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KBRA is one more example of a false promise

Guest commentary by Dennis Linthicum 10/7/15

Dennis Linthicum

< Dennis Linthicum is a Klamath County rancher who served four years as a Klamath County Commissioner and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to be the candidate for Congress from the 2nd Congressional District.

Where I live pack rats abound. The vermin are always trying to nest in the engine compartment of my backhoe, my wood pile or under our patio decking.
Once rats are present, the only way to trap them is with something attractive and palatable. I use peanut butter, raisins or cheese. It works pretty well and I continually upset the rats’ dreams for a worry-free and blissful existence.
Why do we allow ourselves to be baited, like rats, with political schemes that we know are too good to be true?
Here are two recent examples:
1. Oregon’s legislature failed to resist Obama’s $310 million seductive bait and our tax dollars were wasted to create the fiasco known as Cover Oregon.
2. ObamaCare promises “affordable health care” for everyone. Yet, its projected costs will exceed $2 trillion in less than 10 years. Are we, as taxpayers, really expecting to snag great healthcare out of this rigged deal?
The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreements (KBRA) is a siren’s song about “water certainty” and the media blitz has reached a fevered pitch. The legislative clock is running out of time and the special interest stakeholders are desperate to sway public opinion in favor of destroying four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
The KBRA is no different than the false promises of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Bernie offers Utopia — free college, food-stamps, housing even the kitchen-sink. This type of despotic lie has plagued democracies throughout history. It is not new.
The KBRA does the same thing; it promises cheap energy for agriculture, 100,000 acres for tribal interests, river restoration to an imaginary pre-historic version of the Klamath River and “water certainty” without water storage reservoirs.
The costs for this false narrative have not been accurately accessed:
Dam removal costs alone are near $1 billion.
What are the future basin and river restoration costs? — Unknown
What is the cost for establishing affordable energy options? — Unknown
What are the total costs for financial assistance to property owners, lost jobs and tax revenues? — Unknown
What is the cost for dealing with the release of over 20 million cubic yards of toxic sediment into the Klamath River? — Unknown
Where will future water storage reservoirs be built and at what costs? — Unknown
Hard-working citizens will receive the invoice — but they won’t get any direct benefits:
Ratepayers will bear the energy costs.
Taxpayers will bear the cost of the environmental mess that dam destruction leaves behind.
Consumers will bear the costs for misallocated resources in our basin’s agricultural community
Our children and grandchildren will pay the piper for the political give-aways coming from the federal money machine.
The designated winners, in descending priority, are dam owner PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway; tribal interests, environmental activists, fishes, and finally agriculture.
The KBRA is a “grand bargain” from a minority of self-serving special interest groups. The benefits will flow through incentives, grants, subsidies and tax credits while the central planners will redistribute your wealth to Berkshire Hathaway and the tribes.
You and I will be forced to surrender our wallets, our land, and our posterity’s future for these false Utopian dreams.
Instead, our goal ought to be for free-markets and a prosperous America — an America that is capable of feeding the world. We have the natural resources. We have the men, women and families who are skilled in the technologies needed for global competition.
We have cheap, abundant, renewable hydroelectric resources. We have untold varieties of salmon, beef, pork, poultry and dairy products in every grocery store. We provide fruits, vegetables, grains and livestock across the globe and we can provide more.
It is folly to believe that destroying infrastructure, while burdening families and businesses with unbearable costs, will bring economic prosperity to our basin. We must stop the political elites from using our money to fund their special interests groups, lobbyists, and campaign donors.
The trap is set; the spring is loaded; the stories are flooding through the media. Will the political elites lure us into perpetual debt with false utopian promises?
If so, Warren Buffet and the stakeholder special interests will win big and the taxpayers and ratepayers will be lucky to snag some stale peanut butter and moldy cheese. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”
Dennis Linthicum is a Klamath County rancher who served four years as a Klamath County County commissioner and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to be the candidate for Congress from the 2nd Congressional District.




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