Friday, March 23, 2012

Comic relief

When lawmakers charged with being responsible for constituents' struggles through hard times meet Doomsday scenarios, some pretty loony ideas emerge.

Utah legislators, concerned about paper money, recently approved gold and silver coins as legal tender. If a customer insists on paying for his new weed whacker with $50 gold coins, it's unclear whether Sears or the state gets to pocket the difference between face value and each coin's $1,400 market value.

In Wyoming, Rep. David Miller introduced a bill last month to fund a committee to study preparedness for the national collapse that he sees just over the horizon.

Preparedness would have included a Wyoming currency and providing more arms to local citizens. Miller's proposal gained some national notoriety when Rep. Kermit Brown, wishing to "help," suggested a perhaps tongue-in-cheek amendment that would have called for Wyoming to add an aircraft carrier to its defenses.

First the amendment went down to defeat and then the House halted the entire bill in a narrow 30-27 vote—but only after the third reading.

Doomsday possibilities boggle the mind: Would the proponents have had Wyoming residents repel an onslaught by Nebraskans who, having failed to prepare for this clear and present danger, decide to rush the border? Would they have had Idaho and Wyoming sign a mutual defense pact and transform Palisades Reservoir into a naval harbor? Having room enough to turn the carrier into the wind to launch aircraft might have been problematic.

One thing about Doomsday thinking: Those we elect may not be much help getting us out of hard times, but at least some of them can be counted on to provide comic relief.

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