Hypothetical quandary of the day: Selling our national monuments

by Eric Nuzum May 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm 24 Comments

Washington Monument

So, our final hypothetical quandary for this time with the Lord of Petworth.

Times are tough, really tough. When considering our national debt, our country is in it…deep.

We owe so much money that if we took the entire population of Indiana and funneled all their earnings into paying off the national debt, it would take over a century to pay it down to zero.

So we have to get creative…or perhaps openminded.

Let’s say that a group of Chinese investors (read: those to whom we owe all this money) came forward with an offer. It wouldn’t eliminate the debt, but would help.

These investors offer us $500 billion if we will turn over the ownership of the National Mall and all the monuments on it.

They do offer some promises:

  • While they will retain the right to charge anyone to use it, the max fee would be $1 per visit.
  • They would not only invest in the upkeep of the Mall and monuments, they would make significant and much needed improvements.

However, as with ever deal, there are conditions:

  • They reserve the rights to commercialize the area with restaurants, gift stands (goodbye trucks lining Constitution Ave), and amenities (read: pay toilets). But that’s it–no condos or Haircuttery franchises.
  • They also want to monetize image licensing. So every time we want to put the Lincoln memorial on a penny, we owe them…a penny, I guess. Or whatever. But every time someone wants to take a photo or show the Washington Memorial in a movie–we owe. In fact, just by reading this post, you’d owe them four cents.
  • They will also be able to sell naming rights to the monuments (for example, “Nissan Presents The World War II Memorial.”

So there are small trade-offs, but a big pay off.

What do you think? Take the deal or leave the deal?

Oh, and in case you think it isn’t enough money (I actually struggled to think of the right amount), why don’t you say what price WOULD be worth selling.

  • D


  • BDale Res

    Thank you for your long posts Lord of Petworth, but I have to admit, and don’t mean to be rude, I look forward to the prince returning…he is my hero…

    • jch


      • WDC

        You know you only get one vote, right? All this “+ a million” crap (or howevermany zeroes your browser will let you enter) is really juvenile.

        • jch

          Oh go drive in the bike lane

    • My only function is to make you realize how much you love PoP.

  • Dr. Strangelove

    F**k that! Just nuke China.

  • your sweaty ballsack

    I like the idea of giving Indiana to China in exchange for forgiving our debt.

  • Anonymous

    Would happily sell Lord of Petworth…but we might have some trouble giving you away

    • Haha. You’d have to raise the price considerably.

  • harry

    hypothetical quandary of the day:
    if you were a hot dog… and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

    • D

      It’s a simple question Norm.

    • Damnit. I was going to use that one next time! Oh well.

    • PG

      Would you eat the monon if it were made of ribs? I know I would!

  • Anonymous

    Hey LoP – don’t let these guys get to you. I mean, you are very different than PoP, but you at least engage us in discussion. I haven’t seen so many replies to posts in a while.

    Thanks for stepping in while he was away. I have no idea how I would get through work if this site was dead.

  • Notice that this hypothetical is SUCH A MINDBURNER that none of the commenters have been able to tackle this quandary.

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    • Anonymous

      I like you and I like your approach

  • petvet

    Only if the washington monument gets painted red. Like the red of that awful color that someone painted their rowhouse that one time and everyone freaked out so much that they changed it.

  • FrankTheTank

    it’s a decent idea, right up until selling naming rights, and wouldnt want to see restaurants ON the mall, but on constitution and independence Ave wouldn’t be too bad.

    Also, given that 500 billion is roughly 1/29th of our national debt. i’d say not worth it.

  • Denizen

    Forget the Chinese, they should sell it to Disney. They would re-market it as Mall World, and use the theme song “It’s a Mall World After All.”

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    As Egg Shen says “China is in the heart”

  • spookiness

    To bad condos are off limits. Just before reading this blog entry I was day dreaming about how Independence is a wasted opportunity. Get rid of some of those huge office blocks (USDA) or redevelop them.

  • D

    Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that He himself could not eat it?


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