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Selling Off the Public Lands

Happy Monday, everyone. Time to kick off another week of Hometown Radio.

Today at 4:05, we’ll tackle the recent announcement that the Bush administration plans to sell off more than $1 billion in public lands during the next decade, including 85,000 acres of national forest land in California. Experts call it the largest land sale of its kind since Teddy Roosevelt established the national park system in 1905. Senator Feinstein has already called this, “a terrible idea based on a misguided sense of priorities.”

Why are we selling public land? This is how Bush wants to fund rural schools? He has to come up with something, because we have no money. Every dime seems to be going to our war in Iraq. We’ll find out what you think today, but feel free to post a comment.

Jack Greene will also stop by to discuss U.S. energy policy and recent Letters to the Editor in the Tribune attacking him. Should be a good show.

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  1. Rich from Paso
    February 14, 2006 at 12:21 am

    Bill Clinton sold off a lot of our electromagnetic spectrum to commercial firms to raise money. This has limited the bandwidth and the choices of frequencies the government can use. This affects everything from air traffic control to the military to the highway patrol. Not the first time something inherently valuable has been sold off.

  2. Rich from Paso
    February 14, 2006 at 2:42 am

    Three quick points:

    1) 89,000 sq acres is twice the size of Camp Roberts

    2) Dave, isn’t $2,770,000,000,000 enough money for the federal government to run on? I mean, come on, man, enough is enough already.

    3) Make you and (not-so)Feinstein a deal: acre for acre, let’s trade the land in the lower 48 states for land in ANWAR. To sweeten the deal, how about a surcharge on the use fo the land (oil expolration, of course) to go to pay for rural schools. What do you say?

  3. Bob from San Luis
    February 14, 2006 at 4:15 am

    Rich: Nice to see the pattern staying the course; when the Bush Administration is criticized, bring up something that Clinton did that was wrong. Clinton did some things that I absolutely disagreed with, NAFTA and the further deregulation of media being among two of them. Instead of attacking President Bush for the idea, I just question why it is that this proposal is needed.
    If one thinks about the possibilities of the proposed sales of public lands, there can be many positives. If the land is sold at a fair market value at an open bid auction that goes to the highest bidder, that seems inherently fair, instead of some sort of crony backdoor type of deal. When the property is held in private hands, it is then eligible to be taxed by the county in which is belongs, therefore bringing in more tax dollars for that county, as well as the selling price going into the coffers of the federal government. So far so good, unless there is some natural resource on or in the property, like coal, timber or some sort of ore that can be extracted. If any of those are present, the rights to harvest or develop those resources must be addressed separately, openly and fairly, once again with no back door crony type of deals. If all of those constraints are met, and there is no inherent historical or cultural significance to the property, everything seems like a win win situation. The bigger issue here to me doesn’t seem to be the actual sale of public lands, but why we have the need to sell these lands. For a conservative, President Bush has not be fiscally responsible with government spending. Yeah, I know, Sept. 11 changed everything, but really, tax cuts while waging “wars” in two different countries? Tax cuts while Congress proposes pork project after pork project including building a multi-million dollar bridge project for an island in Alaska that benefits 50 people? Had the Bush Administration gone about using our money in a smarter manner, would those tax cuts really been the best action to take, given the mounting deficit, or would the $8.8 Billion gone missing in Iraq? The big question that needs addressing is as Dave said, why do we need to do this, now?

  4. Rich from Paso
    February 14, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Bob,
    To quote my favorite president “There you go again”. you were the one that made the value judgement on the good or bad of the frequency sale. Dave brought up that there was no precedent for the sale and I offered up the freq sale. That’s it. Here’s a shock for you: I agree with you. I think that the governement wastes way too much of our money. You cite the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s your right, but most of the waste occurs right there inside the beltway. The bloated buracracy in DC is more of a waste. And yes, I hate the fact that 500 people in Alaska are going to enjoy a $250+ million bridge. That said, you are dead wrong about “tax cuts for the rich during a war (words to that effect)”. Tax cuts have increased revenues, period. You and the Leberal Left need to take not only some economics classes, but some psychology classes in order to overcome your provincial ideas and attitudes about our tax code. Tax cuts raising revenues is counter-intuitive to liberals. The fact is that every time taxes are lowered, revenues have increased. People spend more when they have more money, that is also a fact. The IRS has collected some $200 billion additional dollars this year over projections. Furthermore, every additional dollar in a persons pocket gets spent at the local level, which increases state and local coffers through sales taxes. Hell, I say we need to throw this tax code in the trash and go with a flat 10% income tax, a 10% national sales tax, and repeal all other additional taxes. The amount of money that would flow into the Treasury would be like Niagra Falls. You’ll never, EVER, get me to say anything bad about tax cuts or advocate tax increase, but I digress…
    I agree that the sale of an area twice the size of CP Roberts seems pointless and to say it will pay of rrural schools is kind of absurd. Again, another shocker, I agree with Dave that it should go back to the Interior as an offset for further outlays. Who knows? Maybe they will have toilet papaer at the Grand Canyon restrooms finally (haha).
    Finally, pork projects are rampant throughout both parties. If Rep Boehner (the new Maj leader in the House) is as good as his word and ends the earmark process, the people would save billions every year. I hope he keeps his word and gets it done.

  5. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    February 18, 2006 at 7:56 am

    Yeah,

    I would sure hate to see any more of the land go to PRIVATE HANDS, the GUVERNMENT needs to own it so they can take care of it and control it and keep us off of it.

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