A longtime public servant with Louisiana roots advances the following idea for financing, at least partially, the post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans. Why not dedicate, he says, the Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas revenues that the federal government gets, and use them as the basis for issuing 30-year bonds to produce funding for the next four to five years of recovery efforts?
The bond market can be counted on to price the income stream, and the funds could be administered by a special board, not necessarily subject to Congress's cumbersome authorization and appropriations processes. State governments, after all, have used expected tobacco settlement payouts as the basis for issuing bonds that they use for emergency spending or even to meet current expenditures. It's called securitization, and perhaps it could work for the federal government here.