Obama’s budget is a declaration of war on the West

President Obama’s budget may well be dead on arrival, but its fetid corpse tells a tale of just what his administration thinks of the West, according to this week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

The budget proposes to raise grazing fees on both Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land by $1 a head per month — a 74 percent increase.

The budget also seeks to pick the pockets of drillers of oil and natural gas wells on federally controlled land by increasing royalty payments by $2.5 billion over the next 10 years.

Cattle grazing near Austin, Nev.

While the Obama administration is trying to declare various species across the West threatened or endangered — most of which are threatened or endangered due to the huge increase in wildfires — his budget proposes to slash funding for a program to reduce the dried brush and trees that fuel those fires by $90 million in 2014.

Both Reps. Mark Amodei and Steven Horsford — who together represent the bulk of rural Nevada, 85 percent of which is controlled by various federal agencies — were dismissive of the Obama budget.

Amodei, a Republican, commented, “With yet another budget from the president that doesn’t balance, increases spending, raises taxes, raises grazing fees, and continues to block American energy production, I suspect it will meet the same fate as his last budget — voted down 97-0 in the Senate and 419-0 in the House.”

Horsford, a Democrat, said, “The president’s budget is just one of many budget proposals, and as we hopefully continue through the budget process, we will have to consider a variety of funding priorities. I will fight to make sure the rural communities in my district have the resources they need and the representation they deserve to maintain their livelihood.”

“Our nation is nearly $17 trillion in debt,” observed Sen. Dean Heller. “At a time when Nevadans are simply trying to keep their heads above water, the president is asking for another $8.2 trillion, partly on the backs of our ranchers and rural communities.”

Dustin Van Liew, a spokesman for both the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the budget shows this administration has no understanding of American agriculture.

“The president’s lack of understanding for the federal lands grazing industry, as evidenced by his proposed 74 percent tax on federal land ranchers, is extremely disappointing,” Van Liew said. “Effectively increasing the grazing fee during these times of economic uncertainty will unnecessarily increase burdens on livestock producers and hamper their ability to create jobs and generate economic growth in their communities.”

Read the full column online at Ely and Elko websites.

58 comments on “Obama’s budget is a declaration of war on the West

  1. Boyd says:

    To gauge what level of fees/taxes are appropriate on public lands isn’t it crucial to the argument to determine what we mean by “public lands”? If that means owned by the public then isn’t it more accurate to consider these fees/taxes as rents/royalties. If so then why shouldn’t the owners charge whatever the traffic will bear? Not only are they not getting that but they aren’t even getting an AUM adjusted for inflation which would be $2.85. Indeed, why shouldn’t the public charge $10 an AUM if they could get it?

    No doubt Milton Friedman would point out that the ranchers won’t pay these rents/ royalties/fees/taxes anyway, they just get passed on to the consumer. But isn’t there a certain fairness to that? Why should we support a system that in effect has non-beef eaters subsidizing beef eaters and the ranchers who supply them? And, just to complicate matters further, ranchers are part of the “public” too.

    Ultimately I believe the point here is that your analysis illustrates the biggest obstacle to any resolution of our Countries financial problems – even those most realistic and sensible about cutting the size of government take pause when it’s their ox getting gored. It is not just an obstacle but a certainty this will not be solved till we all take a major hit. As far as I can see we all deserve it and, on a more positive note, we will all be the better for it.

    Sorry for the book.

  2. nyp10025 says:

    How dare President Obama take a market-based approach to grazing anddrilling fees. Just proves he is a socialist.

  3. Steve says:

    This proposal would make it 4 in a row. A 100% rate of failure for Obama and budget proposals.

  4. nyp10025 says:

    Huh? I guess it is all Obama’s fault the House of Representatives is controlled by his political opponents.

  5. Steve says:

    I guess its not his party in the Senate either.

  6. Rincon says:

    Boyd is right. Let the market decide. Don’t you worry though. The so-called Conservatives in the red states will be sure to preserve the grazing land and oil subsidies along with the ethanol and other agricultural subsidies. Republicans are conservative until it’s their handout that’s in jeopardy.

