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Front Page » January 15, 2013 » Opinion » Cheap Utah talk and the deficit
Published 463 days ago

Cheap Utah talk and the deficit


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Isn't it funny how politicians always call heads and quickly change to tails if the coin falls the wrong way?

The Bureau of Reclamations Record of Decision to approve the building (in their eyes anyway) of the Gooseberry Dam the week before last brings to mind how funny political tales turn out.

When I was 16 I wanted a car so bad I could almost die. May dad said I could have one, but that I'd have to pay for it myself.

Well is that what the BOR was telling Sanpete County in their ROD. You can build it but we aren't going to give you any money to pay for it. Funny, huh? Those in Sanpete (the vast majority) continue to vote for ultra conservative politicians who want the federal government to cut back. That is, until it involves cutting back in their area.

What will they do?

This brings to mind for me a lot of things that a large majority of Utahns seem to forget about when they go to the polls. If the fiscal cliff really means we have to cut back, a state like Utah will be hurt more than many. Our welfare rolls aren't huge like some states, but our federal government jobs program is. In a sense what is the difference? And if it happens the biggest cuts will come in military spending. Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee can grumble all they want about a huge federal deficit, but just try and close Hill Air Force Base to save some money see how they will cry.

But let's take it a step farther. Throw in the Dugway Proving Grounds and the Tooele Army Depot for good measure too.

Then what about all those jobs that have to do with land that the feds own in Utah. Let's cut out most of the staffing for the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and who knows what else is taking up federal dollars in Utah and see how much we can save. Utah's portion of federal dollars, if curtailed, would put a good dent in the federal deficit. But when we are spending a trillion a year more than we take in, maybe not.

I wrote a column not long ago about the fact I had dinner with Chafettz and some of his supporters in November. If you read that you know he told me that even though he was now representing Carbon County instead of Sanpete he was still in favor of building Gooseberry. He said he was a man of principle and that is why he was sticking to his guns.

Well do you think he would stick to that line if all of the above (particularly Hill) were being cut?

Governor Gary Herbert always boasts about how great Utah's economy is. It's true, it is good compared to other states. But without those federal expeditures, for all those jobs, where would we really be? Do you think Herbert's private enterprise machine could make up the slack?

There are a lot of people in this state that are struggling to make ends meet. Most of the people I work with have a hard time keeping food on the table from check to check. Here we are in one of the best states for business (as Forbes Magazine recently put it) and we have thousands of kids who go to bed hungry every night, people who are losing their houses and others who don't know if they will ever get ahead regardless of how hard they work.

With all that coming down the pike, and us as a country proceeding toward the example Greece has shown us in the last year, maybe sleeping on a cot in the office as our now in place congressman did will be a luxury rather than the austerity measure he claims it was when he first came to Washington, D.C.

Utah is what it is, and no one can deny it. But the majority of our elected representatives talk out of both sides of their mouths way to much about how great it is here and how lousy the federal government is.

For me the chatter is so loud, I can't understand a thing they are saying.

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