By Jessica Goad
Sometimes it takes a bit of humor to reveal the core of bad policy ideas. This is just what happened on the Daily Show two nights ago, when former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain stopped by for an interview with Jon Oliver on energy policy. As part of the interview, Cain called for selling off national parks:
Jon Oliver: Gas prices are strangling Americans.
Herman Cain: Yes. Let’s sell some of these federal lands that contain newly discovered oil shale resources. Let’s sell some of these parks that are nice to have but do we really need millions of acres of parks in order to say that we are environmentally friendly?
Oliver: How much can one family picnic?
Cain: Exactly. And in today’s world, where we are a 24/7, 365 information overload society, how much picnicking are the kids doing if they are texting while picnicking?
Oliver: That’s what I’m talking about right there!
Cain: So we don’t need as many parks.
Oliver: That’s just an ecological fact.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Herman Cain: An American Presidency – Energy Policy|
While it’s no surprise that Cain’s policy ideas are often radically far right, the truth is selling off national parks and other public lands has recently been proposed by a handful of Republicans.
In March, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) told a town hall gathering that “we don’t need more national parks in this country, we need to actually sell off some of our national parks.” And former Rep. Richard Pombo proposed selling national parks to mining companies in 2005, which likely contributed to his election loss.
Also, Mitt Romney told the “Reno Gazette Journal” that he doesn’t know “the purpose of” public lands, which include 397 national park units on 84 million acres. National parks provide $31 billion in economic contributions every year and support 258,000 jobs.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress.