Thursday, September 12, 2013
*Why have I added a picture of my dog stealing cherry tomatoes to a blog post that has nothing to do with dogs stealing cherry tomatoes? Because he's a thieving bastard, that's why. And this post is about thieving bastards. The difference is, Ozzy's a lovable thieving bastard. I mean, come on, how can you be mad at that?
Seen in a local real estate flier and reproduced here verbatim...
Prime Highway Frontage Awaits Developer - This property of almost 24 acres at Hwy XX and XX is now cleared of most red cedar trees through the USDA conservation program (bold added). Ideal for future commercial, recreational or mixed development. City utilities nearby. Available as one or two tracts, priced separately at $300,000 and $225,000 each.
I have no idea what this "USDA conservation program" was, most likely EQIP or some other type of cost-share or grant program available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (Or as I like to call it, the Natural Resources Con Service), and as far as total federal or state dollars wasted, it's admittedly probably not much. But I'm pretty sure that getting Uncle Sam to foot the bill for clearing the land of cedars so it could then be turned around and sold as a commercial development wasn't the original intention of the program. At 24 acres right next to a major highway, it's of extremely dubious conservation value, anyway, and I'm wondering how the hell it even got approved in the first place.
Regardless, it's a perfect little example of how the system is gamed, ruthlessly and blatantly, by so many of those who love to crow, ad nauseam, about how they're the "original environmentalists." And of course many of them are. I've met some great ones. But many of them aren't. I've met some real assholes, too.
Socialize the risks and costs. Privatize the profits. Screw the environmental consequences. That, in a nutshell, is exactly how many people view state and federal conservation programs. Take that 24 acres, multiply (by orders of magnitude) both acreage and the audacity and scale of fraud, and there you've got an idea of the current state of many of the nation's conservation programs. And since we can't even get any farm bill passed, much less one that might address some of the issues facing these critically important programs (like CRP), the prospects of that changing any time soon are about as bleak as my chances of getting my new self-help book (Working Title: "What's the Goddamned Point? Learning to Accept the Inevitability of Hopelessness Through Self-Medication and Sloth") picked up by a major publisher.
Well, at least I know where I can find myself 24 prime, cedar-free acres of commercial/industrial paradise just ripe for an oilfield services business, courtesy of the taxpayers of the United States. If I only had a cool $525,000 to buy it... But hey, there's gotta be some kind of gubment program for that, right?
Posted by Chad Love at 12:16 PM