New budget fix: Pawn Mount Rushmore?

Hey, the country has been talking about minting a massive platinum coin. Could selling a giant granite tourist trap be any more ludicrous?

By Kim Peterson Jan 15, 2013 8:12AM
Credit: Purestock/Getty Images
Caption: Mount Rushmore National Memorial South DakotaThe White House has killed a proposal to mint a $1 trillion coin to get around the debt ceiling. And now it's facing what of course is the next logical idea: pawning Mount Rushmore to the Federal Reserve.

According to a petition filed with the White House, the government should pawn the mountain to the Federal Reserve if the Treasury Department can't pay the interest on the federal debt.

"Now that #MintTheCoin is dead," reads the petition, referring to the movement to mint the trillion-dollar coin, "our best option is clearly to sell Mount Rushmore to the Fed, and buy it back later once our cash flow problem is solved."

How much is Mount Rushmore worth? The entire project, which began in 1927, took 14 years and cost just $1 million. The sculpture was a transparent play for tourism money, and it worked: About 3 million people visit each year.

All six of South Dakota's national parks, of which Rushmore is the largest, contributed $168 million in economic benefit in 2010, according to the National Park Service. In fact, Jay Leno joked last year that Mount Rushmore is the only thing to see in South Dakota. Here's the text of a fake narrated commercial that ran on the "Tonight Show," according to the Rapid City Journal:
"Spend a week in South Dakota. On Monday, see Mount Rushmore. On Tuesday, see Mount Rushmore again. On Wednesday, visit the gift shop at Mount Rushmore. And on Thursday, relive your first experience, at Mount Rushmore."
Clearly, Mount Rushmore is priceless to South Dakota. And perhaps the federal government could get a pretty penny for selling it to the Federal Reserve.

The proposal is obviously going nowhere. Only seven signatures had been collected by the petition Monday night, and 25,000 are needed by Feb. 13.

But the idea has been embraced in social media, with the #PawnTheMountain hashtag gaining steam in some circles on Twitter. The idea may have come from Jordan Weissman, a business writer for The Atlantic who suggested it on Twitter as a way to avoid default. An associate editor at The Atlantic, Matthew O'Brien, wrote Monday that the Treasury could really sell anything valuable enough to the Fed with the agreement to buy it back later. O'Brien may have started the White House petition, in fact.

"This kind of repurchase (repo) agreement would give the Treasury cash flow if it's running so low that it can't pay the interest on our debt," O'Brien wrote.

More on Money Now



383Comments
Jan 15, 2013 12:22PM
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Makes perfect sense to sell a monument out of a state that pays its bills, so states that don't can keep up. 

Who edits these articles?  I'm sure that Mt. Rushmore is as priceless to North Dakota as Fargo is to South Dakota.  Idiot.

 

How is Mt. Rushmore any more of a tourist trap that any other travel destination in the country? It costs $10 for parking, (which is privately owned) the park itself (publically owned) is free. 

 

BTW, Martin223, about 20 miles from Mt Rushmore is a giant stone carving of Crazy Horse. They have been carving it for decades. If finished, it will be the largest stone carving in the world. 

 

Jan 15, 2013 12:21PM
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#wearescrewed #whyarewedealingwiththisontwitteryoutwitts
Jan 15, 2013 12:21PM
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stop handing out raises to congress and giving billions to foreign countries a start
Jan 15, 2013 12:21PM
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Talk about building a Mosque at Ground Zero. The Black Hills have been the holiest of holy sites to a variety of native american cultures from time immemorial. For scarring the landscape of this sacred place with the absurdity we so reverently refer to as the "Mount Rushmore Memorial", the white european people of this nation should feel nothing but shame. I say don't pawn it, but rather remove the giant clown faces and allow the natural rock to once again stand as a most beautiful creation of the great spirit which is what it really is.
Jan 15, 2013 12:20PM
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obama's leadership or more likely lack of leadership has the most powerful Government on Earth considering a trip to the pawn shop?  How about a reality show staring the obama tribe and how they are slowly killing America?
Jan 15, 2013 12:18PM
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Leno should ride his Harley to Sturgiss, and while in S.D. visit Wall Drug Store. Dead wood would be another side trip. The best steak dinner I ever had was in Chamberlain, South Dakota.
Jan 15, 2013 12:18PM
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How can the US government sell something it never really owned? Oh wait, I forgot! Manifest Destiny!! Never mind!!
Jan 15, 2013 12:17PM
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Can't do that. China already owns it. 
Jan 15, 2013 12:16PM
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Please don't blame the editor of this story for failing geography. He had a dead line to get this garbage posted. That masters degree didn't pay off so now he is contributing to the stupidity we deal with. Only hope for this azzhole is learn to lie, steal, and get a law degree so he can try a run at political office. Oops I forgot greeter at Walmart, however I am sure they would require that one knows what state they are in. Other than the state of confusion. 

Jan 15, 2013 12:16PM
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There are millions of other acres as well that need to be sold...this is just one option to help get us out of debt...but in the end some politician would f^%k off the money anyways so why even bother?

Jan 15, 2013 12:15PM
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Maybe the US govt should melt down all the gold in Ft Knox, mold it into commemorative coins of barack obama, sarah palin, kim kardashian, snooki, whoever you like, then sell all the coins on HSN for a tidy profit. The influx of gold on the market would crush the value of it, so the govt could then buy back all the gold at pennies on the dollar. The profits could be used to payoff the national debt. Problem solved.
Jan 15, 2013 12:15PM
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you people need to reread!  the article says South Dakota
Jan 15, 2013 12:14PM
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How does one "Pawn' a mountain? If a failure to pay occurs, can the Pawnee keep it or sell it to China?
Jan 15, 2013 12:13PM
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Don't pawn, sell outright everything, White House all of Washington, all Parks and forests sell it all at auction.  Must pay cash, when all collected pass legislation, nationlalize and take it back, screw China.
Jan 15, 2013 12:10PM
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Maybe Congress should Vote themselves the following:

1) A healthy pay cut, minimum wages.

2) Make them buy their own Heath Insurance.

3) Cut Pension.

 

It may not erase all of the debt, but it would help!!!

Jan 15, 2013 12:09PM
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I am thinking that this now section on MSN is in the vein of the National Enquirer and we will have to look at who wrote the article as to credibility. This is borderline fiction aiming at paid approved trolling. Kim, you are now suspect. 
Jan 15, 2013 12:09PM
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That is a horrible idea. I say we pawn congress, then default on purpose and let the Federal Reserve keep the members.
Jan 15, 2013 12:09PM
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The sheeple just keep on electing the people with a deadbeat agenda to office.It's sad that our as yet unborn children and grandchildrenwill have to pay for our stupidity.Ya think they'll be proud of their inheritance??  Neither do I. They'll look  back at us as worthless deadbeats.
Jan 15, 2013 12:08PM
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Here is a novel idea. Maybe the government could cut it's spending. Congressman/women or Barry your welcome to take my idea. Just call it a tax and it will be legal.
Jan 15, 2013 12:07PM
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Missed your chance with Old Man in the Mountain in New Hampshire! DOH!
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