Wednesday Roundup: ‘Subsidies’ and Paintings

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Brian Depew picks up on the “myth of rural subsidies,” the claim concocted by Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein last week. Recall that Klein asserted that there was a “raft of subsidies” supporting “rural living.”

Depew writes in High Country News how Klein was not only factually wrong, but totally missed a growing bias against rural life and economies.

Klein has yet to document his claim.

Studies of dog ownership find differences in rural and urban owners, reports the New York Times. 

From a University of Chicago study: “One clear trend that has emerged is that people from rural backgrounds tend to see their dogs as guardians to be kept outside, whereas middle-class couples typically treat their hounds as children, often having them sleep in the master bedroom, or a special bed.” 

An Indiana University sociologist found that that people living in rural areas see “pets as an appendage to the family, a useful helper ranking below humans that is beloved but, ultimately, replaceable.”

City people treat their pets as a “favored child.” 

• The Obama Administration is planning on issuing $400 million in loans for new broadband systems.

• A show of the painter George Ault will open Friday at the American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Ault lived in Woodstock, New York, moving there in 1937. The painting above is one of five Ault made of a single crossroads, Russell’s Corners, near his home.

The show will run through early September.

• The Iowa legislature is considering bills that would make it illegal for people to make undercover videos of conditions on farms. 

• Texas Panhandle rancher Sam Pakan writes about the “Great Texas Wind Swindle: Property Owners vs. the State.” 

• Ag economists Daryll Ray and Harwood Schaffer say they are “worried” about the rapid increase in the price of land

“Those who bought land near the bottom, likely have little to worry about, while those who buy near the top could be in trouble if crop prices plummet and land prices follow,” they write in their Policy Pennings column. 

In particular, they report hearing more instances where farmers have lost non-farm jobs, which has pushed their farm operations into foreclosure. They write: “An auctioneer quoted in the New York Times article said that with prices rising so quickly, ‘it’s getting scary.’ We agree.”

• The number of workers who say they are willing to work but have stopped looking for jobs has risen by 30 percent since the recession began and now totals 6.4 million people, the Washington Post reports

If you add these people to the jobless number, the unemployment rate in February rises to 10.5 percent from the 8.9 percent figure that was released by the government.

•Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was in Davenport, Iowa, yesterday talking about cutting spending, lower taxes, jobs — and, of course, his concern that “my children and grandchildren are not going to inherit the same country that I inherited.”

 

 

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