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It's the Desert, Stupid

It's the Desert, Stupid

Making Sense by Michael Reagan

Someone better send John Kerry a high school geography textbook.

Our brilliant Secretary of State doesn't seem to know that California is about two-thirds desert.

Based on his recent statements about the cause of my home state's 13-month drought, Kerry doesn't know anything about California's history or climate, either.

He thinks the state's current drought — which is draining reservoirs, raising fears of severe water shortages in small towns and already causing the usual idiots to demand the death penalty for lawn watering -- is the result of man-made climate change.

If only more of Kerry's Hollywood soul mates would drive a Tesla, if only every American could be forced to walk or windsurf to work each day, we could save California from drying up and blowing away.

Not exactly, Secretary. California's mostly a desert. It's been one for eons. Deserts tend to, ah, have water issues — especially when tens of millions of people live in them.

My native state has been subject to droughts that make the current mini-drought look like monsoon season. This dry spell is nothing compared to the mega-droughts of old.

How about the one that started in the year 850 — and lasted 240 years? Or the shorter one that began in about 1100 and ended in 1300?Did humans cause them too, Secretary?

Were the Tongva people who lived in L.A. before the Spanish arrived driving too many big SUVs or barbecuing too many mountain lions?

When I was growing up in Southern California we had droughts.

But in 1960 we didn't have to worry about running out of water because we had a competent state government that had built enough dams, reservoirs and aqueducts to serve its 16 million people.

Now we've got 37 million Californians and a government that's more interested in tearing down dams, diverting river water to save endangered fish and building $68 billion bullet trains than investing in our future water needs.

The L.A. Times had a big piece about the drought recently. It trotted out a bunch of experts who said we have a real dumb state and federal water policy in California, which was news to no one.

The experts also said we waste too much water. Farmers waste it. Homeowners waste it. Businesses and golf courses waste it. And they said we're all going to have to learn to use less water and pay more for it in the future.

So let's get this straight.

First the politicians create the water problem by not building enough dams to store the water we'll need when the next inevitable drought comes.

Now they want to solve the water shortage they created by telling me not to use so much water? On top of that, they want to make me pay more for less water so that the guys who sell the water can keep their profits up?

Sounds like a typical government operation to me.

The experts in the L.A. Times article never addressed the idea of creating a free-market mechanism that would allow people — mainly farmers who consume 80 percent of the water -- to buy and sell water rights as a way to allocate our water resources efficiently.

And they pooh-poohed the idea that the answer to our future water needs is more reservoirs, which they said are too expensive.

I think the water experts are all wet.

This week two huge rainstorms are coming in off the Pacific. By Saturday I'll be able to go over to the Los Angeles River and see it at full flood stage. The streets nearby might be flooded.

Talk about wasting water. Talk about stupid. All that rainwater will flow straight into the ocean.

California has built some water reservoirs since 1960, but we need to build more. That way, when we have to pray for rain and it comes we'll have somewhere to hold it.

——-

Copyright© 2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

Mike's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns contact Sales at sales@cagle.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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