‘Let them eat cake?’

Looks like we’ll wait at least another week before learning the fate of the Senate’s latest revolving version of Trumpcare. While wishing Sen. John McCain a quick and successful recovery from the delay-causing cancer surgery that’s keeping him in Arizona this week to recuperate, there’s an unavoidable bit of irony involved.

Presumably Medicare, hard-earned veterans’ health benefits or the congressional health care plan (or some combination of the three) will foot the bill for McCain’s latest procedure. At least one of those “socialized medicine” plans, Medicare, is in some danger, depending upon how McCain and other wavering GOP lawmakers vote when he returns. No one is arguing about the “single-payer” veterans plan being off limits.

But isn’t it interesting that the folks who’ll decide the fate of health care for the rest of us will do that knowing their “Cadillac plan,” another “single payer ” system covering current and former members of Congress, will also remain unscathed?

Something about “Let them eat cake” comes to mind as President Trump and Mitch McConnell struggle to find that elusive 50th Republican senator to enable Vice President Mike Pence to cast the decisive 51st vote in favor of the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Susan Collins and Rand Paul are already “no” votes for widely differing reasons, signaling just why a handful of other GOP senators are on the fence.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew where our own Republican senator, Cory Gardner, stands?

And anyone else surprised by the news he recently snuck in and out of town for a few safe and private sessions with locals? No surprise, though, about wanting to avoid any public setting where he’s have to discuss with the rest of us the Senate bill he was supposedly tasked with helping to write.

The fact that ranks of uninsured and underinsured Coloradans would swell, out of pocket spending would jump and Medicaid changes might bust the state’s budget and disproportionately impact rural health care apparently doesn’t deserve public dialogue between Gardner and his constituents.

■  ■  ■

Kudos to three local leaders for adding their perspectives to threats to our federal public lands.

Fruita Mayor Lori Buck, Bonsai Design co-owner Sarah Shrader and Josh Hudnall, founder of Proximity Inc., all spoke out yesterday about the importance of public lands to the Grand Valley’s economic future.

“As an employer within the region, I have witnessed the important effects of outdoor access firsthand,” said Hudnall, chief creative officer at the at the business operating that new Main Street shared workspace in remodeled old county offices. “Outdoor opportunities created by protected public lands, like our national monuments, draw new talent to the Grand Valley from across the nation. It’s vital that we work to protect our public lands and the economic benefits that they provide.”

Shrader, also founder of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley, said she and her employees at Bonsai depend on public lands for their livelihoods.

“National monuments, parks and forests drive a multi-billion dollar recreation economy in the West,” she said. “Let me be clear: Eliminating or shrinking America’s national monuments will shrink or eliminate the local jobs and business they support.”

“We know the benefits of protected public lands firsthand here in Fruita” said Mayor Lori Buck. “I have heard from several local businesses that 2017 was a record-breaking spring. The outdoor industry, related to public land access, has changed our economy.”

Under the guise of encouraging public input, Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 national monuments proclaimed over the last 21 years, including Canyon of the Ancients in southwest Colorado and the new Bears Ears National Monument just across the Utah border. Changes at Bears Ears would reverse a years-long public process involving local, state and national officials, southeast Utah residents and several Indian tribes.

(In another bit of irony, Zinke also ordered BLM Resource Advisory Councils, local volunteer panels designed specifically to provide public input into federal lands decisions, to stand down while he conducts a review of their activities.)

Reversing national monument designations is legally suspect and unprecedented. Reducing protected acreage can only be done by congressional action, something that just might cause another revolt in the narrowly-Republican U.S. Senate.

“Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up.”

— George Saunders


Jim Spehar thinks philosophical back flips that surface when politics collide with realities are themselves ironic. Comments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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