally want to give money to the less well-off people in rural areas to help support them. It's the right-leaning candidates who are opposed to wealth redistribution.

Who is missing empathy for whom? From my perspective, the fiscal conservatives from the rural areas have relatively less empathy than vice versa.


Giving money is not the issue in rural America. It's not social welfare such as health insurance or anything of the sort. If anything I'd say there's a lot of disgust with how many rural Americans live off the system.

It's lack of opportunity. What is your answer to that? Tesla isn't opening up a factory in New Hampshire anytime soon. There certainly isn't as many amazing colleges such as UC berkley there. Throwing money into unemployment and welfare won't solve the problem at all.

Trump literally said I will fight to get you jobs back. Ignore if that is true. Ignore if he is an idiot. Ignore if that works in the long term. He was the only candidate that actually said a single idea that was directly aimed at helping them.


> It's lack of opportunity. What is your answer to that? Tesla isn't opening up a factory in New Hampshire anytime soon.

In generations past, Americans picked up and moved to where the opportunity was, rather than staying put. Why is it unreasonable to expect the same now?

The economy has permanently changed - those jobs are never coming back. On the other hand, moving is far, far easier in 2017 than it was for those on the Oregon Trail or the Mayflower.


Yes so you want to have every move to the city where the opportunities are. Which may be fine, but imagine for a second someone telling you that 'you should just move from where you are because where you were born isn't good enough'. Not very considerate. Also, they would be thrown into an environment that is wildly different than there own with far less money than everyone else and lack of skillets and knowledge to thrive.

They would be an extreme disadvatantage. Now I don't disagree that that may be a solution, but seriously take a step back. Ask yourself if you think you just said is empathatic towards people in rural America?

Ask yourself if you had said that about other issues in America. 'Why can't black people just start learning how to code to catch up?' 'Why can't gays just get over not being able to be officially married?'

Basically what you're saying is 'why cant people that aren't me adapt to how I operate?'


>but imagine for a second someone telling you that 'you should just move from where you are because where you were born isn't good enough'

I don't have to imagine it. There are 8 cities between my great-grandfather and me.

- Russia (we don't know what city), where my great-grandfather was born.

- St. Louis, where my great-grandfather settled as a refugee from the pogroms (he was Jewish).

- Chicago, where my great-grandfather relocated for work and my grandfather did undergrad->PhD.

- Seattle, where my grandfather moved after graduation and met my grandmother from Ottawa.

- Lawrence, KS., where my grandfather got his faculty job and where my parents met.

- Rochester, NY. where my parents moved after college.

- Milwaukee, WI. because the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle was written during the evenings and delivered in the afternoon, while the Milwaukee Journal was written during the business day and delivered the following morning. My dad was a journalist and my mom was a teacher (they have both changed careers now) and they wanted to have dinner together.

- Chicago again, where I went to college.

- Berkeley, CA. where I now live for my software engineering job in San Francisco.

My family is privileged in many ways (white skin, tradition of going to college, supportive households, etc). But no one in my family's history has had the incredible privilege of being born in a place that remains suitable for an entire lifetime, much less multiple generations of lifetimes. I cannot even comprehend what it would be like to be born in a place I could stay in forever while having a decent career. That must be nice if you can get it.

In terms of public policy, I'd consider that kind of luxury to be on par with owning a vacation home. Yeah, it'd be nice if everyone could have that, but there are much more pressing problems to solve.


I know people whom moved from my rust belt home town and after the crash in 08' lost job(s). The one person was living in Florida for years before the crash. They were basically strong armed by social services into returning to their home states if they wanted to keep receiving assistance. I imagine they felt family ties would help ease the burden, if said person were back home near family however, in this case his only sister wasn't able to provide much beyond emotional support. I remember reading of similar cases in Hawaii after the crash, in those cases people were given flight vouchers for a resettlement to their home states.


> imagine for a second someone telling you that 'you should just move from where you are because where you were born isn't good enough'

Now imagine telling a corporation that 'you must build your factory only in City X' -- why should they? They will build where they find space at good rents and an industrial ecosystem and workers.

What if the factory owner lives in California. So he has to move his life across the country and build in New Hampshire because a rural worker in New Hampshire didn't want to move themselves? How does this make sense?


Exactly!

Viewed by the capitalist system, these communities are useless. People hate feeling useless, even if you give them everything they need to live (the Democrat's solution)

So, how do you make economically irrelevant communities viable?

I have no idea.


The left solution is not simply throw money at the problem and ignore if it solves it.

The basic income movement beneath a lot of this is meant to, over generations, migrate the culture from one where your work defines your value as a human being to one where you are valued for your non-monetary contributions to society as well.


A good, first approach is to structure incentives to encourage people to move from irrelevant communities. Such as not punishing manufacturing for moving overseas, ending non-strategic subsidies, and similar as the stick, and funding non-profits dedicated to helping people relocate to areas with brighter opportunities.

We will have to do these things due to climate change anyway (create policies to handle migration) if the Agricultural Revolution is to ultimately win over Nomadism, we may as well figure out things that work here and now.


These communities aren't useless. They just support fewer jobs and probably a lower standard of living than they once did. This happened to coal mining towns in Wales a hundred years ago. A lot of those people came to the US. But Wales didn't become useless, it just lost a major source of employment. People will migrate, retrain, change their expectations.


Make remote work the standard option whenever possible. For example, all the paper pushing work can be easily made remote and distributed to rural areas.


If you make remote work the standard, why wouldn't a company offshore it to remote workers who are often wildly cheaper due to market forces and market distortions (like minimum wage laws)?

There are plenty of English reading/writing/speaking people in India capable of remote work.


Capitalism is blind to political movements, wealth inequality, and full employment. All that matters is the bottom line. This is leading to globalism, automation, and use of illegal immigration which is gutting the lower and middle classes. Would it be best for the corporation? No, of course not. But there needs to be a balance between the lower and upper classes, and right now that balance is not there. A rising economy should benefit everyone. This lack of balance is why populist politicians were so popular this election.


Wouldn't a progressive, Bernie-style [limited] redistribution be better to achieve such a goal? Appropriate corporate tax funded social spending sound like a more efficient way to help everyone than forcing a factory owner in California to move his factory to some random rural area.

I don't run a factory, but I am a full-time co-founder of a startup. There is no way I'd move our NYC-based operation to some rural area, there is little to no specialized technical community outside the major cities. For example, would I be able to attend weekly Machine Learning meetups in West Virginia? Would I be able to have lunch regularly with VCs in Ohio? I've been overseas doing a parallel medical trial, in a big city, and still it is very difficult to operate here. The depth of community just doesn't exist.

I realize a tech startup isn't a perfect example, but I imagine some of the same concerns would be applicable to factory owners. It is simply not realistic to assume that employers (who already don't have trouble finding talent) should move to where workers are, rather than the opposite.


Factories and employers used to put factories in rural areas because of the cheap labor. Globalism has exploited the fact that many other countries don't have the labor laws or quality of life America does, and made it so rural America isn't an economically viable location to put jobs. I'd agree that a Bernie-style form of redistribution would be ideal, but in my opinion, it's important to be politically expedient. America's political system is rigged to the point where even if a redistribution program was passed, it would be removed within a decade. Given the fact that wealth and GDP has never been higher and that corporations are having no problem finding profits, we need to find a way to make rural America an economically feasible location to put jobs again, which means ending or slowing globalization.


Would it solve problems if we had an equivalent to meetup for online meetups such as the above? If we suggest all can be done online, why aren't our meetups online? Certainly, time zones are an issue, and some meetup functions can be duplicated by a mailing list or forum, but why haven't we figured this one out? (The time zone could be solved by having multiple meetups and people go to the ones which are better for their time, for example.) And a speaker is something is probably easier than the average user group - someone just joins from their house...


> Would I be able to have lunch regularly with VCs in Ohio?

Yes. There is a fantastic, burgeoning startup community in Ohio. One that seems to be getting traction is Root, an really innovative insurance company (I'm not affiliated with Root).


Have you visited Ohio? There are cities there. My company is working with a startup in Akron that's doing some neat stuff. You can bet it's not strip-mining the social graph.


Funny story -- Yes! I did visit Ohio, to see a VC actually. I was able to get a single VC meeting for the whole trip. Perhaps there are other VCs, but I found just one willing to take a meeting. The odds in NYC were higher. The odds in SF are even higher. I find it difficult to believe there VCs are as accessible in Ohio as they are in NYC/SF.


> imagine for a second someone telling you that 'you should just move from where you are because where you were born isn't good enough'. Not very considerate.

Reality doesn't really care about consideration.

Are God and Nature then at strife,

That Nature lends such evil dreams?

So careful of the type she seems,

So careless of the single life;

That I, considering everywhere

Her secret meaning in her deeds,

And finding that of fifty seeds

She often brings but one to bear,

I falter where I firmly trod,

And falling with my weight of cares

Upon the great world's altar-stairs

That slope thro' darkness up to God,

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,

And gather dust and chaff, and call

To what I feel is Lord of all,

And faintly trust the larger hope.

-Tennyson


> Ask yourself if you think you just said is empathatic towards people in rural America?

It's not a matter of empathy. There are laws of economics at play. The free market chooses the most competitive products and the most competitive products are made in economic centers. Capitalism favors cities. These economic forces are forces of nature, and opposing them is like opposing the laws of physics.

Now, the government can step in to pump money into rural areas in various ways (direct investment, tax credits, etc.), to make their products more competitive. But that's unsustainable, and once you turn on the spigot you can't turn it off without hurting people even more. You want to know what it looks like when the government makes a determination on which areas are going to make which things, market competition be damned, for social reasons? It looks like the Soviet Union.

We live in some very weird times if Republicans are getting elected to promote Soviet economic policy in America.


I moved to the west coast from the south because educational and job opportunities were way better. I had finished my bs, but it was a very low avg state school. what i did anyone could. i want to help others but i dont know how.


The last people to the pyramid game are the suckers, so there's little motivation to commit financial suicide so a boomer can cash in and retire in wealth by selling to you.

Also the overall standard of living is lower in cities than in rural areas for non-1% job categories. You'll make maybe 10% more money while paying 20% more and living in higher crime and worse conditions as a welder, for example.

Its not even clear for "computer people" that the overall standard of living is better in a city. We all know there's only one politically correct thing to say about urbanism, but there's a difference between being required to say under social duress vs actually is.


>¤We all know there's only one politically correct thing to say about urbanism, but there's a difference between being required to say under social duress vs actually is.

I'm not sure what this means, can you expand on this?


The difference is decades of economic policy that encouraged people to dump their life savings into owning their own home. When you've invested heavily in something, you tend to suffer from sunk costs fallacy. Add to that the fact, that those that own the homes and the land are typically the leaders in their community and you have those invested in a place encouraging others to stay there as it dies. Those that own the home can move out, but if enough do so, then the only prospect for the laggards is abandoning the home and losing it all.

I agree that people should move, but circumstances are different today.

I'd love to see more sociology and economic research in how towns die and recover. Tons of money studies urban poverty and decay, and I suspect rural poverty and decay doesn't get nearly the same attention because it's out of sight and out of mind for those funding the research.


Why is it unreasonable to expect the same now? The economy has permanently changed - those jobs are never coming back. On the other hand, moving is far, far easier in 2017 than it was for those on the Oregon Trail or the Mayflower.

Transportation is easier - but lets face it, it takes money to move now just like it took money to move back then. This is the entire reason we can't expect folks to just be able to move. There aren't jobs coming back, so they have no income. If they are lucky, they make minimum wage. And to make more money, they have to save up first month's rent, deposit, utility deposits, plus the actual moving expenses. All this for a city likely to be more expensive than their rural location. It isn't much wonder why folks aren't moving more often.

Sure, one could find work in the nearest town, but that takes commute money. If one has a friend they can live with, that helps, but many don't.


Presumably the cost of living in cities with growing economies disincentivizes poor people from moving.


To cities, perhaps, but not to areas of opportunities (even fleeting). Consider South Dakota.


What exactly is drawing people to South Dakota?


Sioux Falls is booming after a decade of investment by the financial and medical industries.

Sanford Health is particularly noticeable - there are multiple hospitals and research centers there or under construction.

I believe the banking is mostly credit card companies and cheque printing.

It's got a surprising number of amenities for a small city and if you can stand the location and politics it's got relatively high wages and low cost of living.


Oy. It was too late at night for me when I wrote this. I meant North Dakota, referencing fracking jobs.


But by happy circumstance, it seems Sioux Falls is booming. So I wasn't completely wrong.


I figured that was the case, but Sioux Falls also does a lot of advertising in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / St. Paul MN) to convince businesses to move.

Sioux Falls is actually a pretty nice town. SD is a bit strange because the capital of the state is such a small town. SD also has no state income taxes for individuals or businesses.


In a vibrant economy, jobs move to where there are workers. That is the reason so many factories were built out of the major cities in the first place.

Trump is right to identify insufficient aggregate demand as the cause of unemployment in the midwest and underemployment pretty much everywhere. The culprit is much more China than Mexico. If the administration can significantly reduce the trade deficit it will have very positive effects on US employment and income.


The culprit is neither China or Mexico, it's automation [1]. To say anything else is to deny reality.

You can accomplish far more today with the advances in robotics and logistics than you could 30 or even 20 years ago.

This is an example of a brewery working at full capacity with a total of 6 people per shift. If this brewery was operated 35 years ago it would be 600 people per shift.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tLim5pkfOw

So how exactly are you going to stop these owners of capital that are so rightfully praised in the United States? You have entire cities that will offer free electricity, massive tax incentives, and looser regulations for what? A couple hundred jobs? What about the tens of thousands of people that are out of work? Are we really going to subsidize hundreds of thousands of tax dollars for jobs that barely pay $15/hour?

I don't know what the solution is but I do know it will require massive amounts of tax dollars and it won't be the poor paying it.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/upshot/the-long-term-jobs...


The problem now is automation, but that's because all of the jobs that couldn't be automated have already been shipped overseas. I argue that automation, globalization, and arguably illegal immigration are the three largest factors gutting the lower and middle classes in America. Also, you don't have to give better jobs to everyone, just a big chunk. There are ~10 million illegal immigrants in the US, which has a population of ~300 million. Right or wrong, shipping them out or giving some sort of work visa(to require at least minimum wage pay) would raise demand for lower class jobs to the point where lower and middle class wages may finally start rising again.

Edited to recognize the open debate on illegal immigration. I don't understand how illegal immigration could lead to a better job outlook for the lower class. If anyone has some info on that, I'd appreciate it.


Nope: you forget that immigrants (legal or otherwise) increase demand for goods in their local economy which creates demand for jobs to fulfill these goods. Research shows that this demand creates more jobs than the immigrants "consume".


> Research shows that this demand creates more jobs than the immigrants "consume".

This seems a bit counter-intuitive to me, could you point me to any research?


Jobs are made possible by consumption. Illegal immigrants are consumers too.

Without them, we'd have fewer workers competing for jobs, which seems like a good thing, but we'd also have fewer jobs to go around because of decreased consumption.


That's a fine theory but do you have any proof?


This episode of the "Science Vs" podcast goes over a lot of research on immigration including what I mentioned about job creation: https://gimletmedia.com/episode/immigration/


The first two are on point. The third is politically motivated. The question of whether illegal immigrants contribute more to everyone is still relatively open: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_illegal_imm...


Read the NYT piece again: it cites evidence the trade deficit is a major problem. Of course, since accepting this means admitting that Trump is correct on trade, the authors immediately write-off the evidence by insisting that these jobs would eventually disappear anyway. So can we really blame China?

Unfortunately, the problem is not about keeping any particular job so much as keeping the American economy vibrant enough to create new jobs as the old ones disappear. This requires the economy to operate at full employment, which requires adequate aggregate demand, which requires... well... there's your problem with the massive trade deficit and Chinese protectionism. Put more simply, if the Chinese were purchasing as much from the United States as they were selling into it, there would be a lot more job opportunities in the industries selling to China. Those would drive up wages and create competition to hire those newly unemployed.

Incidentally, it is worth remarking on the fact that China is going through the same pattern of automation and labor dislocation as the United States. The country also has an endemic problem with rent-capture and corruption that works against an efficient private sector. Despite this, the economy is doing much better at job creation largely because of the country's mercantilism: its politically engineered trade surplus ensures adequate demand in the southern export-oriented parts of the economy, while state control of the financial sector serves to redistributes gains from trade to the SOE sector etc.


Workers move where there are jobs. I haven't seen anything else, anywhere.

Factories were built where it was cheap or where the founders decided, but to be fair, as close to people as possible.


Ask any dairy farmer in the US: it's mostly Latinos whom do the dirty work that in-country people scoff at. If you want something done in the US, it's usually immigrants whom do the hard work.

If people are willing to schlep they have the opportunity to feel purpose and a sense of accomplishment, but if they're going to sit idle and/or get wasted, that's the surest path to rusty irrelevancy. Folks need to bootstrap themselves and find/invent useful contribution to society that can turn a profit, rather than expecting someone to show up and hand it to them.


At what wage? Pretty sure if shoveling cow shit paid an executives salary you would have no problem finding people willing to do it w/o turning to under the table labor.


Mike Rowe is often an interesting one to follow for this kind of information, regardless of one's political leanings.

http://mikerowe.com/2016/02/stopignoringskillsgap/


Yeah, I like Rowe's stuff on the skills gap but I don't think what he is talking about in that article, skilled trades, and what the op is discussing, unskilled farm hand and factory labor, is the same labor market.


Rural is, by definition, constrained to a few economic activities such as farming and logistics. You mentioned a Tesla factory, but if you look at the "Gigafactory" you will see it is in a rather rural place. But it is reasonably close to materials and logistics.

As far back as the 1800's towns have "died" when the rail road went a different way. That isn't a new phenomena.

But looking at what works historically and what doesn't, the 'new' thing now is the Internet which makes a lot of things possible that weren't before. If you can get 40 gbits of capacity pulled into a 'rural town' then you can build an office building where everyone can connect pretty seemlessly to an office anywhere else. You can build customer support there, you can build logistics tracking systems, you can build R&D facilities. If you do this a there will be a complaint that you are 'ruining' the town.

A complaint I hear often is people want to work in tech but they want a place where they can buy a house and raise a family. That could be the lure of rural America if the state would fund fiber infrastructure to the town.


Yep, it could also be a great way to lower the cost of living in already over populated cities. People living in smaller localities and close to work would also diminish commute times - lowering carbon emissions.

I wonder how costly a fiber "plant" is? What's stopping the US from a "roll out the fiber" New Deal-style project?


From an infrastructure improvement point of few, state funded fiber beats all other uses of infrastructure tax dollars (I've been doing research as part of my 'Sunnyvale Fiber' project). At the state level, legislative support for a 'digital' easement allows for emminent domain type land offset cases (where the state comes in and says "for this parcel we're going to require an underground easement for fiber transit". The good news is that you can (if you choose to) bury these things 50+ feet down which protects them from most threats. Horizontal drilling capacity (some sitting idle in fracking fields) can be employed to create the necessary conduit for generally long lengths (up to nearly 5 miles or 25,000' by some estimates)

Adding water, power, freeways, and airports all cost more, and generate fewer net commercial opportunities.


For one thing, cable TV companies (who are the only practical ISP in many areas) don't want competition and have no reason to do it themselves.


It is worse than that. Of course they don't want competition but the the monopoly services areas are an artifact of legislative deal making. So the current situation is codified in law and would need to be changed.

Monopoly service areas for universal service offering was the deal.


This is a huge barrier, there is a lot of 'rent' money being doled out to 'sole providers'


They're not going to exist in every locality. My relatives are still on satellite and dial up.


> It's lack of opportunity. What is your answer to that?

There is none. The entire history of civilization is a shift of economic activity from outside of cities to cities, and, in terms of long term trends, is unlikely that ever changes in the foreseeable future.

"Rural America" can't, really, have it's fortunes reversed any more than obsolete industries in urban America can; all that can be done in either case is to help people transition out of them. That's perhaps not the answer people want to hear, but anyone saying anything else is lying to exploit their pain and probably facilitating their destruction.


I don't really think this is necessarily true. If the number of people who have jobs that can be worked remotely continues to increase, and if the possibilities of virtual office space can be realized than cities might become less appealing.

The main draw of cities is higher wages and greater social activity, but these are things that are decreasingly necessary to do in person, especially as VR adoption increases. As it becomes more possible to work and socialize online/in VR the incentives could shift so that it makes more sense for people to work online in high paying information worker jobs but paired with the low cost of living out in the countryside.

If this is the case it would be an interesting reversal of the current historical trend towards greater centralization, but this kind of decentralization wouldn't be unprecedented. I think you greatly overstate the extent to which rural America is doomed. If anything, it would seem that as economic opportunities become more evenly distributed over the globe due to the proliferation of information technology that people would come to prefer living rurally, especially since evidence suggests that people living in rural areas are happier on average[1].

[1] http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/06/the-price-of-happines...


Careful what you wish for. If your job can be done from Nowheresville, Kansas, it can be done from India. My guess is that remote work will bypass rural USA.


Timezones still matter. It is a big pain to work with teams in a timezone 12 hours away.


People in low COL countries can be paid enough to work 3rd shift for much less than the cost differential between a 3rd world slum and a Nowheresville KS house.


