Annie Lowery wrote a piece for The New York Times discussing the hard times faced by the residents of Eastern Kentucky. Ms. Lowery identifies six Kentucky counties (Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie, and Mayoffin) that rank among the ten poorest in the United States.
Among the causes leading to poverty in these counties is a lack of infrastructure that results in isolating these counties from commercial activity and opportunity; and very low investment in education. According to Ms. Lowery only 7.4% of Clay County residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The educated are more likely to move as a result of their higher level of personal human investment but the poor are pretty much stuck with little in capital necessary for leveraging an escape.
I wonder how persistent poverty best serves any state’s political and economic oligarchy. As the article points out federal investment has failed to lesson the impact of poverty in Eastern Kentucky. What kind of returns are the political and economic oligarchs expecting to gain from poverty?