Wyoming lays groundwork for what? Secession?
What’s weirder: Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons or Wyoming floating an aircraft carrier? The first is real while the second is only senseless.
China bought a junked aircraft carrier for refurbishment; maybe Wyoming can do a joint venture with the Chinese navy. We can trade uranium fuel for flight deck space.
Whoa, what’s going on here? Believe it or leave it, folks,Wyoming is going into the national security business. See HB 85 “Government Continuity,” which not only actually made introduction in a budget session that has seen more current needs go unmet, but now has been amended to authorize a task force to study a statewide military draft, create four branches of a state military establishment and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.
No, I am not making this up. Truth is much stranger than fiction. Maybe we should go back and listen to Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 “For What It’s Worth.”
The mis-titled “Government Continuity” bill was sponsored by a group of Republican legislators who would be the ones most likely to criticize government authority most days of the week. They are;
— Rep. David Miller (R-Riverton)
— Rep. Donald Burkhart (R-Rawlins)
— Rep. Kathy Davison (R-Kemmerer)
— Rep. Amy Edmonds (R-Laramie)
— Rep. Allen Jaggi (R-Lyman)
— Rep. Kendell Kroeker (R-Evansville)
— Rep. Robert McKim (R-Afton)
— Rep. Frank Peasley (R-Douglas)
— Rep. Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis)
— Rep. Matt Teeters (R-Lingle)
— Sen. Kit Jennings (R-Casper)
— Sen. Ray Peterson (R-Cowley)
The idea is to be prepared if the federal government loses control of the dollar, the economy or social order.
Granted, it’s worthwhile to prepare for interruptions in food distribution, shortfalls in the state budget, earthquakes, forest fires raging through our dead forests, terrorist attacks, tornadoes and other disasters.
But if the Federal Reserve Bank fails, I don’t think we can create a Wyoming Reserve Bank to take its place. If the dollar collapses, what would Wyoming create to back a new Wyo-Dollar? Lacking state reserves of gold or silver, perhaps we could use coal. The spot price of Powder River Basin coal is about $9.50, or a little less, per ton, so you could turn in your official ten-spot Wyoming Coal-Dollar Certificate for a ton of coal to barter for fuel and food. That would create comfortable security to stabilize commerce, right?
Does this topic actually deserve the attention of a task force?
The task force would have to study potential collapse of the dollar, rioting, a “constitutional crisis” [Note to readers: I think we already have one of those], military coordination, disruption in food and energy distribution.
Not satisfied with the extreme breadth of this extraordinary charge, Rep. Kermit Brown (R-Laramie) successfully introduced an amendment which would require the task force to study whether “the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.”
I have to think Kermit did this with tongue in cheek, but in a further indulgence of playing grownups in fantasy land, the committee actually passed the amendment. Kermit Brown’s amendment was stripped, and the bill advanced in the House on Monday.
This all reminds me of the alien invasion of Wyoming at Devils Tower; maybe we should pass a bill to get prepared for that, too.
Seriously though, the principle underlying this legislation is that we may need our government to protect us from financial ruin, civil disturbance, disruptions in economic allocation of resources and foreign threats. Our state government.
One could use this to poke fun at the conservative sponsors for drafting an outline to increase the power of the government which they usually oppose, or more realistically, to acknowledge the fact that there are legitimate roles for government to play.
But raising a navy or creating a new currency are not roles our state governments should pursue. If other states raise their own armed forces, I wouldn’t want North Dakota and Idaho marine forces menacing our borders when social unrest leads to breakdowns in commerce and desperate behavior. We have a National Guard which already coordinates with federal military and Homeland Security; let’s keep it that way.
Of course, if Wyoming has an aircraft carrier and attack jets, from whom will we rent dock space? We’ll just all have to get along anyway.
If you enjoyed this column and would like to see more quality Wyoming journalism, please consider supporting WyoFile: a non-partisan, non-profit news organization dedicated to in-depth reporting on Wyoming’s people, places and policy.