Stand by for action!

Here is a New Year’s resolution that will set your heart a thumpin’. As soon as you read it you will enter it in BIG LETTERS, underlined and circled, in your new diary.

Here it is: CLEAN OUT ATTIC !

Now let us return to reality. And the reality is “We ain’t gonna do it.” Which is a pity. Because if you sold off all the junk in your attic you could probably use the money to buy a lot of new stuff. Which would replace old stuff you now use. Which you could lug up to the attic.

In case you did not know it, your government shares your laziness. Or slothfulness. Or whatever it is that will keep you from cleaning out the attic this year. In fact, we could probably adopt a national slogan, in Latin: Cleanupus Atticus – Yawn !

What I am exploring here is America’s attic. Our beloved government owns 900,000 buildings. Most halfwits could tell us our government does not need so many buildings.

An Obama (cue the drumroll) Presidential Commission reckons government could sell off 60,000 of them and never miss them. Yawn. Every president seems to hear the nagging. “When are you going to do something about all this stuff we own and never use?”

And so, every president puts an end to the nagging. He vows to sell off surplus government assets. He orders up a commission. The commission identifies all the surplus stuff. By which time the President is snoozin’ on the sofa again. Or playing another round.

Every commission points to empty VA hospitals. And empty military bases. And empty office buildings. Along with millions of acres of land the government never uses. (Government owns 630 million acres. This is 28 percent of the country. Founding Fathers, roll over – hell, sit bolt upright in your graves.)

Every commission says there are tens of thousands of vehicles government leaves lying around. Or loses.

Every commission says we should sell Amtrak for $60 billion. And sell the Postal Service to private contractors. Every commission asks why government still owns a couple of huge electric utilities. What is the point?

Every commission reckons a national garage sale would do the country good. The sale would haul in several hundred billion bucks. Lord knows our coffers would welcome them.

By selling the properties, government would not have to spend so many millions of our tax dollars to maintain them. Great!

And, once sold, the buildings and land would bring in property taxes every year. For cities, states, counties, towns. Oh boy.

And, in private hands, the properties would attract further investment. To improve them. The economy would be happy with that.

And, in private hands, the properties would generate rental income. Which government would tax. More money for the coffers.

And … every president … when he reads his commission’s recommendations … falls asleep at Page 3.

Ah well, there is always next year.

From Tom … as in Morgan.

Find Tom on Facebook. Also listen to his Moneytalk program on your local radio or at the website

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