Depends on the job. We don't expect our software engineers in India to work nightshift or live in slums.


I respect the honesty here. Basically we are moving towards cities and we need to move faster. Maybe that is the answer and we start a migration plan? Not sure.

But I'd at least like to see some people in the cities say 'we honestly don't care about rural people and they need to adapt'. That would sit better with me.


> Basically we are moving towards cities and we need to move faster

Not necessarily. It might be possible and even desirable to slow some aspects of it down, but not wind the clock in reverse.

> But I'd at least like to see some people in the cities say 'we honestly don't care about rural people and they need to adapt'.

It's not a matter of not caring about rural people (or urban people who have been surviving off industries that are on the way out, or that once survived off industries that are gone that they wish would come back); caring about the people demands dealing with them honestly and doing the things that can mitigate harms to them from the transition, not trying to pretend that the world is going to rewind to some past state for them.


I dont know many people in cities who would say they dont care about rural populations. Most city-folks (i hate the false dichotomy here, but lets continue with it) I know care very much, but realize there are no quick fixes. The longer-term fixes are to improve education and increase mobility by de-linking health-care from employers.

I hung out with plenty of 1%er conservatives (rural Connecticut hedge fund) and plenty of progressives (in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.) I rarely saw any empathy amongst wealthy, elite sub-urbanite hedge fund crowds.

As for quick-fixes, the only quick fix I've seen so far is one that will come at a huge cost -- deregulating environmental controls. I agree this will seriously increase rural job opportunities, but it will come at a long-term cost as those factories dump chemicals into local areas. Now that the EPA is being gutted, I can see that happening.


> deregulating environmental controls. ... as those factories dump chemicals into local areas ...

Nope, Nope, Nope.

See: 1970's, burning rivers, toxic smog, many "Superfund sites" that STILL haven't been cleaned up.

http://americandecadesboyle.wikispaces.com/Environmentalism+...

Not sure if fracking is an environmental issue, but a study says it is.

http://www.newsweek.com/fracking-wells-tainting-drinking-wat...


>The longer-term fixes are to improve education...

Being highly educated does not matter if you can't get a job. Also, a balanced economy shouldn't require everyone to be highly educated.


You are absolutely correct. I should clarify that education also includes vocational education. However, I was actually speaking about K-12 -- the foundation for whatever one might wish to do later in life (university, vocational school.) I'm incredibly lucky that our big city (NYC) offers excellent public magnet schools, albeit obtained by exam+ambition+drive+luck. My friends in rural areas (mostly doctors) tell me that is rarely the case for their children in rural areas.


> But I'd at least like to see some people in the cities say 'we honestly don't care about rural people and they need to adapt'. That would sit better with me.

What a willful misunderstanding of the other position.

If someone said to you, while commiserating over some kind of economic hardship you were experiencing, that you ought to move into their town or even live on their street, would that seem to you equivalent to their saying that they "honestly don't care about" you?


There were mass depopulations of cities at the end of the Western Roman (due to Germanic invaders), Eastern Roman (due to Muslim invaders), Abbasid (due to Mongols) and certain of the Chinese (due to Mongols, Xiongnu, etc etc) empires. This was not exactly good for economic activity.


I seem to remember reading descriptions of the collapse of the Roman Empire in Britain and they seemed to be suggesting that it was economic collapse that led to depopulation of cities and towns - you can't survive in a city if there is no functioning economy to provide you with food and other necessities in exchange for money.


> Giving money is not the issue in rural America.

Ok, but, if you take away the wealth redistribution, rural Americans' taxes go up and they have even less income. It's even harder to pay for school or move to the city for work. Or just to put food on the table.

> It's lack of opportunity. What is your answer to that?

Move where the jobs are? It sucks to move away from home, but it's not like every city-dweller is born in the city where they work. Plenty of people move to other cities for work.

NH is within spitting distance of plenty of great schools.

> Trump literally said I will fight to get you jobs back. ... He was the only candidate that actually said a single idea that was directly aimed at helping them

If you think Trump was the only candidate promising to create jobs, you're simply weren't listening to the debates or other campaign messaging: http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Hillary_Clinton_Jobs.htm


I listened to the debates many times. Trump brought up jobs for rural America over and over because he knew how badly it effected many Americans. Hillary brought up jobs much less. I should just do a tally on how many times Trump mentioned jobs vs Hilary in the election race. I'm confident it would lean towards Trump.

PS. I am 100% not a Trump supporter. See how this devolves into assuming I'm a Trump supporter? I'm just stating things based on what they said. I never even attacked Hilary and her claims.


i'm guessing you mean hillary didn't bring up jobs in rural america vs jobs in general? because hillary literally had outlined how we as a country would move ahead and sustain our jobs/economy (basically: more education, investment in technology, encouraging startups).

all trump has talked about is how jobs are fleeing america. he even criticized ford for moving jobs from michigan when in fact they weren't.

so please, if you're going to say trump brought up jobs, at least address the fact that he didn't offer any solutions then, nor has he offered any now. that Carrier "job save" of 1000 was due to the state of indiana offering them incentives to keep the jobs here. that's not a very sustainable idea (also, although i'm not necessarily opposed to states giving companies incentives like this at tax-payer expense, that move seems very anti-free market all things considered).


>more education, investment in technology, encouraging startups

This is very, very obviously not what rural Americans want to hear.


But all politicians promise jobs - this is nothing new. Even Hillary promised jobs, she even had plans for it.

Promising jobs is not new.


She supported TPP which people viewed as anti job. Trump was strongly against TPP. Stuff like that speaks louder than simple I'm gonna create jobs promises which as you say all politicians say.

edit: correct acronym.


Actually, she had a plan, and had the technical/ bureaucratic/ legal backing to make It.

Trump, had and has not come up with a concrete plan as I recall. His current plan seems to be to... I don't know actually.

Just opposing the TPP doesn't make a case for trump winning votes and the presidency.

Trump had other actual statements, like "i will not let ford shut this plant down, and send jobs to Mexico!"

Let's not forget: "we'll start hitting those people where it hurts the most!" Those people being immigrants and China, who were "taking all the jobs."

hillary believed that most people would be rational and not vote for someone that obviously against what America stood for. He has had more scandal in his run for office than I've seen in many imaginative tv shows.

It seems, when it came down to it, people chose to vote for their party. Even if whatever trump said or did, was against what they held as the standard for a president.


You've got your acronym wrong, it's TPP not TTP.


No one is talking about taxing the poor. For the vast majority of Americans, there tax would remain the same. Its the 1%, and especially the top .1% that are going to need to pay, as they are the ones hoarding the wealth.


Er, Hillary had a $30 billion plan directly aimed at helping coal communities [0]. I happen to not support much of that plan but the claim "He was the only candidate that actually said a single idea that was directly aimed at helping them" is demonstrably false.

[0]http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-clinton-idUSK...

edit - Include link


Rural America exists today due to the explosion of Rail in the late 1800s to 1930s. the Interstate Highway System, and DOD strategically building highways between bases that avoided large population centers. That infrastructure allowed many small towns to spring up manufacturing, factories, processing, etc. as practically speculation on what areas would become denser over time. As the infrastructure has crumbled, as cheaper substitutes came along from overseas or in other areas, and as temporarily wealthier areas sent their best and brightest to denser areas for better educational opportunities, the resources available to these areas have dwindled.

Unless we find some way for rural areas to be reinvigorated though government-funded infrastructure building and private arbitrage as we have in times past, we're going to have to let nature run its course. This kind of outcome has happened time and again in the past, to cultures now long since dead. Rural America doesn't like that, and of course neither does MSA America, since it means the underdog doesn't win. So give a figure. How much does cost of living as a percentage of income need to be before we as a society can stage an intervention to say "No, we can no longer support your way of life. It's become too expensive. You need to figure out how to be productive or your seat at the table is no longer open."?


Would you say the same to a homeless person? Why should we just let the interior of our country become economically baren just so the top 20 percent of people in cities can reap the rewards of globalism? That's millions of people that you're saying should either suck it up or die.


I'm not saying die, I'm saying move forward.

Rural America is a happy unintended outcome of previous laws, policies, and such that has become prohibitively expensive with a low ROI. Questioning whether help should be given in the form of subsistence handouts or expensive infrastructure shifts isn't taboo--it's at the heart of demand from Rural America. "Bring Jobs Back!" How? Government has two methods: coerce jobs to be opened there (fascism or socialism, which most Rural Americans claim to be against) or to design policy to encourage growth (no guarantee jobs will come back, especially the old jobs people are trained for). We must ask ourselves the question whether we want collectivism or similar types of job-making programs, shown to be fairly fragile depending on who is in charge, or whether we want to move forward with the techno-liberal/libertarian march that has been ongoing since the Industrial Revolution.

If saving Rural America is a zero-sum outcome with the long-run survival of the species through colonizing the solar system and beyond, which do we invest in as a society?

As a last point, isn't leaving Rural America to it's own devices to figure things out what Rural America has been voting for since Nixon, anyhow?


No, America was rural before rail and the highway systems, as was the rest of the world. America has gotten progressively less rural since its founding as fewer people have had to be directly engaged in farming.


Rail and the rest allowed it to persist.


>> Tesla isn't opening up a factory in New Hampshire anytime soon. There certainly isn't as many amazing colleges such as UC berkley there.

That is because of economies of scale. It is not possible to get a U.C. Berkeley in every one of the 17,000 towns the US has. Not even big cities will be getting U.C. Berkeley. Aside from NYC and Boston and Pittsburgh, there isn't any other city that has a comparable Top-5 engineering school.

Same for Tesla factories, you cant have a factory in every one of the 17,000 towns.

I'm not sure how Trump is helping these towns, but the Dems did offer solutions, more fundamental solutions. Like better access to education so new graduates could qualify for better jobs. These problems have been created over a generation and wont be solved with a simple travel ban or what not, they will be solved with education and empowerment.

Secondly, Dems have tried hard to get a better health-care system. Being an entrepreneur I understand how critical this is -- without healthcare I would not take risks, not with a family. I'd stick to my job to just get health benefits. Having a portable health plan is also critical to allowing people mobility, hopefully upward mobility.


What part of this has to do with the problem I brought up? Rural white America which is a large portion of America has a lack of opportunities.

I'm not talking health care. And I 100% know that it is not reasonable to bring those schools to rural America. But where is the dialog around helping them? At least a conversation around fixing the heroin problem and finding them jobs. If you have that conversation that was brought up during the election in big debates during the election, please link it.

there are countless examples of Trump at least putting together a plan, even if its stupid, to help them.


Access to medical care, therapy, especially for the poor have always been a top-3 Democrat platform item. Here is one plan HRC had: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/29/clinton-proposes-plan-to-addr...

w/r/t the Heroin problem, for a generation, Republicans have pushed an agenda of criminalizing drug addiction, labeling it a moral issue and throwing victims into prison. That worked to their agenda when it was a big urban problem affecting swaths of minorities. As a bonus, it also ups private for-profit prison populations, another Republican agenda. Now that it is a rural scourge amongst white Americans, Republicans are having a difficult time reconciling their previous lack of empathy, so they are mostly silent.

I'm a "city-dweller" and while I'm registered Republican I generally vote Democratic. My taxes go up as a 1%-er, but i'm 100% to have my taxes go up to support my fellow Americans.


> w/r/t the Heroin problem, for a generation, Republicans have pushed an agenda of criminalizing drug addiction, labeling it a moral issue and throwing victims into prison.

Don't forget that Dems were also strongly for this platform in the 90s under Clinton.


They weren't strongly for this. They edged towards it just enough to win enough of the white people who had fallen for scaremongering (and often racist) propaganda put out by Republicans so they wouldn't lose and then have no ability to change the policy.

"Both sides are the same" is a rallying cry of people who know that one side is actually much worse.


If a political party is not entirely for the end of the drug war... they get tossed in the trash. They're lucky they get to hang out with the garbage IMO.


I think the disconnect is in what "help" looks like. From the "city folk" point of view, help means removing barriers: healthcare, education, affordable housing, child care, etc.

Creating jobs in where they don't geographically make sense isn't helping, it's passing the buck.


>But where is the dialog around helping them?

Is this a joke?

The discussion around how to humanely deal with drug addiction has been completely shut down by the right wing. they have made it a literal WAR against drug users.

Rural america dug its grave by pushing for the drug war for decades, and now that white americans are having a drug problem its finally time to step back and look at this issue more seriously?

And you think its the cities that lack empathy? How disconnected from reality can you be?


Curious what you think of relocation financing. One common theme I hear in interviews with rural Americans is that there are no opportunities where they are, but they can't move to the city because the cost of living is such that they could never afford security deposit + 1st month's rent.

OTOH, I know a few founders who have tried to start relocation financing companies, and it just doesn't seem to work. Too much risk on the loans, and not enough demand from the people who would be helped most by them.


Are people moving to San Francisco or Manhatten only? Is $2k or $3k crazy? Are there groups of people who could room together? Do they have no friends they could temporarily room with while they get on their feet? I came from this life. This is a copout for people afraid to leave their comfort zone.

When I moved to Austin, I had plenty of people warn me I would get mugged every time I set foot on the street. Similar outrageous claims have been made regarding every place I've ended up. Nuts to that. We can't let fear rule our lives.


> Is $2k or $3k crazy?

Yes. But that's one thing that does keep rural (or even, in my experience, suburban) people from moving to large cities. They really can't imagine paying so much for rent.

Some in my family can't even imagine renting an apartment. It's a house or nothing. A cheap-ish house in a rural area seems to win out over a better job in a city, more often than not.


This makes a lot of sense to me... This is exactly why I haven't moved to CA!


>Is $2k or $3k crazy?

For most people here, $500 is crazy. People in rural America tend to be poor.


I know people in rural America can have limited means. That's my stomping grounds--I lived it.

People can stock away $50/month, $30/month, you name it. Low amounts. It adds up quick. And even then, you can get 4 or 5 people in an area who want to move to the city to go, and go. Or a person can join the military to get out, in most cases.

Maybe because its late at night, but I feel like I'm coming across unsympathetic. I'm not--I know it's hard to leave. It's not as easy as up and leaving one day. What concerns me is the idea of an apparent lack of desire to put into action the wistfulness of wanting to leave by grandparent comment and other comments in this thread. Rural America is caught in a spiral of increasing costs that it can't dig itself out of. Most everyone knows that. Is it kinder to continue giving sustenance living to people wanting to stay or to open the valve for transferring to cities through housing projects?


By your own math, $50 a month adds up to $2,000 in relocation expenses in years.

Years where nothing has gone wrong that needs to deplete that relocation fund.

It's a nice dream, but it seems like a dream to me. (Also grew up poor, though not as poor as a lot of people.)


Implicit in what I'm saying is getting together with like-minded local people to pool resources for a move.

Once you've found that initial $50, you'll find more margins. Maybe it comes by switching over to lentils, eggs, salt, and multivitamins. Maybe it comes from canceling cable. Maybe it comes by cutting out the internet for awhile while you put the money to better use. Maybe it comes by picking up an early morning newspaper route in the wealthier part of town. Maybe it comes by working at the local Walmart distributor 25 miles away. Maybe it comes by selling the wood on your property, should you have some. The point is that margins for super-saving and liquidation are possible.


> People can stock away $50/month, $30/month, you name it.

Tell me more about disposable income... whats it like?


Snark aside, disposable income is possible. Maybe it comes by picking up a side gig, maybe it comes by choosing to avoid drinking/smoking/junk food, maybe it comes by replacing shorter trips (<10 mi) with bike rides. There are dozens to hundreds of margins where individuals can be super-savers. Use a bucket of water and fingers + soap or newspaper instead of toilet paper, use baking soda instead of toothpaste, eat dandelion leaves instead of buying kale, etc.

I lived two years among the poorest of the poor in the Philippines, who live on less then $2/day, and I've seen super saving as a necessity for survival. In the US we have wonderful things like food stamps, guaranteed healthcare at ERs, utilities help if you're poor, etc. that take so much of the risk out of life. If you're living on rice + salt + parasite-laden water, cooking your food in a stolen pot by burning coconut shells from your manual labor during the day as a copras harvester (and getting your protein from unripe jackfruit, salted minnows, purloined coconut, and the wild bird that falls into your traps), living in a house that has a thatched roof and split bamboo walls and floors, and you still send your kids to school and pay the $100/year in tuition to get them there, then seeing how to save literally any disposable income makes a whole lot of sense. We're so wealthy in the US that we have little idea what it means to be truly poor.


It is disingenuous to compare the conditions of poverty in one place and time to another as if poverty is measured absolutely.

Adam Smith, coined the father of economics, had this to say about this sentiment in The Wealth of Nations:

> By necessaries I understand not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without. A linen shirt, for example, is, strictly speaking, not a necessary of life. The Greeks and Romans lived, I suppose, very comfortably though they had no linen. But in the present times, through the greater part of Europe, a creditable day-labourer would be ashamed to appear in public without a linen shirt, the want of which would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which, it is presumed, nobody can well fall into without extreme bad conduct. Custom, in the same manner, has rendered leather shoes a necessary of life in England. The poorest creditable person of either sex would be ashamed to appear in public without them. In Scotland, custom has rendered them a necessary of life to the lowest order of men; but not to the same order of women, who may, without any discredit, walk about barefooted. In France they are necessaries neither to men nor to women, the lowest rank of both sexes appearing there publicly, without any discredit, sometimes in wooden shoes, and sometimes barefooted. Under necessaries, therefore, I comprehend not only those things which nature, but those things which the established rules of decency have rendered necessary to the lowest rank of people. All other things I call luxuries, without meaning by this appellation to throw the smallest degree of reproach upon the temperate use of them. Beer and ale, for example, in Great Britain, and wine, even in the wine countries, I call luxuries. A man of any rank may, without any reproach, abstain totally from tasting such liquors. Nature does not render them necessary for the support of life, and custom nowhere renders it indecent to live without them.


Is it actually disingenuous?

When I graduated college, I had a decent job in financial software, but figured I would measure my standard of living against my peers who were unemployed or going to grad school and just bank the rest of my salary. That gave me the freedom to take advantage of many opportunities that would've been closed off to me had I measured my standard of living against what other people in my workplace expected.

Similarly, when looking at my life as a whole, I compare it to my dad (who grew up in WW2 Philippines and had his house bombed) and think I'm doing great.

Sure, I understand that it's natural to compare yourself against your immediate surroundings rather than arbitrary points in time and space. But if a mental model comparing yourself against another reference point will make you happier and give you the wherewithal to actually improve your standard of living, why not adopt it?


Aye, and he wrote before the great stabilization of the Western hemisphere by the Monroe doctrine, and before the American and Canadian Manifest Destiny fervor, before the Irish potato famine, etc. Adventurous times when people of indigent circumstances went somewhere else or faced dire potential outcomes. Smith's argument supports my point that there are margins in all kinds of directions one may potentially save on, in noting that one can forego wine and beer without reproach. The people I lived among also had norms considered reproachful to cross, yet necessity occasionally required.

Sometimes you bite the bullet for awhile, as an investment for the future. You do what it takes.


My rent in rural Wisconsin was $200 a month plus utilities. One of my roommates struggled to keep up with even that.


> For most people here, $500 is crazy. People in rural America tend to be poor.

They had the $500, they just chose to spend it on the latest iPhone.


Maybe, maybe not. This does happen, of course, but I'm not sure it's generalizable.


Grandparent poster is just making a snarky comment based on recent events. (Republican) congressman Jason Chaffetz recently suggested that poor people should be able to afford healthcare if they skipped buying the latest iphone.


When it is 5 or 6 months of your current housing cost, and you're living paycheck to paycheck (if not piling up debt) due to underemployment, yeah, $2k to $3k is crazy.


Yeh 2k or 3k is crazy for most. Most don't have room mates to help pay for that, and that doesn't even help someone with a family.


I think that's interesting. I'd be curious what the economics behind it would be to make it work, but I think that could be a step in the right direction. Realistically, it may come up with the issues you just mentioned of it just not being economical.


>Throwing money into unemployment and welfare won't solve the problem at all. [my emphasis.]

That's not what loeg wrote. There are other ways of spending money, such as infrastructure projects - when I visited Oregon, I noticed how much of the infrastructure was from New Deal projects, which, of course, is the epitome of everything that fiscal conservatives are fighting against. If you are opposed things like that, and you don't have an alternative solution to offer, get off your high horse about other peoples' lack of empathy.


Getting jobs back is a form of redistribution, because it is ultimately funded by subsidies, higher consumer prices, or both. With that said, I favor redistribution, but am flexible about what form it takes.


Dartmouth is in New Hampshire, and neighboring VT has Middlebury, ME has Bowdoin, Bates and Colby and MA has Williams, all in rural environments.


I wonder if people are as disgusted with all the indirect subsidies as they are with the direct ones.


I think it's more than mindset than the actual policies. Policy wise, rural America has proved somewhat flexible. Rural Americans feel looked down on. All the more so when they are told they are idiots who are voting against their financial interest and supporting a neo-nazi.

They may be voting against their financial interest. Maybe Trump is a facist. But I'll be damned if telling someone they are an idiot ever got them to join a cause. Where's the empathy there?

So what are we on the left doing? We're playing to our own base. If we really cared about the people in rural America we would soften the rhetoric and try to make some converts for the benefit of everyone. But we appear to enjoy being right so much, that we would rather lose elections than get off our high horses for a while to converse with our fellow citizens.


