Win-Win: How Rural and Urban Minnesotans Both Benefit

The proverbial divide between urban and rural Minnesotans gets a lot of attention these days. Look no further than today’s Star Tribune on how metro area residents get the short end of the stick when it comes to transportation

The gulf between red and blue parts of the state was also the subject of a lengthy op-ed in the paper recently by Dane Smith and Vernae Hasbargen of the liberal policy group Growth & Justice based on Aesop’s “city mouse, country mouse” fable.

But in today’s Star Tribune, American Experiment challenges the liberal stereotype of rural and urban residents having little in common and outdated policy proposals to address their differences to bridge the supposed gap.

Smith and Hasbargen see a cultural divide between urban and rural Minnesotans. They diagnose “metro condescension” in the cities and “rural resentment” in Greater Minnesota. Some metropolitan progressives think “rural people are gullible hayseeds,” while some rural voters have “wrongheaded sentiments” and are “excessively fearful and resentful of the Twin Cities.”

On top of all that, they think that “too many Minnesotans in all regions are unfriendly to newcomers and people of color.”

To remedy the friction between city and country, Smith and Hasbargen offer a series of proposals that have one thing in common: They all involve the state spending more money, as though higher taxes and more spending were the solution to all problems. Residents of town and country will be united, in this vision, as cashers of government checks.

The Center’s president John Hinderaker makes the case that Minnesotans have more in common than not and articulates a plan for a more prosperous future for the state.

We see urban and rural Minnesotans as having the same needs and desires, and as benefiting from the same basic policies. Less government and more freedom is a formula that works no matter where you live.

Conservatives have a vision of a Minnesota whose citizens are united by a love of liberty, an ambition for prosperity, and an appreciation of our state’s natural resources and beauty — not by a shared goal to become government dependents.

Our vision for Minnesota’s future is a state where:

• A thriving economy creates the best job opportunities in America for our children and grandchildren.

• Economic growth inspires people and businesses to move into Minnesota rather than out of Minnesota.

• Small-town values are respected, and a farmer’s biggest worry is the weather, not regulations coming out of St. Paul.

• The state’s natural resources — minerals, timber, farmland, game and fish — are optimally developed for the use and enjoyment of Minnesota residents.

• Families can choose health care plans and programs that best meet their needs, without being dictated to by government.

The headline says it all: “A city-country mice divide in Minnesota? We don’t see it that way.”