Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Paying the National Debt Through Tasteful Tourism

Parachutes would cost extra. You have to spend money to make money, right?
The United States of American is said to have a national indebtedness of somewhere in the neighborhood of fourteen-trillion dollars. That's a pretty big neighborhood so exact figures mean little and suggestions such as these for paying off such debt, when stacked up against such numbers, mean even less. However we live in a big, wonderful, beautiful nation with lots of sights to see and things to do. Unfortunately, it seems to me we have never thoroughly utilized all we have from a tourism standpoint, both in encouraging our own people to "See the USA in your Chevrolet" as General Motors trumpeted back in the 1950s, but also in attracting a potential tsunami of foreign tourist from around the world to our shores. The economic potential would be tremendous. So, with that in mind, and tongue firmly planted in cheek, let me start where such remedial action must necessarily begin--our nation's capital, Washington D.C.
Allowing the public to see their civil servants "waxing" eloquent...for a price.
I think the U.S. government could reap a fortune by leasing the Capitol building to Madame Tussaud's as a setting for the entire U.S. Congress, rendered in wax, at their desks, not voting on anything important...just like real life. I'm sure visitors would pay a hefty admission price not to have to make an appointment to get their pictures taken with their congressman. The exhibit would change every two years as the various senators and representatives leave to become lobbyists and newbies arrive to be indoctrinated by the Washington establishment. The signage would need to be fairly large in competing visually with that thing in the middle. The national mall could be utilized as a parking lot for the incredible number of visitors. It would be a lively exhibit with all the figures making pre-recorded speeches at the same time. Visitors would have to pay a buck and press a button, to turn each one off.
A little something for the sports minded!

A meal with an ever changing view--
perfect for the beltway crowd.
Speaking of the National Mall, for the sports minded, why not turn this useless strip of grass (above) conveniently located right in the middle of beautiful downtown D.C. into a valuable revenue generating attraction? Rewards could be offered for beaning a politician, hitting the capitol dome, or taking out a lobbyist with a single stroke. Conversion costs would be minimal; potential revenue would be impressive. Along the same line, and conveniently in the same general area, tourist have to eat, right? Why not add a revolving restaurant (left) to the top of the Washington Monument. Lines to get in would likely run all the way to the Lincoln Memorial where the cashier could be stationed under the watchful eyes (figuratively speaking) of our sixteenth President. The dessert menu could include items such as cherry tree pie and cherry cheesecake.
If demand outstrips the number of White House bedrooms,
a high-rise tower might be built on the north lawn to accommodate the overflow.
Naturally the new horde of Washington D.C. tourists would need a place to stay while making their rounds. What better place for the high end visitor than to make the White House into a bed and breakfast (above). Who wouldn't pay a small fortune to sleep where Bill Clinton once slept or commune with the ghost of old Abe himself? The White House kitchen could easily handle the free breakfast buffet with the addition of a few do-in-yourself waffle irons. The President might even be persuaded to stop by each morning on his way to the oval office to shake hands with the paying guests. Renovation costs would be minimal, a few in-room coffee makers and a steady supply of new White House embroidered towels to replace the stolen ones. Even with the cost of towels, this could bring in billions!
Central Park--what a waste, and what a tourist gold mind with a few minor adjustments.
Moving further north, the great state of New York has long been a powerful tourist mecca. But, with a few relatively minor infrastructure undertakings, the profit potential could skyrocket into the enormous range. Take Central Park, for instance, just acres and acres and miles and miles of wasted grass, trees, hills and ponds, which could be utilized much more effectively by turning the whole place into a golf course and country club (above). Cart paths are already there. I'm estimating as many as seventy-two holes, coupled with a high-profile "Big Apple Open" golf tournament held each year in the fall once the students and vacationers leave. Think of it, televised golf amid the fall foliage! Of course, you'd have the cost of erecting a 12-foot high chain link fence around the whole park to protect passersby from errant slices and cuts, also to keep them off the greens, (a little barbed wire would take care of that problem). Of course the traffic in and around the City of New York would become somewhat worse with the addition of such profitable tourist venues (and there are dozens of other possibilities to consider). I'm thinking the traffic problem could be alleviated by building an Interstate highway across the Brooklyn Bridge (below) then charging people to get out of the city.

