Idaho Freedom Foundation Executive Director Wayne Hoffman says state policymakers “continue to suck up as much federal money as they can, even when our better judgment tells us we are on a dangerous course.”
In an op-ed in Monday’s Twin Falls Times-News, Hoffman notes that the share of state appropriations covered by the federal government has risen from 32 percent to 36 percent in a decade.
But, Hoffman writes, neither the January spending cuts under the sequester nor the current government shutdown “seems to be moving Idaho officials to consider the ramifications of our cuddly relationship with the wayward national government.”
Hoffman likens the feds to a excessively sexually indulgent and inebriated roadside panhandler. Only worse. (UPDATED at 1:30 p.m. with Hoffman reply below.)
“The state of Idaho is too reliant on the federal government and its money,” writes Hoffman. “Take a moment to re-read what I just wrote: It’s almost as if I just said, ‘The state of Idaho is too reliant on your lecherous, drunken uncle who is standing on the roadside with a Sharpie and a rectangle of cardboard.’ Yes, we, here in Idaho depend on someone equally undependable and unpredictable, and not nearly as loveable or credible: Uncle Sam.”
I may have missed this as our national divisions have grown more deep, but I never thought of Uncle Sam as less loveable or credible than a lust-driven drunk.
The United States government may be loathsome to Mr. Hoffman, my former colleague at the Statesman, but for all its recent failures it doesn’t appear most Americans are with him.
A Gallup poll last week found that just 8 percent of Americans said the partial government shutdown is “not a problem at all.”
Among the 1,021 adults polled nationwide, 21 percent called the shutdown a “crisis,” 49 percent a “major problem,” and 18 percent a “minor problem.” Three percent were “unsure.”
Yes, polls show the shutdown has worsened an already awful job-approval rating for Congress. Disapproval ratings that were in the mid-70s during summer have risen to 81 percent and 87 percent in the two most recent polls.
President Obama’s numbers are better, but certainly not good. His disapproval number bounced between 44 percent and 54 percent in summer. In the most recent Fox Poll last week, 49 percent disapproved of the job Obama is doing, while 45 percent approved.
The inability of Congress and the president to meet the fundamental obligations of governance is disturbing, infuriating and consequential. But I’m not convinced Americans are ready to shun the greatest experiment in self-governance in history as if it’s a sodden pervert.
Here’s Hoffman’s reply, which I received Monday afternoon, with the subject line ‘oh come on’:
You’re putting words in my mouth, my friend. I never said anything about “abandoning” the American experiment. And poll you cite validates the point of my commentary–that the Legislature and the governor are too dependent on Washington D.C.: The poll shows 70 percent of Americans think the government shutdown is either a “major problem” or “a crisis.” Given that’s the case, I would imagine that the public would want the state government to move proactively. Shouldn’t the Legislature and the governor, with all of the posturing about an overreaching federal government, actually do something about it, maybe examine our level of reliance on the federal government?