Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Government of the fat cats, by the fat cats and for the fat cats

Legislative observers who monitor the states are seeing double—again. It's not just the unseasonably high temperatures in the West that are causing double vision.

The American Legislative Exchange Council's been at it again, and the results are showing up as an attempt to revive the old Sagebrush Rebellion (see "political history, Reagan administration").

Like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the idea that the federal government should cede federal lands to the states just won't die no matter how many times it's declared unconstitutional in courts of law.

Today, Republican legislators in Utah and Arizona are pushing legislation that would demand that the federal government turn over lands to the states that aren't national parks, military installations or wilderness areas. In Utah, that would be about 50 percent of all the land in the state. In Arizona, it would be 40 percent.

The legislation has been blessed by ALEC, the conservative café funded by some of the richest corporate barons and richest companies in the world.

ALEC is a legislation mill that brings together state legislators and corporate fat cats in a push by big businesses to wield widespread political influence. It wields that influence by giving legislators resources—staffers, researchers, legal wordsmiths and model legislation—that they can't afford on their own.

In Idaho, 64 percent of the land is controlled by the feds. So it's a good bet that our state, a reliable sucker for piling on almost any effort to take a swipe at the federal government, will entertain similar legislation when it meets again next winter.

But why would it? A stack of legal precedents say the land grab doesn't stand a chance of success, though it has a great chance of costing taxpayers millions to defend in court.

And if the states succeed? Taxpayers couldn't remotely afford to take care of the lands now in the hands of the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Nationally, the Forest Service alone has a budget of $4.86 billion.

So how would the successful rebel states cope? (Drum roll, please.) They'd do what people with excess stuff do: They'd sell off prime pieces to the highest bidders.

Westerners would kiss their hiking, horseback riding, ATVing, hunting, fishing, boating, birdwatching and camping lifestyles goodbye as private mining, timber, energy and agriculture companies throw up fences and No Trespassing signs.

It's an election year. Idahoans should let legislative candidates know that they're content with government of the people and have no wish to exchange it for government of, for and by the corporate fat cats at ALEC.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.