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OPINION: Solution to avoid punishing effects of future gov’t shutdowns

Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnis

George the retired veteran has hit upon an idea he thinks may work to help avoid future shutdown messes in which we may find ourselves. George thinks his idea will appease secessionists, state’s righters, anti-big government types and the tea baggers.

You may recall from last week’s column that George’s wife had been furloughed from her federal job, and he feared his benefit checks might soon end. George had also read a lot about how those folks who were not in favor of a “clean,” continuing resolution to keep the government going seemed to be really incensed that the shutdown had proven inconvenient and bad for business. Some states had even reopened national parks at state expense.

So, here is his idea. The federal government should immediately transfer all federal lands and parks to the states. Going forward, the states, in turn, will assume full responsibility to staff and maintain these lands as they were previously designated. In exchange for this huge transfer of valuable land, the value of which (especially in Western states) is incalculable, the states will assume responsibility for all federal programs within its borders.



Now George would never need to worry about his benefit check as the State of Colorado will now pay it. His wife’s BLM job will now be under state supervision. All those Head Start kids out there can would not be affected by a shutdown, and mothers receiving WIC assistance will not fear for lack of nutrition for their children. The elimination of all federal commitments to any program that sends any funds into any state will immediately allow the elimination of deficit spending, escalating taxes and an unbalanced budget.

In this new iteration, those “representatives” in Congress can shut down government functions without concern it will be of concern for their constituents. Maybe at that same time someone will find a way of purging government of those Constitution-loving elected officials who have failed to fulfill the Constitutionally-mandated duties of their offices.



In related news, the Mesa County Commissioners endorsed the idea of sheriffs suing the state and federal government to overturn their Constitutionally-mandated duties and asking the court to take over the role of the Legislature. Now Mesa County district attorney has announced his intention to sue the commissioners should they not fund his office at the rate he feels is required to fulfill his Constitutionally-mandated duties. Boy howdy, that word “Constitution” is coming up in virtually every argument about everything.

There is grumbling out there because those fiscal conservatives we elected to office seem as if they intend to introduce an austere budget. Leaked budget details paint a picture of reduced resources and a reduced commitment to law enforcement. In a twist of irony, the Mesa County DA has announced his intention to use our taxpayer funds to sue us to acquire more of our money.

Since the courts have decided the outcome of a presidential election and other weighty matters, perhaps it is time we simply abdicate all government responsibility to the court system. It seems we love democracy unless we dislike the outcome of an election which we hope we can obliterate by constant legal action. It seems we like the legislative system unless we do not agree with enactments, and then we hope we can ignore the resulting laws by legal action. It seems as if we desire a country in which the lawyers we hate so much actually run the show.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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