Maybe wealth redistribution, in which the government takes a large portion for its own purposes, isn't what these disenfranchised people really want? I think they want empowerment and jobs, not a few scraps tossed their way.


Looking to someone else to provide a job for them seems like a different kind of handout. A reliance on a company to provide for them.

Which is funny, since the jobs left when the employers in these small towns betrayed them and abandoned them for overseas labor and robots.


Are centralized wealth redistribution programs really what rural America needs? If they don't have any realistic opportunities, the best those can offer is a thin, meager - and worst of all - perpetual subsistence, I think.


Again, blame the conservatives for making SNAP and similar programs near useless for getting people back on their feet. They'd rather the programs didn't exist at all than do something to fix the programs such as making the assistance scale with income rather than having a hard cut off.


Not to mention never raising the cutoffs. The limit for savings someone on medicaid can have is $2000. That limit was last adjusted in 1989. The limit per month for making money, like getting a side job to try to get back to work, is $20, which has not changed since medicaid was started in 1969. The cost of living amount of $600, which is the amount someone can supposedly live off of, hasn't been changed since 1989 as well. It's hard taking those steps back to independence because like you said, the limits are hard, and also outdated.


> The limit per month for making money, like getting a side job to try to get back to work, is $20, which has not changed since medicaid was started in 1969.

No, it's not; income limits are set by states, vary by population, and for populations that are covered at all tend to be much greater than $20/mo. The Medicaid expansion as part of the ACA also resultted in substantial changes in many states.

[0] state limits, as a percent of the Federal Poverty Level, are available here: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/program-information/medica...


Getting people back on their feet is good, but what if there's no ground left to stand on, so-to-speak?

I'm questioning whether entitlements really help rebuild that solid ground for rural Americans in economic hardships.


the rest of America is headed in this direction.... The age of machines/ai/automation is coming, and it'll dwarf the industrial revolution by far. We're not just talking about losing fast food jobs, or factory jobs - driving, all labor jobs, telemarketing/customer service/tech support, medicine careers. There will be devices you step in or get in without anyone's help that can take x-rays without an X-ray tech, or do a sonagram, or echocardiogram. General practitioners will easily be replaced by AI who can diagnose diseases 300x times better and 1500x times faster than a doctor ever could. There's a good (albeit fictional) book that shows how it could get worse quicker than anyone can imagine, by the founder of 'How Stuff Works' - http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm


I generally agree. There will be a future where even human programming skills are no longer needed, I'm sure. Hopefully I can both still live a long life and not have my timeline overlap with that future too much =).

However, until scarcity is totally eliminated, we'll be faced with the same challenge over and over again - how to bring prosperity to those whose roles in the social and economic order have been eliminated.

I have no good answers.


> Are centralized wealth redistribution programs really what rural America needs?

Moving to where there is economic activity is what many rural Americans need; identifying the fruitful places for that for one's individual circumstances and executing the moves, however, is harder to do when you can't meet subsistence needs, and sometimes people are going to need retraining to have new opportunities, or simply be past the point of having new opportunities, requiring additional individual support.


The effect of taking away the redistribution is higher taxes on rural America (and lower taxes on the cities). To the best of my knowledge, rural America doesn't actually want that.


Wealth redistribution is nothing close to what they want. Creating more welfare with no jobs still leaves them with no opportunities. That still leaves them with ample depression and boredom to develop drug habits.


"wealth redistribution" is not giving them free money, or "welfare" as you call it.

it is an attempt to provide them with funding for better schools, better healthcare, better access to training. hell, better funding for roads or technology so children who are not near major cities don't have to drive far to get access to education.

i have been the beneficiary of "wealth redistribution" and what happened? i grew up, got a job that pays well, and have contributed back to society and economy (with at the very least, tax dollars). there have been studies that show that providing funding for education or into the sciences gives back a large positive ROI.

yet one side continues to advocate for cutting education, healthcare, nasa, neah... all in the name of giving back to the top 1% of the most wealthy.


If they want jobs so badly, why aren't they making them? Why are they waiting for some outside force to come in and give them employment?

I mean, if this is about self-empowerment, saying you need a factory to move in to start doing anything is about as far from being self-empowered as setting up a UBI.


No, it's about contributing to society with work.

Being given UBI, you don't get any fulfillment from work or a feeling of contributing back to society.

If you bring in jobs, even just government jobs, people get a feeling of contributing because they work to produce something or provide a service and they pay taxes.

>If they want jobs so badly, why aren't they making them?

This is as stupid as saying, why don't poor people stop being poor by getting money? Good paying jobs take big investments that nobody cares to make. Look at orgs like Y combinator and other VCs. They will rarely even hear a pitch from someone not living in the bay area.


But again, it comes down to.. "We want to be self-empowered, self-reliant! Corporations, save us! Governments, give us a job! We can't have meaning unless someone comes in from outside to give us things to do!"

Grow up, rural folks. Figure this shit out for yourselves, if you want to be so self-reliant.


The less well-off people in rural areas don't want to be given money, they want an opportunity to earn it; that is the main part of what the left doesn't get, anymore (if you really want to help them, restart the civil conservation corps). The rural people have worked all their lives, they know humans need something to do, or they will waste away.


You are exhibiting am extraordinary amount prejudice.

Even in rural America, there are liberals.


The partisan differences aren't even especially large in most places. There are plenty of places deemed a "deep red district" or "deep blue district" where the typical outcomes are 60-40% or so (like CA-4, the "deep red" central valley district). The difference between a "deep red" 60-40% district and a 50-50 swing district is 1 out of 10 people having different opinions. For prognostication purposes these are considered solid districts for one party or the other, because it's hard to flip 1 out of 10 people in a single election. But in terms of what it's like to live in one or another, it's not a huge difference in who your neighbors are.


Exactly what is blocking "people in the cities" from giving money to less well-off people in rural areas?

There are legitimate reasons to object to redistribution schemes via the federal government. Framing those objections as lack of empathy and furthermore suggesting that this reluctance is the primary reason these problems aren't solved is an unfair and simplistic view of these sorts of complex problems.

There is also lots of evidence that conservative/right-wing/republicans give way more to charity than progressive/left-wing/democrats (e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html). So I'm not sure the 'lack of empathy' theory holds water.

As for legitimate reasons to be wary of federal wealth distribution mechanisms:

  * private charitable activities can be more effective
  * administrative overhead associated with a federal bureaucracy
  * federal misunderstandings of state/local concerns and conditions
  * federal one-size-fits-all solutions
  * lack of controls to prevent fraudulent receipt of benefits
  * there is often an assumption of zero-sum thinking, sometimes the analysis ends there as if lack of wealth was *the* problem
  * no actual plan for how to use the money effectively or any attempt to measure progress
I'm not suggesting that there are never reasons for a federal program but there are lots of reasons why private charities, local initiatives, and state control is to be preferred.


> they forget why the electoral college was created. To help rural America from being completely ignored while the cities with denser populations sway the votes towards their issues.

It's hard to speak with any authority about the human nature underlying politics, especially in a historical sense, as data about people's motives is non-existent, but the Electoral College is way easier to understand when you realize the elephant in the room that 18th century America was grappling with at the time.

Once you understand the sheer weight that slavery pressed down with on the entire global order, you can see what made the College necessary. Slave states simply would not willingly march into a political system in which slavery could be made illegal out of their control. They wanted a safety measure by which the will of the people could be disregarded in order to maintain the status quo.

The idea was that if the country ever really elected an anti-slave President, the College would be able to step in and set aside the election in favor of a brokered deal, the same way that these days anti-Brexiters were hoping that the government could use the rules to avoid having to actually carry it out. The slave state power brokers would work out a deal with the College electors directly if it came to that.

The College was sold to the power brokers as a way to keep their assets safe and producing, and to the rest of the country the way bald-facedly undemocratic measures are usually sold to the unsuspecting, as a way to increase democracy.

In the end, it didn't work. Lincoln won by such a landslide that a negotiated Presidency wasn't in the cards. We keep the Electoral College around to this day as a vestige of our old ways.

It's rather interesting that the states seceded immediately following Lincoln's election. His platform was anti-expansionist, not necessarily abolitionist. I suspect the tide in America simply turned towards war and there was nothing anybody could do to stop it. Much like how pre-WW1 Europe was a tinderbox ready for the first spark, mid-19th century America was just itching for a fight.


Perhaps rural America should cease voting against its own interests time and time again.

There's this onus on urban dwellers to "understand" rural America. Where's the reciprocity?

Rural America has a structural advantage in the US Government. It receives billions of dollars in subsidies which are solely for Rural America. It votes consistently against policies which would benefit all Americans, because someone believes Urban Americans are not Real Americans.

I'm done with empathy. I've moved on. Rural America can solve its own problems.


I think this is why at times I have a hard time empathizing.

It's one thing to prefer having lower taxes and allowing the market to sort out itself. To want to enforce immigration more stringently. To want to have states operate more independently from the federal government. There are strong arguments for either side.

But so many of the representatives seek their own benefit at the cost of the country and own constituents, only to then blame the other side on falsities. The ACA is one prime example of something that was completely mischaracterized by a huge portion of the Republicans who misinformed their constituents on its effect. You can see this by rural Americans living in enrolled states who personally benefited from joining Medicaid but then elected to vote for Trump partially in the hopes of repealing and replacing the ACA. And this is further exemplified by Republican representatives who rallied to repeal the ACA over and over again, but are now hesitant to actually go through with it because of the realization that a good portion of their constituents are covered and benefiting from it.


There have been a lot of articles recently highlighting poor rural Trump voters who are shocked and surprised that a lot of programs they depend upon (Meals on Wheels, Medicaid) are now on the chopping block. It's really, really difficult to have empathy in these situations.

Similarly, as a gay man who saw nothing but disgust and contempt from rural areas for decades (and still does), and an active crusade to demonize me and take away my rights, NOW the argument is that we don't have enough compassion for rural areas?

As much as I want to be logical about this, the emotional part of me is just going "Seriously, fuck off. If you want things to get better, move out of your ass-backwards shithole town like I did 20 years ago and find a better place to live."


I can understand your sentiment - but unfortunately we can't just ignore rural America.

The problem is basically that, on average, rural areas tend to be less educated and far more religious. They vote against social programs that would benefit them for religious or tribalistic reasons. They vote against Planned Parenthood because abortion is an abomination to them, they vote for "repeal and replace" because they vaguely associate anything coming out of the Obama administration with a sinister Muslim/Communist/Homosexual agenda to expand governmental powers and take their guns or whatever. (These are generalizations and stereotypes, obviously - but as an explanation for average voting patterns they are valid generalizations.)


We can't ignore them, but, at the same time, we can't just look past their belligerence or, more to the point, assume that we can assuage them from their counterproductive behaviour. They aren't going to 'turn around' and see the light of common decency over localized conformity.

Nor can we expect to have any effect on it in anything less than a generational timeframe.


That's just great, we have to overcome the economic drag of Rural America on successful Urban areas while playing along that "Rural" is "better" than Urban.

Thanks, but no thanks.


What the hell are you talking about?


I pay taxes, and in general urban areas pay more in taxes than they receive in federal services. So, effectively, urban America is already subsidizing rural America, through transfers, through fees like USF.

Rural America is over-represented in Congress, both in the House and (structurally) in the Senate.

What, precisely, am I supposed to do with "empathy" for Rural America? I pay my taxes. I don't try to change their world. I live my life. Drugs are ravaging their culture? Unfortunate, but not my problem to solve. They keep voting for politicians who cut social services, who cut support program for addicts, who criminalize first time offenders. I don't have to show my drivers license and sign a log to buy Actifed because of the depravity of minorities in my local city, but because "real america" keeps making meth.

I'm tired of being told to pay more in taxes, to have empathy for these people, all the while I'm also told that I and my fellow "east coast liberal elites" are somehow less American, that our problems are less real, that our lives are worth less.


You complain about taxes supporting rural people, and then you complain that rural people vote against the social services. There is a connection between social services and taxes.

Since non-rural people are voting for the social services, it is perfectly fair that they pay. The rural people are trying to save money, and you resist.


You're venting at the wrong leaf node


>Do I think transgender deserve equal rights? Absolutely. But go to a town ravaged by heroin and lack of financial growth and bring up transgender bathrooms to them. They will be baffled by your lack of knowledge of how their lives operate.

And what about the trans people in those communities who are fighting against the grain of their culture to survive another day? What about their suicides?

This is of course "intersectionality 101" but you can't just write off transgender rights as something only privileged people need. Trans people still commit suicide at far higher rates than the rest of the population (looking at these numbers, especially in rural areas) and they need rights no matter where they live.


Those elite, privileged liberal rubes in coastal cities primarily voted for a candidate who wanted to retain social programs that certainly helped those in rural areas.

How many people in those rural areas voted for a party and leader who ran on repealing access to health care and social programs, who have no qualms about trying to reduce funding to Planned Parenthood and Meals on Wheels, and use the savings to provide significant tax cuts to the super rich and building a wall that everyone knew Americans would have to pay for?

I mean, even Tucker Carlson effectively said to Trump, "The counties who voted for you will do far worse under your plan" and the Presidents response was "Oh, I know..."


Just like the people who support planned parenthood trying to protect themselves, rural america voted for a person who had their interests in mind even if there were consequences. They were looking out for themselves because people in the cities certainly weren't.


I have nothing directly to gain from PP, Meals on Wheels, Medicaid, or the dozens of social programs that I don't have access to because of my gender, age, and income. I support them because as a society we all benefit when others can get access to help.

In the case of PP, more than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. In the case of Medicaid, the ACA expanded coverage and federal funding to millions of Americans in rural America, specifically to states that enrolled. The states that chose to enroll experienced a decrease in patients skipping medications due to cost, a decline in difficulty paying medical bills and an increase in regular doctor visits for chronic illnesses. Their rural communities also had a lower rate of hospital closures as compared to rural communities in non-enrolled states.

It is mind-blogging to read stories/interviews from rural Americans who benefited from this expansion, and yet in the same breath, will insult Obama and talk about repeal-and-replace, as if somehow the ACA didn't directly benefit them.


Lack of opportunity in NH? The unemployment rate in New Hampshire is 3.8% It was two and change last year. I grew up in NH. it's a small place. No suitable job in your town? Drive.

You know what would help with addiction? Universal health care, and treating addiction like a disease. Who has supported that: the types of politicians who get elected in cities, and who people in rural areas vote against.

Rural issues being ignored? Hillary's website is still up. Anyone with a browser can see the white papers on rural aid, the economy, drugs. The 65 policy fact sheets. 112,000 words of policy, compared to 9000 on Trump's website. Of course, one might look at deeds, rather than words. What's in the news this week? "Trump slashes billions from rural programs." Perhaps you think that the policies on the left are wrongheaded. That's fine. But to say that the politicians on the left ignore rural America is to lie.

As you note, the electoral college exists to give unjust and immoral over-representation to rural interests. And the nomination process for presidential candidates starting out in lily white and rural Iowa and New Hampshire. And of course, a small town in New Hampshire has all sorts of opportunities for local political participation: selectman and school boards, and even in a small town of 5000 souls two or three state reps. It is not the fault of people in cities that people in small towns don't use these tools and advantages to elect people who will put in place policies to make their lives better. People in cities are not stopping rural people from taking care of themselves. Rural people are ruining their lives on their own.


I think the root cause of nearly every American societal issue is our education system.

The foundation of a healthy democracy is an educated electorate. Yet, as a nation, we refuse to acknowledge or invest in public schools as a foundational insistution... We still see them as a cross between daycare and basic workforce preparation.

The public school systems need to be responsible for growing the next generation of American citizens. I find it absurd that most fresh high school graduates wouldn't be able to pass our citizenship test, much less understand principles like personal finance or critical/rational thinking.

Without those core mental frameworks, many people end up trapped by their own inability to rationally analyze their situation and plan for the future.

Drug addiction, crippling debt, suicide, high unemployment, the rise of demagogues, these are all symptoms of a populace that is ill equipped to deal with the modern world.

Unfortunately, education is also one of the hardest things to repair in a crumbling democracy... a large investment in non-voters that takes over a decade to yield dividend is a hard sell. The worse things get, the more we focus on the short term, leading voters towards snake oil politicians that further down the nation.


I am sick of this line of thought:

"a direct reflection of the lack of empathy people have from cities have for rural America"

When I was young, in the 1990s, I thought it was crucial to understand what was going on the Red states. I grew up in New Jersey, but I spent several years trying to help the Red states. I joined a voter registration drive and spent a year of my life in Louisiana, going door to door, talking to people about their beliefs, religion and politics. I sat in people's kitchens while they gave me coffee, and I listened to their concerns. Many of my friends did something similar. Later, I was briefly active with a labor union in North Carolina, trying to help the poorest workers unite and fight for a living wage. I felt strongly that anyone who was willing to work hard for 40 hours a week should be paid enough to rise above poverty.

At the same time, I was disheartened by the deep racism that I ran into everywhere. The white workers were loath to create an alliance with the black workers, and this racism undermined every political coalition that might have raised wages and ended poverty in the South.

Nowadays, I see things very differently. Nowadays, I ask myself, why is it always the idealists from the Blue States going to the Red States and trying to understand their concerns? Why isn't it ever the other way around? Why don't the best-and-the-brightest people from the Red States travel to the Blue States and try to understand our concerns? There is something paternalistic about thinking that the Blue States always need to figure out what the Red State folk are worried about. The whole attitude, of us Blue State people going to help the Red States -- it's as if the people of the Red states are spoiled children and those of us in the Blue states need to cater to their whims. There is no rational basis for this ongoing deference of the Blue States to the Red States.

And in electing Trump, I feel that the Red States have declared a quiet war on the Blue States. So my attitude now is far less compassionate than it used to be. Nowadays, I no longer wonder how we might better understand the needs of the Red states. Nowadays, I only wonder how their political power can be destroyed, so that their effect on national politics can be nullified as much as possible.


I really sympathize with this, honestly. At a certain point, as I'm working really hard to debug a segmentation fault late at night, and then catching the subway early in the morning, the idea of having to sympathize with a bunch of welfare-receiving meth addicts* who keep voting themselves into oblivion really strains my patience.

But think of it this way: forget about "rural vs urban", and think of it as a problem with education levels. Rural areas tend to be, on average, much less educated and far more religious. Lack of education has a corrosive effect on democracy, because it garbles the decision making process of entire voting blocs.

So why should Blue State people take the initiative to care? Precisely because we are the more educated (on average) and the more cosmopolitan. When engaging with any population that is sufficiently less educated and more provincial, a more educated person is very likely to become frustrated with all the self-destructive behavior observed. Think of a first-world humanitarian organization trying to build schools or hospitals in an impoverished third world country. They may encounter all kinds of resistance based around irrational fears, superstitions, shamanism, and other self-destructive world views. It's really the same thing that happens when Obama tries to make healthcare more widely affordable and available, only to run up against widespread resistance based around conspiracy theories, tribalism and close-mindedness. (It also doesn't help that some of the highly educated people in power regularly exploit the fears of the lesser educated for their own political gains.)

But if you think about the situation as a problem of education, rather than "urban vs. rural", it becomes easier to avoid losing your sympathy when you encounter this sort of self-destructive behavior among the less-educated.

* it's a joke, relax.


> welfare-receiving meth addicts*

> * it's a joke, relax.

What part of this is a joke?


Don't you know? A great way to deflect responsibility for inflammatory comments to say that you were kidding.


Why do you describe these people as if being rural is something inherent about them rather than just where they happen to be living? People move. People have been moving to cities worldwide in the largest numbers ever seen in history because that's where opportunity is now. It's much more realistic to create policies that enable them to move to where the jobs are than to reverse that trend.


You can just as easily replace "rural America" with "black America" and make the same exact point. Lack of empathy goes both ways.


There was an extreme amount of empathy for black America leading up to the election in the majority of the cities and America. Black lives matter. I think that's great and Black america absolutely has it's own issues. Not taking away from that.

Where was the movement fighting to enable Rural America to thrive? Which is over 40% of America!!! That's a lot of people!! I care about every single American including rural America.


Sorry, but I think this is bullshit. As a child of the 80s, the difference between the societal response to the 80s crack epidemic (mostly inner cities) and the current opioid epidemic (mostly rural areas) is stark.

The response to the crack epidemic was to treat users as "junkies" and criminals, and to impose draconian sentencing laws (much harsher for crack than more expensive powder cocaine, mind you). In the current heroin epidemic, you see even hardcore conservative politicians like Christie advocate for compassion and treatment. In fact, I don't think the re-evaluation of mandatory sentencing laws for drug crimes would even be up for debate if white areas weren't also hit hard now.

This is what is meant by "Black Lives Matter", because for a very long time they quite frankly didn't, at least judging by larger government responses to their problems.


The crack/opiate empathy difference isn't about race. The opiate users mostly got addicted under the care of a doctor. Doctors don't normally prescribe anything like crack.

So there is a sense that crack users sought reckless fun, while opiate users were just trying to get medical treatment.


OK, that is complete bullshit.

Yes, many people got addicted to opiates originally through actual episodes of physical pain, but many didn't. And trying to pretend that that's the reason we treated black inner-city addicts like complete shit, but white folks get compassion and empathy, is absurd. It also doesn't explain why powder cocaine, which only rich people could afford, was criminalized much more heavily than crack, which was for poor people.


