There’s a quick, non-partisan way the US government could save taxpayers billions of dollars, and nobody’s talking about it. Alex Tabarrok points out a piece on NPR about empty government-owned buildings whose upkeep is paid for by all of us:
Government estimates suggest there may be 77,000 empty or underutilized buildings across the country. Taxpayers own them, and even vacant, they’re expensive. The Office of Management and Budget says these buildings could be costing taxpayers $1.7 billion a year.That’s because someone has to mow the lawns, keep the pipes from freezing, maintain security fences, pay for some basic power — even when the buildings are just sitting empty.
As Tabarrok notes, if anything, the NPR piece understates the severity of the problem, because it’s only counting buildings. But the federal government also owns tons of land that it could very easily raise hundreds of billions of dollars if sold. This strategy is not only available to the US either—governments around the world strapped for cash could make use of this. However bad our debt problem may look to us right now, the US has the resources in reserve to reduce it anytime it wants to. Perhaps that time is now.