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77 Series: Craig County

                                                       Craig’s Kaleidoscope

      I do not believe anyone has examined Oklahoma as I have, county by county, district by district. Had this been done in the past fifty years I would probably still be in Maui, wind surfing and searching for the King’s Bones in Iao Valley. I was eager to play in the upcoming polo season with Herman Louis Decoite. But when I began thinking about everything I had to overcome in order to enjoy these things, my priorities in life changed. I began thinking about my fellow Americans and who was watching out for their interests. I read our constitution and discovered that I could represent them in congress; I could make the changes that could lift the pressure off them and so that they too, could enjoy the finer things in life. With median per capita income so low in almost every single county economy, it is no wonder our healthcare system is on the brink of collapse; our people cannot even afford a hospital visit without missing a car payment or having their electricity shut off.
      The median per capita income includes every man and woman in an economy, as well as children of age 15 and older. It is important to define this as I was even unaware of the full definition. Furthermore, it is our national income divided by this defined population. In our case we are examining by county and so we are looking at how our counties perform based off our national production. In our counties throughout Oklahoma, we typically see the median per capita income around $15,000 - $20,000. This means on average, men and women and teenagers earn an average of $7.20 - $9.60 an hour. As an economist, I need a more accurate metric to asses our counties. Perhaps when I become a Senator, I can redesign the census process so that we can assess our per capita income based on our state production by county. This will better illustrate our areas of concern and will better equip our leaders to make the best decisions for economic growth. Nonetheless, we will continue using what we have, even though our focus is nowhere near 20/20.
      So then, what all can we determine from median per capita income based on this definition? Truthfully, not a lot. The data we have now says that we make over $44,000 on average, 15 year olds included. We are actually doing pretty well as a state. We are making money on trade with Japan and Mexico. But we are losing money on trade with Canada and China. We really need to focus on how we can adjust this in order to fix our trade deficit. What is it that we are purchasing from Canada and China to cause us to have a negative trade balance? It is manufactured plastics and household technology from China. We really should focus on manufacturing televisions, alarm clocks, and anything that plugs into a socket. We do not have to replace all Chinese exports, but enough so that we do not suffer economically. What about imports from Canada? We buy a whole lot of things from them, actually. Some things we cannot avoid such as iron and gold. But we can focus on building more of our own equipment, or at least buying from Catepillar to resolve some of the trade deficit issues our nation faces.
     Canada is Oklahoma’s largest trade partner. 30% of our exports go north to Canada, but nearly 50% of our imports come from our northern neighbors. We must be cognizant of this to be financially grounded and for us to rely less on federal money to make ends meet. Balancing a state’s trade is no different than balancing a chemical equation; the reagents must equal the reactants, what goes in must come out. Once the world figures this out, the people will experience a whole new level of stability.
      As the 77 Series continues to evolve, I am beginning to look at different components of our state economy. At first, I held a magnifying glass as I went into each county. I was new to such an endeavor; I had never dissected an economy by evaluating each county. Now I see where data could be better used to illustrate a more colorful portrait of where our economy stands. Furthermore, focusing less on a generalization such as the per capita income as it is defined now has coerced me to examine other aspects of an economy. Such as who the trading partners are throughout the world and what exact products are being traded. I am beginning to realize that a magnifying glass is not the appropriate instrument to use for this project. Rather, I must use a kaleidoscope to recognize the economic patterns that exist. This new process is less monotonous and provides a new dimension to my previous black and white approach.
      Before, I was adamant on replacing goods we bring in from China. I still believe this to be true, but instead of focusing solely on bringing our imports down, what if we simultaneously brought our exports to China up? This would balance the patterns within our kaleidoscope, making our blue American rhombus equal to the red Chinese trapezoid in area; a balance in trade, if you will. This will require studying the Chinese culture, their economy, and assessing their needs. We need their cheap mass produced Disney toys, but what do they need from Oklahoma? That is the question I will begin answering as the 77 Series continues.
      My name is Bevon Rogers and I am running for U.S. Senate in 2020 as a Democrat. In order to support me in the Primary Election on June 30th, you will have to be a registered Democrat or Independent because Oklahoma has closed primaries. I have been closely examining each county in Oklahoma to discover where the weak links are in our state’s economy and I have compiled each economic essay in a project called the 77 Series. You can find the series on my campaign website, www.bevonforsenate.com. As I begin writing essays on the counties in Oklahoma’s second congressional district, I will piece together Project D2, an economic endeavor to bring about higher standards of living throughout congressional district two.

*Update 10/25/2019: Craig County has two Class I railroads, BNSF and the Union Pacific. Due to the market dominance of the Class I railroads, Craig County can access shipped goods cheaper than other areas in the state; they can also ship goods more cheaply. A wise business move would be to unload railcars from either UP or BNSF to a facility, manufacture something, then load the railcars back up on the other Class I railroad.



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