Greatsby Solves the Debt Crisis

Posted on July 15, 2011


Perhaps you’ve heard the US government is in the midst of heated negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.  The government must raise the total amount it can borrow in order to meet its obligations by August 2 or the government won’t be able to make payments on some debts, and China will foreclose and repossess the White House.  All the negotiations have concerned cutting costs from major programs versus raising taxes, but I’m convinced there are opportunities to save money the government has overlooked.

Makes an excellent coat rack.

Nationwide yard sale: Hey Canada, could we interest you in 40 million elliptical machines?  Never been used.  (Australia isn’t allowed to buy any exercise equipment.  I’m still hoping Australia will catch up with and someday surpass America in obesity.)

Host all visiting foreign dignitaries in Las Vegas.  When Germany’s Chancellor loses at the craps table, that money goes back into the American economy.  (Except for the many casinos owned by international investors.)  If the German Chancellor insists on staying at the White House, couldn’t we at least put a slot machine in her room?

The President traditionally calls to congratulate the winner of foreign elections.  International calls can be expensive, and President Obama should always make these calls collect.  Obama could also talk for free if he makes these calls via Skype as long as the other president is also a Skype user.

How much are we paying for that eternal flame burning over the grave of John F. Kennedy?  I like it, but I only $300-a-year like it.  If it costs $1 billion a year I think we should nix it.  Have we considering painting the flame on?

Cut all silent letters from government printing.  This would save money on printing and labor.  Every time Obama hosts a meeting at the White House and hands out a memo about the “Debt Ceiling”, it could just as easily read “Det Ceiling”.

Any university receiving government funds must cut their marching bands or somehow prove more than 5% of football fans actually watch.

When the Pakistani President goes to an ATM to make a withdrawal on the $18 billion the US has given in the past decade, are we charging any kind of ATM transaction fee?  If we get $2 back every time a foreign aid recipient makes a withdrawal, it starts to add up.

Some countries have cultures that are very big on giving gifts.  When I lived in Germany I had many friends who were Kazakhstani, and if you went to their home for dinner and complimented a vase, they would insist on giving it to you.  If you complimented an antique clock, they would insist on giving it to you.  If you complimented the beauty of their daughter, they would ask you to leave.  President Obama should make more of an effort to solicit gifts when traveling abroad: “I really love your Crown Jewels, England,” or “I really love your oil industry, Saudi Arabia.”  You never know, your host just might give it to you.

Here’s a new tax I bet both parties could support: If you are older than twenty and you celebrate your birthday with more than one party, you should have to pay a fine.  When someone tells me they are celebrating a birthday all week long with a party one night, drinks another night, a dinner another night, dancing another night, I think we can all agree this is the type of person who has too much time and money, and his or her (almost always a her) income should be redistributed.

We charge people for fishing licenses, but never charge fish any rent for getting to live in Lake Michigan.  Why?

When Congress is in recess, is it possible to use the US Capitol building for high school proms and wedding receptions?

For a top notch, capital wedding, why not get married at the Capitol?

Would it save any money to cut one of the four presidents from Mount Rushmore?

Here’s an easy way to cut expenses by one-third: Cut one branch of government.  I’m not certain which branch to cut.  If you cut the legislative, you’ll have difficulty getting the bill passed.  If you cut the executive branch, the president will be sure to veto.  If you cut the judicial, the Supreme Court will find it unconstitutional.  I’m pretty sure if I keep thinking about it I’ll find a loophole.

Just wondering, but all the talk has been about raising the debt ceiling; has anyone tried thinking outside the box to find a way to lower the debt floor?