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The Federal Government Owns 61 Percent Of Idaho, 64 Percent Of Utah And 84 Percent Of Nevada

Did you know that the federal government owns 28 percent of all land in the United States?  Today, the feds control approximately 640 million acres of land, and after decades of very poor management, many are calling on the states to take a larger role.  This is particularly true in the 11 western states where the federal government collectively owns 47 percent of all land.  East of the Mississippi River, the feds only own 4 percent of all land, and there is no reason for such a disparity to exist.  In Connecticut and Iowa, the federal government only owns 0.3 percent of all land.  Such an arrangement seems to work very well for those states, and so why can’t we dramatically reduce federal land ownership in the western states as well?

Of course the federal government will always need a very small amount of land for certain national purposes, and nobody is disputing that.  According to the Heritage Foundation, the following are the primary purposes that federal land is being used for…

These holdings include national parks, national forests, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, vast tracts of range and wasteland managed by the Bureau of Land Management, reservations held in trust for Native American tribes, military bases, and ordinary federal buildings and installations.

We will always need to have some land set aside for those purposes.

But does the Bureau Of Land Management really need more than 247 million acres?

Does the Forest Service really need more than 192 million acres?

Does the Fish and Wildlife Service really need more than 89 million acres?

If the feds were doing a good job, that would be one thing, but in so many instances federal land managers have gotten an extremely bad reputation.  The following comes from an article by Sue Lani Madsen

For example, federal land is exempt from state noxious weed control laws, and lack of weed control has earned federal land a reputation as a bad neighbor. Frustrated local federal land managers are hindered by layers of internal regulations and restricted funding that make timely response to weed outbreaks difficult.

And thanks to mismanagement by the feds, wildfires tend to spread very rapidly in many areas owned and controlled by the federal government.  At this point more than 2.6 million acres of land have already burned in 2017, and that is close to 30 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

If you have never lived in a western state, it may be difficult for you to imagine just how frustrating it is to have the federal government in control of vast stretches of your state.  In so many cases the feds simply do not care about local issues or concerns, and when they drop the ball there is often very little that can be done about it.

According to Ballotpedia, the federal government owns more than 28 percent of the land in 12 different western states…

Washington: 28.5 percent

Montana: 29.0 percent

New Mexico: 34.7 percent

Colorado: 35.9 percent

Arizona: 38.6 percent

California: 45.8 percent

Wyoming: 48.1 percent

Oregon: 52.9 percent

Alaska: 61.2 percent

Idaho: 61.6 percent

Utah: 64.9 percent

Nevada: 84.9 percent

Here in Idaho, we are glad to have so much public land because it is a wonderful thing for hunters, fishers, hikers and those that enjoy other outdoor activities.

So we want to continue our tradition of having wide open spaces that are owned by the public – we just want the federal government to hand over the keys and leave.

We believe that Idaho land should be owned by the people of Idaho, and we believe that Idaho’s natural resources should be managed by the people of Idaho.

Those that are against transferring ownership of federal land to the states often argue that it would be too expensive for the states to handle

Paying for wildfire protection alone—it accounts for about half of the U.S. Forest Service’s annual budget of $6.5 billion—would burden Western taxpayers, says the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group.

States would be forced to raise taxes or sell off iconic national properties to developers or other private investors in order to pay for everything the federal government does now—from complicated tasks like enforcing environmental regulations and maintaining cultural and historic resources to simple ones like putting up road and trail signs.

But one study found that it is actually profitable for states to manage their own public lands.  Here is more from Sue Lani Madsen

A 2015 study by the Property and Environment Research Center, a free-market environmental think tank, consistently found state-managed land provided a return on every dollar spent while federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management cost more to operate than they return in revenue.

At the end of the day, this is just another area where we need to readjust the balance of power between the states and the federal government.  Our founders intended to create a system where the states had much more power than the central government, but instead that has become totally flipped around.

Today, it is almost as if the 10th Amendment does not even exist.  Most of the time the federal government treats state governments as little more than puppets, and very few state governments have the backbone to stand up for themselves.

As conservatives, we need to start standing up against the costly federal mandates that are imposing such a financial burden on our state governments.  We want control of our own laws and our own budgets.

It is also time for the feds to get off the backs of our farmers, our miners, our loggers and our ranchers.  Some of the most abusive federal agencies, such as the EPA, need to be shut down entirely.

And if our local communities do not want to take Islamic refugees from the Middle East, they should not be forced to do so by the federal government.  Here in Idaho, three young Islamic refugees raped a 5-year-old girl, and yet the federal government does not seem to care about our outrage.

Recently, I have been talking to so many people that just want the federal government to leave us alone.  Instead of solving our problems, most of the time the federal government is the problem, and things would be so much better if the feds would just stay out of our business.

