I don't know about you but I'm pretty tired of all the media ink devoted to the Koch brothers. They are either libertarian heroes standing for freedom from big government or ultra-conservative jerks trying to buy our democracy. But whatever you believe, America spends way too much time worrying about them.
A much simpler solution would be to just give them the White House and get it over with.
For one thing, it would be amusing to see two Presidents in the Oval Office at once, sort of like a bizarre Fox sitcom targeted at the House of Cards crowd. Secondly, once they are in charge, at least we can stop stressing about what could happen. Call it the devil you know. Plus, these guys want it so badly that I just feel sorry for them.
But here's the important question: if Charles and David Koch really were Co-Presidents of the United States, what exactly would they do?
To answer that, here is a candid conversation between the two men on their first day in the Oval Office (overheard by an actual fly on the wall and leaked to Seriously Skewed by the fly):
Charles: Nice office. No wonder our taxes are so high!
David: Don't worry. The first thing we're going to do is sell this place and lease it back from the buyer. It will save the U.S. a bundle.
C: A sale-leaseback is a brilliant idea! I can't believe no one ever thought of that before.
D: They didn't have businessmen in the White House before - at least not real ones like us.
They give each other a high-five.
D: I'm also canceling all orders for pens. We waste too much money on that stuff.
C: But without pens, how is the staff going to write anything down?
D: They bleed, don't they? They can dip their fingers in the blood and write with it. The government is not a blank check for luxuries.
C: Good point. Hey, do you mind if we change our titles? I think Co-CEOs would be much better than Co-Presidents. It sends a clear signal of how we intend to run this country.
D: I like that. We should also set up some golden parachutes for ourselves in case we don't win reelection or get impeached.
C: Naturally. I think about a billion dollars for each of us is fair. But Congress will want to know where the money will come from.
D: That's what the Social Security fund is for. If they want us to do public service, they're going to have to compensate us for our troubles.
C: What about our salary?
D: I've been thinking about that. I think it looks good if we agree to take $1 per year with profit-sharing.
C: Profit-sharing? With our budget deficit?
D: Trust me, after we're done slashing government spending for things like welfare, Medicare, roads, parks, public day care, affordable housing, veterans benefits, etc, we'll have a surplus. There's a lot of money to be made here, Chuck.
C: Don't call me Chuck. You know I hate that.
D: Sorry bro. Just feeling like the most powerful man in the world right now.
C: Don't forget, we have a meeting with Janet Yellen today.
D: Oh yeah. I'm going to tell her to hike up interest rates till it hurts.
C: Are you kidding? You realize that will hurt our own businesses, right?
D: Nope. The banks want to lend to us - we're big clients - and we'll still be able to get cheap capital. But high borrowing costs will kill all those small businesses who compete with us. Plus, a conservative monetary policy is what we have always stood for so this will look really good on our resume.
C: Smart. Ok, so what's next?
D: I want you to call the CEOs of Big Oil. Tell them they can drill in the White House lawn for all we care, just as long as they fund our candidates in the midterms. Then I want you to set up meetings with the heads of the big health insurance companies.
C: But they are in bed with the other guys, Dave. They got the individual mandate they wanted in Obamacare.
D: Yep, and we're going to punish them for backing that socialist program. By the time I'm done with them, they're going to be crying for their mommies.
C: How are we going to do that?
D: By slapping a socialist tax on them.
C: A socialist tax? That sounds interesting.
D: I thought of it when reading about these workers in Michigan who want minimum wage. We need to squash out this unhealthy sense of entitlement in the country. It's un-American and it's killing capitalism. From now on, anyone who says or does anything that violates free markets will have to pay a socialist tax. That should put those jerks out of business.
C: Yes, but you know that will cause a huge ruckus. They'll call it McCarthyism.
D: We can turn that to our advantage too. The only ones who will object to the tax will be the socialists, so basically it's a great way to identify them.
C: And those are the people we will tax! Fantastic. It will save a ton of money in conducting a witchhunt.
D: That's right, bro. The witches will come to us.
C: Right, but aren't we against taxes in the first place?
D: We're not against taxes, Charlie. We're just against taxes for big corporations and people like us. No successful person can seriously be a socialist so they will never have to pay the new tax. It will be the rest of them.
C: You mean...
D: Yep, those people.
C: I'm so proud of you, Dave. Your ideas are just genius.
D: I know, it just comes naturally to me. Anyway, you haven't even heard the best one yet.
C: What's that?
D: So you know the whole federal debt ceiling thing? Well, it's going to come up again next summer, so here's what we're going to do. We're going to let the country go bankrupt.
Charles drops the Ronald Reagan beanie baby he's playing with.
D: The U.S. has $17 trillion of debt, right? So we refuse to raise the debt ceiling, let the country go into bankruptcy and then offer to buy the debt holders out for 1/1000th of a cent on the dollar. That's $170 million for everything, which is a bargain for us.
C: But why would the debt holders or the bankruptcy court agree?
D: Because we control the Supreme Court. They will back our play and voila! We will have bought ourselves our own private country and for a fraction of the money we dumped into trying to get Mitt Romney elected.
C: Wow! I mean, wow!
D: Yep, I'm that good. But that's not the point. It will be the mother of all buyouts and we'll be the heroes of capitalism. After the buyout, we will own everything. We can even kill off public education completely the way we want to.
C: But what about private property?
D: Most of the private property in this country is owned by our good buddies, so together we will control every inch of the United States.
Charles frowns. He suddenly looks unhappy.
C: I don't know, Dave. A lot of people could get hurt by this too.
D: Don't be a softie. This isn't personal. It's just business.
C: Yeah, but now that we're both Presidents, we have a responsibility to the country too.
D: Sure, but my plan would benefit the country. After we've bought the place, we'll clean up the mess, make things more efficient, and create prosperity for everyone who's not a socialist. A lean and mean America. We can even give it a catchy name: Diet Koch.
C: Real funny, but haven't we tried that before? It's never really worked.
D: Because we keep worrying about the silly stuff, like equality and compassion. Once we are through, only the strongest will be able to survive, like Darwin said.
C: But we aren't just another species of animals. Humans are unique and have a responsibility.
D: Oh for God's sake, Chuck! Why are you making this so hard? Either get on the same page with me or I'm going to have you shot.
C: You can't do that. This is still a democracy.
D: Not for long. Not now that I'm President.
C: You mean we are Presidents...
D: Sorry, there is no "we" in "power".
C: Actually there is.
D: Ok, bad example. But anyway, I'm stripping you of the Co-Presidency.
C: By whose authority?
D: The Board of Directors, who else? Don't forget, I'm also its Chairman.
C: That's unethical.
D: Maybe, but it's not against the law, and that's all that counts.
C: Fine, but this is just your way of getting back at me because I'm CEO of Koch Industries and you're not. Whatever, man. You got any more M&Ms?
D: You mean the ones with the Presidential Seal on them? I threw those out. We're having new ones made with the Koch Industries logo on them.
C: And you really think that's a good idea?
D: It doesn't matter. Our branding people told me it's good for business. If it works, we'll change the flag too...