Seventeen years ago, Ross Perot observed of NAFTA that there was a "giant sucking sound" from south of the border with Mexico that would dry up the wealth of America. Recently, we learned that a giant sucking sound was coming from Wall Street and investment bank Bear Stearns.
What we didn't know was that the other end of the black hole was located a few hundred miles north of Mexico "¦ in Oklahoma City. According to the British news agency Reuters, if you follow the money from the $29 billion Federal Reserve bailout of Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns, it "ends in a partially deserted shopping center on a bleak spot on the south side of Oklahoma City."
They are talking about our own Crossroads Mall.
The once-shining edifice of 1980s consumer excess, Crossroads is now sitting at the intersection of interstates 240 and 35 with empty anchor stores and a new landlord. It seems that the Federal Reserve now owns Crossroads Mall. When Uncle Sam (us) gave J.P. Morgan/Chase the 29 billion big ones to buy out Bear Stearns, there was only one actual, physical asset: Crossroads Mall. Yep, that's right " the only tangible security, the only piece of "brick-and-mortar" real estate on the books as collateral for a loan larger than the entire state government budget of Oklahoma is the south-side mall.
The quote of the week goes to Oklahoma City metro resident and shop assistant Noah Diggs, who observed of the Fed owning Crossroads: "That is a bad thing, right?"
So what the hell does the government do with a $29 billion mall? How do we recover that cash? Well, here's one Oklahoma City-based solution advanced by our own Bucky, the Chicken-Fried News intern: Simply extend Crossroads into future MAPS projects. According to Bucky's estimates, if we extend the MAPS sales tax for just 271 years (MAPS4EVER) we can buy Crossroads from the Federal Reserve and convert it into an indoor, drive-through safari park and live-action paintball facility.