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Ken Overcast solves the debt crisis/selling public land

Faster horses

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Ken Overcast writes a column for The Prairie Star here in Montana.
www.kenovercast.com
www.theprairiestar.com

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a popular Ken Overcast column that ran in 2004.



An Idea so good it requires a fella to have brain insurance

Do you remember the Hollywood starlet that insured her legs for a million dollars a few years ago? I guess that her skirt must have accidentally gotten up over her knees a time or two in the filming, and she figured she was really on to something. She felt a need to protect her assets.


You don’t hear much about that kind of thing anymore. It’s probably because of the premiums. With all of the hide they expose nowadays, the cost would probably be prohibitive.

I’ve been thinkin’ about insuring my brain. It really ain’t fair that one guy should be so smart and good lookin’ too. All things considered, I figure the premiums ought to be fairly low.

I’ve been doing some thinking about the whole Federal Land mess we find ourselves in, and have come up with an act for Congress to consider. It could be called The Federal Lands Distribution and Debt Reduction Act of 2011. This plan is brilliant, if I must say so myself.

It’s this kind of thinkin’ that precipitates the need for brain insurance. The idea here is to get the BLM and US Forest Service Lands into the hands of individuals and onto the county tax rolls, while at the same time travelin’ a little farther down the trail to fiscal responsibility. It probably wouldn’t have a prayer of passage ... it just makes too much sense.

This proposal would put all Federal Lands, with the exception of National Parks and military and Indian reservations, up for bid. In order to be eligible to participate in the auction, the prospective bidders must be legal age individuals and US citizens. Everyone would have the same shot at a piece of the West. Corporations or partnerships wouldn’t qualify as legitimate bidders.

The land would be auctioned, along with its attached mineral rights, in parcels of 320 acres on the courthouse steps of the counties in which they are located, and each individual would only qualify to purchase one parcel. It would be like the old homestead days all over again, except there wouldn’t be any “provin’ up” to get the free federal land. (I think the old timers will tell you that it dang shore wasn’t free. They earned every dime of it.)

Let’s face it, a lot of federal land really doesn’t amount to very much, that’s why it wasn’t homesteaded 100 years ago. (Or if it was, the homesteaders went bust and Uncle Sam got it back.) If it just brought 10 bucks an acre, it would amount to over $4.5 billion. Some of it would bring a whole lot more. The money received would go directly into the Federal Treasury to help defray the national debt. The last time I looked, it stood at just under $14.5 trillion. (That’s just about three times what the amount was in 2004 when I first had this brainy idea.) That amounts to over $46,000 per citizen. That figure is over twice what it was in 2004. The great thing is, this brilliant plan of mine just might pay the WHOLE thing off.

It would take a real bonehead not to see that everyone in the country would reap an obvious benefit. I purposely didn’t write these numbers out ... it just takes too much ink. In the event that any parcel of land failed to receive a bid, the land would revert to the individual counties involved. Local control is always better.

The way I figure it, this would solve a whole lot of problems, and everyone stands to benefit. To say that the federal government hasn’t been all that efficient in their management would be an understatement. The last figures I saw were from the mid 90s, and the net annual loss for the BLM and Forest Service at that time was over $350 million. Can you even imagine having free land and going in the hole? What in the dickens would they do if they had land payments to make like all the rest of us do?

I can’t see any reason to let them dig that hole any deeper than it already is. The sales would also create an instant appraisal for the increased county tax base, and local officials might just have a little more money to help with the maintenance of the remote county roads.

Joe and Sally Rancher would have the opportunity to bid on that section of the land back behind the house that fits right into their operation, and Mr. and Mrs. Urbanite could buy themselves a piece of the American dream. Neither one would have to worry about some mogul or corporation buying the whole West, and then selling it to some oil sheik or turning it into a buffalo pasture. Of course if they wanted to raise buffalo or drill an oil well ... that’s their business. After all, this is America.

Environmental concerns would simply disappear. There are those who will argue that individual owners don’t have the brains to take care of their own property, and that the country is better off with the bureaucrats running things. I think their record in Washington, and ours out West shows otherwise.

