Southern Pines 2011: Grow Your Own Food, Read by Candlelight


Most candidates for political office talk about how they are going to advance their communities through the new millennium.  Town Council candidate Marsh Smith, a dedicated green political activist, apparently wants to turn back the clock to the time of Southern Pines’s initial settlement.  He told the Moore County Chamber:

First, Southern Pines should implement policies and practices that will reduce the number of dollars leaving the local economy each day, because experts agree that each dollar which stays in the local economy tends to get spent and re-spent an average of six times before leaving the local economy. Helping residents shift expenditures on produce, meats and dairy products from supermarkets, which sell us food produced far away, to food produced on nearby farms provides a good example of how to reduce the “leaks” of dollars from the local economy. ”

So, he thinks the town council should steer people away from supermarkets and toward locally grown foods. (No more trips to The Fresh Market.)

What about local farms worked by migrants from Mexico who send their money back home to Mexico?  

Quite a few local producers get low-cost shelf space at chain stores.   Who does he think works at these local supermarkets?  Is he prepared to award these people  — who, if he has his way, would lose their grocery jobs — plots of land to grow food on?  Who pays for those real estate purchases?  Wait, there’s more:

Expenditures on electricity, natural gas and heating oil provide additional, clear examples of expenditures which take most of each dollar spent from the local economy. Southern Pines should follow the intelligent example set in the 1980s by Osage, Iowa and provide encouragement and assistance to citizens who seek to make their homes and businesses more efficient to heat and cool, thereby helping citizens have more disposable income and keeping dollars from leaving the local economy.

I guess he’s talking about Progress Energy.  Does he know how many local people take home paychecks from Progress Energy each month?  How highly will Progress Energy look upon Southern Pines if the town starts aggressively working to reduce their local revenue?  There could be layoffs of local employees to counter the loss of local revenue.  (If you get laid off, just relax.  Marsh will give you some farmland to work.)  

As an aside, let’s check out how Osage, Iowa is doing.  Its per capita and household incomes are behind the national averages.  Its income and sales taxes are also higher than the national average.  Sounds like a fun place. 

How much is this plan to adequately insulate all Southern Pines homes going to cost — in terms of personnel, labor. and materials?  Will there truly be more disposable income in residents’ pockets after the town is forced to raise taxes to pay for Marsh’s agenda?

Second, Southern Pines should encourage programs that promote spending with existing local businesses, including professionals and tradespeople. 

Who qualifies as a “local business” ?  Is Crescent State Bank on Morganton Road, staffed with local residents but headquartered outside the county, considered local?  I don’t believe there any banks headquartered here in Moore County. Cracker Barrel is in Southern Pines. It is headquartered out of state, but employs local people.  (Good luck on redirecting local residents away from there.) 

When government starts picking winners and losers in business, you get the socialist-lite crony capitalism that is killing this country as we speak.  It’s OK for me to pick winners and losers, though.  If Marsh wins election to the town council, Southern Pines loses.   If Marsh loses next Tuesday, the people of Southern Pines win