Federal and state governments control more than one-third of all land in America. What distinguishes these more than 785 million acres of “public lands” from the rest—including the land your home sits on—is that, at some point, the government decided only it could ensure that these lands would be used wisely.
Presumably, most people want the remaining two-thirds of American lands to be used wisely, too. So it’s interesting that the government doesn’t apply the same logic to these. Would we be better off if bureaucrats made all decisions about what to build and where to build it; what crops to plant and where to plant them; where you may live, the size of your lot, what you may and may not do in that area, and so on?
Virtually no one today thinks so, recognizing that private ownership of land makes sense when it comes to the places we live and work. So what makes “public lands” different? It’s an important question, in part because the government has not used these lands wisely (and, as we’ll see, cannot do so). . . .
If we want to put public land to its most life-enhancing uses, we need to privatize it. Click To Tweet