Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ways Congress Can Raise Money to Start Paying Down the US Debt

Earlier I was reading an article on Slate, The $5 Trillion Coin. It contains a few ideas for how the government can relieve the debt if the debt compromise doesn't go well. This got me thinking. How would a regular person keep bills at bay in order to stay in the black just a little longer? If Congress can't compromise about the debt ceiling, what if they worked together to earn money to relieve the US debt just enough to keep us from defaulting. Here are some ideas I came up with.

Auction off their junk

There are 535 members of Congress. Most of them are in their late fifties-early sixties. That's a lot of stuff piling up over the years in their attics. So, why not hold an auction? To reach the entire public, they could post their stuff on eBay. I anticipate great success with this idea because they can have a great deal of free advertising. Every reporter will be eager to talk to any member of Congress over the next few days as debt talks carry on. And there's a type of brand recognition for whatever they're selling. It's not just an old scarf, it's Nancy Pelosi's scarf that's up for auction. Having a famous name associated with an item automatically gives value to that item.

Congress Car wash
One of the old stand-bys for school groups to raise money is to hold a car wash. The members of Congress can go to their respective states for a couple of days and have car washes all over the country. Who wouldn't pay $10 to have John Boehner wash their car? They could make a fortune for the novelty of it alone.

Blog for money
A blog-hosting website could be created for Congress with ads on each page. It would be like livejournal for Congress. Each member of Congress can blog about what was discussed that day and what important decisions were reached and their take on certain issues. This website would attract high-paying ads because of relatively high search-rank for the names of members of Congress. And there would be a level of transparency in politics that has yet to be seen.

Food Stand
Congress could open up a food stand in Washington, D.C., and each of them could take turns running it throughout the year. With 535 members, if two members are working the stand each day, that's only a couple of days a year that each person has to work at the food stand. It would be part of their Congressional duties, so the individual members wouldn't make extra money for working at the food stand. But all the proceeds could go towards paying down the US debt.

Like the old adage says, it doesn't hurt to ask. Congress could take to the web and ask Americans to donate money to pay down the debt. There are probably lots of people who would be willing to pay a little to help keep the nation's credit rating from taking a beating. Make it easy for them.

So if debt talks continue to be drawn out there are still a few options for handling the debt. Paying off the bills a little at a time is a tried-and-true method that plenty of Americans have used over the centuries. As anybody who has had money troubles knows, every little bit helps.