Al's Views, Personal Thoughts

The Demise of Small Town America
07 September 2003

Freedom, family, and heritage. These are the main three elements that form the backbone of the America I knew in the 1950s, through the 1970s, and into the early 1980s. As I look at my local community in North Central Ohio, I can see a vast difference between that landscape in the 1950s through the mid 1970s and that of today, in 2003.

For example, where most of the small villages and towns had a thriving business community, often comprised of a grocery, bowling alley, movie theater, gas station, now many of them sit in utter ruin? Go out and take a look for yourself. The once successful stores are now in disrepair, often housing nothing more than a flea market, possibly even a craft or second-hand goods store. Where a pharmacy once stood, now there is often the shell of a building in utter disrepair. Where there was once a movie theater, now there is a vacant lot.

So, what's happened to small town America?

You can answer that question quite simply with this one phrase: Lack of Industry.

Some may question this answer because much of small town America never had any hard industry, save coal mines possibly. However, the loss of industrial jobs has had a most significant impact on small towns and villages in the United States simply because those who live there once held good paying jobs in nearby population centers. These good jobs rendered a thriving economy within these small burgs simply because these once industrial workers brought that good money home to their local communities. Once those jobs went off shore, the good money went with them. The result of this can be easily seen down the main street of many, if not most rural towns.

So, What is the solution? Obviously the solution is to bring hard industry back home to America. How can that be done at this point?

A small town's public school is usually one of the first casualties when income wanes and the necessary tax money is no longer available. First the State steps in to pay the bills, then the kids are eventually bused to another school in a population center. The bottom line is loss of local control over the education of the community's children.

Well, I can tell you this, there is not going to be an easy, quick solution, but the one place we can begin is with the Congress. We need to protect the jobs that are left and to provide an incentive for industrial concerns to come back to America. The only way to do that is through the same mechanism that protected these jobs from cheap labor for many decades prior, and that is "stiff tariffs." There is no other way I can think of to do it. It worked then, so it should work now. If a manufacturer refuses to invest in the U.S. work force, then they can do business tariff free elsewhere--but not here.

I would encourage you to take a few minutes to write your Congressman. Let him or her know that it is absolutely necessary to initiate protections that protect remaining American jobs and that stiffer tariffs are necessary across the board to encourage manufacturers to bring it back home to America. You can use some of the same tools that we have provided for our veterans of foreign wars. Go to our USVI web site: Click Here and look for our The U.S. Legislative Branch link.

If you are not willing to do this for yourself, then do it for the sake of your own posterity. Do it for your fellow Americans who once had a good, quality job and who are now flopping hamburgers at a fast-food joint making minimum wage. Do it for your local community so they can glean more tax dollars instead of trying to rob you for the shortfall. Do it for the future of this nation.

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Allan B. Colombo

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