from October 2011, Economics
It's hard to believe ten years has come and gone since the Klamath Basin Water Crisis of 2001. The problem began with a very dry year. Water levels were far below normal. But the real crisis came when a Federal Agencies and Judges decided that the survival of fish was more important than anything else — including people. The result was no water to farmers and all available water was sent downstream.
But in November 2002 a report by two Oregon State researches concluded that the 2001 federal decision to withhold water from Klamath Basin farms was unjustified is laden with errors and has mainly served to fuel resentment of environmental laws.
As I wrote last week, when we ask the wrong question we most often get the wrong answer. As with the "jobs problem" — in Klamath County as well as nationwide — the problem our country faces is not the lack of jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. The problem is NOT jobs. The lack of jobs are a mere symptom of the real problem.
The real problem lies in the fact that we have an economy that is stuck in the mud and sliding backwards quickly. It's like we're slipping down the side of a muddy bank towards the abyss in slow motion. These are the things nightmares are made of — except what makes this worse is we are awake while this is all happening and it's all too real.
Yet our President is focused on creating jobs. And when the President is focused on the wrong issue, so often follows the nation. We are so far off course that now others are coming up with "job solutions" or "job fixes". This is meaningless, and worse very dangerous. For example, U. S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of the famous Reverend Jesse Jackson, is now proposing that the Federal Government hire all 15 million unemployed people for around $40,000/year.
The Story of the Dentist and the Toothache
Long ago there once was a man who had a terrible toothache. After a time he decided to go see an expert in teeth — the village dentist. The dentist had a distinguished career with many awards and degrees. After examining the man, the dentist decided to prescribe some pain medication for the toothache. He said, "Take one of these every time it starts to hurt, that will relieve the pain." The man left happy believing he had a solution to his toothache problem.
Within a day the man had to eat the pain medication like candy. It wasn't four hours after taking one pill that he had to take another. Soon after one pill wasn't enough, so he began taking two and then four at a time. On top of that the pain medication had all sorts of other side effects. He was unable to work or be productive to support his family. It was an awful mess.
So the man returned to the dentist. The dentist re-examined the man and decided that what was needed was a stronger medication to help alleviate the pain. The man was a bit skeptical but went along (while on pain meds, he also wasn't able to think very clearly). The new pain meds worked at first but then the same cycle happened — he needed to take more and more pills. What's more, the pain was not only in his tooth, his entire head hurt and his chest as well. He went to bed that night intending to see the dentist again, but died in his sleep due to a massive infection.
The KBRA is an odd document. First we don't know who wrote it.1 For something that is being used as the baseline to craft legislation by Senator Merkley, shouldn't we know who actually wrote the darn thing? It's as if from the heavens this document descended on its own (no need for a Moses to carry it down) and different groups all said in unison "This is good. Let's make it law."
Second, the groups that are in support of the KBRA are really a minority in this community. They are well funded (thanks to public grant money — our tax dollars at work) and they make lots of noise in the paper, but they are the minority. The KBRA supporters would have you believe that if you add up the tribes, the farmers, the environmentalists and the fishermen you get a majority opinion. Really all you get are several special interest groups wanting the same thing — a leftist agenda. Even that isn't necessarily true. On the whole farmers do not support this document, but since the Klamath Water Users Association is pro-KBRA, you are to believe a majority of farmers are for it as well.
Finally (and this is the biggie), what in the world does the purchase of the Mazama Tree Farm and then gifting it to the Klamath Tribes have anything to do about fish restoration in the Klamath river? (As a side note, calling 90,000 acres a "farm" is like calling a Ferrari a commuter car.) Stop for a moment and think about this. How do you connect purchasing 90,000 plus acres of private timber land, then giving it to the Klamath Tribes to help restore fish habitat 50-250 miles away? The quick answer is you can't.
Who Pays for the Flowers?
Klamath County Commissioner Hukill announced building of a Veteran’s Long-Term Care Facility here in Klamath County as one of her main goals during her time in office. While this sounds like a noble project, let's take a moment to examine whether the idea is benefits the county or not. Here are a few thoughts:
Is a Long-Term Home for Veterans really needed here?
While a veteran's facility would be a nice feather in the county's cap and would bring people into the area to visit those who are in the facility, I wonder whether this should really be a top priority project that County government should be pursuing. I haven't seen any grass roots effort clamoring for such a facility. I don't see sick veterans lining the streets looking for long-term care treatment. Seems to me this isn't really a pressing need. I could be wrong, but again, this doesn't appear like something that should be occupying top of mind for Mrs. Hukill.