One of the local news stations flagged a report out by the Appalachian Regional Commission on the economic state of various counties in Appalachia. Take a look at the map they provide on where the 80 “Economically Distressed Counties” are located:
In the words of Jed Clampett, “Weeelll Doggies!” Most of those red economically distressed counties are in Kentucky! Hey! Weren’t things supposed to be getting so much better in places like Kentucky?
Um, Not really.
The number of coal-related jobs plummeted from more than 11,000 in 2012 to less than 4,000 in the first quarter of 2019, according to data from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the number of coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky has remained flat at about 3,960 jobs.
A number of reports, including one from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2017, cite cheap natural gas prices as the driving factor behind coal’s decline. Other factors include more stringent environmental regulations implemented by the Obama administration, and that the region’s remaining coal seams are more difficult and expensive to access.
But wasn’t Trump supposed to get rid of all pesky regulations? If so, why hasn’t coal magically bounced back? Oh yeah. Economic factors are killing coal jobs in KY.
But I could have sworn that Trump and his sidekick Mitch McConnell were going to fix all this. Well, it’s only Kentucky that really sucks. And with the illiteracy, ignorance, and poverty in Kentucky, McConnell shouldn’t have to worry about his reelection in 2020.
Oh wait. While Kentucky’s Appalachian counties really are in terrible shape, don’t think for a minute that the rest of Appalachia is living high on the hog:
Still, the economic gap between Appalachia and the rest of the nation has continued to grow, and Appalachian Kentucky continues to lag behind the rest of the region.
Sadly, none of this is affecting the love that some parts of Appalachia feels for Trump. Last time I checked, WV, KY, and TN were states where Trump had significant positive approval ratings.