The Boston Globe reports that in Massachusetts there are now more home foreclosures in rural and suburban communities than in the state’s urban centers.
“Subprime lending was the primary and early cause of lending problems and foreclosures in the urban areas,” said Tim H. Davis of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. “In the more suburban areas it is much more likely to be tied to unemployment and the general economy.’’
Davis reports that Winchendon, Ashburnham, and Athol, all rural towns, have some of highest concentrations of foreclosures in the state.
• Most of the newly elected GOP representatives to Congress campaigned on big federal spending cuts. But if they’re rural reps, will they actually support reducing farm subsidies? Several of the newcomers to Congress benefitted directly from farm payments, as detailed in this article, and many of their constituents did, too.
“Stephen Fincher won an open seat House race in Tennessee this year while both railing against federal spending and deflecting criticism that his family had received $3.2 million in federal farm subsidies in the past 10 years.”
David DeGennaro, of the Environmental Working Group, points out that in the mid 1990s, the Republican majority in Congress cut ag supports dramatically, only to reinstate them when commodity prices fell. This time, he expects, “There will be lots of calls and pressure to cut costs, but I don’t think we’re looking at a draconian cut across the board.”
• Dallas Tonsager, USDA’s undersecretary for rural development, told the Nebraska Renaissance Project, “Rural America has a shot at leading us out of the recession,” but only if scientific advances can be made in fuel and food development and if rural communities manage their needs for fertilizer and water wisely.
Tonsager specified five rural priorities: “a regional approach to community and economic development; the development of local food networks; providing broadband access to unserved rural areas; green jobs and renewable energy; and developing touris