An essay in the New York Times called for a renaissance in federal rural policy to help rural places thrive. The author argued that current policies are not fit for purpose, leaving rural areas starved for investment. The essay received many comments and reactions, some of which raised important questions and concerns.

Some commenters suggested asking rural people what they want and ensuring that the federal government invests more directly in local leaders and their innovation. Others questioned the role of state and local governments in the well-being of rural communities. State governments set the parameters of local jurisdictions’ taxing and legal authorities, provide revenue, and often decide how federal funds are spent.

Many readers pointed to the impact of big-box chains and national franchises on locally owned businesses. These chains are emblematic of larger trends toward financialization and corporate consolidation that have challenged local institutions. Finally, some commenters argued that it’s not just rural areas that are lagging, but also small- and mid-sized cities in former industrial centers.

The author believes that a constructive bipartisan dialogue is needed to consider policy solutions that can enable thriving, sustainable economic and social structures and create opportunity in all sizes of places across America, including rural ones.

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By hassani

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