I'm not seeing sympathy for meth, and that's largely white people. It's seldom prescribed in ways that addict people, unlike opiates.

There exist white crack addicts. They also don't get sympathy.

The key question: can we reliably assume that an addiction started for recreational reasons? If yes: no sympathy.


> "Where was the movement fighting to enable Rural America to thrive?"

Why don't you ask your friends in Rural America? Why hasn't there been an organized movement starting there?

It's perhaps not optimal, but it's not like white people started BLM or straight people started the campaign for gay marriage or colonizers started #NoDAPL. Minorities have had to fight for GENERATIONS to make progress towards getting their needs heard. Why aren't rural folk doing the same?

Why aren't you asking for rural folk to step up? Or if they are stepping up, why aren't you tell us about that / promoting them / actively helping them?


> Rural America. The United States has many rural areas. Seventy-two percent of United States' land area belongs to rural counties, but in 2014, just 46.2 million Americans (roughly 15% of the population of the country at the time) lived in these areas.

-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_America

15% of America is rural. Note that you're grotesquely overrepresented in politics.

Consider this:

> Trump took 2,584 counties that together account for 36 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Clinton won just 472 counties — less than 20 percent of Trump’s take — but those counties account for 64 percent of GDP.

--- https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/17/...

The urban areas are financially funding the rural areas. Essentially, the structure of the rural economy is not one conducive to significant economic success in modern society.

I would suggest the single most reliably effective way for someone graduating in 2017 in rural America to financially succeed in life (and to have the most cultural opportunity) would be to get a STEM/business-oriented degree and move to NYC for work - or move and then go to college, then work in NYC.


There are at least two problems with this idea that "The urban areas are financially funding the rural areas."

First, in terms of taxes and benefits, urban areas vote for that stuff. It's only fair that they pay. The rural areas are trying to cut costs.

Second, one could argue that the economic activity in urban areas is sort of stolen from rural areas. There was a time when many more businesses were in non-urban areas. Activity was moved to urban areas, and often then overseas while perhaps retaining some corporate leadership and marketing in our urban areas. This, or the laws that allowed and encouraged it, is essentially a brutal attack on rural America.


The Trump Campaign Literally called Black Lives Matter a Terrorist group . Every poltician caters out the ass for rural voters ( see Iowa) .


You are reaffirming my original point that I can not even bring up these points in public.

"There was an extreme amount of empathy for black America leading up to the election in the majority of the cities and America. Black lives matter. I think that's great and Black america absolutely has it's own issues. Not taking away from that. Where was the movement fighting to enable Rural America to thrive? Which is over 40% of America!!! That's a lot of people!! I care about every single American including rural America."

What part of that supported Trump? What part of that even brought up Trump at all? All I was saying was there was a large public outcry for black people who were treated poorly, which is a serious issue.

Now me bringing up rural America and there problems makes me a racist? I beg you to look into your own views and really ask yourself if what I said was trying to protect people I know in rural America or attack black lives matter. I care so deeply for every American, but that includes rural America.


I'm not saying you supported Trump, I'm saying people who do even if they do it for whatever reason promotes that viewpoint which is the EXACT opposite of empathy for Black People. For all this empathy they have for some odd reason a ton of times they seem to vote for policies that hurt the people they empathize with. And Actions>>>words.


15% not 40%. And as others have commented, already grossly subsidized and over-represented politically.


and the movement to help rural communities is literally in every politicians platform from subsidies and increased funding ( in no small part due to the EC). BLM had to work their ass off just to get on the Dem Platform.


"Where was the movement fighting to enable Rural America to thrive?"

You mean things like farm subsidies?

Or the rise to power of those champions of rural America: the Republicans, who now control the Executive branch, both houses of Congress, and arguably the Supreme Court as well. I'm sure rural America has only the brightest prospects with them in charge.


Something I didn't really think about until recently is that subsidized farming may very well favor the consolidation of farms into larger business units that are also more highly automated, resulting in an overall decline in employment.


Yes, thus the term agribusiness. Go big or get out... per https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Butz


I don't think republicans have the best plan, but they were the only group that truly cared about their issues. Just like black people felt Trump didn't care about their issues. Rural America didn't think democrats cared about them.

PS. I am not a republican. I'm just basing this on what the parties chose to support in their campaigns.


Saying you care and actually trying to implement policy to help who you care about are two entirely different things.

Seeing what the GOP healthcare plan and proposed budgets are, they do not care about rural communities. They say they do, but their voting patterns are entirely at odds of what they preach.


Rural America has 15% of the country's population: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_America


Not to mention Muslim Americans, who are the boogymen du jure these days. Or any number of other minorities in America, like gays.

All of these are not only not empathized with by Republicans, whose base and support comes largely from rural America, but actively hated, discriminated against, and oppressed.


>but actively hated, discriminated against, and oppressed.

Have you ever spoken to a Republican? For a group that 'actively hates' black people, don't you think its a little strange this man led the RNC [1]?

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Steele


You've found one lone minority amongst the GOP. For every minority you find, you'll find 100 of these GOP types like Representative King, a prominent Iowa Republican http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/13/politics/steve-king-babies...


And how does this statement in your article fit into your world view?

>House Speaker Paul Ryan, also a Republican, "clearly disagrees" with King's comments, a spokeswoman told reporters.

Paul Ryan is hardly a fringe in the Republican Party, he's the speaker of the house.

You're going to need some actual stats showing 100:1 is the ratio of racists to non-racists. Anything else is conjecture.


Republicans have got "My best friend is X, I can't be X-ist" on lock.


No, that's not even what this is. It's "I am republican and I am X, you better have a good reason to think I'm X-ist."


Nitpick: "de jure" is not the same thing as "du jour".


But black America is much much smaller


It's far closer than you think. There were about 39 million black Americans per the 2010 census.[0] In 2014, 46 million Americans lived in rural areas.[1]

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_State... [1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_America


I can't begin to say how profound I found your comment. thank you. I live in the SF bay area but I am acutely aware of how separate and different inland CA is to the wealthy coastal areas. I can't begin to imagine what the rest of the US experience is in these bizarre times. There is such a strong societal bifurcation going on right now and more importantly such damage being done to confidence levels it is hard to imagine what society in non affluent areas will look like in a few years time...


> I grew up in New Hampshire in a very rural town with a population of 4,000. Rural life sat well with some of my peers, but I loved tech and quickly left through college enabled by my parents ability to point me in the right direction, which many of my peers didn't have.

Just because other people don't go off in the same direction that you did, does not mean they went in the wrong direction. New Hampshire has a large number of tech companies and new ones are always being created. Anywhere there is people, there will always be opportunity; it just might need to be created or found.

> I've enjoyed my life as I've explored more of America and ended up in the Bay...

YOU and others like you are the problem. If you leave an area to find more "opportunities", then you are not helping to solve the lack of them in a given area. We are at the best point in time to create a company or startup almost anywhere in the US, but too many elitists pricks think they must go to the Bay Area or other major cities just so they get a nice payout.

If you are looking for an easy out, then go help fund the next bubble but don't try to say that "..I would love to solve this problem..." when you and many like you had the power to do so.


I also came from a small town and got out as fast as I could. I moved to the city where there were more opportunities and people were more open in general about other human beings.

You paint "city people" with a large brush. And it doesn't really align with the facts. Remember, our tax dollars from the cities are where GDP growth is happening. And we pay more for services than we get back. Many of these rural areas already benefit from huge subsidies from the federal government, especially the corn industry. Many of the southern red states get back more in federal dollars than they contribute. Hillary has even talked about re-education to new industry and funding for coal country, but they didn't care and instead bought the lie that Trump was going to bring back an industry already on its way out. So I suspect they want a handout.

I do lose respect for any person who doesn't respect civil rights. I very much want to help these people, but they need to meet us half way in the 21st century. We are talking basic civil rights, to be recognized as a human. Recognition that climate change is not a hoax and humans are causing it. But even then, what are we supposed to do? Give them welfare? Why should we do that when they complain about others getting government help? Why are those good citizens deserving of help but the urban poor can be forgotten and denigrated constantly as lazy?


Would you say the situation is worse than the south side of Chicago? It seems really weird that we ignore problems in cities for decades and then suddenly when people start to move to them they are suddenly the crutch of the rich. What about people forced out of cities due to genterifcation? Not saying rural places don't deserve love but they have been getting fetishzied like crazy lately


> why the electoral college was created. To help rural America from being completely ignored while the cities with denser populations sway the votes towards their issues.

This is a seriously revisionist interpretation of why the Electoral College was created. Almost everyone circa 1800 lived in rural areas[1], and it would be very generous to suggest the founders predicted the massive urbanization of the population more than a hundred years in advance.

For a starting point on reading up on the arguments of the time, I'd recommend Federalist #68 [2] where Hamilton laid out his views. The Wikipedia article below also goes into counterpoints from his contemporaries.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1800_United_States_Census#City...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_No._68


It was a major factor that they didn't want presidents appealing to only the most populous states. The fact that America was rural made that even more pressing back then because it was easier to spread information and there were more candidate than our two party system. It would have been easy with a populous vote to dominate a few key areas and biasing towards their issues and mindsets.

From your own article,

"Also, a successful candidate for the office of president would have to have the distinguished qualities to appeal to electors from many states, not just one or a few states:

Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States"

This was quoted in your article from Hamilton saying that they didn't want a president that appealed to a single state.


Thanks for commenting! I was afraid nobody would see this since I got in to the thread pretty late.

The quote is Hamilton wrapping up his argument in Federalist 68 (it's from the last paragraph not talking about the vice presidency). The point here doesn't support the decision of EC vs. direct voting, since no state had even close to a majority of the nation's population at the time. I read this more of him trying to remind the reader that putting thought into the election process at all is worthy of thought and effort.


City folk's contempt for rural folk and vice versa is hardly a new phenomenon and would be unlikely to explain the recent increase in rural suicides.


> "While they cite that the popular vote strongly favored Hilary, they forget why the electoral college was created. To help rural America from being completely ignored while the cities with denser populations sway the votes towards their issues."

It doesn't prevent rural people from being trampled on by city people, it gives small states a disproportionate number of votes. Rhode Island and the District of Columbia are not rural, yet they get far more electoral votes per capita than California. And most of the rural population is actually located in the states that have fewer electoral college votes per capita, California is more than the Bay Area and South California.

Plus, the larger states can still win by themselves, you only need the 17 largest states to win the election. However, because of the electoral college you only need 22% of the population to win too.

And this wasn't what it was designed to do either, it was designed for two reasons; 1. Halfway between popular vote. This was the first time in modern history a population would have direct voting rights over the government so it was taken a bit slowly by having a buffer of electors that were free to cast the vote in anyway they wanted. 2. Handling the slavery issue. Slaves weren't citizens so they couldn't vote, but the South still wanted more influence since they represented more people than those eligible to vote. The solution was to have a base number of electoral votes even though the country had few eligible voters.

The reason it stayed is because people believe the modern narrative of representing the rural population, but it's really because no one bothered to change it since US political tactics have evolved in this ecosystem. Why change a game you already know how to play?


D.C. citizens may have more electoral college votes per capita than California, but D.C. residents have no representation in the U.S. Senate.


It's true, but I wonder how many of these "suicides" were with pills, or of people addicted to pills. It's not a shock that the places that were hardest hit by opioid addiction, then hardest hit by ham-handed attempts to curb the flood of said addiction, are racking up high numbers of suicides.


The suicide rate includes only confirmed suicides, most common way in America is self inflicted gunshot. However this is because it excludes overdoses unless they leave a suicide note. If they don't leave a note those are classified as accidental death by the coroner.


Thanks for that information, it definitely restricts my concerns to motives for suicide, rather than accidental overdose.


It's all connected. I don't know many of the people that have been hit hard by heroin that didn't touch pills as well. It's a n issue with multiple fronts including pharma and heroin. But more importantly than any of this in my opinion is what pushes them all to continuously do drugs. Lack of opportunity. My home town friends are landscapers, farmers, movers, people that mow your lawns, etc. How can they move from that to adapting to this new society and what's America's plan to help these people?


That lack of empathy runs both ways.

There are also cities which offer little by way of opportunity and have their own problems with crime and addiction. Density means that, political will and money offered, treatment may be slightly more effective. It can still be an awfully bleak world.


Absolutely. The cities have their own issues, but I don't know anyone in rural America that can't empathize with not having opportunity and being poor.

Now when I talk to people in the city, I've heard so many things such as 'Can we all agree that America is disenfranchised by the electoral college?' or 'Isn't it crazy how trump supporters care about the borders so much?'. Where do you think the cheap heroin that is killing my friends is coming from? And the most frustrating part is I have to sit there completely silent while I think about my best friend who has died and come back to life multiple times from heroin. Why? Because I'll be labeled a trump supporter and potentially lose business. Even though my point has nothing to do with Trump at all and I'm only thinking about my friends.

I can't think of a single scenario where brining up people in cities that have no opportunity is unacceptable. If anything it's the opposite, and people in rural America know it can get much more violent in the cities. They respect that fact.


> Where do you think the cheap heroin that is killing my friends is coming from?

The fentanyl and fentanyl analogues that have spiked opioid overdoses in the past few years are coming via mail from China and Canada. Literally hundreds of people have died in the span of two nights from batches of heroin laced with cheap internet fentanyl derivatives. The people selling cheap internet fentanyl laced heroin aren't cartels or minority run gangs, they tend to be in the 16-28 demographic of white-bread drug dealers with access to a computer. The margins make sense (a dose of fentanyl can be as cheap as 1/100 of a penny when dealers pick it up in bulk vs the more expensive gang-sourced heroin) and attract people without many opportunities nor the education/ qualifications to make sure they can accurately sell people micrograms of a powder and not kill them. People like our friends might be or might have been.

Different gangs and supply chains bring heroin into different areas of the country. Some areas still have Afghan heroin coming in, perhaps from the same fields we protected from destruction while we were over there.

I lean left and come from a background very similar to yours. There is a difference between acknowledging the importance of ignored issues in these areas and saying "this is why Trump won".


> The fentanyl and fentanyl analogues

Yeah, I was trying to find a place to point out that there are different opioid epidemics going on [0]. Fentanyl and derivatives are part of the epidemic that's found in NH.

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/13/where...


My goal is to bring a sense of empathy to people that don't understand these issues due to lack of contact with people going through them. It's similar to a child who just needs to meet some black people who is less likely to become a racist.

When I mention Trump, it's because it's almost like there is a sense of disbelief of why he won. It encapsulates the lack of empathy and perspective people have for rural America. Having people understand why people voted for him may at least spark a dialog towards understanding their issues and coming up with solutions.


>My goal is to bring a sense of empathy to people that don't understand these issues due to lack of contact with people going through them.

IMHO, you're doing a terrible job in this thread. You seem convinced that urbanites hate rural folk for who they are, and not what they have done and said.

And you are cherry picking facts and giving tenuous explanations for rural support for issues. It's laughably disingenuous to suggest that rural america supported Trump's wall because of heroin. TBH, you sound like part of the rural problem - too willing to fish around for a more palatable explanation when a fact doesn't reflect favourably on your in-group.


Effectively all the black tar heroin comes from Mexico or did for the last 20 years: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/serving...


Black tar is absolutely unheard of where I am from on the east coast and in NYC. From what I've heard, it's pure white powder here. Supposedly purer and sourced from the Middle East.


It's not unheard of in smaller towns of Appalachia and even Charlotte. The larger gangs scared off the black tar purveyors.


A border wall isn't going to stop the flow of heroin, or even materially slow it down. It is security theater. There are already walls, with tunnels under them and stolen planes over them. We, as a nation, need to kill the demand.

Rural areas do. not. empathize with lack of opportunity. My entire extended family is rural and they are convinced that minorities have unlimited opportunity at the expense of whites. If you can't think of a single scenario where it is unacceptable to bring up lack of opportunity in a city you are in an echo chamber.

This isn't scientific, but I'm happy to argue anecdotes with anecdotes.

Me? I know there are rural problems but I honestly stopped giving a shit 2 years into the Obama presidency. That is when I got sick of hearing racist comments and unintelligible bs about his and his policies. Did you inow that all hispanics get a $400/mo discount on insurance under obamacare? Sweet deal!

Prior to that I was convinced we, as a nation, need to listen to each other. Now I just feel there is an immense sense of entitlement among rural whites.

Because, you know, the government has an obligation to protect their obsolete manufacturing and coal mining jobs. But fuck entitelemebt programs.

Do I think any of the above will go over well in public at the moment? Well, look at my account name.


I'm a little confused - pointing out that drug problems exist, and people are hurting, in rural places will get you branded something negative?

I'm from a relatively rural area, yet I do not feel uncomfortable talking about my experience growing up and what I know of where I spent my formative years.


You would be better off labeled a drug addict in the bay area than a Trump supporter. If you work in a tech company in the bay and dare to have any conservative thoughts, you better keep them to yourself or you seriously risk hampering your career due to "culture fit".


Understand. My question was about if pointing out concerns about drug problems gets you labeled as a Trump supporter, though. Sounds like yes?


When I say that border security may help reduce cartels, I am labeled a Trump supporter and it does not go well in the Bay Area. You can look up the stats on where the heroin is coming from, and I've personally seen the heroin importation come through Manchester in New Hampshire and make its ways to smaller towns.


The kind of border security that Trump is harping on won't stop the heroin epidemic. The cartels have already started shifting to things like drones for pickups and dropoffs [1], or to do more smuggling over the ocean [2]. However, Trump's plan is to slash funding for the Coast Guard, which will just shift the smugglers to using that route more [3]. It may temporarily decrease supply in New Hampshire, but only temporarily, until the supply chains adjust to compensate.

[1] http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-drone-drugs-20...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narco-submarine

[3] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/16/us-coast-guard...


Agreed on this - jbhatab, what do you propose for security? If you are telling your friends in the Bay Area that there are drug problems, then immediately following it up with "and everything the President is suggesting is the right way to go about doing it," then sure, you will be labeled a Trump supporter, since you are supporting his vision for what to do.

If you're just saying there is a drug problem, though, and you have different ideas about how best to stem the influx of drugs, I still don't understand how you are getting labeled a Trump supporter.

As sanddancer points out, simply building a wall does not seem like it would be a reasonable construction project nor accomplish much for the ultimate goals. Using a bunch of tech, from IR cameras on drones to other detection methods - including for underground tunnels - seems like a much more useful approach. And of course, not cutting the Coast Guard would be important to keep the flow of drugs as low as possible, too.


It's striking to me that you blame border security for your friend's death. Can you explain that further? It seems like the deeper issue here is lack of resources for drug rehab, and still deeper is the lack of economic opportunity that leads to drug use in the first place.


Look up where the heroin is coming from. It is produced in Afghanistan and Mexico. With a large amount of heroin being imported through Mexico. Now I'm not sure a wall or border security is the answer, but the problem is that if I bring up the concept that border security is even a possible good idea, I'm labeled a trump supporter. So I have to remain silent and continue talking with them about how much trump is a womanizer and sessions is an idiot. I don't disagree with those statements, but I just care about my friends and I have seen the impact that foreign importation of drugs has had. The price of heroin has plummeted in my hometown over the last 10 years.


>Now I'm not sure a wall or border security is the answer, but the problem is that if I bring up the concept that border security is even a possible good idea, I'm labeled a trump supporter.

That seems like a pretty knee jerk response from your friends (1), but, at least from your framing of the issue in these comments, I'm not convinced that you're presenting your arguments to them in good faith. Jumping to border security as a first line of response seems out of order to me.

EDIT: Sorry, meant to respond to this:

>I don't disagree with those statements, but I just care about my friends and I have seen the impact that foreign importation of drugs has had. The price of heroin has plummeted in my hometown over the last 10 years.

I must say, I've never thought about affordability of drugs as a factor in their overuse, though I suppose it does make some sense. Still, though, do you believe that them being more expensive would alleviate the situation? Usually, junkies will find their fix one way or another, financial prudence be damned. I would have thought that community involvement and better rehab programs would prove more effective, but I must admit I do not have your first-hand knowledge.

(1) By the way, either you are misrepresenting your friend's arguments or they are themselves quite misinformed. The issues about Trump and Sessions aren't that they are a womanizer and an idiot, respectively, but (at least on related counts) that the first admitted on record to having committed sexual assault, and that the other has a visible record of disdain for civil rights, bordering on outright bigotry.


> I don't know anyone in rural America that can't empathize with not having opportunity and being poor.

I guess I've never understood the bootstrap advice as empathy, was it meant that way?


I am sorry to hear about your friend. I've never had to deal with addiction, I can't imagine how tough that would be.


>While they cite that the popular vote strongly favored Hilary, they forget why the electoral college was created. To help rural America from being completely ignored while the cities with denser populations sway the votes towards their issues.

This is completely false and baseless. When the electoral college was setup we did not have mega cities that contained most of the population. The Senate was setup to give less populous areas a larger voice. The House is currently setup to give less populous areas a larger voice due to the cap of reps. We don't need every single branch setup to give less populous areas a larger voice, cities currently have extremely low representation compared to rural areas in all regards.


The thing to do is move. That is what my friends who have made it did. That is what my family did. That is what my in-laws did, and their parents did. That is what I did.

We have phenomenal ways to keep our connection with friends and family alive: use them and move.


