The federal land ownership question has me puzzled. I understand why it may have been good for the federal government to reserve vast amounts of land from the states when they applied for statehood but I do not understand why they are still doing it now. It kind of reminds me of the problem our founding fathers had with the slavery issue. It was necessary for our founding fathers to agree to protect the slave trade for twenty years so that they could get the votes to pass the Constitution. However when the twenty year time limit expired, Congress quickly passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807. The shelf life for the slavery issue had expired and it was stinking up the place. It was pretty obvious to the supporters of slavery that most of the country had decided that the practice of slavery should be abolished and that slaves should be freed. It was not obvious how this could be accomplished politically. In the end there is nothing like a very uncivil war to remind us that this political issue was not handled well. Not only did both the North and the South lose a large number of men to finally settle the slavery issue but the economy of South was devastated and the job opportunities for the newly freed slaves was primarily as sharecroppers. It was the classic lose-lose scenario that got worse with age.
Once again our country is caught up in another lose-lose opportunity. The country is in an absentee landlord relationship with the western states. If the saying “All politics is local” is true, for whose benefit is the federal government trying to keep up with these local grievances? Even though I question the legality of Mr. Bundy’s actions, he has shown the Putin approach to dealing with the federal government works. Now we get to see if the Administration can be more successful at talking down this situation then they have been with convincing Putin to not invade Ukraine. If the talks with Bundy stall what is the federal government going to do? I am sure that invading Nevada would be amusing spectacle to most people outside of Nevada. Maybe it is time for the federal government to do something it should have done more than 100 years ago and scale down the federal ownership of western lands. It is time to start selling the land and the first place to start would be to sell the grazing land to Mr. Bundy. It is the right thing to do. The shelf life for this absentee landlord relationship has expired and it has begun to stink.