Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Q & A

Kevin, a CPA in Little Rock, Arkansas asks:

Q: Hey, Charlie—
I’ve been reading this blog since it started and first off, I’d like to say that I am intrigued by your theories and can’t wait to read your two books. I can see why some call you a “visionary.” You’re writing what a lot of us are thinking, but are unable to synthesize into an action plan. I’ve scanned your blog entries, including your “things to come” epilogue to An American Fable, and I must admit that you’ve raised a lot of questions—to whit:
  • What happens to under/unemployed tax advisors (like me)? IRS agents? franchise tax agents? property tax assessors? parking meter maids? road/bridge/tunnel toll collectors? auto liability salesmen? Social Security/Medicare administrators? healthcare insurers? liquor and tobacco “revenuers”? Washington lobbyists? ambulance-chasing personal injury litigators? and so forth? How do we put food on the table?

  • How can you even think about a global Pax Americana, which would increase our military from 800,000 to 2 million volunteers; jump start the Peace Corps from almost zero to a half-million American and European volunteers to back up U.N. Secretary General Colin Powell’s mandate to save Africa from the abyss?
A: Kevin, I never said that my vision of 21st Century America would be easy—just doable; and that you, I, and our countrymen, have inherited the “True Grit” and “Right Stuff” to accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Folks like us have to reinvent our productive roles, in my case for the fourth time during my life. There’s a great big world out there just waiting for new ideas, and the guys and gals behind them.

All of the under/unemployed, as well as the homeless, will be forced to find their niche within the new city and county jobs created by local assumption of federal programs—from parks to monuments; disability to disaster; museums to mausoleums; borders to bridges; and just about everything else in between. Otherwise, Uncle Sam stays out of our daily lives, and sticks to what our Constitution hired him for.

Don’t fret about your CPA practice; both my books call for accountant certification of loan applications and stock issuances—a kind of Congressional “accountants’ full employment act” designed to deter future hanky-panky at all levels, from mom and pop to Citicorp—no certification, no money from bank loans or securities offerings.

In the meantime, our City/Town/County will provide the 12 buck/25 grand minimum wage for the infrastructure work needed—buildings; maintenance; roads; schools; bridges; or work at home on a loaner laptop to do City admin or research to back up the Councilperson charged with validating and then taking care of us, our neighbors, and our townspeople, while administering about a trillion dollars of our daily 10% tax bite.

With regard to Pax Americana, my scenario is a post-WWII update, when we reluctantly ruled the planet, at a cost of 680,000 foreign gravestones for our G.I.’s, Marines and sailors, out of 10 million sent to European and Pacific battlefields; 16 million Americans put in uniform; and 20 million “Rosie the Riveters” sent to our assembly lines—all this from our Greatest Generation population of less than 100 million men, women, and children, including my boyhood gang that scavenged every old rubber tire and bit of metal in our neighborhood.

For the second time in a quarter century we proved to the world that there is no task too difficult for Americans. We saved European civilization, and capitalists that we are, proceeded to purchase a good portion of their industrial enterprises with our “heavy” dollars after WWII, while fueling their post-war recovery with our outright charity, in the form of Harry Truman’s C.A.R.E. packages and Marshall Plan.

Today, and during the 50-year-long Cold War of yesterday (which Ronnie Reagan finally won), the planet still looks to us for guidance. This is our God-given destiny, and there’s no way around it, like it or not—and in our isolationist years of yore we didn’t like it one damn bit, until Teddy R. woke us up at the turn of the last century, with his “walk softly and carry a big stick” foreign policy.

Our “big stick” tomorrow will be our operational outer space defensive and offensive satellite umbrella, in defiance of every arms treaty we ever signed.

It’s up to you and me, Kevin—don’t look elsewhere, because to paraphrase a famous old Manhattan happy hour cocktail quip, “Buddy, there is no elsewhere, elsewhere.” (Gertrude Stein at her Algonquin Hotel evening roundtable cocktail hour, when Great American Humorist Robert Benchley queried her about her Oakland, California origins, replied dryly, "Dahling, there is no there, there."

More Q&A

Walter, a 27-year-old busboy in Richmond, Virginia asks:

Q: Mister Charlie, I just heard about your 12 buck/25 grand minimum wage for myself and my wife, who works as a cleaning lady. We are both from the small village of San Francisco (population 2,000), just outside San Salvador.

You cannot possibly imagine what a promotion to America’s middle class would mean for our young family, which includes our son Walter Jr. (4 1/2) and plans for more children down the road. With a combined income of 50 grand, we can qualify for a modest home loan, our American Dream come true. And looking forward, we can plan on a decent education for our kids; locally administered medical care for our family; and if my boss lays me off, I would be happy to do city maintenance or new construction manual labor to keep my income at base level. But how is all this possible?

A: Walter, there’s nothing magical about my proposals—the stronger our middle class, the stronger America; and I am a believer in American wealth accumulation, bit by bit, beginning with a home of our own. Then, we need to convert Social Security promises to hard cash T-bonds at age 70.