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Horses and Hard Cash

If you don’t believe that there is a disconnect between the rich and the poor in this country, you don’t have to look very far.

Back in my day, when the circus came to town it arrived by train. Yesterday, 18 horses arrived in Kalispell by chartered aircraft from Baltimore, MD for competition at THE EVENT at Rebecca Farm. The Event is a part of the World Cup Tour featuring dressage, jumping and cross-country events. Horses and riders from as far away as South Africa and Australia travel to northwest Montana to compete in this prestigious event. The course was designed by horse-world royalty, Captain Mark Phillips, Olympic gold-medal horseman and first husband of Britain’s Princess Anne. It is the biggest event of it’s kind in the U.S. with 450 riders and will draw more than 20,000 spectators during the four-day run.

I don’t mean to disparage horsey sports or those who compete, they are true sportsmen and great competitors, but who has the kind of money it takes to ship 18 horses by air across the country? Not many in Montana I’m guessing. Competitors at Rebecca Farm compete for $50,000 in prize money. Surely winning all the money would not pay the chartered commercial air fair for the herd of horses, not to mention the many others from Europe and elsewhere that fly into Missoula or Spokane and are trucked to the Flathead.

Just for comparison, I checked some Maryland statistics and found that the unemployment rate in Baltimore sits at just over 7%, about the same as Montana. That runs to about 57,000 unemployed Baltimore folks that most likely won’t be making it to The Event. Maryland home foreclosures are up 103% over last year. I guess those folks could now be unencumbered and might make a summer trip to Montana, by thumb.

From Mother Jones

The Event is a great thing for the Flathead, bringing much needed tourist dollars to our slumping economy. The point is that there are folks out there who can fly plane loads of horses around the world just for the fun of it, but there are lots more who will sit in sweltering Baltimore and other places this summer because they are out of a job and don’t have a home or any other place to seek shade.

Republicans believe that the unemployed are just lazy louts who will spend their government windfall on alcohol, drugs and making more lazy babies. In their world, the Bush tax cuts were a good thing, not only because they pander to their core constituency, but because all that money will trickle down to us po’ folks. While we try to think of new ways to cut Social Security, Medicare and Estate Taxes, just remember that there are those at the top of the income ladder who prefer to treat their horses better than they treat their neighbors.


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