Oct 292009

We find our state, our great snow-covered state of Colorado, in a budget crunch. Why? Let me break it down; I’ll keep it simple.

Your elected leaders in Colorado’s government are as shortsighted as the federal government, investment “experts” who claimed real estate was a rock solid investment and Mr. Magoo.

Like 6-year-olds with a full piggy bank, they erected modern buildings, bought new police cars and fire trucks and when they finished buying new toys, they expanded government employment. Rather than expanding, they should have maintained.

When real estate was doing well and people were spending beyond the limit of what they could afford, a portion of every penny spent went into a coffer. Cities, counties and states all took their portion, and in one way or another, the federal government got its slice of the pie.

This almost seems worse than the spending on credit that we were participating in as consumers. Some, if not most, of us knew eventually the credit would run out while government acted. They then and still seem to believe the debt driven spending will return in full force. In fact, this is the only way in which the recession can correct itself without a massive correction. Do you want terminally increasing debt?

Taxing is acceptable. But during boom years, government must show restraint. It must run surpluses during good times to offset the deficits during the inevitable bad ones. But restraint has not been a function of American government since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s time.

“No,” said the Colorado’s powers that were. “We will not behave as if this economic upturn is temporary.” They wanted to expand their powers and functions and the boom presented the opportunity.

The problems in this always come down to one simple concept: Money.

The Collegian printed a news story earlier this week identifying Governor Bill Ritter’s feeble attempts to balance Colorado’s budget. Insert sarcasm: I cannot for the life of me imagine why we have a budget deficit after so many good years in the state.

It certainly would not have anything to do with the governor adding 4,000 state jobs while serving as the state executive.

This particular issue is slightly more personal to me, because Ritter demonstrated himself to be the worst type of bottom-feeding politician to me personally.

Ritter came to my hometown of Granby this summer for a town hall meeting.

I asked a question regarding the status of state’s rights after Ritter finished covering the room in his malodorous political vomit.

Not only does Ritter believe the concept of state’s rights is alive and well, but he believes he applied those principles when the Army wanted to develop some state land for federal use. He told them no.

I see this as an indication they were not insistent, he took it as backing down the Army, something about which every liberal Democrat fantasizes.

After the meeting, I asked Ritter, “If the recession continues, and people stop spending their discretionary dollars in the ski towns, are you developing any plan at the state level to assist those towns rather than have them die?”

Ritter responded, “I think the recession is over.”

This is exactly the idiotic shortsightedness and rhetoric that led to the utter destruction of our economy and local, state and federal budgets.

Folks, we have a federal debt that a 100 percent level of taxation would not cover. Not only have our past politicians screwed us over, the current politicians are too busy attempting a yoga position known as “rectal Ostrich.”

Not only was the governor wrong about the recession, he is wrong to cut the budget while maintaining the size of the bureaucracy he increased.

Wake up people, Democrats and Republicans are partying at the helm of the Titanic and we’ve already hit the iceberg.

Seth J. Stern is a senior journalism and sociology major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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