My ‘CHOOSE YOURSELF’ State Of The Union
Yes, I once considered running for Congress (after watching Season One of House of Cards).
Yes, I went through the process of looking into hiring people to help me. I sought out advice from professionals (the advice I got is a story by itself) and even began the process of looking for endorsements from national-level people.
Yes, I was disenchanted by the immediate emphasis on money and the idea that I had to be willing to cave in to most of my principles if I wanted any help at all along the way. And I had to pay if I wanted someone to endorse me.
Authenticity and logic behind my principles plays no role at all.
This is politics 101.
Once you are elected, you have already graduated to Politics 501 and any pure and sincere beliefs you ever had have long since been abandoned. This I saw.
So now I just write and BS about it.
Much more fun. Better to invest in things that will help humanity then deal with the nuances of things that won’t change.
Every month I put my efforts behind new charities or projects or businesses that actually help people.
Clean your room before you save the world.
BUT…here are a few ideas that I think can easily be fixed to make the world an enormously better place on every level .
- BAN THE FDA
People aren’t getting drugs they need.
How come? Because it costs $2 billion, 5+ years, and a lot of lobbyists to get a drug approved by the FDA.
And because it costs so much, drugs are super expensive. Soliris, which cures “paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria” costs $700,000 a year so they can recoup their approval costs.
It would cost $70 a year otherwise.
And bad drugs are getting approved. More drugs are being recalled every year than the year before.
So what good does the FDA do anyway?
Let’s move to a Yelp-style system and let people take control over their own medical lives with the help of both doctors and data.
Result: life-saving drugs will be 1/1000 the price. Treatments will be easier to access and cheaper. And people will become more informed about their own bodies.
Needless to say, all drugs should be legal. This would reduce the burden on the legal system, the prison system, and focus our efforts on the mentally ill and addiction issues (since addicts will get their drugs no matter what the laws are).
Summary: Lives saved, less people in jail, more money for people who need it.
- STOP BACKING STUDENT LOANS
I get it. Get everyone “educated”.
I won’t even argue my education points here. Just the economics of backing student loans.
The government backs student loans, thinking that this will cause more students to be educated.
what happens is that college presidents are increasing tuitions at a rate 10x faster than infaltion, knowing that they will get paid, even if the student gets screwed.
Student loan debt is higher than a trillion dollars and it’s the only debt you can’t get rid of in a bankruptcy.
So graduates now get crappy jobs to pay down the loans instead of participating in the innovation economy, the part of the economy that produces all of our advances in technology, biotechnology, alternative energy, etc.
In other words, the part of our technology that creates true wealth for young people and saves the planet at the same time.
Instead, we are raising a generation of slaves to the banks and the government.
This is not a rant against college. If the government stops backing student loans, tuitions will go down, less debt will be created, and young people from lower class backgrounds will have more opportunity to be wealth entrepreneurs.
- BAN THE PRESIDENT
What a waste of time.
We had an election in November 2016.
Guess how many bills the President of the United States has proposed and had passed by Congress since then:
I’ll repeat that.
There’s been millions of tweets. Brother and sister hate brother and sister. Riots in the streets. He’s passed one goddamn bill. What a joke.
The President actually has very few powers mandated by the Constitution. He can’t declare war (the last “official” war was 1941). He can’t pass laws (he can recommend). He can negotiate treaties but not pass them.
He can entertain foreign leaders (and I’m sure we can find better entertainment). He can pardon people. He runs the military (poorly, if history is any judge). He creates new cabinet-level departments (poorly, if history is any judge). He appoints Supreme Court Justices (a power that can just be outsourced to the people: if we elect the President, who appoints the Justices, why not just go direct to elect the Justices?).
I was going to say the same thing about Congress but then realized I was wrong.
Here’s the last bill passed by Congress:
“H.R. 3942: Housing for Survivors of Sex Trafficking Act”. It amended some other bill providing housing for victims of abuse to include victims of sexual trafficking.
Good for them!
The role of government is to help those who, for whatever reason, cannot properly help themselves at the moment.
In some cases, we need a Federal agency to do this. In most cases, state and local governments should do this.
Quite frankly, wealthy entrepreneurs should do this.
Within the next day I’m going to figure out how to donate to housing for victims of sexual trafficking so I can put my money where my mouth is. If anyone has any suggestions (I think there should be more crowd sourcing of charity) then I am open to it.
The one bill passed by Congress (and approved by Trump) has been tax reform
But frankly, I’d like to know if it’s better for me to spend my money or for the government to spend my money?
For instance, 16% of my taxes go to support “defense” (really: offense) and wars the US pursues.
