The reality of smalltown America


Karl Denninger has written one of his most important pieces, not so much for “red state” people who already know this, but for anyone else, including foreigners, who wish to know the reality. The purpose in this abridged reprinting is that Karl’s post will disappear but I’ll archive this version:

Most of the land mass of this nation is owned and resided upon by people who are in “red” (that is, the winner this time) areas of the country. With the exception of certain urban centers and right along the Mexican/Texas border there are very few “solid” blue areas.


2016 Presidential election, district by district

Those urban centers consume roughly 90% of the energy and food in this country yet they comprise 5-10% of the land mass. The “red” areas produce 95% of the food and energy this nation consumes and occupies 90-95% of the land mass.

Do you really think that doing something like eliminating the last pieces of the structure our founding fathers put in place to prevent tyranny of the majority from being able to take hold is a good idea?

A little history lesson: Prior to the 17th Amendment ratified in 1913 it was impossible for the Federal Government to shove any program down the throats of the 50 states. That’s because the state legislatures had effective control of the Senate and could recall their Senators.

The House was elected by the people, the Senate was elected by The State Legislatures (and could be recalled by same) and The President was elected by the Electors, which were voted for in the popular vote.

The latter provides a modest but real increase in the representation of “flyover” states; that is, those with lower population counts. In other words it is a check and balance in the ultimate tyranny of democracy.

Yes, I said democracy is ultimately tyrannical — because it is.

America is not a Democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic. This is very important; in a democracy 50%+1 can render the 50%-1 slaves by mere vote. Those who are in the minority in a democracy have no rights at all.

America’s founding fathers put in place two systems to prevent this. The first was the bicameral legislature; a House elected by the people at large and a Senate elected by the State Legislators. This structure guaranteed that a landmass that amassed 50%+1 of the population (not even in the same state or states!) could not band together and shove down the throat of the States any policy measure because you needed the concurrence of more than half the state legislatures, where each were delegated but two votes to their Senators who were accountable to said legislature, to pass anything at all.

This evaporated with the passage of the 17th Amendment. Now you only needed 50%+1 of the people in a given state to pass anything you wanted and they could all live in a tiny percentage of the land mass — such as is the case with Illinois where more than half the population lives in the immediate area of Chicago.

What came right after that? Prohibition, shoved down the throat of the States, less then 7 years later!

What also came after it was an unbridled expansion of the Federal Government into state affairs. Indeed, virtually everything became a “legitimate” federal matter. Why? Because it was impossible for the States to prevent it.

What happened in rural America

There was one factory or maybe two, but now it sits empty, weeds growing out of the parking lot as high as your head, all the windows are broken out and the roof has caved in. Over on the outskirts there’s a Walmart that pays $9/hour, but only offers 20 hours/week. The factory paid $30/hour, full-time, plus benefits and food, power, medicine and beer cost half of what it does now. 90% of what formerly were little diners and shops in the “center” of the town, which might have one actual traffic light, are gone — boarded up and often literally falling apart. There might be one bank left, a branch of a big national chain, and maybe an antique store. Maybe. All the factory jobs left for China and Mexico and everything else died when the middle-class incomes to support them disappeared.

The locals who used to work in the fields within 10 or 20 miles from that town are all unemployed too. Why? Because the illegal Mexicans came and we refused to throw them out. They work for a few bucks a day in cash, no taxes, no unemployment, no nothing. No American can live on that; the embedded cost of just trying to stay alive would leave you with zero. But the Mexicans work hard and then sleep 10 to a single-room apartment, which incidentally is a total ****hole as you’d expect given that density of occupation. They don’t care; it’s better than what they had in Mexico, you see, and they can Western Union home some of the money. This is the face of “immigration”, mostly illegal, that really exists in this country.

What was left after the factory was displaced isn’t enough to run a “service economy”, which is why it never showed up there and the old business buildings are all boarded up. Nobody can afford $8 lattes on a $9/hour wage for 20 hours a week and nobody would want them if they could. There’s probably a McDonalds on the outskirts, and a couple of self-serve gas stations with a convenience store. It sells cheap beer and lots of it to the locals who have nothing to do but drink and then go to church and pray for forgiveness for last night’s 12 pack. None of the jobs at any of these places, except maybe the store manager, makes more than $9/hour and Obamacare has forced all the regular workers down to 20 hours a week on top of it. Try living on $180/week gross sometime — before FICA and Medicare is taken out, never mind gas for the car and the rapidly-escalating car insurance bill — and you might understand. Yes, I know the car is 15 years old and runs like crap. What do you expect on under $1,000/month of income?

