Here’s a number that might scare you: $14,132,959,955,340. That’s 14 trillion dollars, give or take a few hundred billion. That’s the current estimate of our national debt according to the OMB (Office of Management and Budget). Here’s a slightly smaller but equally frightening number: $1 million.
That’s the amount our nation’s debt is expanding – per minute. The clock is ticking. Depressed? Don’t be. Because I have a brilliant solution to the nation’s debt crisis. And it doesn’t involve painful tax hikes, closing down your favorite park or eliminating daily delivery of your mail.
What are my credentials? I (often imagine that I) am a highly sought-after, award-winning, Harvard-educated economist. I won’t drone on about my many notable achievements in the fields of econometrics or applied macro-economic asset price modeling theory (because there aren’t any).
Suffice to say, I took both Econ-201 and Econ-202 in my second year of college. I have successfully balanced my family’s checkbook 9 of the past 12 months. And I have completely paid off our family’s credit card debt on all but 5 of our 17 credit cards. I saved $4,000 by the time I was 18 years old by doing summer jobs, and I didn’t blow it all until late spring of my freshman year of college (hey, I needed a new stereo system).
So when I say I have a solution for the nation’s debt crisis, I think my credentials speak for themselves.
Congress and the President can talk about cutting the deficit and reducing our debt. But it’s all lip service. Nobody is really going to cut defense spending by 25% or raise the retirement age for Social Security to age 70, let alone even hint that perhaps we need to raise taxes dramatically. No, none of our elected representatives has the political backbone and courage to do what’s needed. And thanks to my idea, they don’t have to!
Question: What would you do if your family faced overwhelming debts you could not pay off? In my case, I’d probably just sell off my wife’s jewelry (but not her engagement ring because she might notice as I attempted to pry it off her finger). If need be, I might even part with my rare, priceless Mercury Dime collection (face value of my dime collection: $17.00; current estimated fair market value: $25.00).
But I would never sell either of my kids into some illegal slave trade – unless I really ran out of options, they were misbehaving really badly, and the buyer offered me a smokin’ price I just could not refuse.
My point is this: If your back is against the wall, what do you do? You sell off some of your assets. Families do this all the time. They call it a garage sale. Corporations do it too. They call it finding a sucker to purchase the Hummer Division from GM. It’s about time our federal government followed the lead of millions of families and companies and start selling off some of its less important assets.
If my neighbor Ed Biggelman can get $32 for his 10 year-old Nordic Track with a timer that no longer works, surely Uncle Sam can fetch a fair price for some of the lesser used items in his attic – say Montana, for example.
Just off the top of my head, here are a few rarely used items our federal government could offer up for sale. We can quibble later whether or not buyers should have to pay sales tax or pay for shipping & handling. But let’s not waste any more time. The clock is ticking:
Golden Gate Bridge: $18.6 billion. Own the world’s most famous suspension bridge, in the heart of one of the world’s great cities. An added bonus: Collect a $6 toll each way for every vehicle – $10 for trucks. Before you know it, the bridge will be yours, free and clear (the 260,000 gallons of the color orange vermillion paint, required to paint the bridge every year – extra).
Washington Monument: $13.2 billion or Best Offer. How would like you a high rise with a view to make your friends sick with envy? This is the place. Comes with a stunning view of our nation’s Capitol. Easy commute to the White House or Congress. Ideal for lobbyists, corrupt senators or people with no fear of heights. For just $420,000 more, we’ll even install an elevator.
The US Coast Guard: $197 billion. Own your own branch of the U.S. Military. If you liked to play soldiers as a child, this is a must have. Comes with your own custom-tailored four-star admiral’s uniform and an assortment of medals to choose from. Trade medals with your friends or collect the whole set. Act now. Troop supplies are going fast. Comes with free quarterly pass to visit the White House Situation Room.
[Disclaimer: Rest assured, our government will never put our nation’s security at risk. We’re not talking about our real armed forces – the Army, Navy or Air Force – just the Coast Guard – and only the portion that protects our Canadian border. So it’s not like we need to worry about an invasion from the north. We’re talking about Canadians. I hear they’re annoying but harmless, sort of like fruit flies.]
But these brilliant ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Read Part II of my amazing solutions to solve our nation’s debt crisis – to be posted later this week.