February 15, 2008
The Deficit’s Easy Quick Fix (Bob Franken)
@ 10:03 am
Sometimes the solution is in plain sight. With all the hand-wringing over federal deficits, all we have to do is look around us for ways to bring in more money. Here are some ideas that should have been obvious:
FEDERAL BUILDING NAMING RIGHTS
The U.S. Capitol would be the most lucrative. We would simply put it up for bid, just like we do the legislation that’s created inside. Think of it: “The Bristol-Myers Squibb Building.” Doesn’t that sound appealing? C-SPAN would telecast from “The Squibb.”
And there are so many other possibilities: The various agencies could make a bundle. The Pentagon, for one, might sell off each of its sections. There would be a “Boeing Ring,” and four others. Or perhaps all the companies could get together and purchase the entire thing, so we’d have “The Military-Industrial Complex Complex.” It would actually be a more accurate reflection of the structure’s function.
Back in the Capitol, there is so much wasted space taken up in both the House and Senate by the galleries overhead. Those are the balconies where citizens can watch Congress at play. Need I say more? They could easily be partitioned into luxury boxes that are sold or rented to the fat cats who have such a stake in what happens below.
For that matter, the ultra-rich could buy their seats on the floors themselves. That way they could simply lean over and whisper to the members how they’re supposed to vote. The lobbyists would no longer need lobbies.
Why should only the president’s friends get to use the Lincoln Bedroom? Why does the first family need so much space? Why not turn the White House into condominiums? And while we’re at it, is there any reason whatsoever why the State Room and East Room couldn’t be rented out for weddings and bar mitzvahs?
While we’re at it, the grounds could be made available for outdoor events. For the right price we could promise someone the Rose Garden.
By now I’m sure this has unleashed your creative energies. Between us, we should be able to come up with all the money we need for the politicians’ hare-brained ideas. Combine that with what they get from their own fundraising and we’ll have all the money we’ll need.
Sometimes the best ways of fixing problems are the easiest ones.