Ron Paul is famous for his obsessive fealty to the U.S. Constitution. He even claims to carry a pocket copy of it with him at all times to check whether new legislation would pass the Founding Fathers' rules.
But apparently, he doesn't know the document quite as well as he thinks…
During a stop in Elko, Nevada last week, presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said that he opposes the federal ownership of any public lands… stating that he wanted to disband the U.S. Department of Interior…
This is not the first time Paul has called for public lands to be turned over to states or private entities. In October he told the Western Republican Leadership Conference that public lands "should be returned to the states and then for the best parts sold off to private owners."
The existence of public lands managed by the federal government is actually provided for in the Property Clause of the Constitution which states: "Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States, and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State."
This is actually a great idea. Sure, the Interior Department's lands provide $363 billion in economic activity each year, a portion of which goes to state and local governments, but just imagine all the fun companies could have if federal lands were privatized.
Facebook could take over half of Yosemite National Park and turn it into a live-action Farmville. Kraft could purchase the other half and turn it into ingredients. And all the Wall Street banks could finally do openly what they've always done in secret — buy Washington.
Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Tags: Constitution, Environment, Primaries, Republicans, Ron Paul