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Purposefully, I have lived my adult life in rural Oregon because of the beautiful mountains, forests, and quiet deserts, where along with family and friends I have hiked and boated in remote areas and enjoyed the peace and beauty of rural life.
When Representative Ocasio-Cortez tweets that the Electoral College is “affirmative action” for rural Americans, I take great umbrage. To the contrary, because of the concentration of the voting power vested in big cities and states, the federal government and (in my case) the State of Oregon have dominating and disproportional powers and control over the lives and conditions of rural Americans.
Just one example: In Oregon, the federal government controls over 54 percent of the land. The management of the federal forests (there are many) is deplorable and dangerous. Subject to the political pressures by environmental organizations and their demand for old-growth forests, the forests for many years have not been properly thinned and cleared of debris and dead trees, which has resulted in deadly fires throughout the American West.
Equally devastating, the environmental movement has severely reduced logging on federal land; since 1989 the timber harvest on federal lands has been reduced by 90 percent. Besides convincing Congress and the federal bureaucrats to restrict logging, the environmental organizations have consistently and repeatedly stopped good management and harvesting by perpetual litigation in federal and state courts. Again, the voting power in big cities and states has enormously reduced the jobs and economies of rural America.
Most rural governments depend on property taxes to fund schools and local government. However, the federal government by law cannot be taxed on their lands. When the federal government owns over 59 percent of land in my county, it obviously hurts local government and especially schools. But the federal government has a solution – Payment in Lieu of Taxes. That sounds nice and sometimes it is. However, it is only a law and has been threatened to be withheld if the rural counties do not support desired legislation, as occurred when the Republicans’ leadership threatened rural county commissioners with reducing Payment in Lieu of Taxes unless the Commissioners supported the corrupt Export-Import Bank legislation inf 2015.
Thus, when Representative Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted that the Electoral College is “affirmative action” for rural Americans, she went beyond the repulsive but common political obfuscation to purposeful deceit.