1357 children will killed in Afghanistan last year as a result of the war. Another 2500+ were injured as a result of war.
So some of my hard-earned money, that I could have used to hire people or invest in people or help create new and great things were used to kill little kids.
Again: the role of government should be to help those who cannot help themselves. The role of government is not to kill little kids.
I once wrote this and someone responded back, “If I saw you in the street I’d bash your head in you little jew. I’m a patriot!”
Bash my head in. Just don’t kill little kids anymore.
51% of my taxes are used for social security and medicare. This is a good use. EXCEPT, drugs are too expensive because of A) the FDA, and B) doctors know they can raise prices and the government would pay.
Ban the FDA is a good start. And then let’s see what happens with doctors raising prices when generics are completely legal from the beginning.
And here’s a quick way to raise a lot of money in the United States, paying off the entire national debt, while still lowering my hard-earned taxes:
US corporations are keeping $2.6 trillion overseas doing NOTHING but generating income for foreign banks.
Because they are afraid to bring it back here and get it taxed.
Solution: let them bring it back with a one time bare minimum tax. For every dollar they bring back they have to reinvest (i.e. not put in a bank savings account) 10% of it per year distribute as dividends.
FAQ ON TAXES:
Does this let corporations off the hook?
No. They still have to pay a tax (as opposed to the zero tax they are doing right now) and they have to reinvest in jobs or other opportunities or return to shjareholders.
Does this help the common taxpayer?
Yes. There is something called the “money multiplier” . For every dollar spent, it goes through the economy , on average, ten times.
What does that mean?
It means when you buy a donut, the donut guy buys a newspaper, the newspaper guy buys a new chair for his house, the chair guy buys a new car, the car salesman buys a new house, and so on.
A single dollar is passed around per year many times.
So $2.6 trillion abroad could equal an additional $26 trillion spent on the US economy.
What is the US debt?
Is this trickle-down economics?
No, it has nothing to do with that. It’s just simple: the more money in the US economy, the better the economy will be.
Is this overly simplistic?
Sure. But let’s start somewhere. “Complicated” never seems to work.
CONGRESSMEN NEED TO STAY HOME
Industries like Pharna, Insurance, and Defense spend billions on lobbying in Washington DC.
Why do they need to spend so much money? If they are really educating people on facts, what is costing so much?
Here’s my solution: congressmen have to vote FROM HOME in their districts.
- elected representatives get to spend more time with the people who elect them and the issues of those people.
- make it more difficult for lobbyists to use money to influence votes
It’s important to always understand the history of why decisions were made.
The reason our “Founding Fathers” thought it wise to have a Congress that meets in one place is because…there were no phones then. No Internet. No way to communicate over vast distances.
The improves in communication should be reflected in a modern day government instead of a centralized location with tons of bureaucracy and extra weight on spending our hard-earned money.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES AND MONEY AND REGULATION
Obviously I’m a fan of cryptocurrencies but the US has issues with how it should be regulated. Some initial thoughts.
It should be regulated like any stock or commodity. In other words: no insider trading, every trade must include risk, people need to report gains in cryptocurrencies, and criminals need to be prosecuted.
Cryptocurrencies need to be more integrated into the banking system and the Federal Reserve system and monetary policy.
Let’s be clear: the biggest threat on the economy right now is cyber warfare on our banking system.
If North Korean hackers hack into Bank of America and tell you that your account is $0, there’s no way for you to defend against that at the moment.
Cryptocurrencies, among many other things, solve this problem.
There are, of course, several issues that have complicated solutions. This is also something that will happen organically over time and without much government intervention.
The best the government can and should do now is to prosecute criminals involved in any schemes using cryptocurrencies.
This will get people who are still unfamiliar with the basics of cryptocurrencies to become more aware of it’s existence, it’s uses, it’s possibilities and we can start to move towards an economic system with less human error, less banking, less forgery, more privacy, less contract law, less impact on the legal system with minor (but bitter) money disputes, etc.
I’m not making many recommendations here since the technology for doing these things is evolving proactively (just like the Internet did between 1994 and 2018) and will happen organically.
BUT, regulation needs to get serious on CRIMINAL activity with cryptocurrencies. This will lead to mass adoption.
Which will lead to a serious understanding of how data-based currencies can help solve problems in the economy.
These are just a few items.
But if a list becomes too big, it’s easy to ignore.
When I focus on how to best change my life, I take the two or three most important items I want to change, I break them down to smaller and smaller items.
And I begin my work. Every day I ask: did I move in the direction I set out on the map.
Then my life changes.
Then I kiss you good night.
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James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated.