Thursday, November 16, 2006
NPR reported this morning about an obscure federal law that requires that funds received from public land sold around Las Vegas be spent on local projects, mostly concerning other public lands in the state. Nevada politicians, including soon-to-be- Senate-majority-leader Harry Reid, of course have supported the law.
Unlike some advocates of public ownership, I argue that it makes sense for the federal government to sell off some of the public lands in a state such as Nevada, in which Uncle Sam controls more than 80 of the land, and in which there is today high demand for private ownership. But giving the money only to local interests provides an incentive as dangerous, and as susceptible to abuse, as that in Kelo-type eminent domain for private use.