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By Axing Parks, Politicos Are Stealing The People's Property

Memo Pad

By Axing Parks, Politicos Are Stealing The People's Property


“Sorry, we’re closed.” In one of the saddest signs of the times, this message is popping up all across the country, as governors and legislators are cutting off funds (and shutting off access) to one of the finest, most popular assets owned by the people of our country: state parks.

More than 6,600 of these jewels draw some 700 million visitors a year to their grand vistas, historic sites, abundant wildlife, majestic forests, cascading waters, expansive beaches, nature trails, campgrounds, educational centers and lodges. Parks are a tangible expression of America’s democratic ideals, literally a common ground for every man, woman and child to enjoy, learn, absorb … or just be. Especially for the middle class and the poor — the great majority of our people who can’t jet off to luxury resorts for a getaway for vacation — these spaces offer a form of real wealth, something of great value that each of us literally “owns,” knitting us together as a community and nation.

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. lluuggdduuss January 26, 2012

    The Parks are operated by the administration. Tax policy is set by the legislature which is elected by the people.

  2. kurt.lorentzen January 26, 2012

    Although I’m sure Republicans are equally adept at manipulating public opinion on taxes and budgets, Cutting off the most visible and highly valued non-essential servcices is a common ploy by Democratic legislators when seekng taxes to fund their spending. Sorry if I sound like a Republican (I’m just as critical of them), but sometimes the icecube calling the water cold needs to be pointed out. Spending cuts are essential to balancing budgets – especially our $2.3T federal budget. Closing parks may not be the best place to cut, but let the other side come up with something other than “raise taxes and spend more”. Texas has a balanced budget. ‘Nuff said.

  3. mpjt January 26, 2012

    Certainly parks, highway rest stops, libraries, etc. are wonderful FREE places. But there is a limit to how much free stuff we can have. Maybe it would make sense to charge $1.00 for a rental book on tape or maybe a $10.00/year unlimited library card. Same with parks. Charge for them. Charge for all the FREE services and see how badly people want them. Some clearly need to go but it is never the things each individual enjoys, it is always the other guys stuff.

  4. rustacus21 January 27, 2012

    … who said “freedom isn’t free?… AND NO – There IS NO LIMIT!!! This is what taxes pay for. Don’t U Conservatives know anything about government? Oh, gosh I 4got, U DON’T!!! Each time 1 of “YOURS” gets a majority, 2001-2008, 1981-1992, 1929-1932… I’ll quit there, to avoid redundancy. Do U know what happened each of those periods, Mr. mpjt?! If U do, then U know what happened 1993-2000, 1976-1980, 1935-1965 & I’ll quit there, etc… U’ll finally understand the superiority of of both intelligence & creativity possessed of Liberal/Progressive commitment to delivering the very best government (not “perfect” mind U, but better than the latter…) the people could hope for. Conservatives? The people get the crap end of what’s left that Conservatives don’t steal or simply leave to rot, due to lack of attention. Lack of attention. I’ll say it again – Lack of ATTENTION!!!… & HERE WE ARE AGAIN. What’s wrong w/this picture – AND U’r voters?!

  5. kurt.lorentzen January 27, 2012

    rustacus21, I think you’ll find there are only a few hardline conservatives or liberals who post here. The vast majority of us are moderates, some Dems, some Repubs and plenty of Indies. No one says taxes should’t pay for things that all Americans can enjoy, and you’re absolutely right that state and national parks represent some of those. But the very idea that spending without limit and without regard to revenue is just plain burying your head in the sand. In the end, someone has to pay for these things. Despite this being a somewhat left-leaning blog, most if us here represent a logical, largely non-partisan approach. We respectfully disagree with each other and point out where we think the authors of articles are going wrong, but rarely fail to find respect for others’ positions. BTW, the 30-yr period between 1935 and 1965 was a mix of both parties. Truman (D) had the extreme economic fortune of the post-WWII boom when the USA was the beneficiary of Europe’s war devastation. Eisenhower (R), also enjoyed that to a lesser degree, and presided over the greatest economic growth in history. Kennedy’s presidency was cut short, and Johnson’s VietNam escalation isn’t viewed by either side as a good thing. Conservatism and liberalism both have strengths and weaknesses. We really can’t expect politicians to understand what makes the world work down here in the trenches – most have never even visited. That’s why they’re supposed to be our representatives – we make the decisions, they enact them on our behalf, and it’s our responsibility – our price for freedom – to make sure they do. To do that responsibly we can’t turn politics into popularity contests. We can’t permit politicians on either side to “wag the dog”. I encourage you to step back from your dogma and view the world as it really is – you’d be surprised how different the world looks when the view isn’t limited to just one porthole.


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