I recently obtained my fishing license. It cost me $29. That is a ridiculous price, but such is the state of things in the State of New York.
I’ve thought of supplying myself throughout the year with salmon I catch in the summer. This makes economic sense, considering the price of food. It’s the same principle as growing your own vegetables. And salmon is good for the heart.
But most of my fishing is catch-and-release. And my time to fish is limited. I won’t catch enough salmon or trout to make up for the $29 lost.
The state’s fees for fishing and game licenses constitute an extreme form of taxation. They are similar to the fees imposed on the colonies by George III. The Governor and legislature seem bound and determined to drive the residents out of the state. Recently they attempted to close many of the state parks, and relented only when faced with an almost universal uproar.
The parks of New York belong to the people. They provide the people with recreation. They allow the people to de-stress, which they need now more than ever. The rivers and streams of the state, with the fish in them, also belong to the people, even if the people have the duty of stewardship toward them.
And one final word: Recently Governor Paterson cut down construction. Here again the state government takes in only the small picture. The Governor thinks only of the costs this will be saving. He doesn’t see that widespread construction work would be helpful to economic recovery.
The Tea Party movement is being exploited, of course, by some people from the right wing. But the movement itself comes from a true frustration of citizens with a government that is unresponsive and downright callous toward their needs and wishes. The public widely opposed the bailouts, proposed by then President Bush, but the Congress, including then Senator Obama, voted for them.
The bailouts are a remnant of Reaganomics. They come from the unrealistic assumption that if you give money to the people with the most money, that money with trickle down to the rest of the population. Now, after the bailouts, the large banks and corporations are repaired financially, and common citizens struggle to pay their bills.
There were supposed to be other components of the government’s stimulus package. As articulated by President Obama, economic recovery was to include infrastructure repair. This would have been in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt’s public relief programs. But Obama has dragged his feet on them, as he has on so much else.
Here in New York, where Governor Paterson has cut construction, we desperately need infrastructure repair. Our roads and bridges are a disgrace. We also need to put people to work, which widespread construction would help to provide.
As the proverb says, teach a man (or woman) to fish.