  7. Athos says:

    Then they aren’t conservatives, are they, Rincon? They’re just thieves out to enrich themselves at the expense of the public trough. That’s the meaning behind George Washington’s quote (thanks Winston) – “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

    Of course, with a spending habit of $4 TRILLION, who’s to really miss a few billion$ here or there?

    Our kids??

  8. nyp10025 says:

    Washington never said that.
    Yet another wingnut fabricated quote.

    Truly incredible how often you guys falsely attribute statements to the founding fathers.

  9. nyp10025 says:

    The link you provided gives no attribution to any work or speech by George Washington. That is because he never said any such thing. It is yet another unsourced fabricated quote bouncing around the right-wing echo chamber.

    Of course, if you can link the supposed quote to any actual speech or writing of George Washington, I will be happy to retract my statement.

  10. Beef prices haven’t inflated.

  11. Price fixing is not the free market.

  12. nyp10025 says:

    Sellers do not normally themselves with their counterparty’s internal economics. They concern themselves with finding the highest price that the market will bear. A private landowner who leases his land for grazing is not concerned with whether the price of beef has risen, or whether some ranchers may not be able to afford the rent he is charging. So long as there is one rancher willing to pay his price for permitting grazing his private property, the rent-taker is maximizing his utility.

    Funny that you would think that the federal government should not apply free-market principles. And equally funny that you think the government is fixing prices. As a matter of definition, price fixing requires more than one party. Who is colluding with the feds in price-fixing?

  13. Steve says:

    “At BrainyQuote, the quality and accuracy of our content is our top priority. We appreciate your comments and patience should you find an eror has slipped through the cracks. Simply let us know, and we’ll fix things in a jiffy.” http://www.brainyquote.com/inquire/our_story.html

    OK Nyp, its in your hands to get it fixed. Or prove your statement.

    Perhaps you would like to correct these people too:


    Get to work fixing all of them!

    On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing countering this quote. (cept Nyp)

  14. Rincon says:

    We agree, Athos. We need to get rid of as many subsidies and tax breaks as possible (and also reform welfare, etc). I am curious about the price fixing on beef. Can anyone fill me in?

  15. The price fixing is on grazing. There is no free market.


  16. Washington: “There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”


  17. Nyp says:

    I’m afraid Mr. Mitchell doesn’t understand the concept of price-fixing.

  18. Rincon says:

    I still don’t get it. Can’t ranchers just refuse to graze on federal land if they don’t like the price?

  19. nyp10025 says:

    Yup. They can take their business elsewhere. All President Obama is doing is nudging grazing fees up towards the market price.

    Remarkable how easy it is to get putative libertarians to act like socialists.

  20. nyp10025 says:

    Steve – not a single one of the internet sources to which you cite actually links that bogus Washington quote to a single speech or written work by Washington. Not one. That is because he never said it. That’s why Wikiquotes judged it to be bogus: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Washington#Misattributed

    You are simply stuck in the same bullshit infinite regress loop of misattributions. hat is how you guys roll. One person makes up a obviously bogus quote, misattributes it to the founding fathers (or to Lincoln,) and posts it without a proper attribution linkiage. Then another wingnut picks it up and posts it again. Then another. And another. When someone like me points out that the quote is an obvious fabrication and cannot be linked to an actual speech or writing, you guys point to some internet posting from the echo chamber.

    It is real simple. Show me where Washington said or wrote those words. Somewhere on the internet there must be a proper attribution, right? Right?

  21. Steve says:

    Disputed! Not Misattributed.
    You are SOOOOO misleading.
    Get a grip and PROVE your assertion, Nyp.

    Then get all those organizations to fix their quotes.
    Brainyquote fixes their stuff, start with them

  22. Steve says:

    Here is the CORRECT link Nyp SHOULD have proffered

  23. Athos says:

    Of course, in petey’s world, George Washington could NEVER have said anything that slams the reach of big government progressives! That’s why the Founding Fathers are to be ignored. It violates the tenets of the liberals communist Utopia!

