Citizens can’t win against federal government

Don't bother making deals with the government.

Published on July 25, 2014 11:38AM

Your editorial “Landowners make deals to protect their livelihood” is pretty optimistic. If you want to make deals with the federal government, I would suggest you talk to a Native American.

Before I was 10, I was working with my family and friends in the Cedar Camps. Cedar Camps were the “bounty” of the public domain and the “deal” the federal government had with the rural Americans living out West. Anyone could go in and buy up to $2,700 of a “green slip stumpage” timber sale, and “hocus pocus,” you had a job. Now that was a job, an honest job, that didn’t pay money, but the general store would barter and put all your products (fence posts, shakes or shingles) on their books as cash credit and you could get clothes, shoes, boots and staples or other food items with that credit.

But that deal, as with all government deals, went to hell. The USDA decided that a timber company could only bid on a government timber sale in a Forest Service district they owned a sawmill in.

The first thing that happened was the big corporate lumber companies bought out some small mill in all the Forest Service districts.

The second thing that happened was the big outfits then would bid outrageous (read gimmick) prices for stumpage on one species of timber in any sale that came up. Soon there were no small mills anymore.

The other effect was is the meantime, the USDA made a rule that any “high demand” timber species could not be sold on a “green slip” timber sale. Which probably had something to do with the bidding by the corporations. So all the timber in the national forests became the assets of the corporations, and everyone either had to work for them or go hungry.

My advice to anyone contemplating making a deal — forget it. We already spend $1.7 trillion in hidden taxes, called compliance costs or “red tape,” that is a losing hand and no one will win except the government. It is described in a Washington Times column:

Some other quotes:

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” — Aesop, 620-560 B.C.

“They must find it difficult. ... Those who have taken authority as the truth, rather truth as authority.” — Gerald Massey, May 29, 1828-Oct. 29, 1907

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” — George Orwell

You can’t win with a losing hand.

David Mendenhall

Moscow, Idaho


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