There's a new campaign to "explain" economics to the average person - look for distillations of this wretched thinking - which thinks lack of a large social state that controls everything - is the cause of all the ills of the USA. I'm REAL sure that teachers will be indoctrinated with this at workshops, given curriculum that draws upon it, and encouraged to be "socially responsible", and teach it to their kids (in this context, "teaching" means pushing kids to agree with the outcome, if not the thinking).
I haven't the time to wade through all of Thomas Picketty's book; but I don't have to. The blogger on An American Manifesto has, and it covers the topic throughly enough for you to understand what's at stake.
So, how DO we solve the debt problem of the USA?
One way to do so is to sell off unnecessary land and buildings.
Some of that land is owned by the states. And, as this article about SC's state-owned land shows, government may be overleveraged with property.
But, that's just one state. How much land/property/buildings does the Federal government own, and what does it cost us? Approximately 1/2 the land in Western states is "owned" by the Federal government (BTW, the land in dispute by Bundy is just such land).
According to Wikipedia,
As of March 2012, out of the 2.27 billion acres in the country, about 28% of the total was owned by the Federal government according to the Interior Department.
Here's a report of SOME of the land managed by the Federal government. Although it's long, it isn't that difficult to follow. One of my arguments for reducing the size of federal lands is that they do such a poor job of it. MANY of the western forest fires begin on Federally-owned land, and is a direct result of policy decisions - AND the continued holding of land in public trust.
My position: if the property is so extensive that it cannot be maintained without risk of fire, it's too big a holding.
Does that mean that the Feds should look to reduce the size of some of the parks? Yep. The public doesn't benefit if the park is in flames; better to have a smaller park, and fewer fires.
Here's a link to a map showing excess federal property (not being used). See how many are in your state.
BTW, that link was from the White House - NOT a partisan site.
2 problems with holding so much land and property:
- The land and property costs the taxpayer - if not in use, it deteriorates. A lot of money has to be spent to patrol it, keep it up, and provide basic maintenance. See the NPR (Yes, THAT NPR!) report at the link.
- That land is NOT taxable property - as it would be in private hands. Each acre/building is removed from the local tax rolls, and that state is poorer for that.