Lump of Coal?

Dennis Linthicum

Lump of Coal?

A pair of economists recently summarized Venezuela’s current economic situation. They noted that while Venezuela’s embrace of socialism began in the 1950s, it grew quickly during the new millennium. Their summary ended with, “Over time, the destruction of economic freedom led to more and more impoverishment and crisis.

Will our economic future be linked to this same unbridled appetite for socialism that has destroyed the Venezuelan economy?

I hate to raise this question during the Christmas season, but as I survey this past year, it is a question that deserves an answer. Given Oregon’s current fondness for tax and spend, welfare-state politicians, will the Democrat majority give it’s citizenry lumps of coal for Christmas, or their economic freedom?

Economic freedom for entrepreneurs, companies and small business owners is being  needlessly throttled by state agencies claiming the moral high-ground. That’s what socialism does. The fictional pretext for social control is always, “for the good of those at the bottom of the economic ladder.” Yet, as we see with Venezuela, it is the poor and needy who are ravaged by impoverished conditions, not the politically well-connected.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is one of the sledgehammers for the progressive-left and the ruling elites in Oregon’s capital. The agency appears far too powerful for any public benefit.

You may recall the profound bias and vengeful aggravation which BOLI thrust upon Aaron and Melissa Klein, co-owners of the Portland-area bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The Kleins were forced to pay $136,927.07, by the inventive administrative bureaucrats at BOLI, for choosing not to decorate a wedding cake.

That incident is still pending appeal and the US Supreme Court recently heard testimony on a nearly identical case in Colorado where the same issue is at stake – an individuals right to serve his or her own conscience.

While there must certainly be some give and take, or a balancing act for accomplishing the ordered liberty we all desire – it does come with some friction. What must be surrendered and at what price? Our constitutionally federated Republic can only flourish when we preserve the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Our founders knew this, first and foremost. In a pamphlet dated November 1, 1787, we can see the teeter-totter balancing act expressed by Brutus as he writes a for second time. We read:

“So much, however, must be given up, as will be sufficient to enable those, to whom the administration of the government is committed, to establish laws for the promoting the happiness of the community, and to carry those laws into effect. But it is not necessary, … that individuals should relinquish all their natural rights. Some are of such a nature that they cannot be surrendered. Of this kind are the rights of conscience, the right of enjoying and defending life, etc. … To surrender them, would counteract the very end of government, to wit, the common good.” 

From Brutus’ viewpoint, individuals surrender their lone state in nature by establishing aids for securing their lives, liberties and property. Brutus continues to note that governments are made up of human beings who suffer common impulses like ambition and greed.

Meaning, the common good can be plundered by elected officials abusing power and pursuing their own self-interested gain. Brutus concludes with arguments for a Bill of Rights, to ensure that the proposed government would not forego its responsibility in securing the liberty of the people they serve.

An example: HB 3279 - Sexual Harassment and Cultural Competency

Last week, a constituent wrote to me in an e-mail describing new rules that are being placed upon her janitorial service business, which is now legislatively known as a “property services contractor.”

These rules are draped with false care and fictitious concern for her employees who, in the future, might be tormented by either serious sexual abuse, or, by simple potty mouth and sophomoric locker-room style braggadocio.

Let me be clear, from my conservative perspective, neither, the locker-room antics nor genuinely abusive behavior is acceptable. However, my worldview is antithetical to the  mind-numbing psychology of individual determinism swaddled in the modern language of former beatniks.

My worldview is based upon my, apparently, old and antiquated Biblical perspective, where respect for all persons is a given due to the fact that all people are created in God’s image and that they have been endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

The statists, who desire power and control more than truth and justice, know these truths–just like you and I. They are, after-all, self-evident truths. Yet, hypocrisy reigns supreme as these grand ideals are distorted and twisted to gain political power and temporary fame via news-hour sound-bites, photo-ops and editorials of the fake-news empire.

Question – If sexual harassment and cultural competency are the foremost goals in the marble halls of Salem’s capital, then why is the educational agenda littered with the masquerade of “value-less” education within our government schools?

Additionally, why would HB 3279 exempt specific large-scale organizations from required compliance with these rules? Look at who is exempt:

PSC Does not Include

What!?   Why not?

It strikes me as entirely disingenuous that the sanctimonious scolds among the liberal elites are not sticking up for the thousands who will NOT be protected. Their double-standards and naked hypocrisy is both frightening and appalling.

Indeed, there is more going on here than protecting Oregon’s janitorial service employees from the potential of atrocious sexual harassment in their workplaces. Part of this rule-making effort is to continue the same old lie that those in lower echelons of the economic strata need the State to care for them–because their employers won’t.

This is simply not true.

These workers are not the gray-haired and toothless washer-women out of a Dickens’ novel. Nor, are they the down-trodden and starving from some black and white propaganda piece about Lenin’s Ukraine. No, these folks are the hard working, salt of the earth type of people who keep our service centers, retail shops, accounting offices and shopping malls attractive, organized and presentable.

And, their employers are not the tawdry, despicable, vile and perverted power-brokers occupying the headlines of Hollywood. No, their employers are also hardworking Americans. They are the entrepreneurs and business owners who contract, employ, arrange, schedule and perform right beside the rest of their crew members.

The telltale signs of BOLI’s sulfurous and petty political bias shows up in their Handbook for Oregon Property Services Contractors – Labor Contracting in the Janitorial Services Industry, you will find this on page 39:

Petty Political Trash

Does the highlighted remark reflect the genuine and sincere concern of a state agency focusing on workers and their well-being? Or, does this represent the arrogant, guileful and mendacious attempt at a petty political joke?

The deceit runs deeper, too. The HTML - online version has different names in the same example so that Web Search Engine Results won’t expose the putrid disrespect and hypocrisy. The PDF version and any printed copies should be immediately redacted.

Did any of these smug bureaucrats who are filling agency documents with this trash ever consider including petty jokes about Harvey, Matt, Hillary or Barack?

Why doesn’t HB 3279 focus on sexual harassment within Hollywood production companies and their studio enterprises while they are filming in Oregon? Because… there is too much money to be succored from Hollywood.

Flyover America–the red colored counties on the electoral map–is fed -up with the relentless abuse coming from these tax and spend bureaucracies. Our communities contain the hard working folks who are drowning in the swamp of deception bubbling from the left’s unbending allegiance to total control. Agencies lobby to get vague, purely partisan, feel-good concepts passed through the legislature. (For example, HB 3279 was passed without a single Republican vote in the Oregon Senate.) Agencies then write absurdly complex rules, complete with untenable deadlines, exorbitant fees, needless paperwork and reckless disrespect for the citizens who pay their salaries and fund their benefits.

So, what are we getting under our Christmas Tree? Here, in Oregon, we are all getting stuck with a lump of coal!

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes you and your family during this Christmas Season...

Senator Dennis Linthicum signature

Dennis Linthicum
Oregon State Senate 28

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1728
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-305, Salem, Oregon 97301