Speakin’ of taking care of things, I think I’d better get on the phone to the insurance man and check on those brain insurance premiums ... before I have another idea.

Keep Smilin’ ... and don’t forget to check yer cinch.

Ken Overcast is a recording cowboy singer that ranches on Lodge Creek in north central Montana where he raises and dispenses B.S.
 
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Anonymous

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This proposal would put all Federal Lands, with the exception of National Parks and military and Indian reservations, up for bid. In order to be eligible to participate in the auction, the prospective bidders must be legal age individuals and US citizens. Everyone would have the same shot at a piece of the West. Corporations or partnerships wouldn’t qualify as legitimate bidders.

The land would be auctioned, along with its attached mineral rights, in parcels of 320 acres on the courthouse steps of the counties in which they are located, and each individual would only qualify to purchase one parcel. It would be like the old homestead days all over again, except there wouldn’t be any “provin’ up” to get the free federal land. (I think the old timers will tell you that it dang shore wasn’t free. They earned every dime of it.)

I wonder if Ken discussed this with the Koch Bros.--or some of the grazing assns with leases of 100's of sections (usually sections interspersed with their deeded land)--some of which you couldn't run 5 cows on a section...

Performers and politicians are much the same- they like to throw out shoot from the hip ideas to entertain their audience without thinking thru the reality of it......

FH-- do you think a lot of your neighbors would be happy giving up their current leases and trying to make their living off a 1/2 section- or even a section of what was govt lease land?
The lucky ones with the good land might be able to run 25-30 cows...
 

hopalong

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Oldtimer said:
This proposal would put all Federal Lands, with the exception of National Parks and military and Indian reservations, up for bid. In order to be eligible to participate in the auction, the prospective bidders must be legal age individuals and US citizens. Everyone would have the same shot at a piece of the West. Corporations or partnerships wouldn’t qualify as legitimate bidders.

The land would be auctioned, along with its attached mineral rights, in parcels of 320 acres on the courthouse steps of the counties in which they are located, and each individual would only qualify to purchase one parcel. It would be like the old homestead days all over again, except there wouldn’t be any “provin’ up” to get the free federal land. (I think the old timers will tell you that it dang shore wasn’t free. They earned every dime of it.)


Kinda
I wonder if Ken discussed this with the Koch Bros.--or some of the grazing assns with leases of 100's of sections (usually sections interspersed with their deeded land)--some of which you couldn't run 5 cows on a section...

Performers and politicians are much the same- they like to throw out shoot from the hip ideas to entertain their audience without thinking thru the reality of it......

FH-- do you think a lot of your neighbors would be happy giving up their current leases and trying to make their living off a 1/2 section- or even a section of what was govt lease land?
The lucky ones with the good land might be able to run 25-30 cows...



Reminds me of an EX sheriff :wink:

EH
 

BRG

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Sounds like a pretty good idea, in fact, some of us were talking about this the other day. I like where partnerships and corporation can't buy, and you must be a legal citizen. That would slow down some of the tree hugger groups with millions of dollars from owning lots of it.

Yes some of that land won't produce much, but then that would also dictate the price.

Yes, it would change the way ranchers do business, and may hurt some in the short go, but it is always better if business is in the private sector than in the government.

In my opinion, the government should have never owned any land in the first place. If they sell it, they would be able to pay down the debt, and then it would get back on the tax roll and the local areas would benefit from the increased income.
 
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Anonymous

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I like where partnerships and corporation can't buy, and you must be a legal citizen. That would slow down some of the tree hugger groups with millions of dollars from owning lots of it.

Would it? Or would it open it up to these groups going around buying up the land from the new landowner once they got the deed in their hand :???: ...Thats what happened with much of the old homestead land- as soon as some folks got the deed from the government for the 160 they had staked claim on- they sold it...

I wonder also how you "prove up" on a 1/2 section of badlands...Would that just mean putting up a fence around...Thats really what we need- every 1/2 section in the west with a fence around it :roll:
Which in many cases would make the land totally worthless since many of those chunks have no water...

