Today, the Obama Administration announced the formation of the White House Rural Council. The Council, to be chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, aims to “strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.” However, the goals of the Council are at direct odds with the Obama Administration’s previous actions and job-killing agenda. Below is a breakdown of just a few of the policies the Obama Administration has promoted which negatively affect rural communities.
- Energy prices disproportionately affect rural Americans, farmers and non-farmers, who spend an average of 58 percent more on energy as a percentage of income than their urban counterparts. From raising the price of consumer goods and products, like food and clothes, to forcing families to tighten their budgets in order to afford filling their gas tank and heating their homes, energy prices impact our entire economy. However, despite soaring gasoline prices and our dependence on unstable foreign countries for our energy supplies, President Obama refuses to increase production of American energy resources.
- In December 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new ‘Wild Lands’ order that would designate certain public lands with wilderness characteristics as ‘wild lands’ without proper designation by Congress. Implementation of the ‘wild lands’ order would prohibit forms of public access, block job-creating activities and ban energy production on federal lands that provide jobs and economic output to their surrounding communities. Fortunately, Congress was able to overturn the Obama Administration’s attempt to overstep its authority by preventing the Interior Department from using funds to implement the Wild Lands order in the Continuing Resolution.
These are just three examples of the many policies the Obama Administration supports that will adversely affect rural communities. In order to truly strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth, the Obama Administration needs to reassess its job-killing agenda, start promoting the production of American energy and remove the government’s heavy hand from our everyday lives.