Boone County, Booneville, Boondocks — does it matter?

By From page A5 | January 07, 2013

EDITOR: On Dec. 12, I hit the Mountain Democrat’s trifecta by being taken to task by three different letter writers over my letter on Boone County, Ky. It’s a mystery why, post-election, the MD keeps printing letters I obviously wrote pre-election.

The European reporter I quoted citing Boone County as the poorest in the U.S. was wrong, as Ms. Fitch points out in her Dec. 12 letter. So, mea maxima culpa on not fact-checking. According to the 2010 census, Owsley County, Ky, is the poorest in the U.S. and Booneville is its county seat; the reporter may be forgiven for confusing Booneville, where he was, with Boone County.

It’s interesting to note that Kentucky, one of the more Republican/Tea Party states, has the dubious distinction of being home to the four poorest counties in the U.S., Owsley just being the poorest of all.

Whether Kentucky’s Boone County, or Booneville, or Boonetown, or Boondocks voted for Romney is a distinction without a difference; the pictures on the television told the story: citizens of a third world corner of Kentucky, where the yearly median family income is just above $20,000, were going to vote for a near-billionaire whose only interest was in continuing the status quo, that is making sure cheap coal and labor remain available for his energy industry pals like the Koch brothers.

What is truly depressing is the fact that the $20,000+ median income includes welfare payments as well as in-kind aid such as school breakfasts and lunches, food stamps, medical care, rent support and other subsidies granted to the very poor. If we were to exclude these Federal and state grants and payments, the median family income in Booneville and Owsley County, would likely drop well below $10,000 per year.

So I say to George Alger and his Tea Party pals: Try living on that kind of money without federal and state aid.


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