Detroit — As the broken city thinks big and radically about its future, a developer is stepping forward with a revolutionary idea: Sell the city's Belle Isle park for $1 billion to private investors who will transform it into a free-market utopia.Let's ignore for a moment the wisdom of surrendering prime parkland and what it could mean for a rebuilt, rejuvenated Detroit. Let's just pretend that the idea of selling the island made sense. It doesn't! And it won't happen.
The 982-acre island would then be developed into a U.S. commonwealth or city-state of 35,000 people with its own laws, customs and currency.
But let's just pretend, and take a look below the fold at what this sovereign Galtian nation would look like.
Private investors buy [Belle Isle Park on the Detroit river] from a near-bankrupt Detroit for $1 billion. It then would secede from Michigan to become a semi-independent commonwealth like Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.Commonwealth status means that residents don't pay U.S. taxes but receive a host of benefits, from direct federal spending to national security protection. Residents can also enter and exit the U.S. without a passport.
So you can see how this idea would appeal to rich asshole conservatives—they stop paying federal taxes, yet they can continue to mooch off the United States and cross over to shop at Banana Republics and Tiffanys in malls in Detroit whenever they wanted to. They could also avail themselves of federally subsidized Detroit International Airport whenever they needed to travel, because the sketch above doesn't show any airport. They might even be able to order stuff online without having to pay international freight.
Of course, there are strategic reasons for embracing this kind of arrangement with Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Detroit River? Nobody is worried about Canada's territorial ambitions or drug lords to merit much thought.
Under the plan, it would become an economic and social laboratory where government is limited in scope and taxation is far different than the current U.S. system. There is no personal or corporate income tax. Much of the tax base would be provided by a different property tax — one based on the value of the land and not the value of the property.Sounds suspiciously like ... affirmative action! Not sure why these people think any "starving artist" would want to hang out with these jerks. In fact, "conservatives" and "artists" are two things seldom seen in the same zip code. But of course, someone would have to mow the lawns and wash the dishes and open up that cute Thai place on the corner. So let those people in. But just 20 percent.
It would take $300,000 to become a "Belle Islander," though 20 percent of citizenships would be open for striving immigrants, starving artists and up-and-coming entrepreneurs who don't meet the financial requirement.
Still, the $300,000 entry price is more amusing. Remember—this is Detroit. And I'm not talking about the condition of the city, I'm talking the weather. If you want to live in a Galtian island paradise, Somalia has a few. Or how about the Cayman Islands? Do they really expect there to be 28,000 people who will pay a $300,000 HOA fee for a frigid iceblock of an island off Detroit? If you've got that kind of cash, the Caribbean is a few short hours away by private jet.
Among the citizenship requirements are a command of the English language, a good credit rating and no criminal record.They forgot to mention guns. Like these guys.
I'm still advocating the establishment of Dumbfuckistan by merging the Texas panhandle (which is essentially the second most Republican district in the country) and that western slice of Oklahoma. We could build a big wall around it and a moat full of alligators. We'll tell them it's to keep the immigrants out, but really, it would be to keep them in. Glenn Beck can be president.
It would be hilarious.