Washington, Sep 14 -
Mr. Speaker, many, many years ago the second American Revolution took place when Washington, D.C., was invaded by the British in the War of 1812. Many forgot that the Capitol, the White House, and Washington, D.C., were burned to the ground by the British. And after the War of 1812 was over with, America found itself in a situation thatís not unfamiliar with us today. America was out of money.
So what did people decide to do here in this body of Congress about how to get more money into the Federal Treasury? They thought of a unique approach that maybe we ought to think of and do today.
Right now we talk about raising taxes, cutting spending, and we need more revenue. Maybe we ought to think outside of the box when it comes to revenue instead of more government taking form the people and giving it to its special groups. Letís do what they did at the end of the War of 1812.
The Federal Government decided that it would sell some of the land to Americans ñ what a novel thought ñ and let Americans own America. They could produce that land, and then they could pay more taxes. And thatís what they did at the end of the War of 1812.
We talk about the land in America. Whoís the biggest landowner in this country? Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam owns 27 percent of the land mass in the United States. This poster here shows the land area in red, including Alaska, that is owned by the Federal Government, Uncle Sam. Twenty ñseven percent of the land.
Half of the land west of the Mississippi, or in the West, belongs to the Federal Government. Those folks in the West, half of it belongs to Uncle Sam. Heís their neighbor in every western state. Itís different in the East because much of that land was sold at the end of the War of 1812.
Now, 27 percent, what does that mean? Thatís really hard to understand how much that is. If you were to superimpose the 27 percent of the land mass in the United States into Europe, you would find that Uncle Sam would own almost all of Europe. Western Europe is about 27 percent of the land mass of the United States. And of course that includes the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland and even Spain.
Now, weíre talking about a lot of land. Does Uncle Sam really need all of that land? Much of itís unproductive, not paying any taxes, not paying any revenue to local and state governments.
So maybe we should do something that our forefathers, our ancestors did ñ sell some of that land to Americans and allow that revenue to come into the Federal Treasury so we can pay off all of our debts that we have accumulated over the years. Twenty-seven percent of the land mass is 623 million acres in this country.
Ronald Reagan tried to do that when he was President, but it did not go very far at all. You know, even President Obama mentioned about a month ago that thereís 300 acres in Los Angeles County thatís owned by the Federal Government. We could sell that for $2 billion.
So maybe we need to think outside of the box. Iíve introduced the American Land Act. We talked about the American Jobs Act. The American Land Act would require that the Federal Government sell a portion of that land over a period of years.
Now, I want to be careful to state weíre not talking about the national parks. Weíre not talking about Yosemite. Weíre not talking about the marshes and environmentally se