Russia has become the world's biggest buyer of gold. Following a policy set by long-time leader Vladimir Putin, Russia's Central Bank added 570 metric tons of gold, about 25 percent more than second-ranked gold bug China acquired over the same period.
Would the U.S. government really consider selling the Hoover Dam, all the gold in Fort Knox, or the naming rights to the Grand Canyon? That may depend on how desperate it is to balance the budget. Here are nine big U.S. assets whose auction could take a real bite out of the deficit.