While the Department of the Interior has been in the news for some fairly ridiculous reasons lately, that does not undermine the fact that it is unquestionably one of the worst uses of government power in D.C. which is actively working every day to keep Americans in poverty and hurt the economy.
Born of an era before we had executive level offices that were not necessarily under a cabinet department, the Department of the Interior was originally conceived of a place to stick all the internal brick-a-brack that didn’t really belong in other departments but were federal government domestic issues. Most of the things originally put in this department (like the Patent office) no longer are in the Department of the Interior. And what is left is utterly useless.
Bureau of Indian Affairs
But of the things originally put into the Department of the Interior, possibly the worst of all of them is regrettably still around: Bureau of Indian Affairs, this long standing national disgrace, no matter what the eventual fate of the Department itself, must be eliminated. You know all that land the Natives Americans live on, their Reservations? Guess what they don’t own it. The federal government through the Bureau of Indian Affairs owns it, even the land houses are built on. Therefore those living there can never get a loan, never turn their property into capital, never actually enter into the 21st century economy because they don’t actually own their own homes and property. They’re just like a 3rd world country with welfare payments (also provided by BIA). You have to look no further than a Reservation for proof that the welfare state destroys the people who it attempts to “help” and you can blame the BIA and Dept. of the Interior for being the ones who destroy the lives of these people.
And we need to address this issue first because unlike most of the problems in the Department which boil down to give it to the states or sell it to the private sector and close the offices, this disaster of a longstanding government travesty has more intricacies given how deeply we have screwed over, and more importantly how deeply we are screwing them over this very minute, this one group.
Before you ask, yes we are going to get rid of every bit of this god-awful department, but just closing it isn’t the way to do it.
I propose to the following actions
Every Native American currently getting checks from the government just for existing will get a lump sum check equivalent to ten years worth of payments, this should give them an appropriate buffer to either do things they never were able to do on the dole (like get an education and job skills, which sadly is all to often a story on the Res.) or to invest in their own future even if they are already leading a productive life. As much as I hate welfare you can’t cut people off cold turkey and expect them to thrive…but given the particular evil of this department I don’t trust a slow step down either—so lump sum payment and we’re done with that.
At the same time everyone living on the reservation will get a half acre of land put in their name.
All other reservation land will be given to a corporation in the name of the tribe. Members of the tribe living on the reservation will get 1000 shares, those not living on the reservation but still recognized as members of the tribe get 500 (numbers are of course up for debate, but I understand tribal benefits for many tribes already follow this or similar models). So everyone now has land in their own name and the rest of the land is held by a corporation.
Thus they can now get loans, use the land and houses as collateral, invest, develop and generally work to improve their own lives with all the same rights that all other Americans (seriously it is just disgusting how we do not grant basic property rights to this one group). (And personally I wouldn’t mind giving large plots of other federal land to the reservations to also be included in their corporate holdings, they will almost certainly take care of it and make more money off it than the government ever could). Every reservation will then be incorporated as its own county and thus will only have to deal with state and federal governments. Finally all the casinos will be granted 100 year grandfather clauses from state government interference (I don’t like getting involved in state issues like that, but no need to further screw over the tribes, 100 years is more than enough time to find some other source of income or come to some understanding with the states they reside in). The casinos will of course go to the ownership of the tribe’s corporation.
From there they are free to win or lose based on the laws of free enterprise and capitalism. That much property should be a good head start, but this way from this point forward they would be treated not differently than any other American (seriously how has the government not stopped treating them as second class citizens yet..how was this never part of any Civil Right’s movement?) Then you won’t have moments like the government getting to decide if land the tribe considers sacred will be used for mining ) (although my suspicion is that if they were actually making money from a lease of the land personally, like most rational folk profit is very sacred).
Of course the Dept. of the Interior is still a huge mess.
National Parks Service
Okay here’s an easy one. Just give the land and responsibilities of these over to the states. I’m fairly certain someone in Phoenix has a better idea of how to take care of the Grand Canyon than someone in D.C. So that goes for every federal park. The f
Office of U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Sounds like such a pleasant name for people utterly hell-bent on destroying all progress and quite possibly human civilization.
