U.S. governments are not realizing the full value of their assets, and thus are depriving citizens of a potential revenue that could dramatically improve infrastructure and even routine services. Clearly identifying those assets is step one, as argued in the book The Public Wealth of Cities. The next important step is to set up professional management of those assets with the goal to maximize the return for the public.
One mechanism to do so (and summarized in this article) is the idea of a 'government wealth fund.' This would be a separate entity still accountable to the government and required to be transparent. But, it would run independently and be charged with returning revenue to the government, not to shareholders or their equivalent.
In the context of U.S. government, where responsibility is highly fractured, I think a centralized wealth fund like this could be difficult to implement and manage in one go. But, I think the concept is on track. What do you think and how would you go about implementing it?
“If you think all you have to work with to deal with emerging long-term liabilities are short-term cash and whatever assets you have on the shelf, then it will seem that there’s not much choice but to use gimmicks or kick the can,” he says. “But if instead you believe that you have some long-term assets that maybe aren’t so obvious but could be the raw material for good long-term solutions, at least you’ll start to look for better, more sustainable options.”