Sunday, August 14, 2016

The State of Presidents

The State of Presidents
Of crooks, regulations, and feral land grabs
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Texas governor, Greg Abbot, caught some flack recently discussing, in general terms, the secession of Texas from the Union.
            There is no way Mr. Abbot will get a favorable review by the general press, but his underlying point is important. It is crucial for nations and states to assert their sovereignty or all is lost. The fact that populist sentiment is rising not only in this country but around the world is an indicator that resentment to global elitism is nearly universal.
            Moreover, when the majority of the enforcement of laws, creation of rules and regulations, and the agenda colonization of the people’s lands is done without congressional approval or oversight, then greater problems are on the horizon.
             The Constitution gives the president unlimited authority for granting “reprieves and pardons” for offenses against the United States. Pardons are one half of those unlimited powers. Up to the beginning of August, the last nine presidents issued 3861 pardons. Certainly, there must be valid examples of humanitarianism within those cases, but there are also more troubling concerns. There is good reason to suggest that recent pardons have “poisoned the well” of original intent. One legal scholar even suggests that presidents have reached the point of granting pardons and commutations the same way “that a drunken sailor on shore leave spends money”.
            He later made amends by confessing he didn’t intend to insult our naval warriors by comparing them to presidents, but his point was clear. The actions of presidents have marched ever closer to the absolute authority of kings.
            Their march toward absolutism is also displayed in their creation of godlike commandments. That is the comparison made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual survey of the size, scope, and cost of our regulatory burdens created by the Executive Branch of our government. Highlights from their 2016 report include the following:
              The regulatory cost to the nation reached $1.885 trillion in 2015.
              This hidden tax amounts to nearly $15,000 per household.
              In 2015, the 114 law enacted by Congress resulted in 3,410 rules by Executive Branch agencies.
               The regulatory costs implicit in the rules exceed the collection of the $1.82 trillion that the IRS is trying to collect.
               The same agencies currently have 3,297 more regulations in the pipeline.
               The Federal Register printed 80,260 pages of debilitating regulatory mumble jumble.
               Every such executive commandment is being created by an unelected bureaucrat.
            The stepwise expansion of presidential power has taken place over many years. The process is not new, but it does follow an interesting indicator of trends. The evidence and the logic comes from a review of the excesses the exclusive Conservation Club of American Presidents has heaped upon this country through their corrupted authority expanded through the Antiquities Act. Influential law maker, John Lacey of Iowa, convinced his colleagues the intention of the act was simply to give the president the authority for quick action to save certain historical and scientific features. The limit and scope of authority were intended to be the absolute minimum footprint that could be used for the protective effort. Lacey promised it would be used only for “those cliff dwellers … those cave dwellers” and all westerners could be assured that anything over 320 acres of designation would be debated and resolved through congressional action.
            That promise took place 150 national monuments (or similar special designations) and 74,645,206 of public land acres ago. The promise of 320 acres has stretched to 497,635 acres per average footprint without congressional debate!
            It also took place 750,166 square miles (480,106,240 acres) of maritime surface ago!
            In fact, the need is to equate those totals to the cost piled on the citizenry by that august cast of characters. The nearly 75 million acres of permanently retired land is a chunk of ground. To try to get a handle on what it means, the original 13 colonies is the place to start. The presidential footprint would not cover the entire 13, but it would cover the first state by founding date, Virginia. It would also cover the second, Massachusetts, the third, New Hampshire, the forth, Maryland, the fifth, Connecticut, the sixth Rhode Island, the seventh Delaware, and the eighth, North Carolina.
            It wouldn’t cover the ninth of the original states, South Carolina, nor the remaining originals, but that does leave a bit of a dilemma to complete the comparison because there would still be 7.9 million acres left after covering the first eight states.
            Being placed in the throne of conceptual enterprise much like most of the presidents since the myopic Rough Rider was in office, this little exercise will proceed with a bit of imagination selecting vacation spots and points of civilization to exhaust the coverage. Let’s start with Hawaii. It is an island paradise and certainly fits the model of protecting nature, but it only consumes a little over half of the remaining acreage.
            Staying in the paradise mode, the island territories of the United States including all of the maritime solid ground points of the Northern Marianas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, America Samoa, and Guam run the tally up but not quite far enough.
            For principle, let’s throw in that island of make believe, the District of Columbia.
            That still leaves us with 1,273,949 acres of terra firma for exciting and iconic points of public viewing. For variety, let’s elevate the centers for environmental awareness (that seem to support the presidential view of displacement of the actual citizenry that must try to exist on the lands being saved for future generations) into the crosshairs. Yes, the urban centers need to take their place in this drama.
It is past time.
            If we include the urban centers of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and St. Louis in this presidential proclamation of natural and scenic wonders, the acreage is almost exhausted and certainly close enough for government work in order to call a halt to this exhaustive research.
            Before any of you cry foul on the idea of annexing private property of a city into a nature theme park, an important exercise is yet to be concluded. What is the opportunity cost to our society if the lands of this review were allowed to grow and prosper on the basis of citizenry enterprise and the trusted deferment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
            Virginia’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) is $462.9 billion. Continuing with Massachusetts’ $455.7 billion and working through the selected states to Hawaii’s $76.2 billion, the combined GPD is knocking on the door of $1.972 trillion. The island paradises add a respectful $116 billion to make the total $2.09 trillion.
The urban paradises really kick start the economies. Starting with New York City’s $1.6 trillion and adding all the outputs, the combined total soars to $5.9 trillion or somewhere around a third of the nation’s gross annual product.
That is a whopping number!
The (royal) State of Presidents
Since 1906, the presidents of the United States have staked out an off limits presidential state within our country that equates to a country the size of Italy. The comparable land mass comparison where citizens reside creates nearly six trillion dollars of GDP or three times that of the Italian comparison. Given a chance Americans are productive and always have been.
Another way of couching this is these presidents have signed into law a monument state the size of an island equating to the sovereign country of Italy and surrounding it with protected water buffers extending for 450 miles. Regardless of expletives, that is a monstrous state by presidential decree. It doesn’t pay a cent in exposed and regulatory taxation, and loses at least $.27 of tax payer funding for every dollar spent out of the Treasury for its management.
As to the matter of including private property in the footprint of such a monument, why not? Private parcels within our ranch were included without recourse.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “The dirtiest secret of all is the real wonder of nature’s beauty … when and where it exists untrammeled under private ownership.”

What a grand idea!

Summarized:  Presidents have unilaterally designated 150 National Monuments totaling 75 million acres, which is an area larger than eight of our original thirteen states, so proclaim the whole damn thing a state and name it The President's State.

I could think of some other names, like say, oh, The People's Republic of Antiquities. But no, we want to focus on this unrivaled power exercised by one person, The President.

I have a question. How would you get a Governor over this new state? Would they be elected by the people, like in the other 50 states? Naw, that's far too democratic and runs against the spirit of the whole thing. No, the Governor would have to be appointed by - you got it - The President. 

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