    Actually, if I was to ask “name one Founding Father” there are at least 2 posters that would say, “Karl Marx”, because HE IS their founding father!

    petey can’t handle Truth. When faced with the obvious, he MUST discredit the opposition, NOT the actual topic. He (and his ilk) have a tough time dealing with life and facts. The sad thing is how smart the liberals all think they are.

    Kind of like children, or the mentally ill, wouldn’t you say?

  24. Rincon says:

    I’m not sure why you feel the need to degrade and insult, Athos, but quoting the founding fathers sounds a little pseudoreligious to me in the first place. Although I admire them and their eminently successful work, I still don’t hold their words in such reverance that I believe that every utterance from them is profoundly true. Impossible actually, since they often disagreed with each other.

    I don’t really care who says something. I care far more about what is being said.

  25. nyp10025 says:

    George Washington never said that. It is a complete fabrication. If someone want to link to an actual writing in which Washington made such a statement, feel free.

  26. Hard to for cattle and sheep ranchers to take their business elsewhere when the feds control 87 percent to the state.

  27. Steve says:

    When faced with multiple credible sources, Nyp LIED about his link. Then he goes back LYING about the quote.
    Nyp needs to allow that he is lying. He has been caught in that lie very clearly by posting that link from wikiquote on April 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm (Its worth noting the wiki sites allow anyone to post while the ones I posted make people approach them to offer correction which they will then research)

    So Nyp, I say its time for you to redeem yourself by 1) admitting to your lie and 2) sending your concerns to at least one of those quote sights I linked for you.

    Liberals, if they cannot accept it they lie about it and stick like glue to their lies in the face of all proof of their lies.

  28. Athos says:

    Rincon, were you referring to George Washington, or Karl Marx?

  29. Rincon says:

    We have the same problem with drug companies among others, Thomas. They charge $100,000 for a cancer treatment that only buys a month or two of life. My reply to those ranchers is the same as your reply to the cancer victims.

  30. Nyp says:

    Huh? I have no idea what you are talking about.

  31. Rincon says:

    Just as the drug company has the right to charge what they want, whoever provides grazing land – the government in this case – has they right to charge whatever they want. The ranchers’ concerns are secondary as they are with the cancer patients.

  32. Actually, the better comparison is a parasite. If it sucks too much blood it kills the host. At a congressional hearing this week, an Idaho Cattlemen’s Association spokesman said that, once you add in the cost to ranchers to maintain public lands and water access, it is more expensive than private leases. While to grazing fee is $1.35 per AUM, once you add in costs that private lessors bear, the cost is more like $25 to $30 per AUM.


  33. nyp10025 says:

    then don’t graze on the public’s lands. No one is forcing anyone to do so.

  34. Let’s just drive up the price of beef by cutting the supply.


  35. nyp10025 says:

    As long as the grazing fees are set at the market price the ultimate cost of beef is really irrelevant. The government should not be involved in trying to artifically manipulate beef prices by interfering with the market price of grazing fees.

    It is absolutely hilarious to see putative libertarians throw away their principles when the consequences hit close to home.

  36. dave444 says:

    It would appear that in addition to his budget being unbalanced, the President is also unbalanced.
    With respect to price fixing: In the context used here it requires two or more entities to collude in establishing a price for the subject item. Because the grazing rights in question are Federally owned and of such magnitude, there are no comparable grazing rights available and therefore no other entity to collude with. If I have the only game in town you pay my fee or you don’t play.
    At some point my fee may get so high that no one will play and then I don’t make any money at all and neither does anyone else. In the case of the Federal ownership if nobody plays it loses twice, first the grazing fees and second the tax on the income grazing produces. In addition to producing direct and indirect income, grazing can be beneficial for the land. This should be taken into account when setting the price because the benefits may exceed the value of the grazing fees. Just in fire reduction alone for example. Figuring the cost of fighting fires that would not have occurred and or would have been significantly smaller might cause one to encourage minimal fees just to obtain the benefits.
    Never never never forget to consider the “Unintended Consequences”.

