Sunday, January 25, 2009

Land For Sale?

I have a solution for our country’s economic hardship.
Instead of putting the U.S. taxpayer on the hook for trillions of dollars, why doesn’t our government liquidate assets?
Our government is the owner of probably the most valuable asset on the globe - land. In fact, the United States Government has direct ownership of almost 650 million acres of land - nearly 30% of its total territory.
While some federal lands are used as military bases or testing grounds, nature parks and reserves and indian reservations, or are leased to the private sector for commercial use, the vast majority of it is used for very little if at all.
Consider the following states and the percentage of land owned by the federal government:
1. Nevada 84.5%
2. Alaska 69.1%
3. Utah 57.4%
4. Oregon 53.1%
5. Idaho 50.2%
6. Arizona 48.1%
7. California 45.3%
8. Wyoming 42.3%
9. New Mexico 41.8%
10. Colorado 36.6%
Contrast that with the land owned by the government in the East:
1. Connecticut 0.4%
2. Rhode Island 0.4%
3. Iowa 0.8%
4. New York 0.8%
5. Maine 1.1%
6. Kansas 1.2%
7. Nebraska 1.4%
8. Alabama 1.6%
9. Ohio 1.7%
10. Illinois 1.8%
The US government owns a whopping 84.5% of Nevada, but only a 0.4% of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The government only owns 1.9 percent of the total land in Texas.
Obviously, Uncle Sam owns some pretty prime real estate. Take the Rocky Mountains for example. How much would that land bring on the open market. Furthermore, what if said land could be used for development, natural resources, etc...
Why burden 300 million Americans with $10-$13 trillion in national debt when they’re sitting on trillions of untapped potential they could not only liquidate, but also tax.
How fast could California get in the black if just 10 percent of the land owned by the government were sold to the public?
Read it one more time: 650 million acres of land. Texas is big with approximately 172 million acres. Much smaller than the total amount of land the government owns.
I’ll be sure to send this column to various elected officials and see what kind of response I get and keep you posted.
After all, I think we’d all rather the government be in the real estate business instead of the banking business. And if they insist on bailing everyone out, they should use their own money!

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

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