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In Defense Of A Nation

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

By Michael Mccune: The Rant (US Government auditor for 16 years In Cheyenne, WY. -Pennsylvania Distress Soon America's Problem- (( to Have Michael send you the Rant to your Email contact Him Here ((

Pennsylvania Distress Soon America's Problem
Listen to the economic news for the past few days and Americans would be forgiven if they rejoiced that the economy actually created more jobs than the increase in population demanded for the first time in six and a half years. 
To get a real snapshot of America's economic situation, just travel to one of the "big" states, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has the sixth largest population among the states. The school districts and local governments number more than 4900. Every inch of the commonwealth must be incorporated by state law, preventing dissolution. There's the problem. 
On the downside of things, Pennsylvania has 800 municipalities that have less than 1,000 residents. The state is one of ten that doe not allow municipalities the right to dissolve. As a result those townships are turning completely dependent upon subsidies from the state. (Other states that have this law are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont.) 
Still, services are failing in the smaller communities because state coffers simply can't handle the influx of dying cities needing assistance.
"The commonwealth of Pennsylvania created all these municipalities so the buck comes back to the commonwealth if their citizens are not able to receive services adequately,"  stated State Representative Chris Ross (R). "We need to have a viable alternative."
Ross' alternative was to would allow dissolution and limit the municipalities' stay on the state's financial aid program for distressed political subdivisions. Thirteen of the  shrinking townships have been stuck for over a decade.
One of the major problems--not discussed--is EPA regulations. The regulations hampering the use of coal have decimated the region's top industries--mining and steel production, strangling the economic future of these towns and dividing the residents in the communities. Fragmentation of resolve at the local level makes it harder to turn things around according to Matt Fabian from the Municipal Market Advisors firm in Massachusetts.
But nowhere at the state or local levels has anyone looked into the role the federal government has played in aiding and abetting the death of these townships. Without that calculation being tossed into the mix, those trying to "shake the municipalities out of their zombie-like state" are not going to get anywhere.
These people lived for generations off the bounty found under their feet (coal and iron reserves). The jobs and the income generated allowed Pennsylvania to become a national leader despite the dirty gray cloud that encompassed Pittsburgh. While the noon-day sun couldn't even cast a decent shadow through the smog, the city and the state prospered.
Now the living standard of the state and citizens has declined to the point the state faces the unpleasant choice of unincorporating vast swaths of former municipality holdings and having to spend more sums by appointing administrators to operate these new districts.
This plan too has problems. Existing school districts would, in many cases, disappear along with the township designation meaning those children would have to be allocated to remaining districts. But those districts are already facing budget cuts because the main source of their revenues--property values from the coal and iron mines and the steel-making plants--are now worthless. They are reluctant to take on new expenses.
Pennsylvania is just the unlucky spot where the recession has hit in conjunction with flawed federal mandates. But those mandates are eroding any chance of continuous recovery across the country, no matter how the citizens work or the local laws govern. Pennsylvania has a problem that will be endemic to the entire United States.
That option to consolidate a surviving township with a failed one is not going to happen willingly. Even though merging would allow for better services "people don't want to give up their territory or have someone else coming in to run the community," noted former steel producer Farrell's Mayor Olive McKeithan.
There are no easy answers because the right questions have not been asked. The heart of the matter is the federal government, running amok in the form of devastating EPA regulations bureaucrats unable to see end result of their economic-wrecking agenda, is the culprit.
Pure air and water are admirable goals. But how does the government rebuild living standards and livelihoods it has destroyed? No one thought to ask those questions 50 years ago and no one thought to ask even when an entire state is in shambles.
The "blame man first" agenda is going to continue wrecking the U.S. economy until that government structure faces dissolution
"I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man."--Thomas Jefferson     

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