Opinion: Truth is stranger, Part 2 | PostIndependent.com
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Opinion: Truth is stranger, Part 2

Jim Hoffman
CONSIDER THIS
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

A YANKEE FROM CONNECTICUT

On a recent flight from Phoenix to Grand Junction, a friend shared a conversation with a gentleman flying to Grand Junction from Connecticut.

For the duration of the flight they had a dialogue on the problems of our federal government. He seemed especially outraged about all the money that was being expended for welfare in his home state. He claimed there were lots of folks up there in the Northeast that simply refuse to work while receiving benefits in the form of free housing, free food, free Internet, cable and telephones.



He also provided pre-retirement planning advice. It seems he thought that, five years prior to retirement, one should transfer or otherwise hide assets. In his situation he claimed to have transferred his assets to a trust managed by his daughter. He felt certain this was an excellent strategy to follow.

Now, you ask, why should I do something like that? Well, this gentleman explained that if you had no assets your federal benefits, especially medical benefits, would be more generous. I do not know if the facts as asserted by him are accurate. But, if the facts were accurate he would be worse than a mere shiftless idler on the public dole; he would be a fraudster scamming the same system he demands be reformed.



Sometimes people just do not listen to themselves. Welfare during younger years is a scandal; possible fraudulent receipt of federal benefits in later life is just good retirement planning. We would hope that anyone who gets dollars from our federal programs illegitimately or fraudulently be identified, forced to repay benefits for which they were not eligible, and be criminally prosecuted if appropriate.

CITIZEN OVERREACH?

Although certainly not an advocate of big government, excessive control and regulation, I am uncertain that the recent citizen uprisings are appropriate to the perceived threat to personal liberty.

In Nevada we have a rancher who does not recognize the U.S. government as existing, but claims allegiance to his state and county. State courts have ruled against him and said he needs to pay the Federal government for the benefit of grazing his beef on our public lands. That beef was sold at a profit, and he does not see fit to pay for the resources that we provided him.

Armed “citizen militias” have surrounded him with security to protect him against agents of the federal government. Among those in attendance is a man who has gained fame as the primary proponent of the “constitutional sheriff” concept. Here is a man who planned to use women and children as shields for his armed followers, hoping they would be shot on national television broadcasts. No, this is not made up; check out the video.

Local voters would be well served to Google “constitutional sheriff” and learn more about its genesis, it proponents and its supporters. Perhaps some would have pause when they personally investigate the origins of the movement, the people behind it and the associations of these people. I shall not bore you with my thoughts or findings as those who disagree would immediately deflect any facts and degenerate into name calling. It seems if you do not like the facts, calling names reduces fact to questionable drivel. As was said, check it out, in depth, for yourself. If you like what you see and who you see then, by all means, move forward. If not, educate your fellow voters.

CORRECTION

The amount to be awarded as an incentive by Mesa County government to Reynolds Polymer was incorrectly listed in this May 9 column, titled “Truth can be stranger than fiction.” The company is not eligible for a $500,000 incentive as the column originally stated. The first incentive, which will not be awarded until 2016, will total $6,249. Reynolds Polymer will be eligible for an incentive up to 10 years. According to Mesa County Administration, “the $6,249 incentive is calculated specific to Reynolds’ equipment the first year. Incentive value is an annual calculation, based on the equipment remaining in use, assessment (by Mesa County Assessor), and depreciation. Incentive values for the years following 2016 will be less due to depreciation.”

GJ Free Press columnist 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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