Before we get to the plan, I’ll tell you what the plan could accomplish.
The plan could end welfare, once and for all. And Social Security. And Medicare. Under the plan, we’d no longer put a dime into any of these programs or into any other government subsidy program.
We’d live in an America where everyone has enough money, a place where parents can afford to give their children whatever they need.
It could happen with a few clicks on a few computer keyboards.
Doing so would involve no physical pain, no mental discomfort, no government intrusion or bureaucratic manipulations. Nothing would be altered, yet everything would change.
Just like that.
If you say it sounds too good to be true, you’d be correct. If you say it sounds like one of those get-rich-quick schemes, you’d also be correct.
The truth is: I would get rich, under the plan. But then again, so would you. And so would every one else.
That’s the beauty of it.
The plan is this:
Bill Gates and the rest of America’s billionaires give each taxpayer half a million bucks.
It seems like a lot of money, I know, but only to people like us, who aren’t yet wealthy (but will be under the plan).
Gates is the chairman of Microsoft Corp. He is the most successful businessman in American history. In world history. According to a recent Forbes magazine listing of the world’s most wealthy individuals, Gates is said to be worth $36.4 billion.
That’s so much money, it must be italicized.
And he is not alone. There are plenty of other billionaires in America, according to Forbes, and more than 500 or so throughout the world. They earn millions more each day in interest alone.
If Mr. Gates and his friends were to give each of us, say, $500,000, or even more, they’d still have billions left over for themselves.
And their money would no longer go toward government subsidies because the rest of us would agree to fend for ourselves with our new wealth. We could spend it or invest it or gamble it away. But we wouldn’t rely on the government.
The Republicans could finally shut down the National Endowment for the Arts, and none of the nation’s suddenly flush artists would complain.
O.J. Simpson would at last have some cash to pass along to the Goldmans.
Bill Clinton could pay for much of his Paula Jones defense.
Paula Jones could pay for her very own Kmart.
Teachers, soldiers and stay-at-home moms finally would receive the compensation they deserve, as would nurses, social workers (who’d be out of work) and poets (who’d be too happy to work).
No one would ever again be able to whine about how much money professional athletes earn because even a beer-bellied, slow-pitch softball player would have money to burn.
Of course, among the nouveau riche, we might have some difficulty finding someone willing to umpire a weekend ballgame.
Or to trim palm trees.
Or to lay asphalt.
Or to ask, while you wait in the drive-thru lane behind the wheel of your brand new Ferrari, “Would you like fries with that?”
Or, for that matter, to continue building Mr. Gates’ 37,000-square-foot mansion outside of Seattle.
This might be the one and only problem with the plan.
It could be trouble. And, given the potential for disruption of the nation’s well-oiled industrial machine, it might be best to begin slowly.
Perhaps we could start by presenting a big fat check to a single individual, someone with the skills to document the effects of sudden wealth on his lifestyle, but who serves no more crucial function in society than to daydream in a public forum.
Should Mr. Gates be interested, I have a plan.
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