I Know--Let's Sell Utah!
Everyone, it seems, has a notion for how to reduce the federal deficit. Some folks think we should partially privatize Medicare. Others thinks we should raise taxes on millionaires. And Florida Representative Dennis Ross thinks the federal government should sell Utah:
I’m not an economist, but I have maintained a household. The federal government owns 70 per cent of Utah, for example. There are federal buildings. If you need cash, let’s start liquidating.
Thanks to ThinkProgress, we learn that Utah Governor Gary Herbert thinks the idea is "worth exploring."
And of course we have a lot of the private land, excuse me, a lot of federal land that they could liquidate and help balance the budget. I think it’s certainly worth exploring. I don’t think we’re going to sell off our national parks and some of those pristine areas. But there’s a lot of land that could in fact be privatized and help reduce the deficit. So I think it’s got some merit to it.
In fact, senators Mike Lee of Utah and John McCain of Arizona have co-sponsored a bill, SB 635, which would sell off federal lands across the West, including Utah. Lee estimates that selling 3.3 million acres could bring in more than a billion dollars--four times less, notes ThinkProgress, than would be made by ending subsidies to Big Oil for a single year. "It’s quite a shortsighted idea," says Marc Heileson, the Sierra Club's senior organizer in Utah, "to think you could pay off the national debt by giving away your greatest assets."
Photo by Lawson LeGate