Government in the United States in the past half-century has demonstrated a truly amazing ability to damage the economy. This has been done in several ways:
(1) Denial of natural resources: Government, in the guise of “conservation” and “protection of the environment”, has made it impossible, or at best insanely difficult, to obtain natural resources, especially minerals, necessary for our economy.
(2) Regulatory totalitarianism: Government has created a monstrous edifice of regulations and procedures which outright prevent, or at best delay, economic development by all types and sizes of business and private enterprise – even “public enterprise.”
(3) Prevention of common sense actions to use technology and the resources available in the most effective way: Government has thwarted efforts, again at all levels, by individuals and businesses to obtain and use natural resources and products of other people to create new wealth, while promoting false ideas of exploitation and winners versus losers in economic activity, and making a once free market into a command economy in which mistakes and stupidity are rewarded, and individual and private initiative and responsibility are trampled under.
While the last two items are important, this article concentrates on the first: denial of natural resources.
The free market has been more and more subverted, starting with the rationing and government central planning beginning in the Great War (World War I), continuing with the evil government response to the Crash of 1929 which CREATED the Great Depression, and then the amazing degree of control in the Second World War which continued, with only a brief respite into the Cold War, and now into the “Global War on Terrorism.”
Over the decades, government actions (together with their allies in the progressive-controlled multinational corporations) have denied access to trillions of dollars of resources. It started with government edicts that withdrew locations with known mineral resources from being claimed, and got steadily worse. This is not just in the West, but across the nation and the globe. We can point to the “protection” of vast acreages that have huge deposits of conventional oil, of low-sulfur coal, and of billions of tons of iron ore, copper, silver, gold, and other essential industrial metals. We can point to government edicts that shut down (and destroyed) gold and silver mines and processing during the 1930s and 1940s. We can point to farm “support” programs that reduced production of wheat and corn and sugar and other commodities one year and subsidized them (raising prices arbitrarily) the next year. We can point to the attacks on nuclear power, fracking, on construction of new refineries (and the closure of dozens), on the Keystone XL pipeline, on construction of new railroads and powerlines, and many other actions which have resulted in severe damage to the economy, current and future. (And coupled with it, permitting and regulatory requirements that restrict entry into the market by new, small enterprises, and create monopolies and cartels.)
In recent years, more esoteric resources are the flash points. One of the major ones are the rare earths. This article recently was published.
Stupid government tricks – Technology
US limits rare earth mining: Another firm tries to do it in Wyoming
(Conservative Action Alerts) The U.S. is one of only a few countries with known recoverable [Rare Earth Elements, or ] REE deposits (with approximately 13 percent of the world’s total known reserves), and we have more commodity minerals and metals than any other country. Yet, today, less than half the minerals U.S. manufacturers use comes from domestically mined resources. More specifically, China currently has a near-monopoly on the production of REEs—generally supplying approximately 85 percent of the world’s current REE supply and 100 percent of several REEs.
Rare Element Resources is positioning the Bear Lodge Project, located in northeastern Wyoming, to be the next North American source of rare earths. … expected +40-year life, the project has the opportunity to produce many of the critical rare earths necessary to support today’s evolving technologies. …
The quantity and quality of the resource at Bear Lodge make it a world-class mining district and a dependable, long-term source for the rare earths elements (REE) … [and] rich in “critical rare earths,” or CREE, those elements that are less common, higher valued, and expected to experience better demand growth and price support over the longer term. Bear Lodge is situated in one of the best mining districts in the world. The mine site is located just off I-90 [northwest of Sundance], with easy access to power and good supporting infrastructure. The hydrometallurgical plant will be located just outside of Upton, Wyoming, in an existing industrial park with good road access and an existing rail spur. Additionally, both communities contain a ready work force, skilled in natural resource development … [with a] goal of beginning operations in 2016. Location … two major components. First is the Bull Hill Mine, which includes both the Bull Hill and Whitetail Ridge deposits, … approximately 12 miles north of Sundance, Wyoming, in central Crook County. Second is the Upton Hydrometallurgical Plant (Hydromet), located 40 miles south of the Bull Hill Mine and approximately 2 miles west of the town of Upton, Wyoming, in north-central Weston County. The project consists of approximately 9,000 acres and is located on both private land and land administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service – Black Hills National Forest.
Nathan: I am quoting at length both from the CAA story AND from the company’s own site, because this is a critical element of modern technology and society and because this is Wyoming. And specifically, this is the Black Hills, one of those special areas God blessed with an absolutely insane amount of mineral and animal and vegetable wealth for us poor humans to exploit. This is one of the (many) reasons I support the Free State Wyoming project: North America is so richly blessed with natural resources, but some areas on this continent are even more blessed: the Black Hills is one of those few places on the planet that can sustain high technology AND a stable and libertarian society that is far more free than 95% of the planet.
I fully expect that all the usual suspects: the various government regulatory agents and their enablers in Congress and the lobbying industry, the whole rainbow of environist groups, and the multinationals and their allies in China (and elsewhere); that all these will focus on ensuring the Bear Lodge Project fails. It is in keeping with the attacks on other natural resources and the people and enterprises that have sought to provide them: foundations for a strong economy and a better standard of living for us all. Government wants none of that, because that leads to a need for LESS government and creates conditions in which free people prosper in peace.