Taylor Haynes, gubernatorial candidate for governor, created a bit of a controversy over the weekend. In an interview with the Casper Star-Tribune, Haynes said, if he were elected, his first act as governor would be to throw the federal government out of Wyoming.
Specifically, Haynes would take steps to take over all federal lines in Wyoming and open them up for grazing, drilling and mining, including parts of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Devilís Tower National Monument.
In the interview, Haynes said he would send federal agencies an invitation, by certified letter, to attend a meeting where he would explain the expulsion, and the agencies would need to vacate the state by January 2015.
Though I was stupefied by his statements, I was also intrigued by the possibility of a Wyoming without federal intervention. Of course, along with the exodus of federal employees would be an exodus of federal funds, the net effect of which is best left to someone smarter than me to figure out.
However, I would say it is safe to say that there are others in the state who yearn for the day when we see much less federal power exercised in the state.
Between the EPA debacle in Uinta County, where the agency is threatening $85,000 per day in fines against a couple who had the audacity to build a small pond on their own property, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dictating how the state will manage its wildlife resources, the bullying of Washington D.C. has reached a historical scope. Particularly in Wyoming.
I believe strongly that history has, unfortunately, an immense capacity to repeat itself.
The American Revolution began in response to the Founding Fathersí perspective that Great Britain had overreached its authority to govern and tax the colonies. Britain was reeling in debt because of the French and Indian War, and many of its citizens were struggling to survive due to huge tax assessments to pay off the debt.
So the eyes of Parliament turned to the American colonies, which were growing and prospering.
See any similarities yet?
Most, if not all, great cultures and empires throughout history, Greece, Rome, France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, came to their demise because government overreached the capacity of its citizens to support a burgeoning and expanding political agenda and related financial demands.
How about now? Any similarities yet?
Currently, the Federal Highway Fund is almost out of money, and Congress is debating the best way to inject money into the fund. One way to raise funds is to increase the federal fuel tax, which is 18 cents per gallon. However, it is an alternative not likely to get much support during an election year.
The other way to infuse money into it is to raid other federal financial sources, i.e. robbing Peter to pay Paul.
I realize the feds do inject money into state budgets for repair and maintenance for federal roads, but I canít help wondering how much more could be done for all roads if those 18 cents per gallon came directly to states rather than being debated in Washington.
A recent poll showed the public is more confident in local government than they are in the federal government, an attitude and commitment our Founding Fathers shared when they signed the Declaration of Independence.
Iím not advocating an uprising of the populace or a revolution of the masses, but if anyone is listening in Washington D.C., I would warn them that currently they are on a fast track to becoming a contemporary Great Britain.
But I believe that it is not too late to take political and social action to avert what history says is around the corner, if action isnít taken now.
In this election year, it is critical that hard questions are asked of candidates, political spin is not accepted and we, as the electorate, set aside partisanship and vote for candidates that can see the forest, the trees and all of us living there.
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