Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Montana's Max Baucus delivers for Big Timber

K Street's Favorite Democrat hit a home run today. And while I'm tempted to cheer that The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land managed to make some good from evil, it surely seems that the rich get richer. The NYT's Kirk Johnson reports Deal Is Struck in Montana to Preserve Forest Areas where he gives a good summary of the legislation that has helped put this deal together.

Plum Creek Timber based out here in Seattle is Big Timber with their REIT being a tremendous tool for the fat cats in avoiding taxes. That Montana might need their fair share of that revenue to educate their children and do other good is certain.

How they, or those first that exploited/extracted on this land and eventually became PCT, were given this land by the federal government way back in the day is an interesting tale. Before we had "welfare" we seemed to have had Corporate Welfare. Via a a new "tax-credit bond mechanism" in the new bloated farm bill Uncle Sam will now put up half of the $500 million plus PCT will be getting for this 500 square miles. Giving them the land and then buying it back seems rather noteworthy yet I've not yet noticed this oddity in any of the reporting.

Connected indeed is PCT. Note the way Montana's real Democratic Senator John Tester has questioned PCT's closed door access to Bu$hCo's Forest Service.

Once again it seems that those with access and money win. The deck is stacked against regular folks and populism remains an uphill battle. And this will continue until Joe and Jill Sixpack realize that most in the GOP and all too many in the Democratic Party are mostly all about doing the bidding of the Big Mules. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Evening of July 4, 2008 - You could almost know there'd be more to this story. MSNBC/WaPo reports Feds' closed-door deal could ease development: New Forest Service rules could let largest private owner convert land.

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