Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

The new California gold rush

Posted by sanityinjection on March 25, 2009

NBC News tells us that the high price of gold, combined with more folks being unemployed or having trouble making ends meet, is sparking a mini gold rush in Southern California. The reason? Geologists estimate that plenty of gold remains there to be found.

Of course, the reason it hasn’t been exploited by mining companies is that it’s mostly in very small pieces that aren’t worth the investment to recover.  Still, that doesn’t stop hopefuls from their hit-or-miss efforts in and around the riverbeds.

However, I have to wonder if all of this activity is legal. I know there are some privately owned areas where tourists and visitors are allowed to propsect for a fee and keep what they find. But presumably most of the people mentioned in this article are on public land. If you find gold on a public land – say, in a recreation area – do you get to keep it? Or does it belong to the federal government and the taxpayers whose dollars maintain the land?

While I can certainly appreciate the argument that if you work for something you should get to keep it, that doesn’t give you the right to grow tomatoes on your neighbor’s property. Arguably, any gold on public land should be going to offset the trillions in crippling debt that the federal government has saddled future generations with. Heck, use some of the stimulus money to hire people to pan for the gold and pay them a fair wage to do it. They’ll get a much steadier income in return for passing up the chance at a big score.

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One Response to “The new California gold rush”

  1. Ya, I’m sure when 6 tiny grains of gold are found the person runs to the nearest government office to turn them in.

    Mark

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