Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s patriotic heart was in the right place when he offered last week to use state resources to keep Mount Rushmore open in the event of a federal government shutdown.
He didn’t want to rain on the tourism that is so important to our state by closing the monument gates – especially when some people plan trips far in advance, travel great distances and can’t easily return at another time.
But keeping a nonessential service – especially a federal park – operating to counteract the negligence and shortsightedness of our elected officials in Washington should not fall on the shoulders of the state, even if our state loses revenue as a result.
If Washington can’t manage their budget to afford parks and other services, the state can’t be expected to pay for their mistakes.
It would set a precedent likely to have unwelcome consequences. Why, for example, should the state temporarily fund the operation of Mount Rushmore but idly stand by when other non-essential services are mothballed? Better to apply and adhere to a uniform set of rules.
Daugaard’s request was a noble gesture, but it’s simply not his job to bail out the feds.
Cutting the federal government’s out-of-control spending is the only solution for that.
Our “leaders” in Washington govern without the threat of “going out of business.”
Their bad decisions come without the personal risk of losing their own paychecks. They are insulated from the fallout of their bad management.
Even though essential services would have continued, those shut down still would have generated inconvenience for the public and financial difficulty for those federal workers whose pay was suspended.
Perhaps if the pay for members of Congress were docked, they’d knuckle down and balance the federal budget.
Fortunately, the shutdown was averted after much posturing, wailing and gnashing of political teeth, and finally some budget compromises.
Daugaard’s suggestion to let the state temporarily operate Mount Rushmore was well intentioned, but given the extensive budget cuts recently meted out to state agencies, it’s hard to justify bailing out the feds from their own budget crisis.