Lower National Debt by Selling Montana to Canada
When I heard this story on the early morning news this morning, I had to chuckle. As a native Montanan, my first response was, "I'll bet this petition was started by a bitter North Dakotan!" Back in the 80s and 90s Montanans and North Dakotans had a sort of pseudo-feud going on and you could find North Dakota joke books all over the state.
These days North Dakota's fortunes have changed due to a little something people refer to as, "The Bakken". It is a large deposit of oil and natural gas lying under a significant chunk of northwestern North Dakota. The Bakken also extends into Montana, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. But no area has capitalized on The Bakken more than North Dakota.
The U.S. national debt is currently $22 trillion, which is high, but not as high as the estimated $70 trillion in what is referred to as "off-balance-sheet" liabilities. This is a group of financial obligations not included in national debt estimates. "The largest of which is "commitments to the elderly and poor through Social Security, pension guarantees and Medicare, and Medicaid".
So as you can see, while selling off Montana to Canada for $1 trillion would take a chunk out of the national debt, it wouldn't be much of a chunk.
The petition has over 6500 signatures, the last time I checked. I'm not sure if this signifies an overdeveloped sense of fiscal responsibility in those people or some sort of hatred for Montana. But whichever it is, it's destined to be a futile effort.
Sources: Change.org, and Marketwatch