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Time for a political shift

Livestock Industry Opinions
Oct 18, 2013

I don’t know how you all feel about this partial government shutdown deal. It’s over for now, but will be back in play this next January, so it isn’t really over in my book. It just means more of not knowing what this administration plans to do. If they behave as they have in the past, they will continue to do nothing and Republicans will continue to make noise about spending. Have you ever noticed during these financial debates that the Democrats don’t say much of anything? I suppose it’s safer that way.

We haven’t really felt any direct ramifications from the shutdown, other than the missing USDA market reports and related news coming out of the government agencies, pertinent to agriculture. For the most part and for most folks, it seems to have gone by kind of unnoticed.

I guess the Senate and the House have come together, just in time, to deal with debt ceilings and get all the nonessential government employees back to work, with backpay of course. I’m perplexed that if all these people are nonessential, why are they on the payroll in the first place? The only folks who were hurt in this deal are with the small businesses that service these nonessential employees and the small businesses that service national parks and other federal monument areas. They certainly won’t get backpay.

Perhaps we have learned a lesson about managing the nation’s resources. When the Administration shut down the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other huge attractions, many of the states and communities they are located in paid the government to keep the parks open, in part, to support the small businesses in the area.

I really like the idea of outsourcing a bunch of these federal resources to state and local governments. This idea has been bantered about for years but the feds have huge problems with turning over management of public grazing lands, mining operations, timber resources and the parks to the states, even if it would save them money in the long run.

This administration certainly can’t handle much administrating in the first place. And everyone Obama has placed in administrative positions at the various agencies have little to no experience administering anything at all. The rollout of Obamacare is a perfect example. In the real world, if you can’t implement a project close to right, you get someone else. And the land use policy is another prime example. The feds have had a hard time implementing the right land use policy for years; now it’s time to get somebody else.

Do you ever wonder who or what is the greatest threat to your business? Mother Nature is an obvious one, but completely out of anyone’s control. The federal government is our greatest threat as business people. It is simply unpredictable and too big to be efficient. In addition, those running it impose costly regulations on us.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a recent editorial that “We firmly believe the events of the last couple of weeks vividly demonstrate three important realities. First, in these days of federal austerity, we assume substantial risk by relying too heavily upon the federal government to fund and administer programs that directly affect us in our businesses and daily lives. Because of the extensive federal presence in the state, Utah is particularly vulnerable to political and financial fluctuations in Washington.

“Second, responsibility for and implementation of government programs and operations, including those pertaining to the public lands, should be vested in the hands of those who feel the greatest impact and who have the greatest understanding of the situation on the ground. Those in Washington simply do not understand, nor do they appreciate, the effects their far removed decisions have on rural Utah.

“Third, if allowed greater jurisdiction, powers and governing responsibilities, state, county and local governments will respond prudently, even-handedly and in the best interest of the citizens of Utah and all Americans, including in the proper stewardship of our treasured lands.”

Five states have recently passed legislation to analyze the process for the transfer of public lands to willing western states. Oregon is also considering such legislation to join Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

This effort for states to gain control over federal lands in their respective states is nothing new. What’s relatively new is a bloated out of control federal government that is incapable of managing anything for the public and economic good of the country. We need a paradigm shift in Washington and legislators who think out of the box, but that isn’t likely as we saw during this last fiscal calamity.

The real answer is getting new legislators into the box who can think about progress and not re-election. We can fix a lot of that next year, but have to wait three years to get the real problem out. — PETE CROW

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