Sunday, April 13, 2014

Federal Lands

The reason we have this problem is that so much of the West is owned by "us," or "the U.S.," or something.  You may not have known that, but it matters a lot for context.  Check out this map:

Click for an even more federally-owned image.

Now, there is a genuine kerfuffle about land rights.  Not ownership, exactly, but the right to use the land for cattle grazing.  Adverse possession, Lockean combining my labor (or cattle) with the land, and so on.  There's this.  And then this

These people are crazy, right?  Why don't they graze their cattle on private land, and stop whining?  Check out Nevada, folks.  In the map above.  There is no private land.

Have we reached a cow tipping point?  What is going to happen?  My answer:  sell it, sell most of it.  My friend Holly Fretwell at PERC wrote about this back in 2003.  Fifteen years ago, Terry, Vernon, and Emily worked on this.  It's not like we didn't know.  Sell it.  SELL IT!  More recently, Holly is still trying to get someone to listen.


Anonymous said...

Could you please make it possible to tweet your brilliant and funny posts so that they can be more readily shared with others.

Anonymous said...

And after you sell off all the land, sell of all of the empty buildings that the federal gov't owns in many urban areas.

Maybe this is why creditors aren't so worried about U.S. debt. There's a lot of money in that land.

Angus said...

Anon #1: your wish is our command! Enjoy.

Cowboy Prof said...

We have gone beyond the cow tipping point and have made it to the car tipping point, smartly I might add.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I don't understand why you are sad about the large % of land owned by the federal government. Much of that land is obviously made available to ranchers by the BLM, provided they pay their fees. Bundy is a welfare recipient. He expects to be provided free access to a range, even though everybody else respects the rule of law and pays their fees.

I find it amusing that free market advocates such as yourselves are sympathetic to this guy, at the same time you pillory people for accepting public assistance in other domains.

Anonymous said...