Weekly Posting of the Conservative Cow Doctor


Nothing to Chuckle About

“I have something for you,” Craig said, “three gentle, longhorns which would fit well as lead steers in your cattle drive operation.”

“Well, I’ve always wanted a nice set of steer horns,” I replied. “How much do you want for them?”

“Nothing,” he fired back. “Take them; they’re free.”

Knowing Craig had fallen on hard times, I offered, “How about I give you one hundred dollars for each one?”

“Whatever, I just need them gone because I am out of feed and money. Can you bring your trailer out today?” Craig asked.

“Sure; I’ll saddle a couple horses and be out after work,” I answered as I chuckled at my good fortune. The day passed quickly and soon my friend Jeremy and I pulled into the driveway of Craig’s 20 acre hobby farm. There were hog panels strung through the timber and tied to a loafing shed and if the baling twine held, this make-shift corral would serve as a loading chute. We hopped our horses out of the trailer, backed up to the gate, hit the saddle and trotted into the timber searching for the longhorns. Just as Craig had said, the steers were not the least bit concerned by our presence, mostly because they knew they held all the cards. Each steer slowly rose, yawned and curled their tails over their backs as they stretched, as if they had not a care in the world. My first lesson in longhorn management was about to begin.

It would take seven pages for me to describe the events of the next two days, so I will just say those three steers were the most polite critters I have ever moved with a horse. Exhibiting no ill will, each would quietly walk into the corral, measure the panel height with their chin and clear it in a single bound before meandering back into the timber. Jeremy and I were sweating, galloping and swearing to the best of our abilities while Craig held the trailer gate chuckling at his good fortune. Eventually, I hauled all three steers to Wyoming, but it would be a stretch to call it a victory because all I did was move Craig’s problem to my place. Over the next three years, two of those fence crawling steers caused me more grief than all the other cows in my herd. The third steer quickly became my favorite because he was struck by lightning and killed his first weekend in Wyoming. Every time I rode past his decomposing carcass on the hilltop, I chuckled at my good fortune because my headaches had been cut by a full third from a single bolt of lightning and this brings me to my point. Legislation is like free longhorn steers; it comes with strings attached.

House Bill 142, an “act assenting to the federal Dingell-Johnson act of 1950” allows fishing equipment federal taxes to be redistributed to state fish and game agencies. This places roughly four million dollars in Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks budget and 95 House members approved the act. Five of us did not, so sportsman groups will chastise us in the next election cycle for being anti-angler and hating little children. (We are always portrayed as hating children.) The free money in the Dingell-Johnson act is not really free. Take a look.

The federal budget is divided into discretionary and non-discretionary spending with the latter category, also called entitlements, consuming nearly 100 percent of all federal revenues. This means discretionary spending, subdivided into defense and non-defense is 100 percent borrowed money which is rolled into our 16.4 trillion dollar debt. Therefore, the four million dollar federal fishing gift to our Treasure State is not actually money, it is debt. When the little children discover all the wonderful Fish, Wildlife and Parks programs were funded by debt, burdening them with the cost of their angling activities along with those of their parents and grandparents, they will not be chuckling at their good fortune.

Spending has bankrupted our nation and the disease is not quarantined to Washington D.C. Every program supported at every level by every official at the request of every citizen, adds to the problem. Think about it. How can you demand elected officials quit spending money when you simultaneously insist they do so? Our economic predicament is nothing to chuckle about.

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