We aren’t really free in any area of our lives | PostIndependent.com

We aren’t really free in any area of our lives

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

An acquaintance and I were discussing the increasing intrusion of government into the private sector at all levels.

We brag about American freedom, but I am honestly having trouble finding any area of life where we are totally free. I challenge you all to name one area of life here in America that does not come under some level of government control.

The first and most basic area is land and property ownership. Not very many years ago, pioneers came and staked out a piece of land which became theirs. They cleared the land, cut logs to build a house and created a product and a life for themselves and their family. That was freedom.

Today you can’t build a garage or a deck without a permit and a government inspection. In fact, whatever property you create or acquire is really owned by the government. Your lease payment is called property tax. The assessor decides your property value and sets your lease fee.

I have a small laundromat. I just got the tax notice. All the equipment is a year older, revenue is down about a third but the tax went up 27 percent. They say that is economic stimulus.

A second area that lost freedom is so-called public land. I believe California is 43 percent government land. Garfield County is right at 60 percent, between BLM, DOW, state forest, federal reserve, county, or municipally owned.

There is a complex government structure necessary to manage all that land, and we taxpayers fund that structure through permits fees and taxes.

To the best of my knowledge none of it creates wealth that actually helps the economy.

Remember when you could ski or fish Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap reservoirs free of charge? Now they are run by government agencies that are threatening to shut them down because of revenue shortfall.

Remember when the Farris brothers had a ranch up Garfield Creek? They raised cattle and crops to help the economy and paid their property tax (lease).

Now it’s owned by the DOW and is on the negative side of the money flow. We pay to run it. It was purported to be for winter wildlife and to help deer and elk herds.

Deer and elk in areas 33 and 42 seem at an all-time low. We used to winter some 300 deer, but now the “herd” is maybe three.

Every time government expands, it just digs the hole deeper that sucks in our money.

A third area of increasing government with negative results is education.

Schools had direct oversight by parents. Then we started consolidating. We got district superintendents and then the state stepped in with the state department of education. Now the federal government is trying to control everything from curriculum to lunch programs.

Parents are just out of the game. You are not even welcome in the schools.

Government schools cost us about twice as much as private or church schools and achievement levels are much lower and continue to drop.

Let’s just look briefly at other areas of government control. How about water? Now there’s an area worthy of a whole book! Rural people used to build a cistern and haul water, but now even that is illegal.

Here’s another area of control. It’s called downtown historic preservation. If you’ve got a building in that historic district, the “authority” will tell you what you can and cannot do with your property.

By the way all those wonderful buildings we need to preserve, including the Hotel Colorado, were built without building permits and inspections.

The only thing we can do in good conscience is tear them down and start over. Be sure the demolition crew is properly licensed and bonded.

Well, we could write a book on government control. There’s air quality and smoking and vehicle license and taxes and drugs and abortion and endangered species and biodiversity, etc., etc., etc.

Even religion is not entirely exempt. Just try to ring your steeple bells or talk politics or morality from the pulpit.

The last lines from Ogden Nash, written prior to 1941, sum it up:

“Abracadabra, thus we learn

The more you create, the less you earn.

The less you earn, the more you’re given,

The less you lead, the more you’re driven.

The more destroyed, the more they feed.

The more you pay, the more they need.

The more you earn, the less you keep,

And now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to take,

If some Soul Commission hasn’t got it before I wake.”

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User