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You don't save money by paying guards to cover sites that are closed

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

The general counsel for the Archdiocese for Military Services stated that it would be illegal for any furloughed or contract priest to minister on base, and if they were to do so, they might be subject to arrest. This so outraged members of both political parties, that the House of Representatives, on Oct. 5, passed a resolution asking that the chaplains be permitted to perform their duties on a volunteer, non-paid basis. The resolution passed with a 400 to 1 vote; the lone dissenting vote coming from Democrat Bill Enyart, of Illinois.
The above is only one of many examples that show the government cares little if "the people" get punished, as long as politicians gain some hoped for political advantage. For example, it was absolutely outrageous that World War II veterans had no memorial to honor their service. A hero of that war, a man who was severely wounded in battle and spent years recovering from his wounds, former Senator Bob Dole, led the effort to raise the funds from private sources in order to erect a fitting memorial. No government funding was used in its building, and it is an open area — no gates or other limitations. "Honor Flights" bring WW II veterans from all over the country to visit the memorial where they pay their respects to their fallen comrades. Who in the government decided that this memorial should be barricaded, and guarded, so that veterans who have traveled from across the country could be denied access? Who in this administration decided to spend more money to keep the veterans locked out than it would cost to let them in? And who in this administration decided to lock the gates to the resting places of our fallen heroes who lie in foreign lands? Who is so insensitive to the desires of those family and fellow military veterans who spent substantial amounts of time and money to visit their heroes, only to be turned away? Who thinks it's all a political game, and the desires of the people be damned?

In another case, the "Claude Moore Colonial Farm" in Virginia, was ordered to close by the National Park Service (NPS). This farm, which is akin to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, has been operating independently, without any government funding, since 1980, when the NPS stopped funding them. Repeated requests to stay open by the Farms Board of Directors have been denied. Anna Eberly, managing director of the farm stated, "In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service ... I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS." Again, this is a case of the government spending money to deny access to citizens, whereas if they let it simply stay open, it would cost the government nothing. More political gamesmanship.

Somehow this administration needs to learn about how to run a business. It just doesn't seem to understand that you don't save money by spending money to pay guards to cover the sites that you closed, that didn't require guards in the first place. But even more than that, the administration doesn't seem to recognize the impact its decisions have on not only the citizenry their punishing, but on the commerce of the country. On average, our National Parks receive about 750,000 visitors each day. There are national parks spread across the country. Immigrants from the early 1900s take their grandchildren to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, where they landed and began their life in America. Others take a ride up to Mount Desert Island in Maine to visit Acadia National Park, and some fly out west to see the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite, or Yellowstone, or any one of the 400 + national parks. The money the government supposedly "saves" is a pittance compared to the negative impact on the business community . . . you know, those entities from whom all tax revenues emanate.

Consider the average number of visitors each day who rent hotel or motel rooms, or rent space for their camper at a campsite, or rent a tent facility or room at the parks. How many thousands take an airplane, or board a train or a bus? Many will rent an automobile, while others put gas in their vehicles and drive their families to a park. Everyone eats, most often in local restaurants. And thousands purchase some mementos to remember the experience. Those 750,000 daily visitors are putting money into the economy every single day of their visits. That money goes to pay salaries and those salaries pay taxes. That money spent by the visitors also goes (in most cases) into company profits and that also contributes more income taxes (at the highest business tax rate in the world), and matching contributions to Social Security and Medicare, and local and state taxes. So, when the government denies the citizens access to a national park, it is essentially denying businesses and their employees, the ability to make a living and pay all those taxes to the local, state, and federal governments.

Punishing the people and businesses for some political gain. . . well, it's just plain dumb.

Bob Meade