  37. Rincon says:

    There is no good way to agree on what proper grazing fees are except for the market. I predict that an apocalypse of all ranchers suddenly going bankrupt will not take place. More likely, if prices get too high, marginal land will go without any takers, sending Uncle Sam the proper market signal. When his profits go too low, he will be forced to lower his prices. Until then, if all potential lands are presently being grazed, it is almost certain that the price is too low.

    As for the benefits of grazing being beneficial for the land, I’m afraid Conservatives won’t buy that. That’s the kind of talk from environmentalists that Conservatives consistently reject. External costs and benefits are not legitimate in their eyes.

  38. Good point on reducing fires, Dave.


  39. Steve says:

    RAWNG Rincon, Tom has consistently called for more grazing based on the increased wildfires since reductions in grazing have been forced. Also Desert Tortoise populations dropped after grazing was reduced. Both these “externalities” were caused by liberal actions and Dave is pointing out those were actually positive “externalities” until liberals forced them to become negative.

  40. nyp10025 says:

    We the people of the United States appreciate your efforts to assist us in placing a proper value on our landholdings. However, we value the land differently, and would like to charge a price closer to the market price charged by private landowners. If people borrowing the use of our property do not like our price, they don’t have to enter into a royalty agreement with us, and can take their business elsewhere.

    That is how a market system works. It is called “capitalism,” and it applies as much to ranchers and miners as it does to anyone else.

  41. Coinciding with the reduction in grazing was a reduction in sage grouse.

  42. Steve says:

    Sage Grouse recipe. (Not mine I found it on the internet.)

    On a plank, it’s the only way. Clean a bird and rub the inside and outside with real melted butter with salt, pepper and garlic mixed in. Cut several white potato’s into chunks and stuff in the bird. Cut up one med onion and four carrots and stuff inside the bird cover with tin foil and place on grill for one hour then open and coat outside with more melted butter and spice mix. Re-cover and cook for 20 more minutes. Take bird off he grill and remove the foil. Put the carrots, potatoes and onions in a separate bowl and pour out the juices from the inside of the bird over the vegetables. Slice the breast beat into thin slices placing on another plate. Take the rest of the carcass, meat and vegetables and throw them in the trash. Eat the plank!


  43. Athos says:

    petey, you have capitalism when neither party is the government.

    Or Harry THE CROOK Reid is no longer in office.

    Or both!

  44. Rincon says:

    I like your spelling of rawng Steve. I’m half tempted to adopt it. I actually feel that the fire prevention aspect, if true, deserves a reasonable accounting. What I was pointing out is that those who refuse to recognize the external costs of asthma attacks or mercury poisoning from burning coal are being inconsistent when they recognize fire prevention benefits in this case. Should we recognize external costs and benefits or not?

  45. Steve says:

    Exactly, when it comes to green arguments the ONLY external costs allowed by supporters are the negative ones. This is because those have the effect of increasing the costs of traditional carbon based energy. Once the positive externalities are introduced in the equation they tend to cancel out and we are left with the base costs for each energy source once again.

    We have coal as a good example, would the people even be alive to experience those negative effects if it were not for all the technological advances made possible by coal in the first place? We have a null balance on that, I can see it in my mind clearly as I can feel the balance of basic ohm’s law. No coal no extended life spans, no extended life spans no effects from coal produced mercury.
    If one externality is considered, ALL must be included. Clear now, yes?

    Alfonso Rachel is the source for RAWNG, I borrowed it too. Makes it read the way it should sound.

  46. Rincon says:

    I agree that ALL externalities should be accounted for, but I also believe that the past is past. Yes, coal was a great investment. So was the telegraph, but we’ve moved past it. We should begin to do the same with coal.

  47. Athos says:

    Coal. Let’s do away with coal. Even though it’s abundant here in the USA.

    While we’re at it, let’s do away with water, too. And indoor plumbing! And wood for buildings!

    This will have the side benefit of having illegals leave our country, cause we’ll be just as bad as their homelands!