> While they cite that the popular vote strongly favored Hilary, they forget why the electoral college was created. To help rural America from being completely ignored while the cities with denser populations sway the votes towards their issues.

Do you have evidence for this? It doesn't make much sense to me as the population of even rural states is still largely concentrated in cities but I'm not sure how recent a development this is.


I can't believe no one has stated the obvious solution to rural lack of opportunity, the one that worked until 40 years ago- reinstate the draft.


People living in rural areas only make up about 14% of the population in the U.S.

They actually have outsized power already.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/rural-economy-population/pop...


I greatly up in rural Ohio and this is one of the best comments I've seen here. Well said.


> People in cities have the privilege of wealth and the ability to direct America in a way rural America doesn't.

Have you ever lived in a city? Tell black people in Baltimore that they have "the ability to direct America in a way rural America doesn't." And speaking of the ability to direct America--each person's vote in New Hampshire counts about double what it does in Maryland or New York, so there's that.

> The issues they face in rural America are completely ignored.

In what way? We spend huge amounts of money in this country on infrastructure for rural areas. A higher percentage of eligible rural residents take advantage of programs like food stamps than in urban areas. And we spend almost $30 billion dollars per year on agricultural subsidies--which go almost entirely to rural areas.

That's before we even get to wealth redistribution within states. Rural areas in most states are heavily subsidized by tax revenue raised in urban areas in those states. (Which is fine, of course--urban areas tend to be richer and should carry more of the tax burden. But to say rural areas get ignored is laughable.)

> But go to a town ravaged by heroin and lack of financial growth and bring up transgender bathrooms to them. They will be baffled by your lack of knowledge of how their lives operate.

That's an entirely self-inflicted problem. Nobody would be talking about transgender bathroom rights if people (disproportionately, people in rural America) weren't trying to ban certain people from using certain bathrooms.


Black people in Baltimore absolutely do occupy a privileged position. I wouldn't quite describe it as "direct America", but it's a fallacy to ignore it.

We blame poor rural whites (correctly, in my view) for their behavior, but make excuses for poor urban blacks who engage in similar behaviors. To do otherwise is racist. A poor Baltimore black kid with a 1500 SAT is guaranteed admission to multiple ivies - the same is not true of the poor rural white kid. Etc.

I have little sympathy for either group feel they are largely responsible for their own problems. But it's silly to ignore this very large cultural distinction in how they are treated. And realistically, it's the cultural distinction rather than economic ones that are driving Trump, Wilders and Le Pen.

Incidentally, people in cities try to push around rural folks all the time - forcing them to bake gay wedding pizzas, taking away their guns, etc. And in fact rural America isn't banning trannies in the ladies room in NYC either - recall that all Trump did was say this wasn't a federal issue. Rural America didn't start your culture war.


> Incidentally, people in cities try to push around rural folks all the time - forcing them to bake gay wedding pizzas, taking away their guns, etc.

I think those are First and Second amendment violations, so I'm not going to defend either thing.

> And in fact rural America isn't banning trannies in the ladies room in NYC either - recall that all Trump did was say this wasn't a federal issue. Rural America didn't start your culture war.

LGBT rights aren't part of a "culture war." They're 14th amendment equal protection issues. States are entitled to vote to create whatever kinds of societies they want (and I agree we often don't respect that enough), but what they cannot do is start making laws that single out certain kinds of people for special treatment. We're a federal republic, but that's one of the things you don't get to do while flying the American flag. And it's something that a big chunk of Americans won't tolerate happening in a place that's flying the American flag.


I'm aware that blue state folks often declare their pet issues to be secret constitutional rights hidden in the auras and penumbra's. I hope Trump appoints enough judges to do the same - I enjoy watching the intellectually dishonest people around me squirm.

That doesn't make them any less a part of the culture war.


> blue state folks often declare their pet issues to be secret constitutional rights hidden in the auras and penumbra's

My legal philosophy skews hard right, so I'm no big fan of penumbras. But LGBT rights are a straightforward, textual application of the 14th amendment:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

It's there as clear as day: you don't get to single out particular people for special treatment under the law. The legal weaseling needed to avoid the plain text ("well the government is not denying anyone the right to marry someone of the opposite gender, even if they are gay") is right up there with reading the Second Amendment only to apply to militias.

It's also where textualists and originalists have to part ways. The framers of the 14th amendment almost certainly didn't intend to preclude state laws that single out gays, women, etc. But that's irrelevant--they used unquestionably broad language and the text on the page is the only thing that matters. Particularly here, where there is no argument that the words would have meant something different to the framers (which is different from saying that the reading is different than what the framers intended).


Laws single out particular people based on preferences all the time, if you define "we won't subsidize/will penalize your choices" as "single out".

Some people prefer to marry men, they can't get singled out. Some prefer to rent a home rather than buy, they do get singled out. Others prefer no health insurance, they also get singled out. Or as it relates to gay marriage, people who prefer to be single get singled out.

The text pretty clearly says you can't pass a law "no voting if you have gay preferences". That's very different from requiring legal privileges for gay relationships.


If >95% of people felt so strongly about renting vs. buying that they wouldn't even try the other, and most people believed this to be innate, housing policy would probably be different.


This is exactly what the trump phenomenon is all about, and all the hmming and hawing about it is just vain searching for substance were there's none. All power, no judgement. Make 'em squirm and fuck the consequences.

"Since power over human beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than to permit pleasure. If you ask your boss for leave of absence from the office on some legitimate occasion, his love of power will derive more satisfaction from a refusal than from a consent. If you require a building permit, the petty official concerned will obviously get more pleasure from saying «No» than from saying «Yes». It is this sort of thing which makes the love of power such a dangerous motive."

From: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/...


Do you think that some Trump voters might have taken the Alinksyist "will to power" idea to heart after being screamed at by radical leftists for 40 years?


A poor Baltimore black kid with a 1500 SAT is guaranteed admission to multiple ivies - the same is not true of the poor rural white kid. Etc.

Eh not really true, schools really push state diversity , so if you are from the Mountain west or rural area and are decent you have a better chance to get in. But when the issue of gay marriage came up and R's wanted a federal ammendment to ban it in the mid 2000's that wasn't a state issue


"Incidentally, people in cities try to push around rural folks all the time - forcing them to bake gay wedding pizzas, taking away their guns, etc"

Neither of these is true; the bakery in the gay wedding controversy is in a city. City folks are telling other city folks that you can't refuse to serve customers only because they are gay.

And no one is taking anyone's guns away.


Being from a "big, square state" was a non-trivial admissions bonus when I was in high school - once I got my SAT scores back, I was flooded with mail from schools I hadn't dreamed of applying to, full of references to "need-blind admissions" and examples of estimated financial aid for truly middle-class/working-class families. I grew up in Texas, but outside of the big urban/suburban areas.

I'm white, as are most residents of "big, square states".


At Michigan - the one university where numbers were made explicit - being black is worth +1.0 on GPA, whereas underrepresented state is +0.1 and underrepresented county in Michigan is +0.3.

https://www.cir-usa.org/Images/mich_index.gif

Do you have any data suggesting that other universities give even remotely as much weight to underrepresented state as they do to race?


It's flagrantly misleading to claim that "being black is worth [x]" when this scale is dated and explicitly prohibited from use after Gratz v. Bollinger (2003).

See here for UMich's 16 year old explanation of this scale:

https://diversity.umich.edu/admissions/archivedocs/uapolicy....

Do you have any data suggesting anything of the sort is still in use?


Colleges are secretive, so we need to make do with what little data the court forced them to reveal. I know of no data more current than this. Do you have any evidence things have changed?


How can you take something as useful evidence when it has been explicitly prohibited from use?

Unless public colleges are secretly flying in the face of a Supreme Court ruling, your assertion that "being black is worth +1.0 on GPA, whereas underrepresented state is +0.1 and underrepresented county in Michigan is +0.3," is unproven by the evidence you provided.

Had you said "was," and explained that you don't believe things have changed, that would have been far more intellectually honest.


>Rural America didn't start your culture war.

As someone from Kansas I can say that many people in that state have wanted and pursued legal/social action against LGBT people for as long as I can remember. Whether you want to admit it or not there's a strong undercurrent of anti-LGBT still alive and well in parts of the country, especially in the rural areas. The only time these folks "tolerate" LGBT people is when we toe the line of what is deemed "normal." So, if you're an effeminate gay man well it sucks to be you in rural (and most of south central) Kansas. If you're transgender (like me) it's double that. Basically, if you're not presenting straight (aka "normal") then you're boned.

>Incidentally, people in cities try to push around rural folks all the time - forcing them to bake gay wedding pizzas...

And all that talk about forcing people to cater gay weddings, well that's part of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment as one other commentor pointed out. If we throw out that law then that means I can open any public facing business like a bakery and refuse to hire or serve Christians. Let's see how long before this country goes back to the days of the Thirty Years War where we're even asking people if they're a Catholic or not before transacting business. Seriously, think about the consequences of this before asserting that anyone's force to do anything because as long as you got a society you got compromises and more so if you got government with relatively uniform laws. Those compromises ensure sectarianism is kept to a minimum. Now which do you want if you're a rural Christian American, sectarianism where you got an equal chance of being the victim of it or possibly having to cater gay weddings once in a while but getting paid well? BTW, catering in this instance isn't celebrating sin either nor does any part of the Bible say you can't economically benefit from transactions that are not in themselves sinful (ex. you can still sell guns to people whether or not one of them happens to be plotting murder for which you have no foreknowledge of).


I don't recall Kansas folks trying to tell NY what to do about LGBT. That's the point I was making.

Let's see how long before this country goes back to the days of the Thirty Years War where we're even asking people if they're a Catholic or not before transacting business.

We're already there - just ask Brendan Eich, Curtis Yarvin or Donald Sterling. Companies do check social media to make sure people haven't expressed views outside the overton window, e.g. being anti-gay or anti-fat.

See also my reply to Rayiner which asks the question why people who prefer not to buy health insurance (as opposed to people who prefer sex with men) don't also get equal protection under the law. Personally I quite enjoy sectarianism - I like the transactional society, where even a Nazi can peacefully purchase a Pepe-as-Hitler cake without getting sucker punched by a cowardly masked thug. (I have no strong opinion on forcing someone to sell it to him, though I support cultural norms that would encourage it.) But most of the people I see pushing a culture war - and I admit, I've never been to Kansas - are opposed to that.


>I don't recall Kansas folks trying to tell NY what to do about LGBT. That's the point I was making.

As someone who was born/raised and lived in Kansas until three years ago I can say that Kansas evangelicals have regularly tried to browbeat leftists and moderates in other states and cities.

>We're already there - just ask Brendan Eich, Curtis Yarvin or Donald Sterling.

Are any of these people unable to find work, pray as they wish, or life safely without threats or acts of violence? If the answer is no then their public faux pas aren't equivalent to being actually ARRESTED and KILLED as many folks (even German Princes) were during the Thirty Years War. The fact you want to dilute the impact of religious sectarianism shows your inherent dishonesty on these matters.

>Companies do check social media to make sure people haven't expressed views outside the overton window, e.g. being anti-gay or anti-fat.

That's called capitalism. Don't like capitalism then abolish it. Because the moment you become a professional or an entrepreneur under capitalism you become private property of the board of directors and anyone else who has legal authority to hire/fire you.

>See also my reply to Rayiner which asks the question why people who prefer not to buy health insurance (as opposed to people who prefer sex with men) don't also get equal protection under the law.

Well I prefer not to have to wear pants at work but that doesn't mean I should have the liberty to lounge around in my pajamas like some lazy ass college student. We do things like insurance mandates as a compromise between having a sprawling public bureaucracy versus a series of small and possibly more efficient private bureaucracies (as this point I'm not convinced of this benefit myself). Like it or not, that's the way our system works. Want to live in the US then you get health insurance (for now). Want to drive a car then you get car insurance, too. All this libertopia nonsense doesn't work especially in the US where private businesses are effectively the second federal government.

>Personally I quite enjoy sectarianism - I like the transactional society, where even a Nazi can peacefully purchase a Pepe-as-Hitler cake without getting sucker punched by a cowardly masked thug.

I'm sure you'd love it in Mugabe's Zimbabwe or 1990s Balkan states then where if you don't toe the line you're dead. Because that's where sectarianism leads. It's not many little enclaves that live in peace, it's many little enclaves that shoot at each other literally. And those Nazis do deserve a swift kick in the breeches since their ideology by definition seeks to abolish all democracy. You can't co-exist with someone who wants to disenfranchise you. It's either their way or the highway (which usually ends at a death camp). And they have no qualms with using violence to ensure their way is accomplished.


The fact you want to dilute the impact of religious sectarianism shows your inherent dishonesty on these matters.

Your previous goalpost was "asking people if they're a Catholic or not before transacting business."

Moving the goalposts isn't "inherent dishonesty"?

We do things like insurance mandates as a compromise between having a sprawling public bureaucracy versus a series of small and possibly more efficient private bureaucracies (as this point I'm not convinced of this benefit myself).

And similarly, we could ban gay sex because it spreads AIDS. Don't like it? Move.

Notice how your argument can be applied to defend any law apart from laws against emigration?

Me misspeaking: Personally I quite enjoy sectarianism - I like the transactional society, where even a Nazi can peacefully purchase a Pepe-as-Hitler cake without getting sucker punched by a cowardly masked thug.

...Because that's where sectarianism leads...And those Nazis do deserve a swift kick...

Entertaining how you simultaneously criticize me for (accidentally - I meant to say "enjoy the absence of sectarianism") saying I support sectarianism, then engage in it a couple of sentences later.


>Moving the goalposts isn't "inherent dishonesty"?

What I stated was an example and there's no historical trend as it stands towards there being anti-Catholicism resurgence (for now). But as an example none of your examples apply even in Eich's case considering he's head of new business venture in browser micro-payment systems. And he's still a major contributor to various JS standards. So, pardon me if I don't buy your bullshit when it comes do your fantasy of anti-Christian sentiment being some sort of thing here in the States (hint: it's not).

>And similarly, we could ban gay sex because it spreads AIDS. Don't like it? Move.

Not comparable because everyone benefits from sharing the costs of health insurance. It's why roads aren't wholly private anywhere in western-style countries. The cost of infrastructure isn't easily serviced by isolated bureaucracies or revenue streams. As for gay sex spreading AIDS I gotta burst your bubble but sharing needles among heroin addicts has a similar to GREATER transmission rate. Also, having sex unprotected whether it's homosexual or heterosexual produces exactly the same results. So, you're deflecting by trying another dishonest comparison. I suggest you retract it.

>Notice how your argument can be applied to defend any law apart from laws against emigration?

Nope, because you're trying to find an absolutist position where none was stated. I think you need to read what I wrote again then actually address my points and not your imagined version of them.

>Entertaining how you simultaneously criticize me for (accidentally - I meant to say "enjoy the absence of sectarianism") saying I support sectarianism, then engage in it a couple of sentences later.

There's nothing sectarian about excluding those who support state violence as a means to destroy democratic processes and free association of various ethnic and religious groups. Nazism is by definition incompatible with a free and (classically) liberal society. You can either have Nazism or you can have liberalism. You cannot have both. They're matter/anti-matter in terms of analogies (most apt IMO).


As for gay sex spreading AIDS I gotta burst your bubble but sharing needles among heroin addicts has a similar to GREATER transmission rate. Also, having sex unprotected whether it's homosexual or heterosexual produces exactly the same results.

A simple glance at the CDC stats suggests that gay sex is actually far more dangerous than heterosexual sex. Receptive anal sex is about 2x as dangerous as sharing needles.

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.html https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/estimates/riskbehaviors.html

I'll speculate that knowing the truth does not change your views at all, right?

There's nothing sectarian about excluding those who support state violence as a means to destroy democratic processes and free association of various ethnic and religious groups. Nazism is by definition incompatible with a free and (classically) liberal society. You can either have Nazism or you can have liberalism. You cannot have both. They're matter/anti-matter in terms of analogies (most apt IMO).

The same was said of papists and is currently said of Muslims. But I guess sectarianism against groups that you dislike is good, while all the other kinds are bad.


[flagged]


>How are you boned, exactly? Having to conform to social expectations while in public applies to everyone.

Due to the fact that I don't identify as a man in any capacity (I'm transgender here obviously). So when (not so much if anymore) I transition if I ever go back home to Kansas it's not likely I'll find work there in any capacity outside of maybe working remotely. So, saying I should conform to social expectations of values which aren't economically significant in themselves or even professionally significant (programmers and developers in general aren't exactly pastors at a church when they're conducting their profession) is kind of silly. Me being transgender isn't an option, it's called gender dysphoria and it's in the DSM for a good reason (as in there's no curing it and honestly I don't see why I should have it "cured"). So, not to be too mean asking me to not be openly transgender (because I'm here in my mid-30s wrestling with this so that means the window of having hormone replacement therapy do wonders on my face is closed) is akin to asking me not to have blue eyes. Both are part of who I am, both are not chosen by me. And both are basically neutral onto themselves. I shouldn't have to write a paragraph about this to you or anyone but it seems folks like yourself still are invested in the social ideology that "them silly little queers" should either not exist or you think our lives are purely optional. To which my question for you is this: if my life is optional then how is yours not optional? I hope you understand what I mean by optional.


Absolutely. The cities have their own issues, but I don't know anyone in rural America that can't empathize with not having opportunity and being poor. I can't think of a single scenario where brining up people in cities that have no opportunity is unacceptable. If anything it's the opposite, and people in rural America know it can get much more violent in the cities. They respect that fact.

Now we spend a huge amount on infrastructure, yet if you actually go to rural America you will feel a large lack of hope. There is no place for these people in where America is going. They know the infrastructure funding is temporary. Do you think these people don't know robots are coming? THEY DO!!! So they feel like their entire lives are being threatened and they want to adapt. They really do. But what solutions are being offered? Are we actively trying to level the educational playing field between cities and rural America? Are we trying to enable high tech companies to pop up in smaller states? I don't see it.

'That's an entirely self-inflicted problem. Nobody would be talking about transgender bathroom rights if people (disproportionately people in rural America) weren't being assholes about what bathroom people use.'

You clearly have never been to rural America. That is a very ignorant statement. There are many people in rural America that respect all types of people.

Put yourself in the shoes of an American that had had a farmer for a dad that was uneducated making less than 40k. You don't even know the concept of Google being a real thing. You've never met a facebook employee or google employee. Or hell, even an Exxon employee. You're local dirt sales company is one of the hottest companies in your town. Your parents don't know how to help you get into college. What are you doing to help this person?


> You clearly have never been to rural America. That is a very ignorant statement. There are many people in rural America that respect all types of people.

I've travelled to several places in rural Illinois, Georgia, and Virginia. And my wife grew up in a small town in Northwestern Iowa. I've found people in rural America to be very warm and friendly.

That said, Steve King is the House representative for the town where my wife grew up. Rural people are disproportionately behind the sorts of laws that make it necessary to have conversations about transgender bathroom rights (something that people would otherwise have no reason or desire to talk about).


Well, on this specific issue, I think part of the problem is the messaging. The trans-equality movement is rife with mountains ill-conceived, pop-philosophy, psycho-babble b.s. on the nature of gender and sex, that is often almost perfectly tuned to antagonize the people who need to be won over the most.

My hunch is that many would be more receptive if the messaging was more educational about the hardships trans people experienced (and that led them and their doctors to believe an incredibly invasive, expensive, and irreversible surgery was their best chance at happiness). Could be wrong.

(That and there just isn't a need for bathroom legislation going either direction - total waste of time - neither side ought be making a big deal about that sort of ineffectual legislation which is nothing but pandering one way or the other)


> Are we actively trying to level the educational playing field between cities and rural America?

Yes, we are. But the cities remain very far behind and there's an enormous amount of work to do.

Seriously: what are you on about here? Almost everything you're saying is just plain wrong. Urban incomes are lower than rural ones in this country. Urban crime rates are higher. Urban hunger rates are higher. Urban drug addiction rates are higher. Urban suicide rates (c.f. this very discussion) are higher. Pick your social ill. The cities have it worse. The cities have always had it worse, since literally the invention of the city.

You've invented this idea that "cities" are inhabited only by college-educated liberals who hate you. Well... they aren't. And the people that actually do live there kinda need your help (and, ahem, empathy) too.


This comes down to empathy.As I said before, I don't know anyone in rural America that can't empathize with poor people in the city.

I know many people in cities that have 0 empathy for rural America and issues such as the heroin epidemic facing America. I know many people that go out and passionately fight for black lives matter. It's actually kind of a trendy thing nowadays. Where is rural lives matter? Where are the people fighting for the girl I knew who was raised in a house that was filled with cigarette smoke that had her parents laugh at her when she talked about applying for college. I know these issues exist in cities, but there is empathy for them. But the 40% of America that has serious issues is completely ignored right now.


One striking thing reading this thread- There are many people rushing in to explain every feeling you're expressing for rural people is invalid.

It's the very definition of lack of empathy.


How much empathy did rural America have for those effected by the crack epidemic, really? How much does it have for those in the opioid epidemic, which somehow they own?

What does empathy look like? What makes you say rural America has it for urban America but not vice versa?


> I don't know anyone in rural America that can't empathize with poor people in the city.

Odd, because I know several just within my own extended family. And I'd say last November 8th provides a pretty good existence proof that you're wrong about this bit too.

