Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The revenge of the South

(The article below is by Kevin Fathi, a contributor to this blog.)

Being from the South, I can attest that there are some remarkable things about the American South. Fabulous authors like Harper Lee and William Faulkner. Civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Southern food while not the healthiest cuisine is quite tasty. Beautiful geographical sites and wonderful cities such as New Orleans. Southern hospitality (yes it is real!).

Unfortunately, by many measures the South is quite regressive. Obesity and teen pregnancy rates are among the highest in the nation, high school graduation rates among the lowest. The worst feature of Southern life may be its economic model. A low wage work force, disdain for environmental standards, and corporate welfare in the form of tax credits are all features in this system. And it is viral.

Ed Kilgore of the New Republic has written an excellent article describing how the recent anti-union onslaught is an attempt to infect states such as Wisconsin,Ohio, and Indiana with the Southern model of economic development. It is terrifying to think that some apostles of the Southern model are thinking of running for U.S. president.

I'll present one example of what a prominent Southern apostle believes. Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi (both the poorest state and state with the highest rate of obesity) recently castigated President Obama for driving up the cost of energy. Barbour stated that "This administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive". Next, Barbour ranted about how difficult it is to get a coal mining permit or an offshore drilling permit. Apparently, Gov. Barbour missed last April's tiny oil spill and the minor coal ash spill in 2008. The ideology of the Southern apostles prohibits them from even contemplating ideas like oil depletion or environmental damage.

Imagine what could happen to Wisconsin or any other besieged state if such an ideology were allowed to take hold. Imagine what could happen to the entire country.


Matt Franko said...

"Nevertheless, due to pressure exerted in 2000 by utilities, the coal industry, and Clinton administration officials, fly ash is not strictly regulated as a toxic pollutant by the EPA."

It really is amazing what a $500,000 contribution to the Clinton Presidential Library Fund could get you at the end of his term...

Red Rock said...

When you imply that the governor (and his "economic model") is responsible for obesity, you really need to explain that one. Certainly if there were mass starvation in the south you'd blame that on the governor, true? As far as I know, obesity is a result of too many calories (and/or too little exercise)so short of advocating that the governor lock everyone up and serve restricted calorie portions, not sure why the gov gets the blame.

Tom Hickey said...

I don't see the rest of the US ready to become the South. Most Americans I know regard the South as backward, including many I know who are either from the South or live there.

This is non-starter and if it starts, it will be rejected with the reality bites. Anyone concerned about this should move to Vermont in the meanwhile, until it get straitened out after the depression.

googleheim said...

The oil field entities in Mississippi are now back in business because of the spike in oil prices recently.

Red Rock again myopically disassociates the intended meaning of the post :

The author here is viewing the landscape of Mississippi here with several examples underneath a general idea. The governor of Mississippi vis a vis his hypocritical behavior is one of the examples, not the general idea.

Therefore, it is not logical to take the author's general idea and then blend the examples into one another. The author is not treating everything polymorphically.

I would point out Mike Norman's critiques of the Southern plantations where by they are the largest recipients of Federal aid which bore off the backs of Union blue East Coast tax dollars.

Then these governors invite foreign manufacturers in to their states with subsidies and tax breaks ... again at the expense of Union blue East Coast productivity !

Red Rock said...

Googleheim, I prefer arguments made with logic, not guilt by association or ad-hominem attacks.

When Kevin mentions obesity twice in his post, you can accuse me of disassociating, but he is clearly implying (or else why mention it twice?) that the governor is somehow responsible or contributing to the obesity problem. You may choose to let this slide, but I don't as it is an example of trying to bias the argument with irrelevant data and it speaks more to the prejudices of the poster than it does to a valid point.