That line may sound hyperbolic, but these are idiots who enforce the utterly idiotic Endangered Species Act. Let’s ignore that it was private business that brought back the bison and the bees. Now let’s look at what this office does. For instance they’re involved in saving the Delta Smelt. A worthless evolutionary dead end that has no ability whatsoever to adapt even to its own environment, and that is about as important to any ecosystem as Obama is to maintaining world peace. To save this worthless excuse of a fish the state of California (originally under orders of the this useless office, but now through efforts of their own idiocy) is dumping over a trillion gallons of water into the ocean to save the smelt.
Yes in California, a place where there is a drought, where serious water rationing is in place, where water is at a premium…the government is forcing people to dump over a trillion gallons of water into the ocean to save a useless fish. I’m sorry but the destruction of billions of dollars in agriculture (and the relating economic benefit) is clearly more important than a damn fish that no one but the US government cares about.
Oh yeah and even for the low low cost of destroying California, once the breadbasket of the world, the smelt is still dying..why because nature is about killing millions of species, the Endangered Species Act is not more intelligent than the simple rule of life since the first single celled lifeforms: adapt or die.
The Endangered Species Act needs to be overturned in whole and this department needs to be closed (if you want to charge all the employees with crimes against humanity for the massive economic damage they do on a daily basis, ethically that’s fine by me too.)
If you actually care about animals, trust the private sector and charity to handle this, they can. If you hate animals and people keep the Fish and Wildlife around.
US Geology Survey, Bureau of Land Reclamation, Bureau of Mining Reclamation
If these serve any purpose, which is doubtful, it’s something the states can handle at probably half the price.
Office of Insular Affairs
This office actually does need to be kept around since they’re the management of all those territories we still have (which is a federal issue). But it can go on as an executive office, you don’t need a whole department for it.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
These are the geniuses who told B.P that drilling close to the shore was dangerous and you have to drill further out in the ocean for it to be safe.
Yeah they’re useless.
And finally we get to the problem we’ve been hearing about so often lately
Bureau of Land Management
247.3 million acres.
That’s how much land BLM has. One-eighth of the US.
Most of that land isn’t park land, it’s grazing land, it’s land with resources, it’s land that could be sold either to the states or the private sector for a huge profit (didn’t we have a debt we needed to pay off?)
There is no reason for the government to own any of that! There is barely a reason that states should own this land.
This land needs to be sold off. Granted many people depend on this land for their livelihood and I have no problem with offering them to buy the land they have been leasing at whatever the market place for such undeveloped land is…but if they don’t want to buy it the land needs to go up for auction—probably over the course of a few years as putting that much land on the market at once would collapse all prices, but the government does not need to own this land. And not only because there is no reason for the government to own it…but because as with all things, they’re losing money on it. Only the federal government can charge people to use land that just sits there and requires little to no upkeep other than what nature provides or what people will pay you to do and still lose money on it.
We don’t need to get into how unbelievably corrupt and inept and inept the people at BLM are because they shouldn’t exist in the first place. Even if they weren’t mentally challenged sociopaths they still shouldn’t exist so their extensive laundry list of moral and intellectual failings is a moot point (unless you want to throw them all in jail, which I’m okay with, but first sell the land and close the office). As a quick intermediary we can just sell the land to the states, but the federal control has to be ended now.
Finally we have the Office of Energy Management (not to be confused with the same office in the Department of Energy).
I’m simply going to quote you from their own web page:
As the lead Federal agency responsible for the protection and sound development of the nation’s natural resources, the Department of the Interior has a special obligation to be a leader in energy management and conservation. As such, bureaus and offices across the Department are committed to conserving energy and water resources, eliminating waste, increasing renewable energy use, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts by optimizing the use of energy efficient and water conserving technologies. Bureaus and offices are also striving to incorporate energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable practices into the decision-making processes during the planning, design, acquisition, renovations, operations and maintenance of buildings. The Office of Acquisition and Property Management (PAM) coordinates these important Department-wide efforts.
And what in the history of the US Government makes you think that they’re in any way competent to do any of that?
Yeah close this boondoggle as well.
So again, we have a terrible organization that needs to have every single one of its responsibilities either privatized, sent to the states or just ended.