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  • 1. The 100th meridian passes through North Dakota about one-third of the way west from the eastern border of the state, passes through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and then forms the eastern edge of the Texas Panhandle. The exceptions to this generalization about rainfall are the northwest coastal region about as far south as San Francisco and a few scattered areas in the northwest quarter of the region.
  • 2. In some western states where the dry climate made it impossible for 160 acres to support a farm family, larger homesteads were permitted.
  • 3. Richard Hofstadter, William Miller, and Daniel Aaron, The American Republic, 2nd edn, vol. 1, Prentice Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1970, p. 545.
  • 4. The fact that several of the pieces of legislation mentioned in this chapter were passed in 1862 is not a coincidence. Both the opening up of western lands for settlement and the choice of transcontinental rail routes had important implications for the balance of power between free and slave states. Thus, prior to the Civil War, congressional agreement had not been possible. But with southern representatives out of the Congress in 1862, agreement was easily reached.
  • 5. Dexter Perkins and Glyndon G. Van Deusen, The United States of America: A History, 2nd edn, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1968, p. 73. The interested reader can look up further details under the heading "Credit Mobilier" in numerous U.S. history texts.
  • 6. Ibid., p. 73.
  • 7. Hofstadter, Miller, and Aaron, American Republic, p. 683.
  • 8. Perkins and Van Deusen, History, p. 69.
  • 9. Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Viking, New York, 1986, p. 111.
  • 10. On a long-term loan the sum of the interest payments can be significantly greater than the principal. Thus interest forgiveness of these loans represented a very substantial

subsidy. In point of fact the actual subsidy was even greater than that would suggest because the bureau would not (or politically could not) force the farmer who became delinquent off his or her land. For a brief account of the early years of the Bureau of Reclamation, see Kenneth D. Frederick, "Water Resources: Increasing Demand and Scarce Supply," in Kenneth D. Frederick and Roger A. Sedjo, eds., America's Renewable Resources: Historical Trends and Current Challenges, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 1991. For a more detailed presentation, see Richard W. Wahi, Markets for Federal Water, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 1989.

  • 11. Reisner, Cadillac Desert, p. 127.
  • 12. Major Dams, Reservoirs, and Hydroelectric Plants, Worldwide and Bureau of Reclamation, released by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO, n.d.
  • 13. Frederick, "Water Resources," p. 49.
  • 14. For a detailed account of the events leading to the passage of the act, see Martin Reuss, Reshaping National Water Politics: The Emergence of the Water Resources Development Act, IWR Policy Study 91-PS-1, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1991.
  • 15. In the east the law has generally relied on riparian rights, a concept derived from English common law, that assigns right on the basis of immediate proximity to the water source. This worked reasonably well in the east but was not practical in the water-short west.
  • 16. Robert Reinhold, "New Age for Western Water Policy: Less for the Farm, More for the City," New York Times, October 11, 1992, Section. 1, p. 18.
  • 17. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 112th edition, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC, 1992, Table 1096. Texas ranked second, also largely on the strength of irrigated land. In the case of Texas, however, irrigation waters largely come from wells in the great Ogallala aquifer. Unlike surface waters that are renewable, "mining" the Ogallala is a one-time event, since the aquifer's recharge rate is only a minuscule fraction of the rate of current withdrawals.
  • 18. The centroid is a calculated point "at which an imaginary flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance if weights of identical value were placed on it so that each weight represented the location of one person on the date of the census." In 1990 the centroid was located a few miles southwest of St. Louis. See ibid., Table 3.
  • 19. Frederick, "Water Resources," p. 37.
  • 20. For an account of the legislative history, see Marguerite Owen, The Tennessee Valley Authority, Praeger, New York, 1973.
  • 21. Ibid., p.235.
  • 22. There is no interstate mileage in Alaska.
  • 23. This account is drawn from America's Highways 1776/1976: A History of the Federal Aid Program, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC, n.d.
  • 24. For a detailed account of the politics of the Interstate Highway System, see Mark H. Rose, Interstate Express Highway Politics,

revised edition, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1990.

  • 25. Carter M. McFarland, The Federal Government and Urban Problems, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1978, p. 117.
  • 26. For further details see an urban economics text such as James Heilbrun, Urban Economics and Public Policy, 3rd edn, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1987; McFarland, Federal Government; Henry Aaron, Shelter and Subsidies, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, 1972; or a text on real estate finance such as William Brueggeman and Leo D. Stone, Real Estate Investment, 8th edn, Richard D. Irwin, Homewood, IL, 1989.
  • 27. Available online at statab/2012 / 12s0477.pdf. A list of the OMB's estimates of federal tax expenditures may also be found in the Statistical Abstract of the United States. The tax expenditure concept is that a reduction in the amount of tax that would otherwise be collected is an expenditure by another name. Instead of appearing as an expenditure in an appropriations bill it appears as a provision in the tax code. The terms tax break and tax preference are more or less synonymous with the term tax expenditure.


Frederick, Kenneth D., and Sedjo, Roger A., eds., America's Renewable Resources, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 1991.

Owen, Marguerite, The Tennessee Valley Authority, New York, 1973.

Rose, Mark H., Interstate Express Highway Politics, revised edition, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1990.

Wahl, Richard W., Markets for Federal Water: Subsidies, Property Rights, and the Bureau

of Reclamation, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 1989.

Note: Detailed information about the work of federal agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Transportation, or the Army Corps of Engineers can be obtained by writing or calling them directly. A number of federal agencies employ a department historian, an especially good source for the student or scholar.

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