There's no shortage of assholes in this country. Don't you dare pretend that you get to decide who they are.


A number of your political comments have been crossing into incivility. Please don't do that, regardless of how wrong other commenters may be.


"You clearly have never been to rural America. That is a very ignorant statement. There are many people in rural America that respect all types of people." I think what he means is that legislation banning this drives the discussion rather than vice versa

also for your second graph how does that compare to the south side of chicago and balitmore, will the poor in cities be spared the automation? what solutions have they gotten? How many people from those parts go to good colleges vs rural people?


As I said before, I don't know anyone in rural America that can't empathize with poor people in the city.

I know many people in cities that have 0 empathy for rural America and issues such as the heroin epidemic facing America.

You literally said it yourself, "That's an entirely self-inflicted problem.". Go to rural America. Talk to them. Then come back and tell me if you think its self inflicted. Do you really think you are so amazing that you would have been impervious to the cultural impact your environment has on you and never touched those type of drugs?


You say they can emphathize with the poor in the city but what policies over the last decades have they ever advocated to help those poor by and large. Most politicians the past few decades have been PICK YOURSELF UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS AND GET A JOB and WELFARE QUEEN. I'm sorry if the people there voted for that by accident, but if they didn't it really didn't show their empathy. I also did not say "That's an entirely self-inflicted problem." that was somebody else. Idk what that has to do about drugs , but when you say "impervious to the cultural impact your environment " do you mean growing up there would've made him afraid of trans people? (I'm not trolling just confused when you crossed over to drugs)


> Then come back and tell me if you think its self inflicted.

I mean people talking about transgender bathroom rights instead of rural poverty (to the extent that's true--which it largely isn't) is a self-inflicted problem.


Huh, I've never met a Facebook or Google employee. I never realized how few opportunities I have in life.


It was more symbolic of how disconnected these people are from the general economy. If you go to rural America, many of these people are very disconnected from the general growth and mindset the cities have. I didn't know that Google and Facebook were companies until i was 21, which was in 2011.

It's lack of visibility into the thriving economy America has.


It's weird how these are problems in cities but they are also hurt by the EC as well!


Lack of opportunity plays right back into lack of good education. Your family made up for it at home. Most do not.

Go to the south and you see this in action every second of every day. The south hates education, hates social services, hates them thar books that don't have Jesus in them.

And, lo and behold, Alabama is like 49th in education, but it's also super high in people who are on permanent disability and Oxy. Why? Because the politicians in Alabama get elected for saying "Jesus," and the first thing they do when elected is gut education and social services, making the problem worse, breeding more deeply ignorant people, who then vote for yet another Jesus hugger who cuts their social services even further.

There's a reason these states are fucked. It's their own faults. City folk have tried to help for centuries. Country folk generally don't want that city folk help, especially because it ain't coming with Jesus attached.


Speaking as a native Georgian who got an excellent public school education, undergraduate and post-graduate education at Georgia universities, you really have no idea what you are talking about. I am not a Christian although I would say 90% of my neighbors were and you are completely missing the mark in analyzing any of the problems the country or the South has. Your attitude is exactly what the parent comment is talking about.

I was in a small pilot program of 6 middle school students who were bussed to the high school to take advanced math. 3 of us ended up regularly using heroin before graduation. I have a lot of good explanations for this having watched them descend and none of them line up with reduced education, social services, or ignorant Bible-thumpers.

Short answer: end the phenomena of latchkey kids. The main difference in the kids who flourished and moved up in their lives and those who floundered was the presence of a stay-at-home parent in addition to one with a steady income that supported the family. The main difference in the good and bad school districts in my area were the number of full time parents that were available to participate in the school, extra-curricular activities, and parent-teacher organizations. Failing that (because the two income family is seemingly required in many areas), line up the public school schedule with the parents' work and commute schedules.

For some context, here's an award winning documentary about a high school in an adjacent county having a massive syphilis outbreak while I was in school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yux7hVgDPa8


OK I will grant you Georgia and Virginia. Even Maryland. I would dearly love to see someone defend anything about Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina even Missouri. A few states in the south that get it right don't make up for the fact that the US education systems in these states are in the bottom 10. California is down there too, so bad education is not exclusive to the south. It's just endemic.

I spent a lot of time in Alabama. There is nothing to defend there. They spend their money on 100,000 person Football stadiums. There are 3 in Alabama. 2 inside towns of 20,000 people or less. Their economic improvement plan is to spend more money on football, and keep printing people's pictures in the paper when they are arrested.


The only opportunity for people must not be to move to some overpriced city and leave their community to rot.

Our economy is becoming increasingly centralized and increasingly winner-take-all.

There are ever fewer highly overheated markets and enormous areas where opportunities are static or declining.

What's more, I'm still not convinced that we need 150 million software developers in this country, or even doctors, or certainly not lawyers. More education and embracing the "knowledge economy" may only work for some of us, for now, because the vast majority haven't piled in yet.

Also that contempt that the OP talked about? Your comment is absolutely drenched in it.


I'm from Virginia, where we have high ranking public schools (both K12 and university). We also rank high eduction per capita.

You show a fundamental misunderstanding of modern, non-stereotypical, southern life.


this comment perfectly captures the leftists view of southern people.

ignorance and hate


Is it possible for city folk to propose solutions that respect rural folks obviously deep desire for 'Jesus'? The only thing city folk have accomplished in giving rural folk is gay marriage and illegal immigrants, neither of which they wanted or needed.


As someone who hates politics I love this response.


[flagged]


Minorities in the cities face major issues and there are large movements aimed specifically at helping with them and to show their empathy. A major one was black lives matter. I think there needs to be more for different races such as Muslim and Latin descents.

But where is the support for a large piece of America. Rural America. It is a LARGE piece of America, even larger than black America. And unfortunately that gap in empathy was filled by Trump, which places us where we are now.

And please don't mix that statement up with me liking Trump. I understand how that could be read that way. I am just thinking about my friends in rural America that are facing very real problems and I care about them.


Your responses have been mentioning people outside Rural America lacking empathy, but if we wanted to help them what would we do? Is there support within Rural America for improving Rural America?

What groups are they organizing that we can help publicize? Which organizations should we be reaching out to?


When telling someone something is wrong, you should provide links so they can actually learn something. Otherwise it's not actually going to change anyone's view.


I note that they attribute suicide to 'lingering effects of the great recession' although they show no spike in suicides around the great recession, just a steady increase.

The 'elephant' in this particular room is that America has been involved in a prolonged military engagement in the middle east, nearly continuously since 2001. Further, the military and the national guard, tend to draw on young people from rural areas disproportionately because of the otherwise lack of opportunity to work. As a result we have sent over a million young people into war and then dumped them back into their home towns when they chose not to re-enlist or where discharged for other reasons. They commit suicide at a rate of 20 a day[1]. Take them out of the trend lines and see how that affects your analysis.

[1] http://www.militarytimes.com/story/veterans/2016/07/07/va-su...


From the article:

> And roughly 65 percent of all veteran suicides in 2014 were for individuals 50 years or older, many of whom spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars.

The recent wars may have had a measurable impact, but I don't think it's the primary reason.

It should also be noted that you absolutely should expect the veteran suicide rate to be larger than the suicide rate of the country as a whole for the very simple reason that suicide rates are higher in the U.S. for men and veterans are disproportionately male.

This article from FiveThirtyEight is well worth a read in my opinion: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/suicide-in-the-military...

The tag line from that article:

> When service members die by suicide, their deaths look a lot like civilian suicides — the same people, the same risk predictors, and the same means.


Excellent point. I'm also curious about comparing the demographic that enlisted with the equivalent demographic cohort that stayed home in terms of age, educational attainment and socioeconomic status. Was the military the only hope they had for employment or did those that stayed home prosper economically and do generally well.


Military service is almost never the only option, but it's often the best one for those who come back OK. Economic opportunity, travel, access to education, and social status in one package? That's a combination that's otherwise difficult to come by in rural Appalachia.


When i was young, we were taught that Americans are used to moving and this is the main reason why America is rich: people easily pack up and move to where the opportunities are, so businesses don't starve without workers and people don't sit in the dirt in the hopeless places for the rest of their lives. It is strange to see that this seems to be no longer true and people feel so attached to literally hopeless places they found themselves in.


I completely agree, but there are good reasons not to want to move. If you've lived and worked with the same people for the past 30 years, you may not want to pack up and leave that tightly-knit community when the factory shuts down. Further, if you have a mortgage, it may well go underwater as property values plummet.

On the other hand, the US has (had?) an array of social programs to help people in those situations transition into new roles. The Atlantic published a pretty good piece* on why they haven't wound up working out as well as they could, and it does sound like a major reason is that people won't move to where the jobs are. And regardless of their reasons for wanting to stay, that usually is on them, isn't it? Otherwise, they're essentially asking the government to subsidize their lifestyle choices.

* https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/10/trade-w...


I think the property value issue is important. If a major employer closes and people want to leave/no one wants to move there, property values go down. Even if you're not underwater, you're in a much worse position. To move to a place with more opportunity is much more expensive, especially if you have no guarantee of long term, stable employment.


No one has that guarantee these days. Also you are in a much worse position regardless of if you sell or not.


Armchair hypothesizing: increased use of consumer debt[1] to purchase housing and transportation, combined with modern technology that makes it increasingly difficult to avoid debt collection[2], puts a severe damper on peoples' ability to move and find a "fresh start".

[1] http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/households-deb...

[2] Or any negative PR that happens to be recorded in the annals of google for all eternity


Very good point. I have thought for a long time that the whole fake economy where people seem able to buy things they can't actually afford must backfire in some way. And so it does.

Maybe solution is change in legislation that will scrap the mortgage industry, and make sure people buy properties in cash, or not at all? For example, don't make mortgage interest tax-free, enforce harder criteria for mortgage takers (like, no mortgage loan can be for over 50% of property value or 100% of pre-tax annual income of the buyer's household?). Yes most people will become renters for life, as they are in Europe, but at least this problem will be solved.


How will it solve this problem, really? This will funnel money into the hands of landlords. A lot of people will lose the only equity that they have. Wall street will get even more money to blow away...

What you call fake economy is actually pretty real, yes its maybe not used responsibly by a lot of people. But lets remember this: while a lot of rural folks are feeling the pain (quite literally, looking at the opiod epidemic) the American economy as a whole is doing pretty fantastic. A ton of people are comfortably building equity in their homes.


> A ton of people are comfortably building equity in their homes

IMO, this is exactly the root of the issue though. You can't bring your home with you when you move. Having your only major equity stored in an illiquid and immobile asset is extremely constraining.

I am sympathetic to the idea of wanting to own a home. I'd like to afford owning one myself one day! But we can't keep pushing housing costs higher and higher on mountains of debt that keep people chained to their property. Maybe getting rid of the interest reduction or enforcing more stringent mortgage conditions aren't the solution, but I think that somehow we have to get the price of housing to go down (and IMO there's no single solution; it's going to involve a combination of zoning reform, mortgage and financing reform, tax reform, and some sort of compensation for dropping property values for people who don't have savings apart from the value of their home).


Tyler Cowen's mentions our decreased mobility in his book "The Complacent Class." Here's a bit from an interview in the Washington Post[0]:

WP: Some of the lack of mobility is due to high rents in cities, which keeps many people out, right? You cite some research that shows if it was cheaper to move into American cities, GDP growth would be much higher, and the economy would be more dynamic.

Cowen: Enrico Moretti’s estimate is that GDP would be 9.5 percent higher. That figure is hard to estimate, but it’s not a tiny effect. Right after WWII, adjusting for inflation, an apartment in Manhattan cost $530 a month. That’s unimaginable today. It’s a big reason why mobility has become problematic.

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/28/upper...


Well, overall rent vs income nationwide didn't change right? So that ratio may change only depending on how good are the opportunities in the particular place.


One of the problems has been the disappearance of reliable economic growth areas, to which people could move. For instance, from the 1930s to the 1980s California went more than 50 years without a recession. For 50 years it seemed as if the economy of California would alway grow. If you were a farmer in Iowa and the price of soybeans collapsed, and thus you were bankrupt, you could move to California and start over. And likewise, at different times, Florida was also booming, and many oil rich states, whenever the price of oil was high.

But since the 1980s the number of reliably booming areas has decreased. The current boom in Silicon Valley is not a mass phenomena -- it creates tens of thousands of jobs instead of millions of jobs. And it very much gives off the vibe of being a temporary bubble, so people are less inclined to sell their house in Iowa and move to San Francisco, as there is the risk they will arrive just when the bubble is ending.


Well, by moving out you hurt/drop family, friendship and community ties, any sense of belonging to a place, the desire to improve where you live (why bother? You might be elsewhere in 5 years), and general stability in your life.

Unless you're some starry-eyed kid that dreams of making it in Hollywood or SV or NY's art scene etc (and the people in those places rarely care for such jobs), you don't particularly like to move.

You might bite the bullet and do it if you're hopeless and jobless, but in order to move, opportunities need to be there for you elsewhere. In an era of increased de-industrialization and crushing of the working/middle class, they don't exist as much.

And I'm not sure about the past being much different. Americans used to be very concerned with getting their house with the "white picket fence" etc to just carelessly hop from one place to another. Besides they used to have jobs for life in decades past (factory, corporate, etc) -- only those that really wanted it moved to make it big, not just because they were forced (talking post-depression era of course).

Also: "Indeed, it is widely believed that internal migration rates in the United States—that is, population flows between regions, states, or cities within a country—are higher than in other countries. This belief is not exactly wrong, but reality is more complex. For example, the Dust Bowl migrants of the 1930s were not representative of their time, but rather were an exceptional case during a period of markedly low internal migration (Ferrie, 2003; Rosenbloom and Sundstrom, 2004). While the United States has historically had one of the highest migration rates in the world by many measures, citizens of some other countries—including Finland, Denmark and Great Britain—appear equally mobile. Moreover, internal U.S. migration seems to have reached an inflection point around 1980". https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201130/201130p...

And: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/24/upshot/24up-f...


Here is my explanation: plain and simple population aging. People simply got older. Median American is 10 years older now than 50 years ago. Less testosterone, their hunting instinct got weaker, they grew fat (in both direct and indirect sense) and are less adventurous. When things go south, 50 years ago they will pack up and move, now they sit in the dirt and remember the Good Old Days.

Sadly, there is absolutely no way to fix this (while Trump's plan to shut down Obamacare and effectively cripple Medicare is a step in 'right' direction LOL)


Some don't mind moving... to another rural place. That doesn't really change things of course.

Rural people really are different from urban people. There are probably brain differences here, both conditioned and genetic.

When you are in a city, how do you feel? Do you feel stimulated, energized, excited, enticed, and intrigued? Do you feel nervous, fearful, tense, harassed, endangered, overstimulated, stressed, strangely lonely despite crowds, contaminated by the filth, and vulnerable?

Normal urban people do not own the land they live on and often can not even access all sides of the building. The owner of the land and/or building gets to set rules. Is this perfectly normal or even beneficial? Is it instead a dystopian nightmare without freedom?

Do you think "There are lots of people here, so I'm safe" or "There are lots of people here, so I'd better be wary"?

Do you nap or openly use your phone on a subway? Do you clutch your belongings close, eyeing other passengers as threats, ready for fight or flight?


People moved to a new city and got a job for 10 solid years, while starting a family and buying a house.

Nowadays, people move, they get a job that is uncertain to last years, while they can barely afford rent and any mortgage is over 30 years assuming you had the down payment which you don't.


Different places might also require different education.


So essentially you mean that there is no good place where someone without a college degree can move? That's maybe true, but well, people in the cities have the same problem.


It can be a meaningful statistical effect without being an absolute.

Maybe a portion of Americans are more inclined to move and the economy benefits from that.


That is how I was raised as well: move to where the jobs are. Don't self limit.


While the 40% number is interesting, the average increase across the nation was 30%.

The much bigger question here is why did the rate of suicide increase more than 30% for the entire nation in a 16 year time span? It's a fairly consistent trend across all sorts of economic environments regardless of whether we were in a boom or bust.

It's a shame there isn't a deeper analysis here. I have so many questions. Is the cause related to drug abuse? Would better healthcare help here? Is it mostly economical? Is the trend consistent across similar nations? Or could there be a link to something we mass consume and don't realize is harming us (similar to just a few decades ago when everything had lead in it).


The root cause seems to be lack of education and drug abuse epidemic.


Let's say we got to a point where every single individual has a bachelors or higher? What would that change? What about if everyone got a Masters or higher?

You think this will change anything? I doubt it, there would just be an increase in the job requirements due to credential inflation.


You're conflating education with credentials.

Imagine instead if every single individual could: read and write at a high level, think critically, compare loan options rationally, perform their own limited legal research (tenants' rights, welfare eligibility and application), plan their own investment strategy for retirement, etc. It would be a huge boon.


True, education is to help realize one’s full potential. It’s not about credentials.


And you are conflating acquiring skills with education.


IMO, education is the gateway to opportunities and helps achieve financial independence which in turn is the gateway to a better health. There may be a correlation between these suicides and the people possibly not having access to those (opportunities and the resultant independence).

Poverty could be behind these suicides as it can cause a tremendous amount of stress which may lead to chronic depression and anxiety, and for temporary relief people look to drugs/alcohol and those with addiction are at higher risk for suicide. AFAIK, most addicts are poor, unemployed, and uneducated and I see a clear correlation between economic status and abuse.

Some articles worth glancing through:

Suicide: One of Addiction’s Hidden Risks https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201402/sui...

http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/drug-addiction/economic-status/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/07/suicide-rate...

And, here’s a related study by Princeton academics who won the 2014 Nobel Prize for economics.

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/49/15078.full.pdf


Lack of education, or an increase in education[1]?

[1] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d1/Educati...


Maybe access to guns / prescription drugs?


I'm pretty sure this is precisely the fault of Purdue Pharma.


Could it be related to the rising income disparity?


2000 was historical low for US suicide rate.

However, the current suicide rate is more or less in line with historical average.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Suicide-...


It could be, but what could give rise to such disparity?


The Washington Monthly article Bloom and Bust (http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/novdec-2015/bloom-and-...) lists some of the causes of the rise in regional inequality.


That's an informative article. Thank you.


Is this suicide attempts included I wonder? Cities definitely have more help groups and "watch" groups. Chances of survival are also more around cities if someone spots you can calls emergency services. (Someone noticing their loved one/roommate attempting something and calling the doctors for example: someone I knew had their stomach pumped under 20 mins of them taking pills and survived).

I think opioid addiction is a symptom and not the cause. Maybe disappearance of rural environment where one grew up contributes to not being able to cope even more.

Slightly offtopic but: http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10554


>I think opioid addiction is a symptom and not the cause.

If the Rat Park study's conclusions [1] can be extended to humans, all addictions are symptoms of a deeper cause: Your life sucks.

From what I've read, there's a feeling that the fundamental way of life that many of these people grew up with is really being threatened. Combine that with a complete lack of ability to support your family, and a sense that tons of people in cities (which are an anathema to their value structure) are getting ahead while they fall behind... Yeah, their lives suck, and they see no way out.

Sorry to be depressing here. Hillary actually had some policies that could have helped, and still more if she'd had a friendly Congress to pass supporting legislation. Trump, on the other hand, wants to help people through an application of trickle-down economics ... sigh ...

[1] https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_y...


> Is this suicide attempts included I wonder?

I don't think so. It's hard to define what a suicide attempt is, but most definitions would see far higher than 15 attempts per 100,000 population.

EDIT: 2013 saw about 40,000 to 50,000 deaths by suicide in the US, with about 450,000 hospital treatments for self inflicted injury.


Ahh, thats pretty high. Also, accidental overdose is also not considered attempted suicide and accidental OD is more likely to lead to death in rural areas.


An interesting challenge to me is: how are these numbers reconciled with understanding the communities involved?

Most people on Hacker News, I think, would argue that NYC, Boston, and New Haven have more in common with each other than say, a rural, sub-10k population town in West Virginia.

But in this analysis of suicide rates, it's actually places like New Haven County in Connecticut and Wirt County in West Virginia that are more statistically similar than either is to Boston or New York City. In my own state, Des Moines and Iowa City would both be in the same category as the very rural towns with marked increases in suicide rates. If the suicide rate is a regression to a mean, what is it about dense major cities that slowed that?

And what is it that makes what I - an Iowan - think of as a city statistically similar to the poorest and most rural counties in America?

Discussion aside, I encourage anyone who has considered taking their own life to reach out and talk to someone.

    National Suicide Prevention Hotline
    1-800-273-8255


Outside of the immediately surroundings of Yale, New Haven is a pretty bleak town that has seen far better days.


This is consistent with Ann Case and Angus Deaton's work on rising mortality rates in the US outside of major metro areas, especially among adults without college degrees. Rising all-cause mortality rates, not just suicides, have already become the rule for many of these places.

Many comments here mention opioid overdoses, and it's notable that, just as with opioid deaths and hospitalizations, rising mortality rates are distributed across almost all groups. But they are by far most severe among whites, who are in their late working years (~45-65 years old), and who live outside of major metro areas. (Education data are not included in this report but it's probably a safe bet that we are disproportionately discussing the un-degreed.)

