As I already mentioned earlier this week, President Obama just unilaterally designated five new national monuments and parks to the federal government’s keeping, and it might be easy to dismiss any partisan objections to his decision as just the complaints of those gosh darn spiteful, stubborn Republicans for whom the president can’t do anything right. After all, for what reason could anyone possibly object to something as seemingly benign as bringing a few more properties under the federal bureaucracy’s stewardship?

Oh hey, here’s a pretty good reason.

The federal government owns or leases between 55,000 and 77,000 vacant properties. But it’s impossible to tell exactly how many. No precise inventory has been kept.

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