You may not have heard (if you’ve been in a coma since 1994), but our national debt is spiraling out of control. If you could imagine a fire hose spraying a stream of $100 bills instead of jets of water, that’s essentially the way our federal government pisses through money on an average day. If you’re having trouble staying awake at night, here is a number that might help: $233 billion. That’s not the latest national debt figure. Oh, no. That’s just the interest on it we pile up each year.
Won’t somebody come up with a plan to stop all the fiscal hemorrhaging? Anybody? Nobody? Okay, I guess it’s up to me to bail out America…. Again.
Last week, I shared Part I of my solution to our national debt problem. In this week’s thrilling conclusion, I solve it even more. So let’s get started, shall we?
Cape Canaveral – Kennedy Space Center: $11.5 billion. If you’re still a kid at heart, this one’s for you. Located on the pristine golden beaches of Central Florida’s Atlantic coast and just a two-hour drive from Disney World. Always wanted to be an astronaut? Now you can own a whole crew of them. Guess who gets to press the “Blast off” button at Mission Control? You do! Comes with a free ride on the next Space Shuttle Endeavour flight. (Fine print: Next scheduled Endeavour flight: 1st of Never.)
State of Alaska: $780 billion. Call the Last Frontier your home with this incredible once-in-a-lifetime bargain. See Russia from your house. Be the first among your friends to own your own state. Comes with tons of room to spread out all your stuff, not to mention access to our nation’s largest oil and natural gas pipeline. Stunning views of mountains, grizzly bears, bald eagles and hot ex-governors. Juneau what else? For just $20 billion more, we’ll even rename the state capitol after you. Flexible payment terms. Ask about our layaway plan.
US Interstate 80: $87.6 billion. If you thought you could “get your kicks on Route 66”, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Own a part of the world’s greatest highway network. The nation’s second longest interstate, I-80, runs from scenic California through the Nevada Dessert (where you can do 130 mph and the state troopers won’t hassle you) through the golden corn fields of Nebraska, before your journey ends at glamorous New York City.
Want to institute tolls on your interstate? Go right ahead. Name your fare. If you can’t afford the entire route, eliminate the stretch from Utah through Wyoming and save 15%. Nobody uses that portion anyway.
Amtrak: $5,000 or best offer. We’ve all seen those guys in their 70’s still playing with their model trains. Some boys never grow up. And now you don’t have to either. Own your very own life-size train set and you can play with passenger trains from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Comes with your own conductor’s uniform and whistle. Can you say “Alllllllll aboard?” Batteries and federal government subsidies to ensure Amtrak’s continued survival, not included.
According to my math, if the federal government sells the above items it will have paid off $1.1 trillion dollars – $5,000 more if you include Amtrak. Think of how much more the government could pay down its debt if it just got a little creative.
Here’s another brilliant idea you can thank me for later: Offer sponsorship rights to historic landmarks:
I know a certain oil company with a slightly tarnished image that would die for naming rights to a certain world-famous geyser. Bring the family to see the BP Old Faithful Geyser. How about this for a tagline: “Come see our geyser. It’s a lot like one of our oil gushers, but with steam – and without all the dead pelicans.” (Okay, I agree. Tagline needs some work.)
Hey, want to take the kids on a fantastic vacation this summer? Why not take them to the popular Denny’s Grand Slam Grand Canyon? Kids eat for half price at the Denny’s South Rim Grand Canyon Diner.
Or how about a visit to the historic Liberty Mutual Statue of Liberty? No one says God Bless America better than Liberty Mutual Insurance, America’s most patriotic insurance provider.
Just imagine how much Uncle Sam could net for the naming rights to a few prestigious federal buildings, like the Capitol or the White House. You could even pay for sponsoring rights to the U.S. Senator of your choice. No wait, that idea’s already been done. Never mind.
I’m sure that as a nation, if we all put our collective heads together, we can come up with many more creative ways to pay off our nation’s staggering debt in no time.
And I am saving my best idea for last. Just $50 billion for the right to put your face on the penny in place of Lincoln. Now that’s a steal. I might just have to step up to the plate and bid on this myself. Sure hope they accept Discover card. Wonder if my image should be smiling or serious. Your thoughts?
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
If you missed it, read Part I of this two-part post here.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2014