One thing this type proposal would do would end several long time and several large ranchs in this area (where a majority of the land is govt owned) and that count on thousands of acres of govt. lease land to operate...That would mean the 4 Mile Pasture (4 miles long by 4 miles wide) would be under ownership of 32 people- where now its leased by one family "corporation" to graze yearlings...

I see the new compromise of the "Gang of 6" to keep the country form defaulting includes selling off government land- altho I've seen nothing that shows they have developed any detailed plan for it...
 

Mike

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Historically, when someone bought land from the gov't they had to actually "live" on it for a number of years. At least my ancestors did.

I have a few deeds signed from T. Roosevelt signifying that stipulation.
 

BRG

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Oldtimer said:
I like where partnerships and corporation can't buy, and you must be a legal citizen. That would slow down some of the tree hugger groups with millions of dollars from owning lots of it.

Would it? Or would it open it up to these groups going around buying up the land from the new landowner once they got the deed in their hand :???: ...Thats what happened with much of the old homestead land- as soon as some folks got the deed from the government for the 160 they had staked claim on- they sold it...

I wonder also how you "prove up" on a 1/2 section of badlands...Would that just mean putting up a fence around...Thats really what we need- every 1/2 section in the west with a fence around it :roll:
Which in many cases would make the land totally worthless since many of those chunks have no water...

I see the new compromise of the "Gang of 6" to keep the country form defaulting includes selling off government land- altho I've seen nothing that shows they have developed any detailed plan for it...

It says their wouldn't be any "proven up"
 
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BRG said:
Oldtimer said:
I like where partnerships and corporation can't buy, and you must be a legal citizen. That would slow down some of the tree hugger groups with millions of dollars from owning lots of it.

Would it? Or would it open it up to these groups going around buying up the land from the new landowner once they got the deed in their hand :???: ...Thats what happened with much of the old homestead land- as soon as some folks got the deed from the government for the 160 they had staked claim on- they sold it...

I wonder also how you "prove up" on a 1/2 section of badlands...Would that just mean putting up a fence around...Thats really what we need- every 1/2 section in the west with a fence around it :roll:
Which in many cases would make the land totally worthless since many of those chunks have no water...

I see the new compromise of the "Gang of 6" to keep the country form defaulting includes selling off government land- altho I've seen nothing that shows they have developed any detailed plan for it...

It says their wouldn't be any "proven up"


Yep- I see that....No prove up restrictions- then I guess that would give everyone a chance to own their chunk of the west- even tho they never did a thing with it....And after having flopped down their bid price- got deed in hand- when WWF and the other greeny groups can lump a bunch together and offer them double the money any of the previous ranchers could - they can sell out.... And no more worries about govt owning land...

Years ago I read the articles about the proposed "Big Open"- and undivided buffalo commons that stretched from Canada to Texas-- but never believed it could come to be because of the restrictions in the Grazing Acts... Now I'm not so sure- with both parties now apparently wanting to throw out grazing of government land-- and land ownership...
You got some buffalo bulls these folks can buy BRG?
 

BRG

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You sure do like to look at the negative of everything, don't you.

Yes all of that might happen and it might not. We will never know for sure until it is done. My guess is that ranchers, and land investors step up and buy it and make money of it, like nearly all of the other land that sells across the country. If anyone can buy it, then so be it. Anyone can buy my land or the land next to me as well.

Now try to look at the positive of it and think of what would happen to our economy if the country's debt is eliminated, great things would happen. Then think about if we do nothing, what happens after the country goes completely broke, and China owns the whole dam thing. Would that be better.
 
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BRG said:
You sure do like to look at the negative of everything, don't you.

Yes all of that might happen and it might not. We will never know for sure until it is done. My guess is that ranchers, and land investors step up and buy it and make money of it, like nearly all of the other land that sells across the country. If anyone can buy it, then so be it. Anyone can buy my land or the land next to me as well.

Now try to look at the positive of it and think of what would happen to our economy if the country's debt is eliminated, great things would happen. Then think about if we do nothing, what happens after the country goes completely broke, and China owns the whole dam thing. Would that be better.

