Friday, August 25, 2017

So Who Needs the Statue of Liberty Anyway?!

Guest Blogger - Randy Hamud, Civil Rights Attorney

While the Statue of Liberty still stands proudly atop Liberty Island and beckons the world to give her “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,” President Trump would turn his back on all of them. In a heartbeat.

As you may have read recently, our President supports a new immigration proposal that would reduce the present foreign-born percentage of the U.S. population from approximately 14% to less than 10% by halving legal immigration from approximately one million per year to 541,000.

Since arriving immigrants and their children would comprise approximately 90% of our future population growth, lessening their numbers would result in fewer consumers to buy our products, reduced income-tax receipts, and a shrunken workforce.

Worse yet, the proposal would limit family reunification to spouses, parents, and minor children of our immigrants, and create a points system favoring English-speakers, educational achievement, and skills that would benefit the U.S. economy.

When asked whether that system betrayed the Statue’s call for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses, administration spokesperson Stephen Miller noted that the poem “came later” and did not define the immigration system as protecting them.

So, who needs the Statue of Liberty anyway? In this Administration, she has been reduced to no more than a magnificent - and expensive - anachronism. Henceforth, the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses will just have to go elsewhere.

Though approximately 4 million tourists visit her every year, none of them pays an entry fee. And it costs approximately $61,000 per day to operate her. That translates into more than $22 million annually, a definite drain on the federal budget.

Yep, our best bet is to dismantle her. After all, she does have some intrinsic monetary value, and that's what matters most, right?

Her 60,000-pound copper body and 250,000-pound steel inner-frame are worth approximately $260,000 on the metals-recycling market. The 5,000 sheets of 23.6 kt. gold leaf (approximately 5.8 oz.) cladding the torch are collectively worth approximately $6,500 at today’s rates.

The pedestal itself is mostly poured concrete with granite facing. Not much value there.

But if we were to cast some of her metal components (but for her head, torch and tablet) into commemorative coins, and sell each one for, say, $20, we could raise $15 million to $20 million to contribute to the U.S. Treasury. Or perhaps to pay off the legal bills of Trump'd cabinet members.

And we could make money off Liberty Island, too. Work now proceeds there on a new, 26,000-square-foot Statue of Liberty Museum, being built with money raised by private benefactors.

Displays featuring the Statue’s actual head, torch, and tablet would be irresistible to tomorrow’s tourists.

The U.S. Treasury could cut itself in on the museum’s entry fee and generate millions of dollars for the general fund.

The other 14 acres of the Island are also ripe for development. Because the Island rests on bedrock, a high-rise, 50-story, mixed-use building housing a hotel, apartments, and condominiums could be easily constructed on the site.

Such a building could provide up to 400,000 square feet of usable space at a rental rate of $2,000 per square foot, the present cost of prime South Manhattan real estate. That’s approximately $800 million, which would be taxable by both New York State and New York City.

And don’t forget that a certain real estate mogul would find this business opportunity irresistible. He presumably already has a name for the building: Trump Liberty Tower. 

It's gonna be yuge!

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