My Platform If I Were Vice-President of the United States
- Posted by James Altucher
In 1980, being a young, strident young journalist and essayist at the age of 12 I decided to call up the Federal Elections Commission and get a list of all of the candidates who were officially running for President and Vice-President. There was the usual crew: “James Earl Carter”, “Edward M Kennedy”, etc but then there were a lot of offbeat characters as well.
For instance, Clifford Finch, the governor of Mississsippi, was running for President. I never did figure that one out. Although, I went down there (my first plane trip ever) spent a week staying at the house of his campaign manager, Norman Harris, and Finch made me an “honorary colonel of Mississippi” (for those who don’t know, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame is only an honorary colonel so this means either I should set up a chain of some sort (“Missippi Fried BLTs?”) or it means if you are from Mississippi and run into me you better BOW DOWN and pay some RESPECT.)
Another guy I spoke to was Jim Boren, who had decided not to run for President but run for Vice-President. His campaign slogan was: “When in doubt, mumble.” I called him to interview him and he had an extension of that motto: “When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate. When in charge, ponder.” I liked his style. He also said, “I haven’t done anything for the past few years so I figure I’m qualified.” He spent the summer of 1979 in Alaska, “looking for absentee votes.”
Finally he says, “I just want a good job, with good food, and to meet some nice people.”
So at least there is a precedent for me to run for Vice-President although I’m going to take a different stance.
Apparently there is a several minute period between the time the Vice-President is sworn in and the President.
During that time, it can be argued, the Vice-President is acting as sort of an interim President . I have a lot of things I can do during those few minutes.
First off, one can ask: why not just run for President?
Answer: are you crazy? Look at all these debates you have to go to. The Vice-President, AT MOST, has to go to one debate. Who do you think I am? John F. Kennedy?
Second, it costs about a billion dollars to become President. It also costs Coca-Cola a billion dollars a year to convince people that Coke is good for them and not just unhealthy carbonated water with 16 teaspoonfulls of sugar.
So maybe using this new platform being developed by the Rothshchilds (thanks to Bob Wenzel for pointing this out to me) maybe I can run directly for VP and get on the ballot in all 50 states.
And I have a very specific platform. It would only take me a few minutes to issue all of the executive orders and then I promise I will resign.
In other words, not only will I be a one-term Vice-President, I will be a ten minute Vice-President.
Executive Order #1: Immigration. As long as they don’t have criminal records, anyone can come into the United States. As for current illegal aliens, I’d get rid of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which made it illegal to hire an illegal immigrant.
Here are my questions about immigration that I have for people who are running for President.
– Where the hell did you come from? Or, if not you, your ancestors.
– Who is cleaning the dishes and prepping the food at EVERY restaurant in NYC. Even when I go for expensive sushi, except for the Japanese sushi guy on display at front everyone else hidden in the back is from Mexico.
– For the first time in 50 years, Indians and Chinese are staying home and starting semiconductor companies. The head of a major graduate school said this is the first time he’s seen a year over year decline in Indian applicants. That’s bad news! The Indian Institute of Technology is the best undergraduate tech college(s) in the world! We need the grads of that school to start semiconductor companies in the US.
– Its not like that law protected American jobs. Born and raised Americans don’t want to be nannies or slice up onions for a living (on the whole).
– In fact, official employment went down because people started to hire freelancers to do jobs so as to remove the risk they were officially hiring an illegal immigrant.
– My wife was at one time an immigrant. She fought hard to come to America, stay in America, survive in America, and succeed in America. That’s what America is about.
– What about terrorists? Only 2% of currently illegal immigrants are from the entire Middle East and that includes Israel.
Well, what if they are already an illegal immigrant. No problem! Amnesty! Unless they have a criminal record. Then get out! There’s 12mm illegal immigrants out there.
Executive Order #2: TAX HOLIDAY! No taxes for a year. Oh wait, who would pay for all the bombing in Afghanistan? Who would pay for the food sent to our 18 year old girls who are shipped to Iraq? Ok, ok, I see your point. Let me get back to this one and handle a few other important executive orders first. But first, let me ask you this: who is a better allocator of your money: YOU or Timothy Geithner? If the answer is Timothy then feel free to send in your money. If you think you will do better for the country with your money (spending it, hiring people, etc) then don’t write a check. At ease, soldier. Do what you were doing. Keep collecting taxes on corporations. But no more individual income taxes. I need my money!
Executive Order #3: No more Military! Everyone has a lot of opinions on this and they are all wrong. Simplicity is best. We have military bases or some sort of actions in 130 countries right now. We are actively bombing six different countries where civilians are being killed. What the hell for? Let’s look at Libya as an example: we spent $600mm in the first week of bombing them. That’s your tax dollars, my friend. Ok, you say, but Qadafi was “bad”. Maybe he was. But the opposition forces are filled with al Quaeda. So who is this going to help in the long run?
NONE of these countries want our military bases there (possible exception: Israel). And are we really worried anyone is going to invade the US? We’re an ocean away from everyone. We live them alone, they’ll leave us alone. You might think I’m being naïve but being actively militarily involved in 130 countries hasn’t exactly helped our standing in the world. And since World War III started (our invasions of Afganistan and Iraq, which still haven’t ended yet for some odd reason) we’ve spent an extra seven trillion dollars. How about that money comes home now so we can have an economic boom. Economic booms spread like a contagious disease and will ultimately infect everyone who hates us. Guess what, it’s like what we learned on the playground in first grade (sort of): if we stop bombing people, AND we help them make more money, they might actually start to like us again.