Money could be saved by asking states to donate unused interstate highway signs.
Then there's Niagara Falls--grossly underutilized. We'd have to work out some kind of cost and revenue sharing deal with the Canadians, but wouldn't that make a wonderful location for the greatest waterpark every conceived by man (or kids)? For those into a little more adventurous fare, there's a rambunctious set of rapids just below the falls for white water rafting and a whirlpool just below that which already sports a century-old cable car which could be used as is. The whirlpool would need to be upgraded with the addition of a beach for swimmers. (Life preservers would cost extra.)

Splish-splashing among the rocks--barrels cost extra.
The western United States contains a gold mine of tasteful tourist possibilities. Think of how many more tourists (and tourist dollars) would accumulate if Mt. Rushmore (below) had all the Presidents' faces carved into it's granite surface. With some forty-four past Presidents, rather than just the four cream-of-the-croppers there now, the revenue generated ought to be at least ten times what it is now. Think what that kind of money would do in reducing our national debt. If the front side of the mountain wasn't roomy enough for all of them, the remainder could be carved on the other side with the newly-needed hotels and restaurants bringing in additional monies.

Okay, it would take a while and cost a few bucks, but think what an inspirational
political statement such an enhanced tourist attraction would make
--anyone can grow up to be stone-faced!
Further west, there's Yellowstone National Park, another potential pot of gold if Congress could be persuaded to cooperate--no problem for the conservatives I'm sure, but the liberals might be skeptical. The possibilities are limitless starting from possibly turning the whole place over to Six Flags (left) to inviting Starbucks to utilize Old Faithful in creating the largest coffee bar in the world (below). Just think about it--Old Faithful Frappe, Yellowstone Golden Roast, Geyser Decafe, Caribou Cappuccino, Buffalo Latte--makes my mouth water.

Ride the Wild Buffalo!

You'll never picture Old Faithful quite the same again.
When we were out west visiting the Grand Canyon last year there were several times when I was on the North Rim while the light for taking pictures was much better along the South Rim. Why not build a toll bridge (below) from one side to the other? Think of all the money that would bring in as people like me realize the light is always better on the other side of the canyon. Actually there are already some bridges across the Colorado River above and below the tourist area, but they're terribly inconvenient, forcing visitors to drive way out of their way to get across. Like the Rainbow Bridge below Niagara Falls, within a few years, it could easily seem like part of the natural landscape.

Think about it, the view from the bridge would be breathtaking!
As I've suggested in some of these suggestions, the government would need to partner with corporate American in order to maximize the possibilities. I considered the possibility of raising revenue by issuing gambling licenses to reputable companies like Disney so that they might include casinos in their theme parks. I even created a presentation image for the Disney people--Cinderella's Kiddy Casino--but I decided not to include it here lest I get a 'cease and desist" letter from the Magic Kingdom like that of a fellow blogger who featured a lesson on "How to draw Mickey Mouse." It's hard to gauge the corporate sense of humor. Take St. Louis for instance. Wouldn't that make a wonderful location for Mickey-D's largest franchise outlet in the world (below)? Just add one more arch. WOW! Boggles the mind!

Under the Golden Arches--you want to super-size that?
Note: In case anyone is wondering what all this has to do with art, the answer is: very little. Indirectly though, I'm demonstrating the power of the familiar image treated irreverently in pursuit of a humorous theme commenting upon possible tourism trends in the future. That's quite a verbal mouthful, but not all that difficult to illustrate utilizing the almost unlimited resources of the Internet, the versatility of today's photo-editing software, a little skill, a sharp eye, patience, and an admittedly warped sense of humor unafraid of offending those whose narrow minds fit snuggly into a size-nine shoebox. Having pointed all that out, I should also mention that I turned seventy years of age today. In doing so, I couldn't help thinking what a massive undertaking such a project would have been just a few short years ago had I tried to say and do the same thing with paint on canvas.


No comments:

Post a Comment