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.

Wrong:

What happens is that college presidents are increasing tuition at a rate 10x faster than inflation, 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 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, tuition 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:

One.

I’ll repeat that.

One.

There have been millions of tweets. Brother and sister hate brother and sister. Riots in the streets. He’s passed one goddamn bill. What a joke.

No more President.

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.

TAXES

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.

1,357 children were 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.

Shame.

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!”

Fine.

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.

Banning 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.

Why?

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) and 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 paying right now) and they have to reinvest in jobs or other opportunities or return to shareholders.

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?

$18 trillion.

BOOM!

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 Pharma, 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.

Benefits:
– 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 improvements 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 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, its uses, its possibilities and we can start to move toward 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.

  • You believe Soliris costs $700,000 a year because of the FDA approval process? Interesting. You would think the Patens and trademarks would cover that.
    Any who! Many of the problems you stated are simply fueled by greed ;-(

  • NewHampshire

    I am very sorry someone had to bash your religious affiliation when you mentioned being opposed to war. I do not like that bigotry. But please note that now with the internet we see how the apartheid government of Israel is doing just what you hate — jailing and killing little children and innocent people they do not think should be allowed to live on the land they have occupied. We must remember not to bash PEOPLE just govt’s, because the people are victims too.

    That said I agree with everything else you said here. The tea party is very anti-war, at least the original one started in 2007 before the neocons got hold of the idea to use the name. We are not partisan but focus on issues. I saw an article about how the Rockefellers hijacked the medical industry to block real cures.

    https://worldaffairs.blog/2015/10/20/how-rockefeller-founded-modern-medicine-and-killed-natural-cures/

  • Angela Bradford

    Hmm…I wonder what being a “little Jew” has to with Mr. Head Bashers’ patriotism? Too large a concept for my tiny mind I guess. Cheers, James!

    • NewHampshire

      Too often people associate a person with a bigger force that this person has little control over, and as in this case, doesn’t even agree with (ex, war killing kids) This is just wrong. It’s the gov’t that is the criminal.

  • NewHampshire

    BTW if you want to donate money to a good cause, there is a new addiction center all legally established on paper in NH that is looking for funding and hates to ask the government. If you are interested email info at midpointrecovery dot com THANKS!

  • Rita H. Losee

    Thanks for boosting my day! I especially loved the idea of banning the FDA which in my lingo stands for “Folled Dem All” The drugs approved by the FDA are downright dangerous to our health. And we pay exorbitant prices for them. Rock on, James, I love peeking into your mind.

  • Troubled Water

    “War is a racket. Always has been.” Gen. Smedley Butler If anyone would know, it would be this guy. The only equivalent we have to Butler, post WWII, would be Eisenhower himself. Dude has serious street cred. In his own words: https://archive.org/stream/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket_djvu.txt

    And of course Ike warned us himself, just days before leaving office, of the threat of the Military Industrial Complex. Scary if you consider who and what Ike was/did, in addition to being the prez. He was powerless.

    FDA. Racket. Federal Reserve. Racket. IRS. Racket. You can pretty much plug-in-play with most other government agencies. Too corrupt to fail. The Fed is a commercial bank that’s not even registered in the U.S.! Ditto for the IRS.

    Capitalism works great in theory – in the lab. But it’s a dismal failure in practice. Corruption, greed, peanut-brained sock puppets for “leaders,” blah, blah. United we stand, dividends we fall, for one nation under Corporation, Inc. Elections are mere sock-puppetry-drama for gullible voters to watch, believing they actually have a “voice” by voting either Red or Blue to become the next CEO of the 50 Death Stars.

    The dude calling out your religion is the typical imbecile walking the streets these days, now trolling the internet… a 99-percenter. His intention was probably to call out the Israeli government which is as equally putrid and demonic as the “good ol’ U.S. of A. Which, by the way, exactly what does the “A” stand for? Apathy? Arrogance? Assholes?

    The physics of history, like gravity, guarantee a major reset is near for the whole of mankind.

    • Jerry Dever

      capitalism is the worst economic system…except for all the other ones

  • Dennis Hill

    Dear Mr. Altucher:
    Thanks for all the common sense analysis. Refreshing and valuable. Passing strange how so many people find it to be an insult to call you a little jew. Jews make up like a quarter of a percent of the world population but acheive 25 percent of the Noble prizes, just for starters. Many appreciate that Jewish people just kick ass. But most people just want to watch TV and be envious of others, so there you go.

  • José Leonardo Baquero Valdivie

    ¿Eliminar la FDA? ¿lo dices en serio? yo estoy de acuerdo pero eso es imposible, ¡están haciendo demasiado dinero a costa de nuestra salud! Por otra parte querido James, deberías eliminar este artículo, es demasiado “revolucionario”, demasiado “socialista”, y en tu país tu vida corre riesgo mortal por opinar así. Cuando llamas acertadamente “asesinos de niños” a tus dirigentes ellos se ofenden, la verdad los vuelve más estúpidos de lo que ya son y pueden hasta “eliminarte”… Suerte hermano, te admiro mucho.

  • Ryan McConnell

    James, unfortunately, your entire article is based on a false premise. Here is the false premise, which you included in the article:

    “The role of government is to help those who, for whatever reason, cannot properly help themselves at the moment.”

    That is not the role of government, at least not as it is understood in the United States. If you want to know what the role of government is in the US, look at the original texts… the founding documents… it is spelled out there…

    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    The role of the government is to make sure you are safe so that you can exercise your rights. The role of a non-profit is to “help those who, for whatever reason, cannot properly help themselves at the moment.”

    • Vic

      You forgot that part about promoting the general welfare. In the county where I live, last year there was a 30% increase in homelessness. That has an effect on the general welfare of this community.

      • Ryan McConnell

        Voluntary charity to non-profits focused on homelessness is the best way to combat homelessness in your community. That, and making sure local businesses have enough left after taxes to hire more entry level workers. Socialism is theft.

  • Vic

    The FDA is the only buffer we have against the use of dangerous new medications. Are you saying if I go out there and put an untested ingredient in a capsule and sell it as a cure for cancer, it should be allowed? I have to question the wisdom in that. However, I do agree that the process is too expensive and lengthy.

  • KMP and Associates

    While I agree wholeheartedly with many of the sentiments here, the incredible naivete of some of this is stunning. The solution to so-called “Big Pharma” corruption is a Yelp-style vetting of drugs? Crikey. Any man as smart as Altucher must know better than this. Billionaires will generously finance stuff they don’t have to? Eh, I’ll leave it there. I’m sure his heart is in the right place. And, of course, he knows none of this will happen, so he writes anything at all.