What national treasure would you buy if the debt ceiling collapses and forces a national sell-off?

The nation’s lawmakers continue to engage in thoughtful discourse about the country’s debt ceiling and a compromise appeasing both sides seems likely well before the June 1 deadline.

Nah, just kidding.

The Democrats and Republicans are,  as usual, locked in a childish game of brinksmanship that resembles children holding their breath until they turn blue.

The difference is, of course, that it’s we lowly citizens who are the ones choking to death for lack of air.

If lawmakers fail to reach a compromise by June 1, the United States might default on its debts, which could ignite not only a potential depression here at home but a global financial crisis.

I say go for it.

The unnecessary suffering that will occur will be sad, but think of the upside: The U.S. will have to sell off its assets on the cheap to cover its markers.

I like this idea.

Parents 2.0, the kindly east Des Moines couple who raised me after my parents died, would probably pool some of their savings and buy one of the nicer national parks.

Heck, they might even buy Yellowstone. America should be so lucky. My parents are lifelong campers and if their yard is any indication, Yellowstone would be immaculate.

I hope France sends somebody to the auction. I’m willing to return most of the Louisiana Purchase – roughly the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, both Dakotas, and big chunks of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado – go back to French rule for the right price.

I think the White House would be a big revenue generator. As a nation, we’ve been renting it out to mostly rich white guys who have connections with other rich white guys for almost 250 years.

I feel like Richard Branson would buy the place and maybe put a splash of color on there.

The French might try to buy the Statue of Liberty back. That’s for the best. We’re dead set against welcoming the world’s tired, huddled masses yearning to be free. Let’s end the charade and send the lady home.

I admit, letting the Lincoln Memorial go will hurt. Despite its beauty and grandeur, it’s been the home for so many important speeches of our time, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963.

Alas, we’ve largely given up on that. We’ve siloed up into our little tribes, suspicious of anyone who doesn’t think exactly like us, worship like us, tweet like us, or binge the same streaming shows as us.

We used to fear totalitarianism in this country. Now we embrace it – if it confirms what already believe, that those other people over there, the ones who are different, don’t get to have any power or rights.

The debt ceiling used to be a procedural move. It was a matter of basic accounting.

So very ill-informed politicians decided they could equate the macroeconomics of running a nation with the microeconomics of running a household.

They oversimplified the complex and now, almost every time the debt ceiling comes up, it’s a stare-down, a big, stupid play for the attention of voters so engrossed by their phones that they seldom have their minds on where they are and what they are doing.

So blow it up, Congress. Default. Sell it off. Let some other people try. Give the North to Canada, the Midwest to France, the West to Mexico, and the South to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Don’t give anything to England. They’re just as dopey as we are.

As for me, I’m going to bid on the Albert Einstein Memorial outside the Academy of Science, just off the National Mall.

The monument is my favorite in D.C. First, it’s of an immigrant, which almost all Americans were if you go back far enough.

Second, it’s by Robert Banks, known for his bust of John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy Center.

Third, it shows the great scientist in a crewneck sweater and Birkenstock-like sandals.

How many modern people get to wear Birkenstocks in their memorial statue?

If you climb up the stairs behind Einstein’s statue, you look down and see studs embedded in the marble.

The studs represent the alignment of the stars on the day the statue was dedicated in 1979.

I love this idea of the thinker, the genius, pausing to look upon the stars and wonder what else there is to discover about the universe.

I think the beauty of the statue, the art, and the philosophy are wasted in today’s America.

We seldom pause to look up at the stars and wonder how far we can go.

Our faces are buried in devices looking for reasons to be angry or laugh at amusing pet videos.

Middle school teacher Daniel P. Finney is a Marion County Express columnist.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.


  1. Tw Hess says:

    “We’re dead set against welcoming the world’s tired, huddled masses yearning to be free.”

    It seems important to remember (and teach) the Statue of Liberty was simply a gift from France. Only a couple of decades later did the day’s liberals usurp the purpose of the Statue to create a clarion call for ‘anything and everyone’ immigration.

    Just a thought to start the conversation.


  2. Everybody remembers the history they want to remember. People are still complaining about the designated hitter, but it’s on both leagues now. People are still afraid of refugees and immigrants, but where would my Irish ancestors be if America had not welcomed them during the potato famine. We don’t like to share. We are the kind of nation that climbs up a rope ladder into the rescue helicopter and then cuts the line so nobody else can follow.


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