The Decline and Sale of American Civilization

01/28/2009 02:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In college I took only one semester of Econ (and just barely passed), but even I know that we are not in an "economic crisis," a "recession" or a "depression," but a much bigger condition that economists call "the end of the United States."

Does that mean that our country is finished? No. Countries don't get "finished." Like the characters in John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane," their lives go on, long after the thrill of living has gone.

For example, Greece used to rule the world; now it rules the world's diners. Spain once boasted conquistadors; they've been replaced by marijuanadors. At one time the sun never set on the British Empire. Now the only thing it doesn't set on is Ricky Gervais.

The notion that we can bail ourselves out is an admirable yet stupid idea. Nobody can bail us out but the Europeans, and they're too busy planning their next American shopping sprees to even think about it.

We are the Valerie Bertinelli of superpowers, still as cute as we used to be, but in need of an economic Jenny Craig if we are to fit in our national pants.

The truth is this. We can no longer afford a 50-state United States. We must sell off as many states as possible and only keep those which are absolutely necessary.

England will not rescue us, but they'd probably jump at the chance to buy back the original Thirteen Colonies. France would probably love it if we returned the Louisiana Purchase. So would Spain with regard to California, but of course, we'd keep California.

Hawaii would be sold to the production company that makes Lost and Alaska would be sold back to Russia. This would generate a huge amount of capital and ensure that no further vice-presidential candidates come from there.

Any state with an Indian casino would be sold to the tribe running the casino. Most of the U.S. would then revert to Native American ownership, with Manhattan being sold back to the Indians for $24.

Or we could just do a big package deal and sell the red states. Not only would this generate funds, but the United States would no longer be divided, and red and blue staters would only have to see each other at NASCAR and professional wrestling events.

As the United States takes its place alongside those empires whose declines are described in seventh-graders' boring social studies books, we must take steps today to ensure that as an ex-empire, we are more like present-day Rome, and less like present-day Atlantis.

Remember, as the great economist Prince once sang, "Two thousand zero zero, party over, oops out of time." He was only off by eight years.