How can you tell a government on the ropes? One way is to look at what they're trying to flog to raise enough cash to keep going. According to the San Fransisco Chronicle, some states are looking for buyers for everything from roads to arenas to zoos.
Like families pawning the silver to get through a tight spot, states such as Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois are thinking of selling or leasing toll roads, parks, lotteries and other assets to raise desperately needed cash.
Massachusetts lawmakers are considering putting the Massachusetts Turnpike in private hands. That could bring in upfront money to help with a $1.4 billion deficit, while also saving on highway operating costs.
In New York, Democratic Gov. David Paterson appointed a commission to look into leasing state assets, including the Tappan Zee Bridge north of New York City, the lottery, golf courses, toll roads, parks and beaches. Recommendations are expected next month.
Such projects could be attractive to private investors and public pension funds looking for safe places to put their money in this scary economy, said Leonard Gilroy, a privatization expert with the market-oriented Reason Foundation in Los Angeles.
"Infrastructure is more attractive today than ever," Gilroy said. "It's tangible. It's a road. It's water. It's an airport. It's something that is — you know, you hear the term recession-proof."
Now a fine beach, there's something I can see dropping a couple of billion to snap up.