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 1:05PM
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Fire all Senators and Congressmen, along with the President when there is a deficit carrying over their term in office. As in all terminated employees all pensions will be forfeited due to incompetence. ****es when you sell a National Treasure or Land it cannot be replaced unlike the sorry excuses for leadership we have in the White House!

Jan 15, 2013 1:03PM
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Why not pawn the US Goverment it is of no use anyway.
Jan 15, 2013 1:03PM
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Who the 4377 thinks up this crap?  And the government questions why states want to secede?  Good grief!  You just can't fix stupid!
Jan 15, 2013 1:02PM
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Who ever thought up this ridiculous notion needs to be hung and castrated. Grow some balls washington and fix this mess and quit assing around you jerks.

 

Jan 15, 2013 1:01PM
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Wonder how much money we would save if every federal employees pension payed out the same from the mail men up to the highest payed elected crook?  Polaticians throw around terms like "common sense" and "fair" in speeches daily but I havn't seen many laws or government actions in recent history that could stand up to both terms at the same time.  
Jan 15, 2013 1:01PM
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Sure, but it should be Washington DC. Probably couldn't get enough for it.
Jan 15, 2013 1:00PM
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amazing,  we spend more than we take in and our president does not see a problem, he cant stop, mandates healthcare against the peoples will, bows ot foreigh leaders, defies the people of texas who want to leave , wont protect the borders and now this??? when can we get rid of this idiot
Jan 15, 2013 12:59PM
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Just who the hell decided it was theirs to sell in the first place? There has been many rumors around the last few years as to national, state parks, sea ports, etc., etc., being considered to be sold. Who do these bumbling idiots work for? Surely no one in this country
Jan 15, 2013 12:59PM
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The USA does not own Mt. Rushmore or the Black Hills of S. Dakota!! It belongs to the Lakota Sioux native American tribe,this has been proven in a court of law in 1974.The land was illegally taken from the Indians after gold was discovered there,in direct violation of the 1864 treaty.How can you pawn something you do not own?? Call the police!
Jan 15, 2013 12:56PM
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Why don't we just sell Washingotn DC?
Jan 15, 2013 12:56PM
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WTF are they thinking???? And these people are ruining our country into the ground. Yes I mean ruining not running.
Jan 15, 2013 12:56PM
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Why all the fuss?   We put the world's smartest man in the world, Barack Obama, on Jeopardy and let

him win enough to cover the debt. 

Jan 15, 2013 12:55PM
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The USA does not own Mt. Rushmore or the Black Hills of S. Dakota!! It belongs to the Lakota Sioux native American tribe,this has been proven in a court of law in 1974.The land was illegally taken from the Indians after gold was discovered there,in direct violation of the 1864 treaty.How can you pawn something you do not own?? Call the police!
Jan 15, 2013 12:55PM
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I think the U.S. should nationalize and sell off the big Wall Street banks that destroyed the country! They are destroying the economy so they can come in and buy everything up for pennies on the dollar. I would have a big U.S. yard sale, monuments, Federal Lands, Oil and Mineral reserves! Sell California befroe it goes into default and we have to bail it out. Most of it is going to fall into the sea anyway. Sell Florida "gods waiting room" and the 2nd Jewish state other than Israel. Get all those old people off the social security and medicare rolls, if we sell it to Cuba we can extend the embargo and not have to keep any of them up anymore. We could sell New York and throw Bloomberg and Clinton is a deal sweetener! Sell the Statue of Liberty and Elis Island, Demand the statue be torn down and moved and hang a big Neon" No Vacancy" sign up in it's place. Sell the Mexican border and 1 mile on the U.S. side to North Korea, they will show you how to guard a GD border. Bust up the oil companies like we did Standard Oil and sell them off, get rid of the monopoly...We could balance the budget in short order and fix the economy long term!
Jan 15, 2013 12:53PM
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yes, its official everyone in our government needs to use ObamaCare to get outfitted with glass bellybuttons - then they can see where they are going.
Jan 15, 2013 12:52PM
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I think a better idea would be to pawn all of Washington DC then charge the President, and all of congress admission, about what ever they're paid each year until the budget is balanced and the debt is paid off.  Maybe something will get done then.
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You CANNOT PAWN Mt. Rushmore.  It doesn't belong to the Federal Gov't.  It belongs to the Sioux.  
Jan 15, 2013 12:51PM
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pawn the white house and throw whats his name out
Jan 15, 2013 12:48PM
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Has anyone ever gotten ahead pawning their TV so they could pay the light bill?  Has anyone ever improved their financial situation by pawning their car at a "cash for title" place, just so they could pay their back child support?

Is this really the kind of country we want to become - pawning stuff just to pay our bills?  The politicians in Washington are worse than a bunch of degenerate gamblers at a dog track - at least the degenerates are willing to sell their own plasma for cash, instead of forcing you to sell yours and then confiscating the proceeds.

Jan 15, 2013 12:47PM
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who writes such stupid articles?    are they on crack or just appear to be??
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