Yet, if you look at the CDC's data on suicide methods, only a small portion of the increase is explained by drug overdose suicides. Drug suicides are up markedly, but they remain only about one-seventh of the total and one-third of the increase. Instead, the largest increase is in deaths by hanging/suffocation/strangulation, which is twice as large in raw terms as the increase in deaths by drug overdoses. Suffocation, not drug overdoses, is the main reason why non-firearms suicide deaths have become as common as firearms suicide deaths.

What does this tell us? Well, for one thing, people who suffocate themselves are frequently people who don't have access to firearms or lethal drugs - or who aren't familiar with them. Anyone who wants to understand rising rates of suicide should look especially carefully at why Americans are now suffocating themselves at a much higher rate.


I was just commenting to a friend of mine that the trend towards remote workers may reverse the shrinking of small towns. Not everyone wants to live in a big city, and if they can work for a company that is not located there, some will prefer smaller towns. Making sure that all of American has broadband will be as important as RFD was in the day to preserve our rural areas. For those who don't know what RFD is, it is Rural Free Delivery, and it meant that people in rural areas didn't have to pay to have their mail delivered. It completely revitalized the rural areas. Sears & Roebuck prospered because they could sell to the whole country. Today, broadband internet access is needed for everyone. I live in a rural area, and reliable, fast broadband has just become available. I have a remote job, and broadband makes it possible for me to stay living here. I can see where pockets of remote tech workers would want to live in the same place, maybe having a co-working place to go to. I have a co-working office I use several days a week that is all technical workers. It's the perfect balance for me between being home all the time, and having an office with other remote workers to work with.

If people can live in these communities with an income that is middle class, they will help the communities to prosper, which may help reverse the trend towards suicide and drug use. I sometimes eat at the restaurants and shop in the stores of my small town. Our insurance agents and lawyers are there, and we do our banking there. Having real opportunities to maybe open a store, or work at the insurance office for the residents there might help their lives improve.

My cousin's son died of a heroin overdose, and he was the nicest, funnest guy. Everyone loved him. Do city people think that those who are suffering are just losers who deserve their fate? That is simply not true. Many have families who love them, and the potential to have a good life, but heroin is such a strong addiction. They need help, not condemnation. I think the de-criminalizing it is essential to solving the crisis. My cousin's son would maybe have survived and gotten help if his friends would have brought him to an ER. I think they were afraid of getting arrested and having their place raided by police, and they rationalized that he would probably be ok by morning. If they didn't have the threat of legal problems over their heads, they might have called 911 when he was unresponsive. Instead, they decided to wait it out, and he died.

These are not easy problems to solve, and it will require people to challenge their ideas about who needs fast internet, and who the people affected by the heroin epidemic are.


> Do city people think that those who are suffering are just losers who deserve their fate? That is simply not true. Many have families who love them, and the potential to have a good life, but heroin is such a strong addiction. They need help, not condemnation. I think the de-criminalizing it is essential to solving the crisis.

It's darkly amusing to read this because drugs have been ravaging the inner cities for decades and "city people" (as you call them) have been saying this for about 50 years. The response from the rest of the country was the War on Drugs. You might've heard of it? See, it was widely believed that black and brown people suffered from problems of "culture" and the only solution was mass incarceration.

Anyways, I don't see this sudden outpouring of sympathy for rural whites accomplishing much of anything. There won't be a "egalitarian awakening" -- political polarization and paralysis is only going to deepen and solidify. At the end of the day Americans don't give a shit about the poor whether they're inner city blacks and latinos or rural whites. The national conversation right now, keep in mind, is about whether Meals on Wheels is "delivering results" and how much to increase the military budget by.

But then even if America wanted to I doubt that America could handle the sort of systemic disaster that is runaway inequality. It's a structural issue; the country simply wasn't built for dealing with such a threat, it's too big, too decentralized, and ultimately too capitalistic. The only thing that stopped the runaway inequality of the 20s was the Depression and World War. In that light, I suppose, one could actually think the GOP's destruction of of the modern regulatory framework and the rabid anti-China rhetoric is a good thing.


Not everyone agrees with the War on Drugs - I certainly don't. I'm white, but I was raised from a little girl to respect people, so I never had the idea that "black and brown" people, as you put it, are not in the same boat as I am. Not that I think your assessment is wrong for many people in America. I also agree with your assessment about the political polarization. It's depressing, and there aren't easy solutions. Like I said, I live in a rural area, so I come into contact with some very bigoted people. They think because I'm white and in that community, I must agree with them, so they end up saying some pretty horrific things. I do try to engage them in a discussion, but I feel like it's a drop in the ocean.

I don't know what our future is, but the inequality is not good. Are we headed for a major catastrophe? I hope not, but look how bad Germany was before WW2, and how rapidly they have changed since. I hope that's not what it takes to turn things around.


I'm not saying it explains all of the rise, but I wonder how much of this is more accurate reporting. I'm from rural America, and people dying of a "gun malfunction" or similar accidental deaths was a common thing. Nobody local was confused, but protecting the family was a large concern.


You can fix rural areas by leaving them alone. But it has to actually alone. I mean, get rid of the residential building code and any zoning restrictions on house construction.

It used to be that a man or man and wife could build a new house for themselves, but the city regulations have been exported wholesale to the rural areas, and the expense of subdivision of land drives up land prices.

So now it is virtually impossible to bootstrap by saving a lot of money by buying a few cheap acres and building a small house: everything has to permitted and to specification, reducing the comparative advantage that should be present.


How many of these suicides are war veterans?

Don't people from rural states have a disproportionate number of enlistees in to the military? And hasn't there been a huge increase in veteran suicides since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?


>I wonder how many of these suicides are war veterans.

The overall share of combat veterans within the population as a whole is much smaller than most people think. It's less than 1%. While the suicide rates are much higher than the general population, the total numbers are relatively insignificant.


1% of the total US population, but what percentage of rural America, and (more to the point), what percentage of the suicides in rural America?


    In April 2005, the Chicago Tribune cited a statistic that 
    35 percent of those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan were 
    from small, rural towns, in con­trast to 25 percent of the 
    population. This point runs counter to the picture, painted 
    by Rangel and others, of heavy enlistment reliance on poor, 
    black urban neighborhoods. Indeed, recruits are disproportionately
    rural, not urban, and as rural concen­tration rises, so 
    does military enlistment. [1]
[1] http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/who-bears-the-burden-...


> Don't people from rural states have a disproportionate number of enlistees in to the military?

Maybe, but would they return there post military service? Given that urbanization is a thing, and that most military installations are in cities, I would think this would contribute more to the urban suicide rate.


Maybe because they have family and friends there, and miss them terribly after suffering through hell in war?

This need to be home could be further strengthened by something like PTSD or other psychological trauma that might severely impair one's ability to take care of one's self, and the need for help from one's family, which is likely back home.


Check https://morecrows.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/unnecessariat/ for more. One of the best posts in 2016.


Thanks for posting this ...


It appears to be a broader epidemic than just the US. Australian media also report that rural suicides (particular polarised amongst older farm owners and young people) has been on a marked increase over the past decade.

Over here it has been mostly attributed to the extended drought, and the general decline of agriculture as a core factor of GDP, as well as the popularity of hard drugs like ice in rural areas.

Not sure if that correlates with the conditions in rural US as well.


In my opinion it's not a US only thing. Every country seems to have increased rural->urban migration.

Couple this with the concentration/centralization of manufacturing and economies-of-scale and there is less and less opportunity/jobs in rural locations.

ps. There is NOTHING in any of trumps policies that will change this. e.g if manufacturing is not in china/Mexico/Bangladesh then it will only go to major population centers.


The relationship between urban and rural regions is also interesting.

From 1910 to 1990, rural population grew from 50m to 61m, bobbling about a bit in the process. Call it a 124% growth.

In the same period, urban populations grew from 42m to 187m, a 445% increase.

Among other things, this means that there's been a persistent shift of political power from people to land, effectively, via the Electoral College. Given the strongly conservative tendencies of rural populations, this helps explain the voting and electoral patterns of the past several decades.

Having spent my share of time in and travelling through many of these regions, the social welfare patterns are fairly easy to understand. The region has visibly sagged over the past 30 years.

https://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/files/table...


I think the biggest reason for this trend is the decline in health and human services across the various states which have large rural populations because it's been the politically expedient thing to do when budget crises happen because it's assumed they rural pops will just move to the big city and get the services there. Little do they realize that takes MONEY. So, when you're dealing with the same economic downturns which cause the budget crises also lead to underemployment and unemployment you're not going to see many of those folks move because they have no money or very little of it. Ultimately, there needs to be an honest discussion among the rank and file of the American conservative movements on these matters. Specifically, they need to acknowledge that their whole "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality isn't working and that a whole new program needs to be adopted. Specifically one that acknowledges that Randian/Right-Libertarian approaches are dead ends in terms of sustainability. Whether they like it or not they need to accept that there needs to be some level of welfare in government especially now when the greatest disruption to employment opportunities are ahead of us (not behind us). We can't assume there will be plentiful well paying jobs that can/will emerge in the rural sections of the US. We need to assume the opposite as distance is costly to most industries and there's barely an operable infrastructure to support building up those rural parts of the country (especially when it comes to the Internet-based IT jobs). If there's anything they should do I think an infrastructure bill that focuses on getting Internet access and education programs out to the rural parts of the country would be a good first step on top of rebuilding and augmenting existing welfare programs.


Didn't we just go through two major recessions in 2000 and 2008? Is anyone surprised that more people are giving up hope in recent times with all the factories closing, major retailer closing, unemployment at incredibly high levels (U6, not official statistics) and massive debt from student loans?


Recessions on average happen every 8-10 years or so. There was a recession in 91-92, one in 81-82, etc. That part of the business cycle is pretty cyclical.


Whoa! What a depressing thread. From the thread one would conclude this is not a country but a collection of economic interests.

Hopefully this dry soulless perspective is limited to a small technical group in the bay area.

You will simply not got this level of callousness in any country with a sense of a 'collective history and shared existence'.

Sure there is 'callousness' in many places but there is also a sense it is wrong. Here some seem to have not only shed the sense of guilt or collective existence but celebrate their lack of empathy. No wonder this is the only country that takes rand seriously.


>No wonder this is the only country that takes rand seriously.

Most of the people who show no empathy to rural America are actually extremely left, self-righteous city dwellers who hate Rand.

I often get the feeling that most left-leaning people who don't show empathy towards rural America are actually only left-leaning because that's the "morally correct" stance. Evidently, they don't care at all about others and will take every chance they can get---that is, every situation in which it is socially and politically acceptable for leftists---to feel superior.

I'm not saying the right has any more empathy. I'm not saying the world needs more or less Rand.


Without belittling the difficulties of rural areas, it seems just as concerning to me that all the lines in this plot are trending upward.


Pretty nice correlation between this and the advent of OxyContin.


> imagine for a second someone telling you that 'you should just move from where you are because where you were born isn't good enough'

Sounds to me like how this country was created. Are rural Americans so weak that they can't handle a tenth of the hardship their ancestors endured to create this country? If so, then it sounds like they're the ones standing in the way of Making America Great Again.


Your comments in this thread are serious violations of HN's guidelines. If you can't be civil, which includes having the strength to contain rage instead of venting incontinently at other groups, please don't post here until you can. "Speaking my mind, just like Trump does" is a recipe for getting your account banned.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13905407 and marked it off-topic.


I agree with this sentiment but this kind of rhetoric sucks. There are at least two groups to worry about. 1. The young who can be goaded and inspired to take on heroic risk and face the unknown and 2. The mature, established population which will fight tooth and nail to keep what they have built.

Trump won some of both but the vast majority came from camp 2. You can't call someone who has worked 30 years in a coal mine weak. It won't work and isn't true.

What some people are facing is the crushing realization that their life's work is gone and is actually derided by a large segment of the population. It's a blow to pride and pocketbook. Additional scorn is not going to change their minds.


Like the Truman Show said... everything's been explored (that we can reach anyways). The "mature" population are well established even on the internet. Where will the young go now?

To soon for the stars, to late for the planet and the internet.

"What some people are facing is the crushing realization that their life's work is gone"

They're clinging to the old model of life. Perhaps in our lifetimes we can do away with wage slavery? Maybe we already could have if we hadn't been so easily divided by 1% propaganda.

Well at least they had a life's work at some point, unlike some of my peers.


This post is such a perfect case in point for why people hate tech employees it's almost impressive.


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Your participation in the thread is just attacks on the working class, you think you deserve better? For real though, keep it up. People like you are why Republicans are as strong as they've been since the 1920's.


I get why you're doing this, but it isn't helping anything.


You're not wrong, I shouldn't comment on hn in the morning haha.


Not before coffee, at any rate. My first instinct was the same as yours, but I waited.


I'm not "attacking the working class" - after all, they've already moved to where the opportunities are, and are working. The problem is those who don't have jobs and refuse to move to where the jobs are. Then they complain about how they don't have a job, all while supporting "small government" and "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." That group of people needs to be given a separate name - how about the "entitled class"?


Rural Americans are stronger than you know. We always have been.

But strength isn't enough, and it hasn't been for a long time. You have to be smart, too, and ambitious - I was, when I moved to Baltimore right out of high school, with the idea of turning my lifelong interest in programming into the sort of career that Mississippi didn't, and so far as I know still doesn't, have the industry to support. Lot of people where I'm from had ambition, often beyond anything the local environment would support. Lot of them had the same smarts I did, too, and in many cases better - behind all the pretty talk, I'm really not all that bright.

But smarts and ambition aren't enough, either, and haven't been for a long time. You have to be lucky - I was, when I discovered at age six the avocation for programming that's since developed first into a marketable trade and then into a solid career. Not that I knew that was what I was doing, of course. I just knew I really loved writing code, and I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to find that out and luckier still to have a family able to support it with an Apple II. Absent that luck, I'd have gone nowhere, because I'd have had nowhere to go. Maybe to college instead, and had a small chance of learning a marketable trade and a guarantee of decades' worth of debt. Maybe just nowhere. And that's not all the luck I've had - not by a hell of a long shot. That was just some of the earliest.

That's the thing about a life like the one I've built, the life you're saying that everyone where I'm from should build, as though it were as simple as choosing to do so - none too fancy a life, to be sure, but I'm in no debt, and my career is stable and remunerative enough that I can afford to send considerable money home to those among my family who haven't had my good fortune - that life is the result of good fortune, to an utterly implausible extent. Had any of an enormous number of events turned out even slightly differently than it did, I would not now be in a position to tell you what an ignorant, prejudiced jackass you must be to have said something like what you just did. At ten on a Sunday morning? I'd probably be Ubering people from brunch to shopping, or something, in a car I'd have gone into debt to buy, always counting in the back of my mind how many dollars I need to make today in order to break somewhere close to even, and it'd be a miracle if I managed in even one month to send home what I send home every month now. My laid-off mother wouldn't be getting the right care for her Graves' disease, because who could cover the co-pay? And my cousin, paralyzed last year in the sort of "industrial accident" that happens when you're so hopeless broke that cooking meth looks like an option? Well, he'd still have the communicating pressure ulcers over ~15% of his body that he got from his first, incompetent, care team. So odds are I'd have a couple of funerals to worry about pretty soon, too, and that's far from cheap, quite aside from the fact that rednecks feel the loss of loved ones every bit as much as real people do.

So, okay. You want to talk about rural people overcoming hardship to make lives of worth in the modern world? Hi there. I've done it. Having done it, I've had a great deal of opportunity to observe the degree to which doing so requires overcoming vastly opposing odds. Lest I be mistaken as arrogant, let me note this is not a boast. This luck is no cause for pride, any more than would be to have bought a winning lottery ticket. That I happened to be well placed to exploit the lucky breaks I got pales to insignificance alongside the vast, vast number of lucky breaks I've had - and much more so alongside the fact that, had matters gone only slightly differently from how they in fact have, all the smarts and ambition in the world wouldn't mean a damn thing.

And here you are, arguing whether you know it or not that that kind of astonishing luck scales. Not only that, but slandering the people left behind by the fact that that kind of astonishing luck doesn't scale, left behind with no option but to make the best life they can under the circumstances or give up, and whose circumstances have grown latterly so hopeless that many of them are giving up - and that's the thing you overlook here, the crucial point on which your ignorance or carelessness renders all the rest of your analysis worse than useless. When those of my ancestors who immigrated did so, they did it because America was a nation capable of offering them hope - hope of a better future, for themselves and their descendants, than their home countries could any longer sustain. Even those others of my ancestors who were transported under criminal sentence, who lived years or decades or the rest of their lives under effective indenture, with their liberties sharply circumscribed - even to them, America was a beacon of hope for the future. But that was many years ago, and since then, America has changed. Where my ancestors and the ancestors of my cohort found hope, that hope has gone, to be replaced by hardship that seems everlasting and in far, far too many cases is. Somehow, in spite of that, many of us survive - not all, to be sure, and fewer every year, and in circumstances which I misdoubt would horrify a lifelong city man. Shall I tell you about the shack where lived some of my happiest childhood memories, and the way black mold gets into chipboard walls? But that's not where I live any more. I had the good fortune to go on to better things. Many among my cohort did not - people whom I loved and ran with and hated and fought with all through my childhood and adolescence, people who knew me and whom I knew in the way of children who hold nothing back, in the way that later life never can quite offer, men and women who taught me how to live and understand my place in the world, how to be a worthwhile human being, who initiated me into all manner of mysteries both wonderful and terrible, and made it possible for me to attain whatever value I can ever hope to manage.

Those people, you're calling weak.

And then you wonder how a Trump happens.

Well, worse is coming, if things go on as they have. Worse first for you and then for us all. I don't want that. No sane man with any grasp of history could possibly want that. But the lie of progress, of the universe having an arc that bends inexorably somewhere, is too seductive, and the closest thing it offers to consolation is that I might get to see some people like you dragged screaming into hell before my own turn comes. I don't want that. I'd much rather none of us gets dragged into hell at all. I voted for Trump in large part to try to stave that off - in the hope that such a shocking setback might give rise to a general reevaluation of perspective on the left, to something which might lead to the realization that you cannot, you may not, simply wash your hands of whole peoples in their millions and expect to carry on as you please, never needing fear any consequence. But that hasn't happened and I don't think it will. Instead of reevaluation we see exhortations of greater energy for the cause, and instead of any gesture toward rapprochement we see intensification of the same exclusionary rhetoric and behavior that's brought us to the pretty pass we stand in now.

And I don't expect you to change your mind because of what I've said here, either. It would astonish me if you did, not least because I've been much more honest than kind, which is too common a failing on my part in any case; effective rhetoric in this circumstance requires perhaps above all that the fissures of a fragile ego not be struck. But here I've barely tried to be otherwise, because I have in large part given up - be what I may, I'm hardly insusceptible to an absence of hope in my own right, and I've long since ceased to see much cause for that in my efforts to warn people away from the abyss into which they seem hell-bent on dragging us all. But if I've achieved nothing else, as I so strongly suspect to be the case, then I may at least find whatever consolation there is to be found in the fact that, when your turn comes as a turn will come for all of us, you'll have no excuse for failing to understand what is happening, and no ability truly to say that you were never told. Meaningless as it is, if that's the best I've got, then I'll take it. And who knows? Perhaps you will surprise me after all.


Why does it take being lucky to learn how to program?

Access to a public library w/ a web browser would be enough to learn the client-side of the world. A donated or sub-$200 laptop and a free GitHub account would be enough for almost all the rest of it (save for some top-tier ML or distributed-systems work).

Not that I'm suggesting everyone flood to being a programmer, per se, but becoming one has to be amongst the absolute lowest barriers of entry to a decent living that has ever existed short of being born into landed-gentry.

It requires no credentials. It requires almost no capital. It's trivially easy to advertise your skills (via engagement in a popular open source project). It's harder and more expensive to become a groundskeeper than it is to become a programmer.


Yes, all of this is true today. (Most of it, anyway. I strongly doubt that "advertise your skills via open source participation and leverage that into a paying career" scales as well as you seem to suggest. And 'watwut is right about the rest. When did you last use a computer in a public library? It is rarely an environment conducive to study.) None of this was true when I started; perhaps you overlooked my mention of the model of machine on which I did that.

But that's beside my point in any case. My point is that that wasn't the only good fortune which mattered - necessary, to be sure, but not sufficient. Had I not in later life happened upon a job with someone who made it possible for me to transition from the second-shift telephone support role for which I'd been hired into what became my first real dev job, and served as an apprenticeship in business besides, I'd be driving that Uber today.

Again, my point is not that one or another specific piece of good luck made it possible for me to build the professional life I have. My point is that to do so has required so many pieces of good luck, any one of which going differently would have changed the entire course of affairs, that it is impossible to imagine this approach could scale. It's like flipping a coin ten times in a row fairly, and having it come up heads five times and land on edge the other five. Clearly that can happen, or I'd be driving that Uber right now. But you cannot reasonably expect it, or demand it, or require it, of anyone.


Let's not forget your point about voting for Trump to "shock" our nation and wanting to drag other folks to hell with you.

That's likely where you lost sympathy.


Yours, perhaps. But your erroneous reading of my statements here suggests strongly that I never had it, so that doesn't seem like too much of a loss. Perhaps you'll convince me otherwise.


People who just learned a bit of JavaScript or whatever programming in library wont be able to produce impressive enough contribution to popular open source. They are unlikely to pass technical interview, whiteboard or not, in a company that does them. They literally need company ok with hiring juniors and mentoring them.

