4 Biden Policies That Target Rural America

Although he has spent his entire adult life in the federal government, President Joe Biden insists that he deeply understands the middle class. The commander-in-chief frequently touts his upbringing in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to sympathize with Americans over economic hardships — even when those hardships are of his own creation.

During his State of the Union address, for example, Biden responded to the “rising cost of food, gas, housing, and so much more” by reminding the American people that his father had to move one time due to unemployment. “I understand,” he insisted. “I get it.”

Among the people most impacted by Biden’s policies, however, have been rural Americans. Despite the White House’s best efforts to pander to the demographic through their “Rural Playbook” of infrastructure funding and other initiatives, middle America often finds itself the victim of the Biden agenda — from environmental policy and rising price levels to overt racial discrimination.

Soaring Gas Prices

President Biden has been no friend to American oil and gas production, pursuing policies like revoking a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and limiting new domestic drilling leases. Instead, the Biden administration has solicited despotic nations like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia in its endeavor to increase fuel supply.

No group has been hurt more by skyrocketing gas prices than rural Americans, who drive 7,000 more miles and use 330 more gallons of gasoline than their urban counterparts each year. From the time Biden took office to the present, the price of gas has increased from $2.38 per gallon to $4.09 per gallon, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

Rural Americans have therefore seen their annual fuel expenditures increase more than $560 per year beyond any increases experienced by urbanites. What advice does the Biden administration have for rural Americans? Just buy a Tesla.

“The people who stand to benefit most from owning an EV,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said last November, “are often rural residents who have the longest distances to drive, they burn the most gas… they would gain the most by having that vehicle. These are the very residents who have not always been connected to electric vehicles that are viewed as kind of a luxury item.”

Buttigieg — who fails to mention that electric vehicles cost on average, $15,000 more than a gas vehicle — is convinced that as firms build more American-made electric vehicles, they will become “less expensive for everybody.” In the meantime, rural Americans can bite the bullet and shell out greater shares of their earnings at the pump.

Record Inflation

Rising price levels — now increasing at an 8.5% clip — have devastated virtually every American household. Yet those in rural areas have felt their pocketbooks get lighter than their urban peers.

According to an analysis from Bank of America, rural Americans saw their purchasing power drop 5.2% on an annualized basis as of December 2021 — compared to a 3.5% drop for urbanites. 

The analysis also found that rural households spend more on food, energy, cars, and household furnishings — the same categories that have seen the most pronounced price increases. Indeed, the most recent consumer price index report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed that food prices increased 8.8% over the past year. Meanwhile, energy prices increased 32%, used car and truck prices increased 35.3%, and furniture prices increased 10.1%.

President Biden, however, has repeatedly downplayed the federal government’s role in fostering an inflationary environment. Since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, Biden has found a convenient scapegoat in Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans‘ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike,” Biden declared last month.

More recently, Biden shouted that he was “sick of” Americans believing that “the reason for inflation is government spending more money.” The scorn, however, goes both ways. The commander-in-chief presently has a 70% disapproval rating with respect to inflation.

Land Grabs

At the end of last year, the Biden administration unveiled its “30 x 30” initiative — which was later rebranded as “America the Beautiful.” The plan endeavors to devote 30% of American land and water for conservation by 2030. Rural farmers, however, see the initiative as a “land grab.”

As President Biden heard comments from Native American tribes, farmers, ranchers, and conservation groups, many expressed their opposition to the plan. Agriculture advocate and sixth-generation Nebraska farmer Trent Loos, for example, said that the federal government has no constitutional mandate in directing communities’ conservation efforts. 

State governments have expressed similar concerns. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE), for example, noted last summer that the “America the Beautiful” plan is extraordinarily vague, leading him and 15 other governors to contact President Biden for clarification. No response was received. 

“To date, much of what we do know about the administration’s plans comes from the environmental groups who invented this goal,” Ricketts explained. “Environmental groups have been talking about conserving wide swaths of natural resources for quite some time.” 

According to Ricketts’ office, over half of Nebraska counties have passed resolutions formally opposing 30 x 30, while the state government will provide training to counties to help them stop the initiative.

In Congress, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced the “30 x 30 Termination Act,” while Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) introduced the adjacent “No Land Grab Act.” The law would block federal funds from carrying out the program and ensure no net loss of non-federal land in states that already contain over 15% federal land, among other provisions.

Racial Discrimination

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan included $4 billion in debt relief payments for “socially disadvantaged” farmers — which included those of black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian-American descent. Yet the $1.9 trillion legislation apparently could not spare some change for white farmers.

“This program is discriminatory because it bases eligibility for loan forgiveness solely on the basis of being a member of a minority group, regardless of your circumstances,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Wen Fa explained last year. “If you’re a White farmer, regardless of your circumstances, you are categorically ineligible.”

The program immediately triggered countless lawsuits and court injunctions — and rightly so.

Republican Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, for example, argued in April 2021 that the racial exclusions are “patently unconstitutional” and called for the immediate end of their enforcement. “Doing so will promote equal rights under the law for all American citizens and promote efforts to stop racial discrimination,” the complaint explained.

Miller added that several white ethnic groups — including Irish, Italians, Germans, Jews, and eastern Europeans — have been subject to “racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.”

By June 2021, a federal judge in Wisconsin had ordered a temporary halt to the $4 billion program in response to a legal challenge from several white farmers, noting that they were “likely to succeed on the merits of their claim” that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law.” Judges in Florida and Tennessee soon followed suit.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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