Michigan's urban communities and minority neighborhoods have been subject to tax theft and corrupt economic development for decades. This is the reason why schools and libraries are closing, why roads and bridges are crumbling, and why our children cannot secure a brighter future no matter how hard their parents work.
If Detroit’s public schools are failing, and if Flint’s water is poisoned, iit isn’t because residents aren’t working hard enough to improve their communities. It isn’t because they need more wage slave jobs. It’s because residents’ and small business’ tax dollars are being stolen.
Mecosta County’s poverty and income statistics have been thrown around by many politicians and local officials to justify all the red tape that’s been cut to make way for the Gotion plant. But all these faceless statistics and averages completely distort what’s actually happening here. There’s a common retort that’s arisen amongst neighbors here:
“We choose to live here. We choose to live this way…”
There’s a common rural Michigander saying about city folk living to work, versus country folk working to live. The reality is that very few of us travel internationally much. We shop rarely, and consume from stores mostly what we need–and what will last. We have perennial gardens. We grow a lot of our own food and agricultural products, and sometimes we trade them with our neighbors for other stores. We have dogs and farm animals, and are therefore tied to our land–and we’re happy to be so. We are stewards.
Many folks in Mecosta County who by definition live “below the poverty line” have an extremely high standard of living, in terms of physical and mental health, community and social support, quality food, and safe housing.
We’d rather be spending time with the land than being wage slaves. And working the land IS a job, after all, regardless of the activity’s scale.
In short: we have low cost of living, so we can get by with very low incomes. Many of us do it by choice, and we’re generally healthier and happier for it.
A lake in Green Charter Township