South Dakota Editorial RoundupThe government’s deficit stands at $1.42 trillion, the largest in history. But imagine how much worse the economy would be if the federal bailout and stimulus funds that helped fuel the deficit had not been made available.
Government can soon start whittling away at its deficit
The government’s deficit stands at $1.42 trillion, the largest in history. But imagine how much worse the economy would be if the federal bailout and stimulus funds that helped fuel the deficit had not been made available.
Call it a perfect storm ... but the combination of the faltering economy and a plunge in federal revenue collections has caused the nation’s deficit to hit an all time high of $1.42 trillion.
According to government figures released Oct. 16, as a portion of the economy, the budget deficit stood at 10 percent, the highest since World War II.
Among the contributing factors causing the record deficit was a 16.6 percent drop in federal revenues and an 18.2 percent increase in federal spending. Two of the big components in the federal spending increase were the $700 billion financial bailout and increased spending and tax relief from the $787 billion economic stimulus program that President Obama pushed through Congress in February.
As bad as the deficit is, imagine what the economic picture would be like if the federal bailout and stimulus packages never happened. Imagine how many financial institutions would have failed. Imagine how much worse the situation would have been in Detroit. And imagine all the highway projects, construction jobs, teaching positions and other jobs that would have been lost without the federal stimulus money.
The last time the federal government’s books were in the black was September 2008 when the government reported a $45.7 billion surplus for the month. A year later the government reported a $46.6 billion deficit, a $92.3 billion turnaround in just 12 months.
We don’t expect that quick of a turnaround for the good but as the economy improves and revenues increase, the government can start whittling away at the deficit and eventually get the budget back into the black like it was a little more than a year ago.
Watertown Public Opinion
Off-road vehicle plan is a good strategy for Black Hills
The new off-road vehicle travel management plan for the Black Hills National Forest should be in place by the first of the year.
The plan, developed by the National Forest Service after the review of months of public input, will establish a designated off-road trail system in the national forest for off-highway vehicles — ATVs and dirt bikes.
The plan won’t end off-road use in the Black Hills, simply regulate and manage it which will benefit all users of the national forest. We’re glad to see the forest plan finally come together. And at the same time, we’re also glad to see ATV riders join in the effort to regulate this growing sport.
In anticipation of the forest service plan, local groups are advocating the Legislature implement some new rules for ATV users.
A proposal in its early stages has the backing of at least two major off-road associations and dovetails nicely into the forest service plan to manage the hills.
What’s being proposed by local groups is implementation of some basic laws to govern all-terrain vehicles — banning ATV use on major highways as well as a licensing and registration system.
The proposal should be ready for the 2010 Legislature to consider.
The creation of the forest management plan is partly due to complaints that off-road riders are doing unnecessary damage to some areas of the Black Hills.
The forest management plan will come with a fee attached for off-road users — probably in the $25 range — and the money generated will be used to create, maintain and supervise the trail system.
We like what we’re seeing here and think it’s best for the Black Hills. We have a group of off-road enthusiasts willing to work hand-in-hand with the forest service and the state to ensure a positive future for their activity.
Everyone benefits in that scenario.
Rapid City Journal