The United States, according to Forbes Magazine has a minimum of 400 billionaires. Almost half that number are worth $2 billion or more, give or take. When you’re standing on the mountain, its hard to know the size of it.
Donald Trump, at $2.6 bn, has his eye on the top of the pile always, and not just the money pile. He wants to be president. Fair enough. We’re taught from a very young age that, in America, we can be president if we want it badly enough, and if we work harder to get there than the runners-up do .
The Donald has once again inflated the trial balloon, and once again generated as much ridicule as support for the notion, partly because he claims the right no to decide until after the current season of his hit reality show, The Apprentice, has been put to bed.
I have given the matter a lot of thought (strangely enough) and I have divined a path, a Yellow Brick Road, if you will, that ends with Mr. Trump elected POTUS. It is not only plausible, but if he can just go out and pull it off with the same deftness he demonstrates in getting the members of his class to spend on other Trump enterprises, I will vote for Donald Trump myself.
The reader who doesn’t know me will be muttering “Here’s another fool with a disposable vote!”, and that’s fair enough, at least in part. I am a kind of American socialist; our votes are, thus far, the very definition of disposable in our country. Yet, that here is a socialist acknowledging even the possibility of voting for a man whose life e, should give any politically literate person a double-take. So here it is; it needs a name and yours may be better than mine. I call it American Mogul. I am not shy in my triteness.
Four hundred billionaires, if parity was possible, would mean eight per state. Only half of them have enough money to play in this contest, cutting the total number of billionaires eligible for it to four. Eligibility rests on one qualification. Each would-be mogul must be willing to place, at the outset, one billion dollars in escrow if they mean to play. The eligibility pool will contain but 50 contestants, or one per US state. An entry fee of one million dollars will be collected from the escrow funds.
To become the American Mogul, contestants will be judged by a method combining the small administrative skills of an expert panel, a la The Apprentice, and American Idol, with the local perceptions in the state theater of performance, by a panel composed of judges from the ranks of government, education, business and the public-at-large, and finally, by the tally of phone-in votes for candidates as regarded by the national citizenry.
A lottery would pair each mogul with a state. Ground rules requiring each to reveal the extent of their current business activity in the state allotted to them, so that the likelihood is minimized of their approach doing no more good than merely adding substance to an already substantial holding there.
The action required of each mogul, is to devise and implement an investment plan, to be completed within a set period of, say, 4-5 years, that can be shown to produce the greatest amount of financial, social and tax benefit to his/her allotted state, and as the demonstrated result of the mogul’s plan.
The economic spin-offs from media presentation, employment opportunities, bandwagon-jumping investor mogul wanna-bes should be significant and fun to watch. Close scrutiny to guard agains cronyism, corruption, insider trading, sweetheart deals, offshore accounts, and outsourcing of key elements should be recognized as real risks, and rules put in place to minimize and penalize their occurrence.
The perception of most people is that most moguls got their money the old-fashioned way: they inherited it. Furthermore, it is generally perceived that, without teams of lawyers, accountants and managers, most moguls would end their lives with less than they started with.
Here is a chance for them to put us all in our places. Donald Trump can lead the orchestra, and if he does so, successfully, he would deserve the Nobel Peace Price, the one that would make believers of us all, and put him in the White House.
So come on, Mr Trump! Stand and deliver, you other billionaires! Show us what you’re made of. Prove to us, all and sundry, that Laissez Faire capitalism, even the taxed and regulated kind, is the way to the Promised Land. Or don’t, and continue to confirm our worst suspicions.