Historically every time the government/Congress makes a hasty move like this sounds to be (no real plan )- and the details get worked out thru the lobbying process-- it turns out negative for the little and average guy- and its the wealthy and corporate world that comes out on the high side....

Maybe its not happening in your area- but it is here---where much of the deeded land is being bought up by out of state interests (at prices above what will pencil out for Ag production ) mainly for hunting preserves and wildlife raising...The latest was a neighboring 3rd generation farm and ranch operation that was sold last year to the Editor of Outdoor Life..
I'd just hate to see a lot of neighbors lose their ranchs and no longer be neighbors- and it go to non agriculture/non resident on the land people...Its just one more nail in the coffin for small communities...
 

Mike

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Let's see. You want cattle to be bought by the highest bidder, but you don't want land to be? :roll:

Where's the irony?
 
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Mike said:
Let's see. You want cattle to be bidded on by the highest bidder, but you don't want land to be? :roll:

Where's the irony?


Highest bidder is the only way to go...With no favortism to anyone...
But is it truly the best thing for the country- and the local communities?

And what do you do with the ranchers that "bought" the grazing lease options along with the ranch... I know some that paid thousands $ an AU mainly for lease options on government land-- but not to the government- but to the former ranchowner/lease holder...Some ranchs have traded these as private property for years..

On many western ranchs their main investment is in lease options...Should they now lose that investment and these purchased lease options available to the individual ranchs be thrown out the door-- and opened to the world for bidding?

Lots of questions to be answered... Personally I don't think a lot will happen- maybe sell a couple of buildings, some timber land or some oil land may get sold to some Congressmans cronies , and a few old bases--but I think most of it is a smokescreen thrown up by some Congressman... Might give them a way to sell Plum Island to whoever wanted it and got them to close the USDA Animal Disease Center (and move it to heartland of cattle country :roll: )...
 

hopalong

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Did you see the date on the original post?

And it was never said it was going to happen, just a comment by an entertainer,!!

You do understand that the people that sell their leases never owned that property just the right to use it (lease)The people that buy that lease is doing just that as well The rightful owner has the RIGHT to nullify that lease at anytime with some stipulations, usually any improvements done to the property belongs to the OWNER, not the person leasing.

If you lease something (ANYTHING) you do not have anything real rights at all to the property except to use it at the discretion of the real owner..
 

Bullhauler

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Don't worry Oldtimer they know you are right on this one. They are just too pig-headed to admit it. If this big land sale came to pass they would be so many ranchers on here whining about losing their ranch it wouldn't even be funny.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Oldtimer said:
BRG said:
You sure do like to look at the negative of everything, don't you.

Yes all of that might happen and it might not. We will never know for sure until it is done. My guess is that ranchers, and land investors step up and buy it and make money of it, like nearly all of the other land that sells across the country. If anyone can buy it, then so be it. Anyone can buy my land or the land next to me as well.

Now try to look at the positive of it and think of what would happen to our economy if the country's debt is eliminated, great things would happen. Then think about if we do nothing, what happens after the country goes completely broke, and China owns the whole dam thing. Would that be better.

Historically every time the government/Congress makes a hasty move like this sounds to be (no real plan )- and the details get worked out thru the lobbying process-- it turns out negative for the little and average guy- and its the wealthy and corporate world that comes out on the high side....

Maybe its not happening in your area- but it is here---where much of the deeded land is being bought up by out of state interests (at prices above what will pencil out for Ag production ) mainly for hunting preserves and wildlife raising...The latest was a neighboring 3rd generation farm and ranch operation that was sold last year to the Editor of Outdoor Life..
I'd just hate to see a lot of neighbors lose their ranchs and no longer be neighbors- and it go to non agriculture/non resident on the land people...Its just one more nail in the coffin for small communities...


OT you seem to be complaining about out of state interests buying up land but when Saskatchewan had foreign ownership laws you also complained that you couldn't buy land up here. Which is it Good or Bad to have these laws?

