Reckoning from Buenos Aires, Argentina
Well, that’s it. The debates have begun. We were saved by a continent, a language barrier and a mountain range. And even if we had a TV available, we wouldn’t have watched. Why waste time?
Fed up with the whole process, we’ve decided to throw our old, worn-out hat in the ring. That’s right, we’re announcing our candidacy for president of the USA. And you, dear reader, are the first to know it.
A few years ago, we joked that we would run for the Oval Office. Our campaign slogan was a barnburner for sure: “Too rich to steal, too dumb to lie”.
Well-meaning friends discouraged us. They were afraid we might win. We assured them that in case of a victory we’d claim election fraud.
But, under pressure, we withdrew from the race and George W Bush won the top post. Our country’s loss.
This time, it’s different. Yes, get out the banners… roll out the bunting… give us some babies to kiss and some envelopes with cash to stuff in our pockets. Large, unmarked bills… please. We won’t accept campaign contributions, but we’ll take bribes in any denomination.
This time we’re serious. It’s time for a CHANGE. Why the need for change? The Financial Times explains:
‘The US’s median household income in 2011 of $50,054 was $570 less than its median household income in 1989. Its 111.4m private sector jobs today are about as many as there were 12 years ago.
‘This labour market crisis has understandably darkened the mood in heartland states. In a recent poll, only 27% of Americans felt confident that life for their children’s generation would be better. Too many families are anxiously wondering: “Where are the jobs? How is this going to turn out?’
The FT might have also mentioned that the system is rigged against the people who will decide the election – middle-class voters. The feds hand out free money to their friends – the insiders. When the voters figure this out – if they ever do – they’re going to be in an ugly mood. And ready to vote for real CHANGE.
Maybe they’ll never figure it out. Here in Argentina a labour union leader had a solution to the country’s ongoing financial crisis. “Let’s all stop stealing for a year”, he earnestly suggested.
When that proposal was rejected by all parties, he backed off: “How about a month of not stealing?”
That too was laughed out of town. A government that doesn’t steal is like booze that won’t make you drunk. What’s the point? If all you get out of the government is what you put in yourself, why bother? Chastity is of no help to a prostitute. Nor is honesty to a politician.
Not that we can change the nature of the system. Politicians will always be politicians and government will always be government. We can’t change its nature. But we can certainly do with less of it! That’s the change we mean.
And we’re not the first to have the idea. Here’s Thomas Jefferson:
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
Yes, other candidates have promised ‘change’. But we really mean it. And the proof is our campaign promises.
First, we promise not to keep any promise we make in the run-up to the election. This alone makes us the only honest candidate and the only person worthy of your vote.
Second, we can prove that we were born in the US… in the Annapolis General Hospital in the year of our lord, well… never mind what year. But we certify that we’re old enough to be president. Heck, we’re old enough to know better.
Third, we promise not to engage in any debate with anyone. The debates are a sham entertainment, proving only which candidate is the better debater. Who cares?
Fourth… getting right down to specifics… we won’t propose vague, hollow and meaningless ‘reforms’. We’re talking real change here. We’d balance the federal budget overnight. How? Cut the Pentagon budget in half. As a starter. We’d be much more secure with a lot less ‘security’.
Then, we’d cut the domestic budget in half, too. Social security, medicare, the Department of Things We Never Heard Of and Didn’t Really Need Anyway – the whole shebang. We’d be twice as well off with half as much help from the feds.
Oh, we can anticipate the howls of scorn and yelps of pain already. “You’re taking the meat cleaver approach”, our critics would claim. And yes. “You’re darned tootin”, we would say with a Reaganesque flair.
A meat cleaver is just what the federal government needs. Or a chainsaw. Besides, almost all government spending is a combination of bribes and boondoggles. One is about the same as the other, as far as we’re concerned.
Let the pols in Congress deal with the details. Depending on the bribes, they can decide who gets the boondoggles. We get a balanced budget and shed half the zombies with half as many resources sucked up by the feds. Fair and square.
for Markets and Money
From the Archives…
Derivatives as a Sponge
5-10-2012 – Greg Canavan
Don’t Teach Your Man to Fish
4-10-2012 – Nick Hubble
Three Phone Calls You Must Make Now
3-10-2012 – Nick Hubble
Beer and Tax in Retirement
2-10-2012 – Nick Hubble
Hard Times for Hard Rocks
1-10-2012 – Dan Denning