WASHINGTON—Amidst continued deadlock over how to rein in the federal deficit, government officials announced plans Tuesday to increase revenue by offering franchise opportunities to entrepreneurs who wish to start their own United States of America.
Banking on the popularity of its original location, the country hopes to make millions by partnering with franchisees around the world, to whom it would license the trademarked United States brand name as well as the nation's flag, motto, preserved landmarks, college sports programs, movie studios, and bicameral legislature.
"Now, anyone interested in starting a new nation can open an official United States," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. "America already has a brand everyone knows and responds to. Now the time has come for us to grow that asset and monetize it."
"Meanwhile, it's a great deal for our franchise partners, who not only get to fly the red, white, and blue, but also have access to our unrivaled network of foreign oil suppliers." Murray continued. "With an initial capital investment of just $20,000, interested parties can begin building their own U.S.A. immediately."
According to sources, as soon as their check clears with the U.S. Treasury, new franchisees will receive an America Operations Manual and a welcome kit that includes a framed copy of the Constitution, a 1/16th-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, two cases of Budweiser beer, one's choice of a dream catcher or Native American hand drum, and an instructional pamphlet on how to print the nation's popular currency.
U.S. headquarters in Washington will reportedly collect a standard franchise royalty of 4.5 percent on each new location's gross domestic product, as well as residual fees stemming from any performance of the national anthem, reproduction of the presidential seal, or usage of proprietary place names such as New York or Texas.
In response to claims the new program could dilute the value of the United States brand, officials have stated that strict quality-control standards will be maintained across each American franchise.
"People can expect the same quality of life at any U.S.A. location," House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters. "All will be provided with the First Amendment, free market economies, the Grand Canyon, trial by jury—everything you need to run your very own United States. We're even throwing in a few clear-eyed, apple-cheeked all-American youths to help them get started."
Proposed deals are already in motion for new United States of Americas to open in emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil by January 2013, Boehner said, and discussions are ongoing regarding a possible high-end underwater resort location in the United Arab Emirates.
A deal to open a flagship franchise on the Champs-Élysées in Paris has reportedly been quashed by the French government.
"It's intimidating to start any new business from scratch, let alone a fully functioning nation, so the franchise model really appealed to me," said Swiss entrepreneur Adrian Holm, who hopes to open multiple European United States locations if his first venture succeeds. "It took us a while to find a big enough spot for one, but it's on a reasonably busy highway, and I feel a U.S.A. is the sort of place that people will stop and see if it's convenient enough."
Several business experts have said America's recent credit-rating downgrade, rising levels of customer dissatisfaction, and high incarceration costs might end up proving a liability for franchisees, and few investors have been bullish on the United States since its failed attempts to extend its brand by opening wholly owned outposts in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade.
"It's definitely a gamble," 28-year-old Ahmad Nimeiri of Sudan said. "But the prospect of heading up my own United States of America sure as hell beats herding goats for my uncle for the rest of my life."
Added Nimeiri: "Hopefully I won't wind up regretting my decision not to just open up a China like my brother Samir did. He's doing great."