A modest proposal

This image depicts the Territorial acquisition...

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I have borrowed the title and the satire of this message from Jonathan Swift; the ideas expressed are my own.

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson decided to make the Louisiana Purchase even though he believed the action to be unconstitutional. We paid France $15 million for what is now the middle third of the country. Much of the rest of the country was gained through wars of aggression against Spain, Great Britain, Canada and native tribes. So according to Jefferson, wars of aggression were constitutional, but peaceful purchases were not.

To be in agreement with Jefferson’s views, let us sell the Louisiana Purchase back to France. It would split the country in two separate pieces, but there is the modern example of Pakistan which later became Pakistan and Bangladesh. I would set the asking price at $15 trillion to allow for 207 years of inflation and accumulated interest plus the improvements we have made. If France agrees to the asking price, we can completely pay off the national debt of $13 trillion plus change and have a surplus of $1-$2 trillion. France probably doesn’t have $15 trillion available, but we can allow installment payments. If necessary, France could borrow the down payment from China.

If that proposal is too radical a solution to our money problems, perhaps selling off a later acquisition, Seward’s folly, Alaska, would fit the bill. Purchased in 1867 for the modest sum of $7.2 million, I think modern day Russia would be interested because of all of Alaska’s natural resources. If we open the bidding to all comers, I think that Japan would also be interested. Perhaps Saudi Arabia would bid to acquire a summer retreat for their royal family to escape the heat. If al-Qaeda is successful in deposing the Saudi royal family, Alaska could become their permanent new home.

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