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January 18, 2013 10:00 PM

Pawning Mount Rushmore To Pay Nat'l Debt

Keystone, SD

When times are tough and money is tight, sometimes people will put their belongings into hock at a pawn shop.  It's essentially taking out a loan on the value of the item, which is then held for collateral. A citizen petition on the White House's website is trying to rally support for pawning South Dakota's most famous landmark.

As one of the most recognizable sculptures in the world, Mount Rushmore draws around 3 million people annually.

"It's just beautiful. I've seen it before in pictures and on TV, but to come out here with my family, I brought my sons and my mom, it's just amazing," Florida traveler John Frosland said.

"It's a national monument and we should be proud of it and proud of Mr. Borglum," Texas traveler Steve Trustman said.

But a citizen petition at the White House's We The People website is suggesting that the government should consider pawning the monument to the Fed to pay our national debt interest, should talks on the debt ceiling fall through. 

For those visiting Mount Rushmore, it's not a popular idea.

"I'm just in shock that they would even consider that. It would be an embarrassment to the world if they even heard that they were considering such a thing," Frosland said.

"We're just taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another. The net gain would be probably zero," Trustman said.

The petition needs at least 25,000 signatures to elicit a response from the White House. As of Friday morning it had 12.

"Well, I'm surprised that it even has that amount, but I just can't see any American signing on for something like that or even considering it.  It's just unthinkable," Frosland said.

Not surprisingly, the petition was started by a person far removed from South Dakota. It originated in Virginia.

"I don't understand why they would start a petition about Mount Rushmore. Let them think about something in Virginia," Trustman said.

In the event that the petition does receive the needed 25,000 signatures in the next month, it's not likely that the government would take the proposal seriously.  The website is host to more than 250 petitions dealing with just about everything.

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