Dave Simpson: Oh No! Another Adult In The Room!

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "If the governor is the adult in the room, what does that make the rest of us? (Asking for a friend.)"

Dave Simpson

April 01, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

We've got a bumper crop of breaking news, friends. Let's pick some low-hanging fruit:

I read the words “the adult in the room” last week in reference to our governor, and I winced visibly. (There was no one to confirm my wince, so I could be accused of saying I winced when I didn't really wince. But trust me on this: I winced.)

The theory is that our governor vetoed the gun-free zone bill because he is the adult in the room, who better understands the consequences of not posting signs alerting potential murderers that, “Hold on there, Stranger. You could be in big trouble if you ignore our signs and bring a gun into this here gun-free zone!

“We know you want to kill people, but if you carry a gun into our gun-free zone, it's going to go on your PERMANENT RECORD. So think about THAT, Mr. Mass Murderer. We mean business!”

Also making me wince at the words “adult in the room” is the fact that we heard the phrase so often when President Joe Biden took office. Folks said the adults in the room would quickly do away with all the stuff his devious, shifty “predecessor” (apparently not an adult in the room ) did, that worked, and replace it with stuff that, well, we know now, DOESN'T WORK.

One last question: If the governor is the adult in the room, what does that make the rest of us? (Asking for a friend.)

Federal Debt

According to the people who keep track of these things, our federal debt increases by $1 trillion every 100 days.

This, despite the fact that President Biden says he's making great progress cutting the debt (but isn't). And many Republicans who campaign on fiscal responsibility, nevertheless go along with the crazy spending once elected.

I don't want to get all mathy with you, but think about the debt we will dump on our grandkids if we keep adding another $1 trillion to the debt every three months. This is a bipartisan train wreck. But folks are far more worried about temporary government shutdowns.

Go figure.

A family member once asked me, “Why do you care? We'll be dead before the (fertilizer) hits the fan!” And a neighbor told me my naivete is showing when I mention the debt, because, well, it's always gone up for all our lives, and the (fertilizer) hasn't hit the fan yet. He wanted to save me the embarrassment of looking like a financial moon calf.

Call me a moon calf (“congenial idiot,” Webster) if you will, but I think our government ought to operate with the same fiscal know how required to have a checking account. Money in, money out. Simple arithmetic. Bad things happen if more money goes out than comes in.

Except if you're a member of Congress.

(The late Sen. John McCain, a Navy veteran, said it's unfair to say Congress spends like drunken sailors, because “drunken sailors eventually run out of money.”)

Not so with Congress, where (to quote Robert Earl Keen) “the road goes on forever, and the party never ends.”

Threats to Democracy

We hear plenty about “threats to democracy” these days. But when do we realize that this huge debt may be the most serious threat to democracy of all? Answer me that.

I say our free-spending members of Congress, and our equally profligate recent presidents, are the real threats to democracy.

Oink, oink, oink.

- I never complain about property taxes in Wyoming, because I remember what we paid in Nebraska and Illinois. But those crazy property valuations in Teton County would have anyone joining a torch-carrying mob. Maybe that new 4 percent cap will rein in future whopping increases. (The late Edwin Newman famously asked at what point an increase “begins to whop.” Good question.)

I will say this, however. The day our place east of Cheyenne can suddenly sell for millions, like up in Jackson, the “For Sale” sign goes up and we're moving to Chugwater.

Faster than (fertilizer) through a goose.

And lastly, remember after 9/11, the official report that said our leaders failed to “connect the dots?”

Anybody else seeing dots that need to be connected these days?

They're everywhere.

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.