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Closing National Parks: Chump Change

Written by Gary North on October 4, 2013

When we are told about the horrors of the furloughs of 800,000 federal workers, the standard example is the shutdown of national parks.

It’s fall, folks. Summer is over. Almost nobody goes to the parks in fall. The kids are in school.

Could the parks charge a market price? Of course. But the headlines indicate that the crisis in government spending threatens the parks. In fact, it merely threatens the subsidies that all taxpayers provide to people who visit the parks.

We are talking about a federal budget of $3.6 trillion. How much effect on the economy would the removal of federal subsidies to the parks cost? Maybe $30 million a day. The Pew Charitable Trusts report this.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), an advocacy group, estimates the actual impact on businesses from the current shutdown could be closer to $30 million per day.

Where is the evidence? We are not told.

Let’s see. That $30 million a day, times 365 days, is about $11 billion. This is out of $3.8 trillion. Yet this is the best that the “incomparable economic disaster lies ahead” deficit-huggers can come up with.

October is peak season for many tourists who want to see the changing autumn leaves and for weddings in some national parks. Four weddings scheduled for the first week of the shutdown at Yosemite, for example, face cancellation, according to this interactive map from the NPCA.

Oh, woe! A few people who expected government-subsidized weddings have suffered incalculable harm!

Give me a break.

The self-induced paranoia of the deficit-huggers is not working. Nobody notices the furloughs of 800,000 federal workers, other than the families of these workers. There is a reason for this.

We are supposed to take this seriously.

Approximately 15 percent of the visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park come in October, according to Holly Scott, the marketing director of Friends of the Great Smokies, a nonprofit organization that raises private funds to help maintain the park. Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park generate an estimated $10 million in gateway communities in October, she wrote in a recent blog post.

Wow! A whole $10 million. Out of a budget of $3.8 trillion.

By the way, if the people who would have spent this money at the parks, do not spend it at the parks, they will spend it outside the parks. The national economy will not collapse.

When you read about “investments” by the government, substitute the word “subsidies.”

Every federal dollar invested in national parks generates $10 in economic activity, the NPCA said. The parks also support more than a quarter-million jobs and more than $30 billion in private-sector spending each year, the group said.

When it comes to federal subsidies by taxpayers, the beneficiaries will use any argument they can think of.

When you see the list of threatened programs, and tourism is on the list, you can be sure that they are running low on arguments.

Continue Reading on www.pewstates.org

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8 thoughts on “Closing National Parks: Chump Change

  1. Texas Chris says:

    The Parks don't have to close. Just sell them. Grant them to the states and let the states decide if they should be "public", or sold off to private managers, or business, or… Whatever.

    There is no constitutional justification for a "national park".

  2. cbanalyst says:

    We need to find out who gave the order to barricade the national WWII shrine in DC? This was totally unnecessary and only done to get at the Republicans.

  3. Don't forget it's also very disrespectful to the veterens. (forgive me if I spelt that wrong)

  4. Econoranter says:

    Since the federal government regularly shuts down facilities used by and paid for by taxpayers so that one group of politicians or another can get it's way perhaps it's time for control of these properties to be transferred to the states and paid for by state funds. The voter/taxpayers seem willing to endure endless abuse from government at all levels but wouldn't this be a sensible thing voter/taxpayers could do to get reliable use of property they are required to pay for? One whole level of bureaucrats and politicians would lose the power they presently have over a number of properties

  5. I believe the national parks were pledged as collateral to our international creditors some years ago. That was behind the creation (under Nixon) of the EPA: set aside and declare off-limits huge tracts of mineral-rich public land for the day when America could no longer pay its bills. Then all the nations who have loaned us money would start demanding something of value besides our worthless FRN's.

  6. concernedcitizenhere says:

    It's time for States to take back all federal lands conveyed to the govt. These shameful acts by the current (and hopefully temporary) regime are disgusting for sure. Look at Lake Mead Nevada residents are not allowed to go to their homes, businesses/work, etc. They have to leave their homes and find new places to live to put their children and baby's in temporary beds somewhere and does the feds care??? No!!! I wonder if Nevadan's will vote AGAIN for mr. reid and other reps and congressmen after this stint? Good luck with that.

  7. lilbear68 says:

    sure the fed has closed down a few monuments and parks but I notice that they haven't dared to try to close the Alamo and its park

  8. Michigan_REB says:

    Start the lay offs and withholding pay where the blame falls Start with the White house and the Senate. Then all the White house staff, and the agencies we waste so much money on. Then but most importantly, End all funding to anything connected with the UN that's Trilions every year we waste and see no benefit from. put that directly on our debit in less than ten years we would be debit free.