Whitewater’s policymakers, and those of other small, rural cities, should – in these times of economic stagnation, a lingering opioid crisis, failed business welfare, and an approaching recession – view their principal obligation as if it were charitable outreach. (It’s not charity, of course, but that’s how policymakers should view it: as both palliative and restorative care.)
The alternative that Whitewater has pursued for a generation – boosterism and trickle-down business welfare – has done nothing to cure the city of her lingering maladies (or immunize her from approaching ones).
A WEDC-lite outlook has been, is, and always will be an exercise in anti-market meddling and ill-informed, wasteful redistribution.
(These few “Greater Whitewater” men would not be more ridiculous if they rolled in molasses, covered themselves in feathers, and ran clucking down Main Street.)
When policymakers look at the city – if they are to be of value to Whitewater’s residents – they need to think of all their actions as if those actions were service to those in need (because in many cases that will be, regrettably, true). In this way, An Oasis Strategy that looks away from government – or in this case reshapes government’s attitude and perspective – is needed even more than it was in 2016.
To care for others properly, some local officials and notables will have to set aside an unjustified sense of entitlement and importance, and put others ahead of their narrow interests and pride. For some of these men, that task will prove impossible (and, to them, likely unnecessary in any event). There are undoubtedly officials and notables in this town who are humble and hardworking, but it’s the ones who are proud and self-serving who crowd podiums and agendas.
The safest direction for Whitewater, come what may, is to turn from the last thirty years’ path.