The Sobering Reality Of What Life Is Like In Reno, Nevada

What do you do when the city where you live is dying?  All over the United States formerly great cities are crumbling, but some are definitely in worse shape than others.  One reader recently wrote to me about what she sees happening all around her in Reno, Nevada.  The unemployment rate in Reno is now up to 11.7 percent, which is well above the national average of 8.3 percent.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The recent recession hit Nevada particularly hard and people have been moving out of the state in waves.  In fact, the labor force in Nevada has shrunk by close to 20 percent over the past year as workers have moved elsewhere in search of work.  But even though the labor force is now nearly 20 percent smaller, the unemployment rate is still well above 11 percent.  There simply are not enough jobs in large Nevada cities such as Reno and Las Vegas.  Unfortunately for Reno, it does not have the same kind of big corporate money pouring into it that Las Vegas does.  The good news is that you can buy a house very, very cheaply in Reno because homes were foreclosed on in droves during the housing crash.  Even today, some housing developments that were put up near the end of the boom times look like virtual ghost towns.  The main industry in Reno is “entertainment”, but many of Reno’s strip clubs and gambling establishments have aged so badly at this point that they just look kind of depressing.  I guess that is kind of fitting, because Nevada has the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, and Reno has been ranked as one of the top 10 depressed cities in the entire country.  As the city has declined, gangs have moved in and the drug trade is flourishing.  Reno has been called the meth capital of America, and crime is on the rise.  Despite being surrounded by tremendous natural beauty, Reno has become a very unpleasant place in which to live.  But what is happening in Reno is also happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.  Our economy is collapsing and our cities are crumbling right in front of our eyes, and it is only going to get worse from here.

A reader of my site named Heather who has been unemployed since November of last year recently shared the following with me….

I am living in Reno/Sparks Nevada and I feel like it is ground zero for collapse. There are a lot of people who are in denial right now and cannot see the larger picture. I keep also saying we are the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.  It is quite depressing driving around seeing empty office buildings with vacancies and retail areas just empty. Went to the stores and retail seems pretty slow also. I am volunteering at ProNet locally and it helps unemployed people finds jobs and skills. It has been depressing there too with very little jobs out there for many people who need one.

She said that I should share what is happening in Reno with my readers.  She wanted people to know what those living in Reno are going through.

You might think that since Reno is so sunny, so warm and surrounded by such natural beauty that it would be one of the happiest places in America.

Unfortunately it turns out that the opposite is true.

Reno is actually a very sad place.

In fact, last year Men’s Health ranked Reno as the ninth saddest city in the United States.

In response to this ranking, one resident of Reno wrote the following….

In light of this disheartening list-making, it is, of course, important for Nevadans to look on the bright side. Rather than allowing these statistics to depress us further, we can consider them a series of challenges that make living in places like Reno and Las Vegas all the more impressive. You don’t just live in Reno. You survive Reno! To dwell in Reno, you must triumph over the odds that are stacked against you—one of the things we’re supposed to do best here.

If we can withstand all of the emotional curveballs thrown at us because we have selected such a turbulent location in which to reside, we can probably survive anything.

As a lifelong Renoite, I am inclined to respond to these lists with defiance. Yeah, things can look pretty grim sometimes when no one can find a job, and there seems to be no way out.

And that is how many Americans are feeling these days.  They are broke, unemployed, depressed and out of options.

How can you pick up and start a new life somewhere else when you have no job and no money?

Sadly, a lot of younger Americans are turning to drugs in an attempt to escape the pain of their daily lives.

One article that I found attempted to find humor in the raging meth epidemic that is happening in Reno….

Reno has been affectionately called the meth capital of the nation. Some foolishly think mass drug usage can ravage a city as swiftly as it can ruin a user’s clear complexion. In all reality, drug addiction is no more than an endearing quirk, certainly not a cause for concern. Babies and adolescents with addiction-addled parents should stop being coddled and learn how to take care of themselves. I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was six months old­ — I’m sure they can do the same. If there is anything disturbing about the meth problem in Reno, it’s that it shows the lack of variety in this town. Why don’t you try some uppers like MDMA? Your teeth will thank me.

Unfortunately, Reno is far from alone.  In the past I have written about how formerly great cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore are completely falling apart as well.  This kind of thing is literally happening from coast to coast.

There is a very serious lack of decent jobs in America right now.  At this point only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

This has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to be able to take care of themselves.

If you can believe it, more than 100 million Americans are on welfare at this point.

And that number does not even include the tens of millions of people that are on Social Security and Medicare.

What in the world has happened to us?

These days most Americans work really hard all of their lives but never end up reaching their dreams.

In fact, one recent study found that 46 percent of all Americans die with less than $10,000 worth of financial assets.

Talk about depressing.

But instead of having us focus on how bad the economic numbers are, the Federal Reserve wants to start measuring how “happy” everyone is.  The following is from a recent ABC News article….

Ben Bernanke wants to know if you are happy.

The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn’t just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting “the enhancement of well-being.”

So what would you say if the Federal Reserve contacted you and asked if you are happy?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

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