Makin’ Bacon

In the midst of historic mineral revenues and state reserve accounts, Governor Mead is celebrating a huge infusion of federal dollars for the Greater Sage-grouse and is asking for federal money for flood disasters.  Maybe he envies the larded up massive highway spending in our neighboring Montana, with two Democratic senators and one Democratic governor.

I guess Matt didn’t sign Michele Bachmann’s pledges to not increase taxes or the debt ceiling. Maybe Michele’s husband, an alleged therapist, could pray for our Governor to be freed from the sinful urge to spend federal dollars.

Where will these federal dollars come from? Sorry, dangled a preposition. From where, Governor, will the federal government find the dollars to make you happy having the opportunity to dole out those dollars (my dollars) to grateful constituents?

Well, in fact they will come from China and Saudi Arabia. We print the dollars, buy overseas products with them, and the vendors lend them back to us. The busy swarm of international-banking electrons is invisible, and therefore apparently unobjectionable.

Cynthia Lummis, like every Congressman except maybe Ron Paul, brags when she brings home the federal bacon. The easiest path to re-election is to buy it with public money, while simultaneously disclaiming the power of the federal purse to borrow and spend that money.

The point of these jibes is not borne of contempt of our monolithic Republican elected power structure in Wyoming; the point is consistency. If you oppose deficits and oppose tax reform or tax increases or revenue enhancements, don’t keep spending my money. Otherwise face the music.

I think Wyoming state government can fund better telecommunications on the Wind River Indian Reservation.  And fix flood and landslide damage. And pave roads. And figure out incentives to stop ranchers from destroying Sage-grouse habitat without running up the federal deficit. Those ranchers lining up for federal subsidies call our President names at the feed store and blame him for spending too much, while waiting for the bank to open to cash that government check.

We let the federal government pay for the things that we don’t want to pay for: farm subsidies, education mandates, mostly all EPA programs, birth control. We want successful farms, a clean environment, good schools, but we don’t want to pay for them. Maybe we need to make some choices.

Here’s an example: Fencing livestock out of riparian areas is a tremendously productive way to restore wildlife habitat, but it’s not cheap. I paid for it at our little experimental 2,500 acre ranch in Montana; most places no one will do it unless NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) will pay for it. Why can’t the state of Wyoming fund more habitat improvements?

Let’s cut some of those federal umbilical cords and be, like the Old West, self-reliant.

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Published on July 19, 2011

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