Alternatives to California's IOUs


Sheldon Liber, who writes for our sister blog BloggingStocks, was the first of our crowd to receive a California IOU instead of rent for space he and his partners lease to the state.

While we wait for the federal government to catch on to the idea, I had some thoughts about other ways California could pay off those to whom it owes money, instead of cash.

How about --

  • Traffic ticket waivers? In the land of Ferraris, a few waivers would allow owners to let their beasts feed. Jay Leno alone might take a billion or so.

  • Land? Large swaths of the state are still uninhabited; why not divvy up a few hundred square miles and send titles to those holding its bonds? The owners could perhaps make some dough renting the land to pot growers, who seem recession-proof.

  • HOV lane privilege? Why punish the poor schmuck who commutes to work every day with a blow-up doll in the passenger seat so he can use the HOV lane? Trade in your IOU for an HOV pass and beat the gridlock. (Tip for those who use dummy passengers; a Washington man was recently busted for this because he forgot to seat belt his dummy.)

  • Priority fire protection? Believe it or not, most fire departments respond to fires in the order they receive the reports, regardless of the relative home values. Why not give those to whom the state is in debt cutting privileges, priority status for fire protection?

  • Bunk with Arnold? According to, when in the capital, Sacramento, the governor stays at the Hyatt Regency. I'm sure he has a suite; who's sleeping in the other bedroom? Why shouldn't it be you?

  • Medical marijuana scripts? This boat may have sailed, since at least 150,000 people already have their prescriptions. Still, a stoned investor is less likely to call, unless you're also giving away free pizzas.