Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wolves are obviously at fault

I don't think it's any surprise that many bills that are passed in Congress have riders attached to them that have little to do with the subject of the actual bill.  What I find surprising, at a point in which government is under intense scrutiny by a number of parties... especially the budget... and some one says, "Hey - NOW's my chance to get wolves off the endangered species act so I can hunt them this fall."

Generally, these types of riders are included to try to attract support from the opposing party.  I'm sure this is why a Republican budget bill would add a rider from Senator Jon Tester (D-MT).  But why?  Adding one Democrat to the support for the bill does nothing but allow Congress to call it a bi-partisan bill.  What it does not do is appeal to the broad base of Democrats.  Rather, adding this rider would force Democrats who may have been inclined to support the budget agreement to bow to pressure from environmentalists who will make-up a portion of their constituency.  Moreover, efforts to increase hunting opportunities, decrease government oversight, and limit activist judges (a portion of the rider says that this is not subject to judicial review - which will probably nullify the law because I'm pretty sure that makes this unconstitutional.  Nice try, though.) tend to be planks on the conservative / libertarian platform that appeals to the Tea Party.

To me, what this indicates is that the proposed budget has no interest in addressing the problems that created the  current budget deficit.  Wolves and wolf management is not problem.  Even the entire appropriation for the US Fish and Wildlife Service is not a meaningful percentage of the budget shortfall.  Nor is this going to cause the US not to increase the debt ceiling.  I'm not sure exactly what needs to be done to solve the national debt problem (BIG HINT: increase revenue), nor am I sure what caused it (BIG HINT: decreased revenue and increased military spending).  I'm just certain that wolves are not the reason, and even remotely associating these two items may mean that Congress is really not serious about the business of governing, rather than playing tit-for-tat political games.

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