Saturday, January 09, 2016

Rancher welfare: What Ammon Bundy doesn’t get about U.S. history

Sorry, Ranchers, You’re Actually Big-Time Government Moochers

By Josh Zeitz, Politico

… Constitutional huffing and puffing aside, residents in states like Oregon and Utah have zero legal rights to the land they are trying to claim. The act declaring Utah’s statehood, for example—just like legislation granting statehood to other territories in the 19th and 20th centuries—stipulates that its Legislature “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands.” In fact, the land that these ranchers call their own belongs to the entire country—to school teachers in New York and shipbuilders in Virginia as much as to ranchers in Oregon.

What’s more, the West has historically been a beneficiary of the U.S. government, not a victim. You won’t hear any of this from Bundy or from elected officials who mimic his argument, if not his lawlessness.

The real story is one of a niche interest group (ranchers and their allies) that feels entitled to a federal handout—potentially one of the largest in American history—at the expense of residents of East Coast, Midwest and Southeast states. Like the first Sagebrush Rebellion of 40 years ago, this revolt represents a classic case of fictional privilege, grounded in a shoddy understanding of United States history.

(Read more  here.)


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