Spending not only way government robs its taxpayers
We almost daily complain of taxes and regulations which consume about 40 percent of many working individual’s income.
In recent months spending at the federal level has become outlandish. However, spending money we don’t have is just part of a problem.
Government waste, especially at the national level, is ridiculous. And it is easily traced back to also include those beyond the current Congress or White House resident. Each year it seems to get a little worse because we never correct these policies and regulations which do not make common sense.
A recent example was pointed out by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
Using the “competitive” bid process, the federal Bureau of Land Management approved a bid for U.S.-owned coal that was well under half of fair market value, costing U.S. taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion in a single day.
There was no minimum bid price set and only one company (Peabody) entered a low-ball bid of $1.10 per ton for 721 million tons of the Powder River Basin coal, of which the fair market value is estimated to be $2.79 per ton.
Just days earlier, the IEEFA issued a report that over the past 30 years taxpayers have missed out on an estimated $28.9 billion in revenues due to Powder River Basin coal having been sold at less than its fair market value.
Northeastern Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which was home to the 91st Infantry Division in World War I, is currently producing 44 percent of the nation’s coal. The study showed that since 1991 only four out of 26 major Powder River Basin coal sales have had more than one bidder. Two had only two bidders.
The failure, attributed to lack of oversight, is especially troubling as a scandal erupted three decades ago over the same industry give-away practices, and clear, transparent reforms were laid out by Congress in the wake of that scandal. The Department of Interior, through its Bureau of Land Management, is responsible for sale of the coal. The United States owns almost all of the coal in the region and is extremely influential in shaping U.S. annual coal production levels.
Readers are aware that should we discontinue wide use of coal. China is anxiously anticipating purchase of coal from the Powder River Basin. It is our belief that the reasonable application of cleaner air rules as passed recently will permit coal to continue a very reasonable source of energy in the long run.
We also believe strongly that part of our obligation as a nation is to encourage a society that is friendly to business and industry. However, we do not support the idea of giving away any of our taxpayer property to businesses through a faulty bidding process or any other means.
Hopefully, the political parties will forget about the upcoming elections long enough to get the fox out of the hen house!