Saturday, May 14, 2011

Should the USA consider selling Alaska to Canada

I'm not advocating this, just thinking out loud here.  The United States public debt is $14 trillion and counting.   Everyone agrees that we need to do something to address both the yearly deficits and the massive accumulated debt, now up to one full year of the USA's Gross Domestic Product. Preserving the status quo is not an option and significant measures are needed or the debt will eventually crush our economy.

So why not consider selling Alaska to Canada. It could perhaps shave a few trillion of debt and reduce the yearly budget deficit as well.  I can't imagine the legal complexities, but I'm guessing it would take some sort of Constitutional Amendment to make it happen, and that might kill the idea as there is no way to get 3/4 of the States to agree to anything these days.  Also, there is no assurance Canada would want to make a deal for Alaska.  But here's the case for what its worth.

The US public debt has grown out of control. link  As a state, Alaska is a yearly drain on Federal tax revenue so it helps add to the deficit.  link  If we don't do something drastic to fix our balance sheet, the dollar could go into default collapsing the US economy along with the entire global economy into a giant heap of chaos. link  It makes more sense geographically that Alaska would be part of Canada than part of the USA anyway. link  The national security issues regarding Russia from the cold war era don't exist anymore and modern military technology can make up for the loss in strategic location.   Alaska has plenty of untapped oil reserves but our environmental restrictions limit their development and they  don't do us much good just sitting there.

The USA has had decades to come up with some sort of plan to pay down the debt, but the greatest generation and the baby boomers were too busy planning vacations and retirements and opted to let the kids figure it out someday in the future.   But the future is now and the gig is up.  Losing Alaska might be part of the deal when they divvy up USA assets after the financial Armageddon so maybe we ought to sell it first to avoid the collapse altogether.  That's somewhat akin to the situation Russia was in when they sold us Alaska for pennies per acre.  Sell it now before we lose it anyway. 

I don't think people realize the full implications of American financial default.  Based on the rhetoric surrounding the debt ceiling, politicians don't see that it's TNT they are playing with, not just fire.  To preserve the Union, the Union might just have to sell off part of itself.  That sounds drastic and extreme because it is.  Not to say this is the only way out of our financial straits, but it gives an idea of the order of magnitude of the solution we need.  Any fix for the debt will necessarily be drastic and extreme. It's way past the point of tweaking tax rates and working down budgets.

12 comments:

  1. I don't think most Canadians would be too willing to take Sarah Palin and her entourage on. On the other hand, maybe the prospect of becoming a Canadian citizen would drive her to Texas.

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  2. your a crazy man , woah holy legs batman

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  3. Although we are one of the richest countries we are the most in debt. We could sell Alaska and get a lot of money and add the upper peninsula of Michigan so we still have 50 states.

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  4. Interesting idea.. Might even call the new state Superior? Someday after decades of AGW, when fresh water is as valuable as oil is now, the UP will be some of the best real estate on the planet.

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  5. I agree. It would make far more sense geographically, while helping to clear some of the debt problems. Alaska's also way too huge! Have you seen it compared to the 48 contigenous states? If the USA felt strongly about having 50 states, then maybe they don't need to sell all of it. If they kept, say, the little strip of land that runs down the east coast of Canada, (the bit with Juneau on it), then at least it would be average state size. But the Michigan idea is also good.
    Noah, UK

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  6. Sorry, I meant west coast of Canada...

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  7. Another thought struck me about the 50th state, should Alaska be annexed to Canada. What about Puerto Rico? I'm afraid I don't fully understand the political situation between the USA and it's territory Puerto Rico, but does anyone here know if the population of Puerto Rico would be in favour of statehood?
    Noah, UK

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  8. Noah, I can't speak for the perspective from Puerto Rico on the subject of statehood, but I do not sense any push from within the USA. I don't see that happening for quite some time if ever.

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  9. Why don't we invade a country and sell that

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  10. Yeah like Iraq, that worked out great. In the early days Dick Cheney told Tim Russert that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would cost between $80-$100 Billion and he was off by a factor of 30 or so, seeing as the bill has climbed to $2.5 Trillion. But I bet it climbs a lot higher before its all over.

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  11. Alaska is beautiful territory, but it's probably not worth trillions. It's only worth what someone is willing to pay, and Canada doesn't have trillions of dollars to spend on what is essentially a park. Yes, Alaska does have oil, but Alberta already has a lot of oil, and the future is to leave it in the ground. So Alaska's oil isn't worth much. Also, Canada's far north is already a net drain on our economy. We keep it for sentimental reasons, and because we don't want Russia in our backyard, but it produces less than it costs.

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