Harry Browne on Environment
2000 Libertarian Nominee for President
A great deal of what you hear about the future of Planet Earth isn’t science, it’s politics. Notice that with every alarm-about air pollution, endangered species, or anything else-the preferred solution is always the same: more government.
The supposed struggle to save the planet is really a struggle for power-power over your life. So politicians and environmental extremists never wait for their claims to be proven before demanding to turn your life upside down. If these weren’t at bottom political issues, occasionally the reformers would suggest solutions that don’t call for increased political power over your life.
A: Sell off assets the federal government shouldn’t own (there are trillions of dollars worth), and use the proceeds to buy private, life-time annuities for everyone dependent now on Social Security.
Q: What are some of the assets a Browne Administration would sell off?
A: The federal government owns 25% of all the land in the US (and only one seventh of that are the national parks). The government owns power companies, pipelines, unused military bases, commodity reserves, and much, much more. None of them serves any constitutional function.
Q: So you’re not talking about selling off the Grand Canyon.... you’re talking about selling off old air force bases and the like?
A: I would be willing to exempt some of the national parks (even though many of them are highly polluted under government ownership), but mainly we’re talking about land that is tied up by the government but serving no discernible purpose.
A: How often have you heard of a private company polluting its own property? Almost never.
How often have you heard of a private company polluting government land or rivers? Often.
Government (including the EPA) is the worst polluter of all. Get as much property as possible out of the hands of government, where administrators have no stake in the value of the property, and transfer it to private owners who will worry about its future value.
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