- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2009




First of all, we need to remember that Congress and President Obama are working on “Plan B.” Their predecessors have already botched “Plan A,” to the tune of $350 billion. Sooner or later, we’re going to run out of letters in the alphabet. And money.

So, let’s not be too tough on the fat cats. We’re going to need their gains when the time comes to pay back the trillions Congress is paying out to clean up the government’s huge litter box.

We need to be creative. We need to come up with some ways to make these captains of finance part with their own money, to reduce the national debt. Its time to think outside of the box.

Naming rights to federal buildings. From the sports world, we know how these guys love their corporate monuments … think Enron Field.

Wouldn’t it be cool if the Treasury Department worked out of the Goldman-Sachs building, so the bosses (from both parties), could feel right at home? Better yet, how about the Payday Loans building. As a special bonus, the offices could be decorated by John Thain.

Can you imagine the bidding war by insurance companies to have their brand on the HHS structure? Oh, I forgot, they already do.

The possibilities at Transportation are equally boundless. Although the way things are going, the folks who run the Chinatown bus may be the only transportation company left with any scratch to buy naming rights.

Congressional sky boxes. The use of the public galleries, those seating areas where people can watch the House and Senate inaction, is a missed earnings opportunity. They don’t even make the public pay to use them. At least directly.

Sometimes, its easy to miss the obvious. Why not build special boxes and charge companies an arm and a leg to rent them. As in “skyboxes.” Think of the convenience for staff members when the lobbyists influence them with invitations to watch the games going on below. It’s just a short walk back to the congressional office to pay back the gift with legislative favors.

Vacation homes. We know that the rich love having as much real estate as possible. So they will clamor to spend big bucks to buy still another place to fly their private jets.

Where else features tropical sun, surf, beautiful beaches and an unparalleled seclusion? Of course, I’m referring to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Whatever you do, Mr. President, do not close down GITMO! Particularly since the condominium units are already there. Talk about a gated community. And talk about solid construction.

Of course, we’ll have to do something about the current residents, but how difficult could it be to relocate them? I understand that their relocation is already underway.

By now, you get the point. At the same time we’re nationalizing so many industries, we need to think about how the invisible hand can help out.

Yes, these are just a few outside-the-box suggestions. And what makes all of these so appealing is that the corporations can pay for them by tapping into their bailout money.

Bob Franken is a former correspondent for CNN. He now appears regularly on MSNBC and other networks.

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