    Got any large, unused boxes we can all live in?

  48. Steve says:

    Sadly, the ONLY way to begin finding what the positive effects from today’s uses of coal is to read from the OTHER side of the fence. Green pubs ONLY list the negatives. Try this for a start at some of the effects from severe reduction of coal use, its from 2006 and Natural gas is a effective replacement but the effects of jumping off fossil are clear and counter those the greenies list (and usually blow all out of proportion) http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba573

  49. Rincon says:

    Maybe you’re right, Athos. If so, then maybe we should put the lead back into paint and gasoline.

    “The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a non-profit American conservative think tank[1] whose goals are to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control”.

    Tell you what Steve. I’ll read the crap from conservative propogand….err, think tanks if you agree to read the crap I can provide from Greenpeace.

  50. Steve says:

    Way ahead of you Rincon. I regularly engage with that piece of crap liberal on the RJ known as Mark Schaffer. That alone should count for reading the other side. If that guy could simply learn to stop being so arrogant he might discover people would read his stuff and he has some really good things to offer on occasion.

  51. Steve says:

    For instance, Rincon. Her is a wesite I got from Mark Schaffer in the RJ blogs. It is a good one. This is one of today’s heads on batteries to store generated power from wind and PV. (Storage is their real weakness)

  52. Rincon says:

    Here’s a little Greenpeace crap for you: ‘Global warming is a clear and present danger to America’s public health, economy, and environment. One record-breaking hurricane season follows another. Declining mountain snowpack is aggravating water shortages in the West. California’s destructive wildfire season has become longer and more destructive than ever before. This is what global warming looks like.” http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/coal/

    Oh my God! Coal and global warming are a danger to our health, economy, and environment, already causing hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires. Do you believe it Steve? Perhaps as much as I believe the National Center for Policy Analysis.

  53. Steve says:

    Californias wildfires are far more a result of allowing fuel to grow through a complete green resistance to removing any fallen tree and selfish demands that every forest fire be put out instantly, this was begun in the early 1970’s and is only beginning to be changed by allowing logging to remove dead wood from forests. It took almost 50 years for California to build up all this fuel and it will take longer to clean it up. Unless wildfires take it away first, along with the McMansions built in the hills, the owners STILL demanding the fires be put out instantly.

    Utah, on the other hand allows and controls (as much as possible) wildfires to burn. They also allow and encourage loggers to remove dead wood. The bark beetle several years ago produced an amazing amount of wood for loggers and we who like those mountains hope they can remove those dead tress fast enough to prevent the same thing California experienced which was directly due to greenies shouting all forests cannot be touched by human hands. Assholes created fires (and the ensuing mudslides from rain) in California, not “global” whatever they want to call it lately.

    But it is as I said, each side chooses the cherries they want you to believe, those are what they “report”

    Snowpack is cyclical, if you are old enough to remember any of the Las Vegas Elvis movies, look at the ones with him water skiing on Lake Mead, the ring is as big in those movies as it is today. Cycles happen. And this is one. But Greenpiece must have run out of boats, so they want to “report” again on how BAD everything is.

    On the other hand I actually look for the good from the other side, can’t say that about you guys.

  54. Rincon says:

    Exactly Steve. I don’t believe Greenpeace either. That’s why I never use them as a source. They’re badly biased. Each side can choose the cherries they want, but some are obviously rotten.

    You sound very much like a Liberal here (no insult intended), implying that truth is relative. Truth is absolute, but we humans often interfere with discovering it because we choose to believe only what we want to hear. Most biased sources are guilty of exactly that. If it’s too difficult to confirm a fact with a neutral source, it’s usually because it’s a false fact. I find them all the time on both sides.

    America no longer values truth. We pick sides and stick to the “truth” promulgated by our side. For example, I cannot see how anyone can recognize the fact that China produces 1/6 of the greenhouse gases that we do per person and conclude that they’re the bad boy.

  55. Steve says:

    There was a time when liberal did not equal power hungry.

  56. Rincon says:

    I agree Steve, but I also feel the same way about Conservatives.

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