Commentary: Silent government is scary government

By Dr. Eric Fruits

What do spy balloons, a state liquor scandal, and Oregon road tolling have in common?

The short answer is “not much”… except they are all examples of our government hiding stuff from us.

And, when the government doesn’t want you to know what’s going on, it’s easy to assume the worst.

Those balloons are definitely not space aliens. We need to face the fact that we’ve been spied on for years. We’re only catching them now because we just started looking for them.

On the OLCC liquor scandal, the biggest unanswered question is, “Which elected officials got their hands on the fancy hooch?” Someone knows, but they’re not telling.

It’s easy to assume the worst – that the scandal goes right to the top of Oregon government.

On tolling, ODOT gives only the vaguest hints of what the tolls might be.

The first tolls are a little more than a year away. At this point, ODOT must have a general idea of what the tolls will be – but they’re not telling us. It’s easy to assume the worst. One estimate says we might be paying $15 each way from Wilsonville to the Washington border.

Ronald Reagan told us to “trust, but verify.”

But, if you can’t verify, then you shouldn’t trust.

That’s doubly true when your government gives you the silent treatment.

– Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is vice president of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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