"Our children and grandchildren leave to find a job and build their future elsewhere."
In commodity dependent regions of the United States, it's a common complaint. Whether the commodity is agricultural or mineral, the complaint is eventually voiced by the residents who remain when the economy no longer attaches value to the region's production. Similar voices have been heard in areas dependent on a manufacturing economy, such as textiles or furniture. Common to all these is a deep, often historical, over dependence on a single industry or industrial sector for jobs, economic activity, and tax revenues to support public services.
Wyoming's economy is consistently ranked among the least diversified in the United States. Originally based on agriculture, the state soon transformed into a minerals-based economy, largely energy minerals. Buffeted by the ups and downs of commodity markets, citizens either leave or adopt a stoic attitude.
Rethinking Wyoming's future means those of us enjoying today's low tax-high service reality will need to carry more of our own weight.
This book examines the political history of Wyoming with an emphasis on the period between 1966 and 1986. During these 20 years, underlying historical trends were accelerated by American energy, economic, and environmental policies that define much of Wyoming's economic predicament today.