Slate magazine today features an article today that argues our nation's budget woes can be solved by doing, well, nothing. The essential argument is that between health-care reform and existing tax laws, America's financial house will come to order in about 10 years. All Congress has to do is sit on its hands.
One paragraph in the article gets us to thinking:
Sell a state? Brilliant!
It's not such a radical idea when you think about it. After all, many states originally were territories purchased by the U.S. at one time or another. Imagine the possibilities if we sold Alaska back to the Russians! Or returned the midsection of the country (the so-called "flyover" states) back to France? These attractive properties are sure to fetch a handsome price -- billions probably, maybe even trillions!
Sure, we'd have to work a few kinks: no one would be thrilled at the idea of being bought out by, say, Yemen. [No offense to our Yemeni followers.] Shariah law just doesn't seem like a good fit for Kansas. On the other hand, imagine the possibilities if India successfully purchased the heartland. Jobs back in America! Curry on every corner! It's a win-win-win!
And don't think for a moment there wouldn't be buyers. The oil companies alone could create an auction-like frenzy that our debts would surely be settled in short order. Surpluses might be achievable. [Would that be a win-win-win-win?]
But what about the other states, the two coastlines, for example? It seems problematic to market the East Coast. After all, these are the original colonies for the most part, and they stand to be the likely beneficiary of the Great State Sell-off. Out west, California doesn't seem like such a good purchase. It has a negative cash situation at the moment. Plus, the likely buyer, Mexico, probably wouldn't see any upside to buying something it pretty much has already re-occupied.
As for Oregon (and our neighbor to the north)? Our likely suitor would be Britain. But they're essentially broke. No, the better route -- if we're limiting the selling of states to former landholders -- would be to market them to the only folks in the land who are actually making money.
But then, they probably have a rightful claim to simply have the whole shebang returned for free, no?
Oh, well. Back to Square One...