Hill Blackett: USDA loan

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If you want to know why the country is bankrupt, look no further than Steamboat Springs, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture is about to loan $4 million of taxpayers’ money to rehab a 1920s-era theater. And here I thought the agriculture department had to do with farms and ranches and chickens and pigs and stuff like that.

Hill Blackett

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Tracy Barnett 2 years, 7 months ago

When the US Department of Agriculture was initiated by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, more that half the people in America lived on farms compared to 2% today. It was deemed to be "the people's department", focusing on the lives of every American every day. As with any successful business, the department has evolved to not only focus on agriculture, but also on economic development, science, and natural resource conservation in rural America. (Check the USDA website.) By assisting the Friends of the Chief with a loan to rehabilitate the Chief Theater, an amenity that can help to anchor the arts as an economic driver in rural Steamboat Springs, the USDA is indeed keeping to its mission to encourage economic development in rural America. It's no longer all about agriculture, despite the name of the department. Perhaps it is time for the name to evolve as well to more clearly reflect current focus.

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Dan Hill 2 years, 7 months ago

@Tracy Barnett, your clarification is useful but it doesn't change the underlying point. Why on earth should money be taken from other American taxpayers to give to Steamboat to refurbish a cinema? We behave as if Washington is Santa Claus and the goodies it bestows are magically manufactured at the North Pole by elves. There are no elves. Every dollar that comes from Washington comes first out of some other American's pocket first. It isn't free money, it doesn't grow on trees and we ought to stop electing representatives on the basis of who can go to Washington and best fleece other Americans on our behalf.

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Corey Piscopo 2 years, 7 months ago

Hill, Take 5 minutes to go to the CO USDA website and you can see a big part of what they do is all things related to rural economic development from single family home loan support to business loans, water district development, renewable energy and community projects. And the USDA also funds/oversees the forest service. If I am reading the "Colorado FY11 Annual Report" correctly, $529million was the total they spent in Colorado for 2011.

Does anyone know where to find a list of Routt county beneficiaries and how many first time homebuyers in Steamboat city limits took USDA assistance to purchase a home this year? It does seem like a program likely to be abused under the broad theme of "economic development"....

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jerry carlton 2 years, 7 months ago

A certain segment of our population never met a tax dollar grant they would not apply for and accept. They operate on the theory that they can suck in more tax dollars from others than they have to pay themselves. This is the prime directive for politicians and government. Another example of the Federal government run amok. Some day, maybe not too far away, this house of cards will fall and it is going to be ugly.

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Corey Piscopo 2 years, 7 months ago

Jerry, Who do you mean by a "certain segment" that won't take government assistance? Is it people taking food stamps? Private banks taking bailouts? Private companies lobbying for huge defense/Govt spending projects? The entire subsidized corn industry? School grants? Me for taking as many tax deductions/credits as I possibly can? My grandparents for squeezing out or taking far more from Medicare than they need or every payed into the program? Agreed that the prime directive of politicians is to direct resources, but not sure it is cut and dry who the real winners are or who really has the most influence on the decision makers in Washington. The house of cards won't fall, it just get's reshuffled...

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George Fargo 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is a loan, not a grant. I assume that means it will be paid back with interest. Perhaps the USDA will make money on the deal.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 7 months ago

When a project is proposed in the valley the first reaction is to find a grant or handout to bring it to fruitition. Many of the goodies that we have appropriated come from Santa and we are probably very high on his mooch list. I voted for the FASTER project that was to help our aging roads and find that the city siphoned off money for hybrid busses at 3/4 million per pop. It seems that we are forever matching a new grant to get a deal too good to pass up. It is interesting that Wyoming, a state or sound means is voting on preparation of a doomesday game plan that may be prophetic indeed if this free ride mentality persists. Politicians cannot find the gumption to say no.

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bill schurman 2 years, 7 months ago

Bets on the "loan" being repaid ??? Who's "neck" is on the line ??

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jerry carlton 2 years, 7 months ago

Corey Why is the Federal government the only organization that can indefinitely spend more than it takes in? Can you do that? Can I? Can the state or the county or the city? Do you really believe that this can go on forever? I draw SS and am on Medicare. I and my employers paid into SS for 51 years and into Medicare as long as it has been in existence. Do I think I should get some of my money back and do I think your Grandparents should? Sure! I could list thousands and thousands of places the Federal government has no business and this theater just happens to be the latest. I will be interested in hearing your explanation of how deficit spending at the federal level can go on forever.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 7 months ago

If this is truly a loan then there must be a guarantor, City?

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