I recognize how important oil has been to the economy of North Dakota. But I am witnessing small businesses that have been stiffed yet again by big name exploiters, who like an absentee parent, swoop in at Christmas loaded with glitzy gifts and big hugs to assuage their guilt and then sneaks out on New Year’s Eve, leaving those kids bereft ‘til next time.

The difference, sadly, is the deadbeat exploiter receives lots of taxpayer dollars or breaks to “drill, Baby drill” and doesn’t even have to clean up his mess, because “hurrah” by a dark miracle, totally unrelated to oil, we got this COVID 19 windfall to plug the uncapped wells mess they left behind because the bond posting for poking holes in that precious soil is so ridiculously low.

If North Dakota wants to help the homegrown companies which sprang up to support the many out-of-state grifters in making their success and failure possible, that COVID money should pay them for what they have been stiffed on contracts by the companies that took their money and ran out of state. Thus, leaving behind the domino effect of local entrepreneurs who can’t pay their employees or other vendors, who then cannot pay their bills, or back taxes, or child support. Bankruptcies will abound and us taxpayers will have to clean up yet another cycle of "boom and bust."

The moral to this story is, let’s not cut the programs that take care of the bereft children caught in this undercurrent of failed “boom and bust” mentality. The voters were right in establishing long term insurance against short term failures by policy makers, the Legacy Fund. Doubling down on wrong-headed policy giving huge tax breaks to exploiters, cleaning up their mess after them and then raiding the Legacy Fund to take care of what the COVID windfall should be paying for is morally corrupt. Those bereft children and home grown businesses, not the grifters who show up once a decade with glitz and glamour and leave the state bereft, as well, should get the benefits of that COVID funding.

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