This is what 40 years of sending jobs overseas with “trade deals” did. It’s what Amazon did. It’s what Walmart and its Chinese supply line did. This is everywhere in rural America. Get in your car and out of your comfort zone some time and you’ll see it. It’s not far from wherever you are. I’ve driven through dozens of these formerly-alive places in the last six months — every one of them dead today, but full of real people.

Karl goes on then about those who are vilifying the ordinary Americans who want that reversed, calling them all sorts of names, committing violence on the streets, trying to overturn the vote. The vocal “blue” mob, including the media, are not interested in the country turning itself about – only the vilified are. It’s already too late but something can be salvaged, as long as those “blue” people do not get their hands on power.

5 comments for “The reality of smalltown America

  1. Bob H
    November 13, 2016 at 11:22 am

    One of the best breakdowns of the left’s failure as remarkably spelled out by a leftist.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      November 13, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      “the left won the cultural war”

      “we don’t debate anymore”

      People want money not idealism, in that, Donald Trump is ideal.

      Well the way I see it, the left have had nothing to say for ever, the only solution they ever offered was to spend your [taxpayer] dollars and fifty years and more of social deprivation and throwing money down a black hole ably, amply demonstrates what people are waking up to, the truth and the left are no answer and cannot provide salvation but do provide Bernie Sanders with endless grievance sililoquoy.

      The truth is, Socialism offers nothing but only more grievance culture, it perpetuates and ingrains victimhood and thus for the poor, the dispossessed the left all it offers is more and more pain.

      That’s why they, the LEFT shout people down, that’s why they seek to command the so called ‘moral’ [what a joke!] high ground,
      that’s why they dreamt up the idea of racism and hate speech [political correctness],
      they can’t argue, won’t argue, are unable to argue because they’ve no arguments worth even spit.

      Fascism never went away – Hillary Clinton is part and a major player in it.

  2. Errol
    November 14, 2016 at 5:53 am

    There was a time when being ‘Left wing’ generally meant you stood up for what you believed in, prinicples over wages, righs, social policy to the benefit of the masses, of giving people a say.

    That has become twisted toward being heard over saying anything, of silencing debate and discussion, of promotion of minorities for the sake of it.

    The same decline could be said of the UK. I’m from a small coastal town. one now overrun with immigrants thanks to the council getting a hefty kick back (which went into councllor pockets). With no infrastructure there are is no industry, with no industry no demand for workers, no demand a subsequent loss of skills. There are accountancy firms, lawyers and what not but those are small firms who don’t need to take on apprentices, who sell up to the big city ones who create a branch office locally, lose their charm andeventually fade away as expensive and unnecessary burdens. The banks close up and become bars to become boarded up within 18 months.

    Welfare is the industry and the children of the now ageing locals all live elsewhere – myself a case in point – because we’ve gone where there’s work.

    The locals can’t compete with the immigrants at the factories. You can rock up to the farms for picking jobs but the minibus is driven by a Pole who can’t understand you, so you find your own way there and that’s expensive as you have to drive. People like the boy Jones doesn’t understand it’s not possible to cycle to work when work is a 40 minute drive away. He lives in a city, and demands fuel prices go up not caring of the damage it does. For me, with fuel taxes how they were in 1998 it was barely worth working. The maths worked out that I paid taxes for 3 days of five.

    When you’re faced with that, who’d bother getting up at 3am to be on shift by 4, working until 2 with an hours commute there and back when you can sit in bed, warm and comfortable paid for by someone else who does?

    The Left refuse to acknowledge the damage their attitudes have done because they don’t see them, they’ve never done those jobs never lived that life. They live one of luxurious excess, with private wealth in easy, middle class jobs in warm offices with a juice bar, frothy coffees on tap and a two hour lunch is spent in a nice, warm restaurant for £12, barely half an hours post tax effort. They have no concept of the man who has lunch at 10, sat huddled around the binding machine for 20 minutes before getting back on station to do the same thing for another 4 hours.

    The metropolitan Left don’t understand life as most lead it. Worse, they don’t care. They sneer and jeer and mock living a fantasy.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      November 14, 2016 at 8:49 am

      It’s always been bad at the bottom of the pile but at least back then before Internationalists took over the world circa 1990s, at least with a common language – you shared of a little something with your fellows putting in a shift at the grindstone.

      You can blame Soros, you can blame Clinton and jack straw and bliar but some of the worst ‘social engineers’ – work in your local council – the automatons and useful idiots of the critical thinkers who set them a ticking and all box ticking and ‘let ’em all in as quickly as is possible’ is their motto.

  3. November 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

    For all the above – thanks.

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