Friday, March 04, 2011

The solution: a billionaire's head on a pole

If I could show you how to cure some of the worst problems we face today and not cost the taxpayers a cent, would you be interested?

My plan would call for just one public execution a year. Its purpose would be to end famine, cure diseases, educate the poor and prevent wars. One person would die each year.

Here's how it would work:

First we would make a list of all the billionaires in the world; their names would then be put on a ballot. The ballots and ballot boxes would be put in convenience stores all over the world. The same ballots would be available online, as would virtual ballot boxes.

Each person over 12 years old in the world would get to vote for the bad billionaire they choose once each month, by paper or online. The one that gets the most votes for being the worst billionaire in the world (hat-tip to Keith Olbermann) would be executed on New Year’s Eve. The event would be carried live on television from the city that wins the bid, sort of like how the Olympics rotates.

The method of putting the billionaire to death would be up to the city. Afterward the dead billionaire's head will be put on a tall pole for all to see, where it would stay for one year. Then, out of respect for the dead, the old head would be turned over to the billionaire's heirs. The new head would go up.

Meanwhile, the rest of the billionaires in the world would take note, no doubt. They would basically have two choices to keep their head from being selected to be the next one to sit atop the pole:

1: Give away (no tricks) enough money to escape the list of billionaires.
2: Use a chunk of their money to do good works and curry favor with voters who hang around convenience stores, or those stay online all day.

So, if you are a billionaire, let’s say you’ve got $50 billion, you could choose to give away $49.1 billion, to get off the hook, or you could take a chance on spending a few billion on curing cancer, or AIDS. Or, you could throw some large money at feeding orphans, or on bringing peace to the Mideast.

Maybe you’d pick a particular line of work, say all the musicians in a state or province, and pay their taxes for one year.

Busy billionaires would naturally buy lots of ads in magazines and newspapers, to promote what good deeds they’re doing, in order to increase their chances of keeping their heads on their respective shoulders. So, this deal could save our favorite inky wretches from extinction, too.

Of course there would be lots of blogs calling for the death of every single billionaire. So, the smart billionaires would have no choice but to hire plenty of other bloggers to plead their cases, in order to avoid being the top voter-getter that year.

Accordingly, crime rates would drop. Every kid who wants a new puppy would get one. The research for new green-friendly technologies would be fully funded. Better recreational drugs with no hangovers ought to be developed. And, publishers would have enough money to pay freelance writers a decent fee for their work.

Each year would start out with a visible symbol on top of a that special pole, a martyr of a sort, showing us all why we should be good to one another.

Here’s the wee reward for reading this far -- now you get to decide which billionaire would get your vote this year. Have fun.

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