As an alternative to doing a Thelma and Louise over the "fiscal cliff" back on January 1 (Ron Paul claimed we were already airborne before then and just waiting to hit bottom) an organization called Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) wrote its own prescription for dealing with the national debt: "Sell Yosemite, Hold A Smithsonian Yard Sale."
In short, make the federal government divest itself of every scrap of property the Constitution doesn't absolutely say it can have. (That foundational document does empower the fed gov to "establish post offices and post roads" but it doesn't specify where, so let's just limit both to the DC enclave – the better to frustrate the politico-bureaubot classes – and leave the rest to the real world, known as "a free society."
The sale would include auctioning off hundreds of millions of acres of land along with its grazing, Timber, oil, gas, mineral and recreational rights. Ditto for the continental shelf that would include privatizing fishing rights.
And once the sheer size of the fed gov is reduced to its true Constitutional dimensions by abolishing some 95% of what it does today, all that real estate like office buildings, parking garages, warehouses, non-defense-related military bases and USDA field offices – and those 40,000 post offices littering the landscape – need to go.
But PERC (the E stands for Environment, remember) doesn't really want to sell of the nation's most revered holdings, our national parks, right?
"Then there are the crown jewels: national parks. Disney might pay many billions for the 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone. Throw in Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and the Everglades, and we might be talking another trillion."
PERC identifies itself as "the nation’s oldest and largest institute dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets."
They're onto something that big government idolaters would never even dream of, Free Market Environmentalism, which reflects the simple truth that people ("Enviropreneurs") have a natural vested interest in taking far better care of their own property than any mindless bureaucrat ever would.
Unfortunately, after all the trillion dollar bailouts to the politicians' crony banksters and corporatists it likely wouldn't raise enough money to cover the nation's true debt.
Still, we have to start somewhere, and most libertarians should agree that stripping the ruling class of assets they're utterly incapable of managing is that "somewhere."
(Thanks to longtime reader Maria Folsom for suggesting this article.)
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