No Modest Proposal: A Grand Proposal!By Gene Twaronite
(ACPA-Phoenix, AZ) While our federal budget sinks into an ever deeper financial abyss, this is no time for chump change solutions or ideological gimmicks. It is time to go where no American dares to tread.
The real deficit in this country is not a financial one. Rather it is one of imagination. To balance our budget, we need to think beyond every comfortable notion and norm that we hold dear. It is time to do the unspeakable.
As an interested Arizona observer, I can think of only one place that could generate the kind of number we truly need to get out of debt. Tucked away in the largely unused northwestern corner of the state is a crown jewel totaling about 1.2 million public acres - the crème de la crème of real estate. I am speaking, of course, about our beloved Grand Canyon. Our country's need is great and we can no longer afford to just sit on this vast treasure. Our only hope is to sell it.
Now before I am labeled a heretic and clubbed over the head with quotations of the sublime and the sacred, let me quote from one of our great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt. While he did caution us not to mar this grand spectacle, he also urged us not to waste but to use the land "so as to increase its usefulness" so as not to undermine "in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed." (Message to Congress, December 3, 1907) The italics are mine but the message is clear. We must not merely save our natural resources. We must use, amplify and develop them. And we must do this for the children.
The potential stakes are enough to make even the most jaded real estate speculator salivate. Talk about your million dollar view sites. Now imagine tens of thousands of them - billion dollar view sites - lined up along both rims. And with an international clientele already well versed in the charms of this stunning scenic getaway, the blue desert sky is the limit for how much each acre might fetch. Add to this the numerous opportunities for multi-level, cliff dweller style development and a grand Disney Canyon theme park and the number becomes magic indeed.
It would be just one small act of Congress but one big step for America. We could pay off the entire national debt and then some. And who knows? We might even have enough money left over to go out and buy another Grand Canyon.
Gene Twaronite is an Arizona writer and the author of the young adult novel, The Family That Wasn't. His stories and essays have been published by Highlights for Children, Heinemann, Weekly Reader, Fast Forward Press, The Daily Satire and various regional magazines and newspapers.