Agreed, Jeremy. While there is a well-documented "Southwest Effect" on airfares in cities served by WN, an airline analyst has pointed out that it also brings a "Wal-Mart Effect" as well. Wal-Mart's ability to attract large numbers of people to their stores mean that shoppers avoid the smaller, more expensive specialty stores. Inevitably, some of them go out of business.
Southwest (and other discount carriers) have the same effect on small communities. While the majors, through their commuter services, are willing to fly to small towns like LAF, the discount carriers cannot provide the same service economically. They will stick with cities with large O&D numbers, and serve them with deeply discounted fares.
The local populace is now less willing to pay the higher fare on the majors out of small towns like LAF and take the hour or two drive to a nearby large city to save money. Eventually, the major realizes that they cannot sustain traffic to the small town, and they cease serving it entirely.
So once again, you're right. The same people who whine about the high fares to places like East Upchuck (and thus drive to a nearby city to fly a discount carrier) are also the ones who eventually cause service there to cease.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group