Small towns in the United States have become obsolete. They are the real reason that the American economic system will never reach its intended potential. Sounds like rubbish to some, but the small town in the United States survived on blue collar workers who were willing to do things for small wages that were necessary.
From textile industry, oil fields, farming, or even cultivating resources the need for small town workers was always a bonus to the annals of American industry. So what happened? The answer to that is simple. Outsourcing. Minimum wage in the United States was $3.35 or under up until 1990. This meant that you were getting American workers for pennies on the dollar in most small towns and because the economy was still growing and the dollar hadn’t lost value, most people were able to make it on under 22k dollars a year and 44k for total family income.
As minimum wage jumped, the need for industry in America dropped off completely. By 1991 minimum wage went to $4.25 and by 1996 it had reached $4.75 per person. This is when major business owners went to the drawing board and a Republican Congress met with Democratic President Bill Clinton and they came up with a Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that would eliminate the need to keep minimum wages low in America because they would be able to move the production of these products to smaller third world countries.
Signing this bill would make everyone happy. The democrats would get higher minimum wages, and conservatives wouldn’t have to worry about labor costs as they packed their things up and moved to Costa Rica, Taiwan, and other places they could find labor for pennies on the dollar.
By 1997 the minimum wage hit $5.15 and the businesses started shutting down in small town USA. People were frustrated but the Clinton Administration didn’t get hurt by it because the invention of the internet made many people money and those that didn’t have access were hoping to get it. The internet made several people entrepreneurs and they created jobs and products that were available to anyone that was only a click away.
Why didn’t small town USA get involved in the cyber structure. It’s pretty simple, they didn’t have the infrastructure, nor the college educated leaders that had the vision to get ready before the towns went bust.
I recently read an article on CNN Money describing how people in poor towns voted for Trump because he’s going to fix their problems. It’s sad to see the comments and what the people in this town are going through. The problem there is the same as it is in other towns across the country. I myself grew up in one of these towns and the struggle there is real.
What confronts these people is a double edged sword. They voted for Trump because he’s something different. More of the same hasn’t done anything for them and they feel left out. The problem is that for once I have to agree with the old adage that sometimes you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps to make things different. Someone in that town is going to have to be progressive in helping kids get college educated and hope that they come back and make a difference.
You can’t have an uneducated mayor leading your people preaching from a Bible. You can’t have a person who is wealthy already running the town in a way to keep people oppressed because it’s to their benefit. You need progressive leadership if its going to work. Small towns have to figure out a way to grow.
The irony is that these people voted away the programs that gave them hope by electing a billionaire mogul and putting him in the white house. The reality is now they may struggle more or cease to exist as a town if something isn’t done. No entitlements means they are going to have to figure it out, or move somewhere that they can earn an honest living.