Your Land Is My Land, This Land Is My Land

Them Cowboy Ranchers Sure Are Whiny When They Can’t Use Your Land For Free

Ranchers whine a lot The endless Western drought appears to be part of a government conspiracy to put ranchers out of business. Thanks Obama.

Some Americans are so American that their very American-ness guarantees them use of land that belongs to taxpayers. For example, ranchers. Ranchers are by definition cowboys*, so when they want to graze their flocks for free on land owned by taxpayers, they should be able to do it. Unfortunately, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is charged with the care and custody of the vast stretches of wilderness, including doing their best to limit degradation that the accompanies unregulated grazing. When you combine extreme drought with tens of thousands of cows chomping up the remaining ground cover, you’re compounding the disaster and making it permanent. When cattle graze on drought-stricken terrain, it makes it difficult for the land to recover – in some cases, ever.

Ranchers are in business to make money. Sure it’s a way of life and they are all hard-working and self-consciously self-reliant, but they aren’t actually doing the Lord’s work. the land doesn’t belong to them and never has. And the Western states only produce about 20% of the nation’s beef.

Because of the epic western drought, the BLM has temporarily revoked the grazing privileges of some ranchers because the land is simply too dry to support cattle.

Nevertheless, the ranchers – an outfit called the Filippini** family in particular – have decided to go rogue in keeping with that particular beloved American tradition. They have taking to vilifying the BLM as thieves and enemies of the western dream. Which is all pretty bizarre considering that THE RANCHERS DON’T OWN THE LAND. We the people own the land. The ranchers are trespassing on someone else’s land, which they expect is some sort of god given right by virtue of the fact that they – along with the drillers and miners – have been wrecking it for a couple centuries now. Let’s hope they don’t demand to use our city parks next.

Ranchers have been living off of federal subsidies for decades, otherwise we would all be eating soy burgers. They pay artificially low property taxes. Ranchers are able to obtain mortgages based on the value of their grazing permits, which is like using someone else’s house for collateral. Fencing and other development on public lands are paid for by taxpayers. And of course, the damage done by their cattle is incalculable.

That sounds a lot like whatchacallit – entitlement and other word for welfare. Don’t it Slim?

*Cows (cattle) + boys (men on horses who live together in bunkhouses) = Cowboys
**Between you and me, that name don’t sound all that American.

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