Well, you might say, what about France? Didn’t our military save them in World War II? Uhhh…and? (See, “Name me a War that was Worth It?“)
Well, you might ask again, won’t countries develop weapons of massive destruction? Yeah, they will. And we can’t do anything about it. We failed to stop India, China, Russia, South Africa, india, and Pakistan from developing a nuclear weapon. And we’ll fail to stop Iran no matter what we do. It’s just reality. My advice: don’t move to a country bordering Iran. Move to the US instead.
Finally, what about the threat of China. Won’t they invade us? Two answers:
A) If they invaded us, who would buy from them.
B) China IS us. China has over two trillion of our dollars in their treasury. We only have about $80 billion. Why would they do anything to wipe out the value of that two trillion?
C) They ALREADY invaded us. There’s evidence that China hit here 70 years before Columbus. And they left. Go figure.
Ok, finally, one very good question: what about pirates? Right now the US Navy OWNS the oceans of the planet. There’s not a speck of water we can’t invade at a moment’s notice. So that scares pirates. If we shut down the Navy then pirates would start hassling us.
No problem. Here’s my solution. I would sell the Navy. Basically auction every part of the Navy to private equity firms. We’ve spent trillions building it, we’ll make trillions selling it. Then we’ll lease out their services and allow other countries (that we approve of) lease out their services as well. What’s the problem here? Would they ever turn on us? Of course not. You’d still have to be an American citizen to join. And they’d probably be better managed than they are now.
All of this sounds funny but I’m being deadly serious. Why is a single dollar being spent on sending 18 year olds to Afghanistan to kill innocent civilians supposedly under the misguided perception that they are “protecting my way of life”. And when you start from that premise and really dig further, it gets darker and darker. So enough darkness. Let’s go into the light.
Executive Order #4: No more 3 letter acronyms. I would eliminate any government agency or cabinet level department that has 3 letters in it. Or I would sell it. I’ve already written about the FDA and why we should eliminate it. But who needs to EPA? What has the SEC done? Insider trading is rampant, high frequency trading steals millions of dollars a day from innocent investors, smallcap and microcap scams are happening every second, and ponzi schemes like Madoff never seem to get stopped until they’ve already stolen from everyone. Well, what about the FBI and CIA? State police departments should work together on inter-state crimes.
What about non-3 letter acronyms?
Ok, tell me a cabinet level department that has worked.
Since the Department of Education has been established, tuitions for higher education have gone up tenfold versus education only going up 3 fold and healthcare five fold. Meanwhile, the US has gone from #1 in Education around the world to #15. The Department of Housing and Urban Development indirectly led to the housing boom and bust when standards on Fannie Mae loans were lowered by Andrew Cuomo. We just got rid of the DoD in my last executive order. The Post Office should be sold to Federal Express or whoever will take it.
And what does the State Department do? Let’s outsource the whole embassy thing to American Express just in case any American gets robbed in another country. Can you tell me what else the State Department does?
Well, what about the Treasury Department? Who will bailout the banks next time?
Answer: if you follow my platform we won’t ever need a bailout again.
Executive Order #5: A New Constitutional Convention.
The Constitution has been warped, ripped, distorted, and the tiny pieces of paper that fell to the floor have been pasted back together again in all sorts of weird shapes. Example #1 I describe in this post but I’ll describe again: Congress was established because it was impossible for people (before phones and telegraphs) inWashington to communicate the laws back to constituents so they can vote on them. So, a group of elected officials would hang out in the nation’s capital and vote on everything.
Well, we clearly don’t need that anymore. SO what else don’t we need?A constitutional convention should happen that goes step by step through every Article and Amendment and figure out what we really need. Which leads to my final executive order:
Executive Order #5: Abolish the Presidency. I give the reasons here. Constitutionally speaking, the President doesn’t do much. But he’s taken a lot of power on. And why not? Almost by definition he’s the most popular guy in the country so with that kind of charisma he can convince people to give him more and more power. Which is what has happened. So let’s take a step back. Do we really need a President for anything? See my above post on this.
Executive Order #6: Sell everything. All US highways should be sold to private equity firms to pay down our debt. I would also insist all states sell their colleges, hospitals, train routes, busstops, etc. All to pay down debt.
If these six executive orders are followed its pretty clear we won’t need to raise as much taxes. Agan, who is a better allocator of your money: you or the government? If you had extra money you’d buy more stuff, right? It’s not like Americans save that much. You’d spend it! Why not? No taxes. So this all relates back to Executive Order #2. Let’s take a one year holiday from taxes and then see where we are at.
This all sounds funny as I write it. But the benefits are clear:
– We’ll save millions of lives
– We’ll have a lot of money
Hmm, I can’t think of anything else. But the above two seem good enough.
Those six executive orders would be a lot of work. And would make a more efficient government instantly. It would take me about ten minutes to make them. After that I would resign. There would be no more use for me. The only two constitutional responsibilities of the Vice-President are to succeed the President (but now there’s no more President) and to break ties in the Senate (but now there’s no more Senate). So after a short but very fruitful administration, in the words of George Washington when he left office:
“I anticipate with pleasing … the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.”blog comments powered by Disqus