Images: Wikipedia (Federal Lands and Bureau of Land Management)
Occasionally a libertarian will look at a map like this one and lick his chops at an obvious opportunity to strike a blow against the D.C. Leviathan:
The notion of prying this enormous amount of land out of the hands of the feds is not merely a libertarian idiosyncrasy. This article from 2013 (also during an infamous “government shutdown”) says at least seven western states have lobbied to reclaim federal land, apparently out of desperation. These states didn’t like seeing the land shuttered or unmanaged, suffering Washington Monument Syndrome while politicians a thousand miles away played financial chicken with each other’s constituencies. There is some real-world interest in this idea. As Washington’s fiscal convulsions get progressively worse, the question will become more urgent. Libertarians would do well to have realistic answers when a radical change becomes politically possible.
It would be a mistake, though, to look at a map like that and assume the red shaded areas are “federally owned” the way you own your house — as if it could all just be put up to auction and privatized overnight. Here’s a more detailed map of those federal holdings, courtesy of Wikipedia: