Most of us might not see the direct impact of the sequester on our lives yet. But for those reliant on the federal government, it’s already hurting bad. The Post has a good piece on how Yellowstone National Park is adapting. The answer is that it’s tough. Faced with a number of terrible choices, Yellowstone administrators have decided not to plow the roads, thus delaying the general opening of the park by at least 2 weeks. That means a lot less tourist dollars for the surrounding communities reliant upon Yellowstone for their survival.
The real crux of the article though is exposing the utter hypocrisy of people who rail on the federal government, yet completely rely on that the same government for survival. The basic attitude–cut waste, but I demand every dollar I have ever received! This hypocrisy is most stark in the American West. Home of the Sagebrush Rebellion, Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan, rural Westerners have long combined talk about government waste with demands for expensive water projects, road building programs, tourist infrastructure, and ensuring that the Mining Act of 1872 not be repealed. It’s the classic “Get the government out of my Medicare” scenario.
We really see this in Yellowstone. Turns out that mandated budget cuts force hard decisions. Who knew! So the local politicians and business owners are furious, while at the same time continue to talk about government waste. Well folks, eventually the “government waste” is you and the programs that you need to survive. I know we have this image of bloated bureaucrats in Washington, but that’s not based in reality. It’s you. You are the big government waste.
Of course, I don’t believe these people are big government waste. I think we should expand the National Park Service and give it a ton of funding. But if you talk about how much you hate big government and you receive government subsidies, whether direct or indirect, then you are the big government you hate. And the austerity you champion comes out of your paycheck.
On the other hand, I guess closing Yellowstone entirely next winter, a very real possibility, means a closure to the endless snowmobile debates that have riven park politics for 2 decades.