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Counties Don’t Die

The headline to this article is irritating:

Census estimates show 1 in 4 counties is “dying.”

This is ridiculous. We belabor the point here that counties and corporations and states and countries and churches, etc. are not living, breathing entities. And the continual anthropormophizing of such structures is not just a harmless verbal tendency. By animating such entities, writers and others give the appearance that the emergence and disappearance of counties is the result of some design, and therefore that if a county is “dying” that it ought to be, and can be, improved. That idea is constructivist nonsense.

Read the whole article, I have class in a few minutes, otherwise I’d comment on every paragraph. Here is a sampling:

West Virginia was the first to experience natural decrease (Wintercow: in population) statewide over the last decade, with Maine, Pennsylvania and Vermont close to following suit, according to the latest census figures.

So, is population growth a problem or population decreases? Or is this one of those Keynesian things – micro-population growth is good (i.e. savings is good) but the macro impacts are bad (i.e. the paradox of thrift). What folly.

Years in the making, the problem is spreading amid a prolonged job slump and a push by Republicans in Congress to downsize government and federal spending.

Ah, yes, it must be those Republican county death panels. What does the push for fiscal responsibility have to do with this issue? And why might our dear author include it? Is it perhaps that the idea is that “dying” counties can only be “saved” by massive transfers of other people’s money, and that the prospects for that are diminishing after the spending orgy of the Obama administration has drained the country of spendable resources? I am tired of this infantile reporting. I’d be more patient if perhaps the author made it clear what the point was, or included something like, “I feel like dying counties are more important than the Department of Education, so I propose we eliminate the Department of Education and dedicate $50 billion to efforts to revitalize small communities.” Such planning mentality is erroneous, but at least honest, and cognizant of the fact that we are not Santa Claus.

There’s plenty more in that piece to mine (pardon the pun).

2 Responses to “Counties Don’t Die”

  1. chuck martel says:

    Most US counties were established in an era when the most efficient means of transportation and communication ate oats. It’s amazing, in a way, that some of these governmental subdivisions haven’t been forced to consolidate as school districts have done. There are many small, adjoining counties that could easily combine sheriff’s departments and administrative offices, reducing manning and other expenses. If people are serious about cutting government expense, county consolidation should be on the table.

  2. jb says:

    Yes the infantile reporters are quick to report the demise of cities, empty factories, etc. It never occurs to these wits that when populations in one locale are falling, it usually means that the population somewhere else is rising. People have moved — presumably to take an offer from the highest bidder for their services, that is, to wherever it is someone is producing the goods and services people most want. Horrors.

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