October 01, 2005

The Endangered Species Act

The author of Crumb Trail applies his impeccable logic to the Endangered Species Act of the United States. He reasons that, by limiting the uses of private lands that harbor endangered species, the Act discourages species preservation by landowners. He supports the opposite -- rewarding landowners that care for species and habitats. He says:
We spend 10s of billions of dollars on farm subsidies every year. How can anybody get upset about 10s of millions for a program that finally stacks the deck in favor of endangered species instead of against them?
I would not get upset, but I would oppose that program if it is carried by the government with taxpayers' money. Of course I like farm subsidies even less.

However, if you could eliminate the farm subsidies and put that money back into taxpayers' pockets I bet people would voluntarily give lots of money to preserve important habitats. There are two valuable things here -- "voluntarily" and "lots of money." Additionally when individual people put their own money into habitat preservation they tend to do it more wisely than do politicians with other people's money. So we get a third valuable thing -- "money better spent."

Instead of being so idealistic I can join the crowds who ask for taxpayers' money to advance their own interests and causes, and thus contribute to the present status quo. Or I can just get upset. Both are things I am unwilling to do, especially the latter.

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