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AliveJune2016

AND THEN I WROTE . . . $13.9 TRILLION? $18T? $19T? OMG! Many people will recognize those unimaginable numbers as amounts assigned to the national debt by various people attempting to induce panic. The $13.9 trillion number adorned TIME magazine’s April 25, 2016 cover. TIME also added that every citizen owed $42,998.12 in order to pay off the debt. The $18 and $19 trillion numbers were shouted out as “absolute truth” by political candidates (Bernie and Hillary) in the current election circus, which is approaching its fourth birthday. These numbers, which frighten many people who have never dealt with statistics, are totally spurious. Yes, we have a national debt somewhere within all the figures thrown out. These Halloween-like numbers are usually quoted by those who claim to have knowledge of business. To this I say, in my best literary fashion, “Phooey!” Let me explain. Suppose you were asked to do an analysis of Steph Curry’s basketball skills. You could say, “Too short to do much rebounding; has questionable ankle.” Do you think that leaves out some of Mr. Curry’s unique skills with the big round ball? If I, as a theater person, were asked to analyze Tom Hanks as an actor, I could say, ”Can’t sing: can’t dance; high-pitched voice; nice looking, but rather ordinary.” Do you think I may have overlooked some of Mr. Hank’s many, many wonderful qualities? Let’s assume you, dear reader, have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your wallet, so you decide to buy a few shares of stock in either ABC or XYZ companies. Would you research the two companies’ liabilities only? Of course not. If you have any business sense at all, you will also research their—here comes the magic word—ASSETS. Curry and Hanks also have considerable assets in their professions that were not mentioned. Don't be fooled by those scary guys quoting silly numbers because they often neglect to mention ASSETS. This realization may came as a surprise, and a disappointment, to some folks—especially politicians. The United States of America has many, many assets, and I am not counting the more abstract assets of freedom of religion, speech, and a whole big bunch of other really good stuff. And so, to set the record straight, I have a plan to erase the national debt and give each citizen his or her share of the profits. I will outline my brilliant (I say modestly) plan below. #1. We auction off all the properties under the National Park Service. Just think how much Yosemite alone could bring from creative developers, not to mention Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and, even closer to home, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There are over 400 more parks, etc., throughout the country (Listen to that cash register jingle). #2. Next we sell every building and property the government owns in the U.S. and throughout the world. The IRS, courts, embassies, consulates; they all go, along with the art work, statues, and documents they contain. Just contemplate how much grain the Congressional buildings could hold. If not grain, how about fertilizer? Although, they probably could not match the amount of fertilizer that has been emitted from those buildings in our lifetimes. Washington, D.C. could become America's new boom, though it would need to change its $4 2 , 9 9 8 . 1 2 EDWIN COHEN


AliveJune2016
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