Wash Post Rips USDA’s Rural Development Loans

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The Washington Post continues its examination — evisceration might be another word — of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development program.   This morning's chapter chronicles the USDA's loan program for private businesses.

There are lots of horror stories that ought to sound familiar to anyone who has examined these kinds of programs in the states: loans go to dicey characters; promises of jobs are often never fulfilled; wages are low in the jobs that are created; loans are given to businesses that hire undocumented workers. One North Carolina man invested in an old theater, only to have the USDA give a low-interest loan to a competing multiplex that opened nearby.

This is a good description of old-style economic development, and why it seldom seems to work.