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Latarski: A firesale in Washington
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As the budget battle in Washington continues to drone on like a never ending soap opera, perhaps it is time for our fearless leaders to take a different road.

Certainly the federal government should spend less but just like everyone else who find themselves a little short at the end of the month, perhaps efforts should be made to find new sources of income -without sticking it to the citizenry.

How about a government yard sale?

Furniture usually is a good thing to offer at a yard sale so there is no reason to think the federal government could not divest itself of unnecessary property. We could start by taking all the chairs out of the Capitol and offer them to the public.

They could even memorialize the seats so you could buy the chair of your favorite senator or representative. Who wouldn't want a chair with a plaque on it noting, "Robert Byrd Slept Here" or "John Boeher Cried on this Cushion."
Besides raising money, if there are no chairs when Congress is in session, then our august leaders must work standing up. Since they would have no place to sit and rest, it would cut down on long-winded gasbag speeches. It would also mean they would have the chance to do something right because they would not be sitting on their brains.

Dishes are usually hot items at yard sales so why not empty out the China Room in the White House. Some of those dishes have been there for years and no one uses them so why not see if they won't bring in a couple of bucks.

How about the Library of Congress having a book sale? There must be a couple extra copies of some dull political memoirs sitting around they don't need, although they may not bring very much and may be better suited for a paper drive.

But we need more than a yard sale. Since the trend now is for stadiums and race tracks to have corporate sponsorship then why not take advantage of this for national parks.

Naturally you would have to make certain you have the right business sponsoring the right park because seeing a sign "This National Forest brought to you by Fred's Lumber Company" might be cause for concern.

But a sign reporting "The Lincoln Memorial is Presented by Ford Motor Company" or "Your visit to Mt. Rushmore Sponsored by Black and Decker Drill Bits" could prove lucrative to the park service.

And considering all the things they have on display, the Smithsonian Institution could be sponsored by everybody.
Even individuals could get in the act.

Sarah Palin is making a ton of money on speaking tours so she could easily afford to sponsor a geyser at Yellowstone.

And why can't politicians hold down a second job like a lot of other people?

Newt Gingrich could open a business selling autographed flip-flops and donate the money to the national debt.

Nancy Pelosi could open a flower store next to the Capitol and offer two-for-one specials on forget-me-nots.
Why not sell advertising space at the national political conventions?

We might see a banner noting, "This Democratic Convention Presented with Limited Commercial Interruption because we have No Sponsors" or "The Republican Party is Presented to be filled by the highest bidder" or "The Tea Party is Brought to you by Lipton."

Naturally we would have to have standards. We would not sale advertising rights to the Washington Monument to a condom company or Bill Clinton and we would not allow anyone to sponsor the Okefenokee Swamp because sponsorship of reptiles should be limited to Washington, D.C.

These are, of course, not the best ideas to help fix the budget but considering what we are hearing from those in Washington these days somehow they don't sound that bad.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at