The fire sale of America continues this week with Arizona legislators considering selling their House and Senate buildings and then leasing them back from private companies to raise cash. As we continue to pour billions into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, states are selling off parks and historic sites (here and here). The result is a windfall for private investors who are scooping up deals from legislators who are eager for ready cash.
Like many legislators, politicians in Arizona did little during times of plenty to prepare for lean years. The result is that they are willing now to sell off government buildings and parks to maintain their budgets.
Under this deal, a company will own the house and senate buildings of the government and Arizona citizens will pay leases for their own government facilities. The state is also exploring turning over prisons to private companies.
What is fascinating is that, after spending hundreds of billions on these wars, the Bush Administration left little ability for the federal government to step in to rescue these states. The result is that private companies ultimately not only received windfall profits from war expenditures but other companies are able to buy up state properties at a song. None of this, of course, was planned. However, in the course of just eight years, trillions of dollars will have flowed into private coffers and whole areas of government into private hands. It is quite an achievement — even when unplanned. A combination of these events achieved what some had long dreamed: the privatization of government areas and massive infusion of money into private hands.
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