The Sask government is divesting it's self from some of it's land. The vacant land goes up for bids and the eligible leased land most cultivated and Non wildlife protected land is assessed and the lessee can buy it. Unfortunately for most ranchers with any amount of native prairie it is covered under Wildlife Habitat Protection Act. They are working on ways to sell it but not having any great success.
 
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Faster horses said:
BINGO!!

And it was never said it was going to happen, just a comment by an entertainer,!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

But you are aware aren't you that selling government owned property is one of the key items listed in the "Gang of 6" bipartisan proposal to keep the country from defaulting on their debts? And the way it sounds- no specific plan with the details to be worked out later :???:
And Overcasts plan is as good as I've heard come out of D.C.--unless you agree with mrj and some folks should be given special preference...

I have no problem with governments either selling their property- or charging rates equal to what the private sector is bringing..Should have been done for years...Some of this open range/grazing allotments of government land have been tied to ranchs since the 1800's..."The devil is in the details"- and how do you handle years of politically/lobbyist influenced precedence-- and who takes a royal screwing in doing so... Like I said before- usually it isn't the average Joe Blow rancher that comes out ahead--and the politicians/lobbyists always seem to leave a loophole for the big money interests (corporate or greeny weeny) to get their way...

The Gang of Six

This is another long-term plan, put together by a bipartisan group of six senators: Democrats Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Mark Warner of Virginia; and Republicans Coburn, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Members of the Gang of Six on Tuesday presented a rough outline of debt reduction ideas to a group of 50 senators. Members present from both party caucuses expressed optimism but acknowledged the outline is not yet a detailed agreement.

The Gang of Six compromise would save $3.7 trillion over 10 years, according to Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman. In general, CNN is told the Gang of Six plan would end tax loopholes but also cut tax rates for corporations and individuals. In addition, it would cut government spending.

Rating agencies: Not enough to raise the ceiling - they must deal with the debt

Keep watching for more details.

Supporters: This is a true bipartisan agreement and compromise. It's a long-term plan that cuts spending, ends unnecessary tax loopholes and includes much-needed tax reform.

Opponents: The devil is in the details.

Odds: Suddenly, it has a real place on the table. There is enthusiasm in the Senate, but House reaction is uncertain and could be cool. President Obama has praised this compromise, but it's unclear if it will be a breakthrough or just the "it" plan of the moment.

The details of the proposal have yet to be released. But a five-page draft outlines a plan to cut deficits by $3.7 trillion over 10 years. Key elements include:

*A new bill that cuts $500 billion in discretionary spending over 10 years, including defense spending.
*An immediate freeze of congressional pay and the sale of unused federal property.
*New discretionary spending caps through 2015.
*A requirement that congressional committees report legislation within six months to find billions in savings in entitlement programs over 10 years.
*Creation of a 67-vote threshold to make it more difficult for Congress to exceed its spending caps.
*A longer-term overhaul of the tax code, eliminating many tax breaks and using the savings to reduce marginal income tax rates and pay down the deficit.
*Elimination of the $1.7 trillion Alternative Minimum Tax and the $298 billion Sustainable Growth Rate formula for Medicare (known as the “doc fix”) – provisions aimed at reducing deficits that Congress has routinely bypassed.
*An overhaul of Social Security, but direction of all savings to long-term solvency, not to paying down the debt.

Looks like its up to what they determine is "unused federal property"...
 

Larrry

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jingo2 said:
Sell it.....sell it all.

Let'em eat crow!!!

You probably don't have enough crow left for them after all you have had to eat.

The problem is that the gov has it so screwed up it would be hard to just dump it all at once without causing repurcusions across the industry.

One time I had a chance at some government grazing leases. After I would have had to drill wells, fence it and let the public in to hunt and whatever else the government decided, it would have been awful expensive grazing to say the least
 

hypocritexposer

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It could possibly include land, but not necessarily.


It has tens of thousands of buildings that are no longer in use and tens of thousands of buildings that are significantly underused — about 75,000 buildings in total.

http://ranchers.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52708
 

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