Ok, it is possible to fake your way to position if you can project passion and throw around buzz words, but that requires hipster cultural adaptation - not rural one.

Most likely thou, they will simply learn wrong things. It is perfectly possible to learn by yourself and by reading of internet, but it requires a lot of time on the internet. It wont happen in three months (unless they are highly charismatic ).


I know several people who got full-time gigs at companies you would definitely have heard of with almost no prior professional software experience based nearly entirely on the fact they went about fixing bugs in commercially supported open source projects. Some hired by the vendor itself. Others hired by people reliant on those projects.

Demonstrating initiative, conscientiousness, and acumen are apparently sought after traits.

Some in Python, some in Ruby, some in Javascript. What they all had in common is that they'd all been working food or coffee service up to that point, not programming professionally.

I'm not entirely sure where the 3 month time limit came from that you added?


I know a lot of people with a similar story: born in a rural area, had the good fortune to be pointed in the right direction, worked hard, escaped to a good life in a city far from where they grew up.

This is held up as the model for success, especially by the Republicans. I agree that it works but doesn't scale.

The key question is: How do we help the people that are left behind in poor rural communities with no good opportunities?

I'm afraid nobody has good answers.

Trump's​ astonishing success came from raising this question, which is more than anyone else did. Unfortunately his answers are more about blaming immigrants, foreign governments and intellectuals than solving the problem. His policy proposals actually make it worse: Exhibit A: the ACHA, which significantly reduced benefits in Trump-voting areas.

The Democrats focus on hand outs. People reject this because it makes them feel useless (side bar: people complain about Obamacare while demanding they keep their expanded Medicaid... Politics makes no sense).

Ok, so Trump says it's a problem but has no ideas. Democrats say of course it's a problem and want to build a national safety net. Rural voters reject the safety net idea while using it heavily and request good jobs so they can get assistance.

So how do you get them good jobs? Mining coal will destroy the world and their bodies too. Factories need skilled labor, good infrastructure and communities of practice, none of which these areas have.

The only hope I see is massive education investments, but even those will only help people leave unless the students decide to stay and build. Why? Because a flat world becomes spiky: productivity comes from density, which be definition is an urban phenomenon.

http://bigthink.com/articles/the-world-is-spiky.amp

Tragically, I think these really are the only solutions (1) massive Federal subsidies to sustain people living in uncompetitive areas or (2) massive Federal subsidies to educate them, allowing the next generation to escape routinely​ or, if they can be convinced to stay, invent new reasons for their communities to exist. Really, you probably need both.

Again, Trump isn't doing either of those things. He's just scaring people and breaking things.


Historically, in the past, there was a wave of automation from the 1900s-1920s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_agriculture_in_the_...) that arguably affected rural America to a much greater extent than this current wave: the mechanization of agriculture.

Back then, the solutions provided were roughly:

A) An emphasis in education. This doesn't help folks ingrained, but a strong rural education system did help the children move to the cities where the opportunities were. (This describes one of my grandfathers: our family still owns a farm, but only one person is needed to maintain it these days. He got a college education and moved.) From my perspective, this is one of the better options even for the modern automation problem.

B) Some forms of subsidies and quotas, as tried in the 1930s. I would personally prefer options more on the lines of improving health, resettlement help, and public works. Handouts for nothing create stagnation, and handouts in the wrong direction (eg agriculture subsidies, which tend to benefit farmers, who often may be prosperous already) may create distorted markets. Later World War II also provided an escape valve (another option I don't see terribly appealing).

It's tough for me to see anything else working. If companies start becoming more remote friendly, we'll need less of option B perhaps. But I can't see escaping option A.

The politics of Donald Trump can be explained to some extent as an exploitation of the long-running "Southern Strategy" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy), which in contrast to the name is actually national in nature. I do not believe that rural voters are rejecting the idea of the safety net per se. It's more that in the current American political scene, identity / tribe politics often far overshadows economic politics. I believe that Bernie Sanders showed that a safety net oriented campaign with less emphasis on identity / tribe type politics can be quite popular with rural voters.


And the DNC ruined him for it.


Not that hard to convince people to stay, I think. On balance, I'd rather have; even now, I'd much prefer it be possible for me to take what I've learned and become, the things of which I'm now capable that I never was before, back home. I'm not sure what decision I'd make if it were possible, because I've come to love Baltimore much more strongly than I would've imagined possible when I came here. But that's moot, because the career I have isn't one that I can go back home and still sustain. There are a lot of companies that talk about taking remote work seriously. Almost all of them are lying, and those few which are not have tall stacks of applications from engineers much more distinguished than I ever hope to be.

Had it been possible to build this kind of career without leaving home, I would have done so. Make it possible for others to do so, and they will. The subsidy model has been shown to work by Silicon Valley VCs; I see no reason why it can't be made to work with federal dollars in Mississippi, too, alongside the sort of education subsidy you describe. If you see a need for an inducement to stay, which I'm not sure I do but all right, you could add a stick to the carrot by building the education subsidy on the extant student loan model, and tying payment deferral and eventual forgiveness to locality - if you move out of state, or outside a certain radius of states, or whatever, within some period after graduating, then you can do that, but you do it at the cost of paying back your loans yourself instead of having them forgiven. Too, this neatly straddles the divide between the sort of handout so destructive to pride, and the need to convince people to accept help when they need it. You do that by making it feel earned, and this would at least come closer to achieving that requirement than the sort of pie-in-the-sky UBI schemes so often mooted here.

Of course nothing like that is ever going to happen, because it makes far too much sense. Don't pretend the Democrats are going to do it, either, any more than the Republicans will - to do so would constitute an insult to your own credibility, and the intelligence of anyone who might happen to read such a comment. In a world where Sanders had a genuine shot at the DNC nomination, I might say otherwise, not least because he'd have won it overwhelmingly. (I'd also have voted for him.) But recent events demonstrate that we do not live in such a world, and I voted for Trump in full knowledge that scaring people and breaking things was the most he might possibly accomplish. That I judged this a more desirable outcome than a third Clinton term should perhaps frighten you - it certainly frightens me! But here we are.


If you voted for Trump then you've made those lives you care so much about worse, not better. Trump is someone who makes a lot of noise but who has absolutely no idea on how to actually implement any solutions and in the meantime he will remove the last little bits of the structures that keep those people alive. So congratulations on doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.


Doing the right thing wasn't an option. The party that claims so much to be the only one that cares saw to that. So I did the least wrong thing I could find to do.


That makes no sense at all. Trump & Co are all for dismantling whatever still functions on a federal level. By cuttting loose the states and making this a local problem you pretty much guarantee that it won't be solved and that what little bits of leveling were still there are going to go away. So effectively you've helped to destroy the lives you claim to wish to help.

Besides that they are busy removing the few barriers that stand between a much worse living environment in those areas due to a removal of environmental protections.

Quality of life will go down, there will be less money and the local environment will suffer (tremendously), the cumulative effort of doing this for a couple of years will be paid for by the next generation.

The beneficiaries: the billionaires.

So you did the wrong thing, not the least wrong thing. What puzzles me is this: how do the republicans, either under Trump or any of their predecessors get people to consistently vote against their interests? Looking at it from an economic perspective they should have maybe 5 to 10% of the vote (affluent, mostly white people). To see so many people vote for them (repeatedly) with some cheap emotional buttons being pressed and - predictably - 4 or 8 years later an economic mess to be cleaned up (see the last 4 electoral cycles) is really incredibly hard to understand for me.


I find it remarkable that you see Clinton as having promised some sort of improvement here. Let's not forget that the situation on the morning of November 8 was the direct result of eight years under Obama, the loving-est, caring-est president that ever did sit behind the Resolute desk. Not that I don't have considerable respect for the man, but really - if that was the best he could do in eight years of what I do believe to be genuinely giving a damn, where is the sense in expecting better from someone who so clearly did not give a damn that she didn't even see purely cynical value in putting up a credible pretense of so doing?

Based on what you say here, it's very clear to you that for poor people to vote Democratic favors their interests, and that for poor people to vote Republican goes against them. This is very evidently not so clear to everyone. Perhaps all those who disagree with you are simply hateful, ignorant fools. Then again, perhaps they're not.


Obama pulled America out of a recession caused by the previous GOP administration and the bankers. So yes, he did the best he could, especially given that the GOP was obstructing him every step of the way. (Incidentally, one of the first things that Trump did was remove the restrictions on those bankers so we can all party like it is 2006 again.)

> Based on what you say here, it's very clear to you that for poor people to vote Democratic favors their interests, and that for poor people to vote Republican goes against them. This is very evidently not so clear to everyone. Perhaps all those who disagree with you are simply ignorant fools. Then again, perhaps they're not.

Not so much ignorant as misguided. I suspect that the complexity of a modern country is such that it has become quite hard to follow the money trail.

But blaming immigrants and dismantling the small bits of social support that America has is emphatically not going to solve the problem, it will in fact do the opposite.

The question then becomes if you will feel at least fractionally responsible for the damage you have caused or if you're going to disavow your contribution.

If you want to solve a problem - any problem - you should first own the problem. Pointing at others is not going to work, it never ever has.


You speak of money trails as though there were anything to choose in that regard between those candidates who made it to the general.

You also speak as though the party you credit with social support et cetera were not also the party of "free trade", i.e. globalization. Perhaps you'll be the first to explain coherently, and in a fashion which accords with reality, how their very successful efforts in such regard have materially benefited rural Americans.

I'm not proud of what I did on November 8. I'd have been proud to vote for Sanders in the general, as I did in the primary. But, thanks to the machinations of the DNC leadership, that option was denied me, and I faced - all Americans faced - the worst choice that last year's party primary process could possibly have left us with. I took the option less incompatible with maintaining my own self-respect, and I'm still not wholly reconciled to that decision even though I could not possibly have brought myself to do otherwise.

I live in Maryland, so of course my state's electors went to Clinton. I suppose therefore that I could, if I so chose, deny responsibility for whatever outcome a Trump presidency may have, and leverage the left's own arguments against the electoral college to do so. I won't, though, because the responsibility for, and the consequences of, my unforced actions are also mine.

I can't "own the problem", as you so facilely counsel. Problems like these are far too large for that, and I think that's a big part of why they tend to prove so intractable. I did what I still regard as the least worst thing I could do under the circumstances. That I do own. But every circumstance has its antecedents, which make possible that it occur. The circumstance of having to choose between Clinton and Trump is no different. And I think there's a lot of ownership, for the actions which brought that about, yet lacking.


Globalization is a mixed blessing in the short term, a good thing in the longer term because it allows other nations that otherwise would most likely starve to slowly pull themselves out of their misery.

On that scale the people you empathize with are doing spectacularly well, and have plenty of options. Once wages go up the local economy develops a middle class and becomes self sustaining companies may move on to the next low wage country but the effects remain.

That not everybody in a single country benefits from this (especially not the blue collar workers in the wealthier countries, especially those unwilling to adapt) is sad, but as much or more caused by automation than by work flowing to low wage countries. The disparity is so great that that work will not come back, no matter what.

Whatever was wrong with the DNC that it forced you to vote against your interests and those you claim to care for is beyond me, I just can't follow that kind of reasoning. Hillary Clinton was far from the ideal candidate but she'd be immensely better for your country than Trump is, and everything that has happened so far has both underlined that and has more or less been predicted beforehand.

Make no mistake: Bannon et al are out to destroy the United States as you know it to reshape it in to a much smaller pond in which they are the bigger fish.

Sow wind, reap storm.


It is not the responsibility of the citizens of the United States to save the world. Neither is it our place, or anything we have any business attempting. Neither is it our choice, or anything we have agreed in the large to do. To be impoverished in such a cause grows over time intolerable, and I think that's what lies behind what we're seeing in the political arena now.

I'll reap what I've sown. We all will, what we've sown and what our predecessors have. To imagine the sowing began in 2016 disregards a very great deal of history. But you are of course welcome to do so as you choose.


Gah I was writing you a long answer and my browser crashed, this very rarely happens :(

The re-run:

> It is not the responsibility of the citizens of the United States to save the world.

The United States do not exist in a vacuum. If the world does well so does the US and if the world is doing worse then the US will automatically also do worse. So it's a fallacy to think that the United States is (a) saving the world (the world does plenty already) and (b) that any help the United States does export is at its own expense.

Short term thinking vs long term thinking.

> I'll reap what I've sown. We all will, what we've sown and what our predecessors have. To imagine the sowing began in 2016 disregards a very great deal of history. But you are of course welcome to do so as you choose.

This obviously did not start in 2016, but it did get a lot worse starting 2017 and hopefully it will not break beyond repair before the music stops. If it does then you and yours will be the ones to pay the price.

If you really want to improve the situation you need:

- to get money out of politics

- reduce the power of the presidency (stop voting for a king/queen)

- get rid of the 'winner takes all' system so there can be viable third (and fourth and so on) political parties

Also: note that the United States' problems are far from unique to the United States in so far as the economy goes, and that other countries have managed to fix or at least reduce the impact. In the United States anything along those lines gets resolutely destroyed along the lines of fear of communism, even though those things are not even closely related.

Such irrationality does not help.

Anyway, you're about 2 months into your favorite presidency, do you get the impression that you are making meaningful progress towards your stated goals?


Since "throwanem" hasn't responded, I'll jump in to say that although your logic looks like it would be right, I agree with all of his reasoning so far in this thread. Like him, I also would have happily voted for Sanders, although unlike him I couldn't bear to vote for Trump and thus "threw my vote away" on Stein because she matched my positions best.

But painful as the last couple months have been, I still still think Trump was a better outcome for the nation than Clinton. I like and respect Obama, but I don't think you understand how badly much of rural America has been doing under Democratic leadership. Voting for an independent running as a Republican may well be more logical than voting for more of the same and hoping that this time things will be different.

get money out of politics

reduce the power of the presidency

viable third (and fourth and so on) political parties

I think these are great goals, and suspect "throwanem" would agree.

do you get the impression that you are making meaningful progress towards your stated goals?

Actually, yes, but in a judo sort of way. I think the backlash will be so strong that if we can make it through his term, I think the three goals you stated are more likely to be achieved in the near future than if he hadn't have won. I think both the Democratic and Republican establishments will end up weaker than they were, which I think is a good thing, and some days I'm even optimistic enough to think that Trump might accomplish some positive things along the way.


Let's hope the price won't be too high. The problem with causing avalanches is that you can only start them, you can't stop them and there is no way of knowing what the new stable configuration will look like. There is a good chance that the new situation will be much worse than the old one, and people like Bannon want to achieve just that and are very close to being actually at the helm.

If the end result of a Trump administration is a review of politics in the United States as a whole and the world ends up with rainbows and unicorns then we're all much better off, but there is absolutely no way to be sure that is what will happen.


I couldn't have said it better.


> But painful as the last couple months have been, I still still think Trump was a better outcome for the nation than Clinton. I like and respect Obama, but I don't think you understand how badly much of rural America has been doing under Democratic leadership.

The country hasn't been under Democratic leadership. Obama faced an unprecedented level of obstructionism from Congress combined with an unprecedented deliberately planned and closely coordinated attack from media agents who deliberately sabotaged and delegitimized his administration. Try to remember that 44% of Republicans still don't think Obama was born in the US [1].

The problem with this entire sad logic chain constructed by "thowanem" and yourself is that... you still don't get it. You've learned nothing these past eight years because you don't actually understand what happened over these past eight years. You have this idea that Democrats and the establishment "ignored rural voters" -- but this is a fantasy that has no basis no in reality. The reality is that thanks to Obamacare roughly 20 million people have healthy insurance now that didn't have it before. It's the sort of thing that's very difficult to prove but it would not be unreasonable to suggest that these suicide numbers would be far worse if Democrats hadn't passed comprehensive health insurance and expanded Medicaid.

Anyways, I just want to point out, on some level, this is why thins aren't going to get better any time soon. Too much of the country is caught up in delusion and fantasy and while everybody feels like they understand what's going on... in fact very few people are looking at the facts. Fantasy, the rejection of reality. is a privilege that is not sustainable. Reality always catches up and the truth will come out. But until then I suspect we'll have a lot of nonsense discussions about how immigrants destroyed Sweden and all the problems in this country are supposed to be traced back to some mysterious "establishment."

[1] http://www.mediaite.com/online/new-poll-shows-that-41-of-rep...


> What puzzles me is this: how do the republicans, either under Trump or any of their predecessors get people to consistently vote against their interests?

Because they are voting based on tribalism. Trump signaled that he was a member of their tribe with his "tough talk" and racist comments. It doesn't matter what he does now - what the voters cared about was that "their team won."


Yes. They are the problem, with all of their tribalism and their ignorance and their whininess and their et cetera and so forth.


That's probably the worst excuse for condemning our nation to four years of Trump that I have ever read. Do you honestly believe that harming large segments of the country, and world, is the best way to "stave off" being "dragged into hell"?

You have admitted to actively sabotaging our democratic process but in the same breadth claim you did it for the greater good?

So who is indulging in egoism here, exactly?


"Actively sabotaging our democratic process"? That's a remarkable thing to accomplish by casting a vote.


That was your intent, as outlined in your comment.


No. My intent was to give what I regard as the prevailing political and cultural hegemony, which very explicitly has no love for and places no value on me and mine, pause to think about whether continuing to cherish such arrant contempt is really so worthwhile a path to follow. I don't see any way in which I could've made that more clear in my prior comment.

If you believe that voting other than for the Democratic Party's candidate constitutes sabotage of the democratic process, I really can't imagine there being any kind of conversation that you and I might productively have.


That was exceptionally heartfelt and insightful.


One must give one's fury an outlet, after all. I wish I thought there was a point. Thanks for taking the time, in any case.


> "People in the cities" (who tend to be strongly left-leaning) literally want to give money to the less well-off people in rural areas to help support them.

It's more accurate to say that they want to give other people's money to the less-well-off. I don't know that it's terribly empathetic to use violence to take someone else's wealth and give it to another in order to get warm fuzzies or votes.

Last night, I went to a banquet for an organisation which is (AFAIK) entirely funded voluntarily, and which helps folks in crises (natural and man-made disasters, e.g. hurricanes, earthquakes and wars) all over the world, regardless of creed. They only spend 8% of their revenue on fundraising, which I think is pretty good. I voluntarily wrote them a cheque, and was glad to do it.

The moral calculus would be completely different had I voted to send armed agents to raid your bank account and give those funds to the organisation.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13905286 and marked it off-topic.


I think it directly addressed the point re. empathy in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13905286, and was no more or less off-topic than that comment.


It's the generic ideological talking point that's the problem. Those only ever lead to generic tangents, which are the wrong kind of tangent—plus usually flamewars.


Thank you for responding; I do appreciate that.

Isn't '"People in the cities" (who tend to be strongly left-leaning) literally want to give money to the less well-off people in rural areas to help support them. It's the right-leaning candidates who are opposed to wealth redistribution. Who is missing empathy for whom? From my perspective, the fiscal conservatives from the rural areas have relatively less empathy than vice versa.' exactly as much of an generic ideological talking point?

It certainly led to a lot of heated discussion, e.g. the top-rated comment in that thread, which stated in part 'If anything I'd say there's a lot of disgust with how many rural Americans live off the system.'


So, I am not a libertarian, but I do think the libertarian wing of this country does sometimes have good points and provide a valuable alternative perspective on some issues.

BUT, you guys have really got to stop this godawful stupid "point of a gun" rhetoric you're all cribbing directly from Atlas Shrugged. Yes, I understand the metaphor you are trying to make, but it is a profoundly terrible way to make that argument and needlessly escalates every discussion and alienates anyone not already on your side instantly.


> BUT, you guys have really got to stop this godawful stupid "point of a gun" rhetoric you're all cribbing directly from Atlas Shrugged.

I've never read Atlas Shrugged. We pay our taxes because if we don't, armed men will try to arrest us, and if we resist them then they will kill us. Violence is the ultimate backstop of any law. That's fine: we need laws, and we need taxes. But let's try to ensure that we threaten & use violence as little as is reasonable.

I think it was P.J. O'Rourke who suggested asking oneself, for any law, if one would wave a gun at one's grandmother to force her to comply. Laws against murder and theft? Sure, grandma had better not do that. Taxes to prevent people starving on the streets? Sure, grandma had better cough up. Laws against selling soup in one's home, or taxes to fund cowboy poetry festivals? Somehow I just can't see pointing a gun at grandma for that.


[flagged]


Posting unsubstantively about a divisive topic makes for a bad HN comment. Please don't do this.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13905407 and marked it off-topic.


But maybe a reason.


I just read a tweet , that 1 of 5 given a 10 day supply of opiates will go on to abuse it. I worked midnight shift in a big pharma chain in rural US. I have seen 1st hand the damage the pill mills from (rural doctors )our having on our rural populations. They have lost their jobs to NAFTA. I was able to get them to stop selling brass pot scrubbies ,go (plastic) junkies would use for screens. You could tell when they came in for the scrubbies, the checks came out the dealers knew when to peddle. One of docs had a thriving Buis. Local doc - highschool phys.- slum landlord (shell co.) and a pill mill for a day job ! ps. one junkie was selling pils $15 a pop he said & that 8yrs back ; said it took 20min lick coating off ; for grind & snort . . sad !




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