IMAGINE: The Elephant Party and the Donkey Party have split and broken up. The new Goat Party has won a landslide victory and I, its standard bearer, am installed in the White House. Following my speeches on Korea, and the Mideast, I now turn to urgent domestic policy issues.
My fellow citizens and guests:
A wise man once said that we must learn from the people we disagree with. In my previous talk on the Mideast, I had some severe words of criticism about Saudi Arabia. Today it is my duty and my pleasure to admit that the Saudi leadership has taken a bold step that was long overdue in their country, and is long overdue in ours — a step that we are emulating. .
No less an expert than the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman has written that the measures taken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have brought a new Arab Spring to his country. In that same spirit, I have this week launched a new American Spring.
Following the example set by the Saudi leader, I have this morning formed an Anti-Corruption Committee, and during the afternoon we have arrested more than 200 of the biggest billionaires and mega-millionaires in this country. The Kochs, Adelson, the Mercers, Icahn and other well known names are among them. As luck would have it most of them were attending a luncheon banquet of the former Elephant Party at the former Trump Hotel here in the capital. We have simply evacuated the other guests, locked the doors, posted guards, and shut down communications. Some others who were not at the hotel have been arrested at their homes or offices and brought to the facility. I will give my personal guarantee to their friends and families that no harm will come to them if they cooperate.
For far too long, this relative handful of men and a few women have conducted themselves as an elite above the law. They have shown contempt for the best interests of this country. Their sole passion has been to enrich themselves. They have corrupted venal politicians to pass tax laws that steal from the average person to line their own pockets. They have put their profits above the nation’s clean air, its clean water, its lands and the creatures upon it. They have boosted emissions of greenhouse gases that imperil the earth’s climate. They have made promises to working people and promptly betrayed every one of them. They have sabotaged what vestiges of public health care remained, and driven untold women, men, children, and seniors to untimely deaths. They have protected and promoted pederasty, rape, and sexual harassment of all kinds. They have stirred and fueled hatred and violence against different ethnic, national, sexual, and religious groups. They have curtailed the right to vote and manipulated voting boundaries to promote their holds on government. By these means and others they have concentrated an unconscionably huge fraction of the nation’s wealth in their hands. If I were to give a complete list of all their crimes, this would be a very long talk. All these abuses of their position are instances of corruption; these are crimes.
The cooperation we are expecting from the detained parties is a sincere display of remorse. A display of remorse will begin by disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains. We have frozen all of their domestic accounts. For some time we have been researching their overseas accounts and we have taken steps to block those as well. Online capital transfers in the name of these individuals and their agents and surrogates are shut down. All airports, including private facilities, are guarded to prevent additional individuals of interest from fleeing the country.
Some have objected that seizing private assets without compensation is against the law. But firstly, we are quite sure that most of our detainees will sign over their assets voluntarily in a spirit of cooperation. Those who refuse may join the architects of the Iraq and Afghan wars in Guantanamo while awaiting an eventual full and fair trial of the matter. Under the law of civil asset forfeiture, which previous administrations staunchly upheld, federal, state, and local authorities have seized billions of dollars in assets from private citizens who were never formally charged. We are merely applying a broad reading of this law to a set of persons who previously were considered untouchable. No more!
We seek, quite simply, to put an end to the looting of this country’s resources by this self-appointed moneyed elite. My advisers estimate that the amount of ill-gotten wealth that the US Treasury will recover is in the trillions of dollars. This is money that we urgently need to bring up our beloved country’s standard of living. On almost every measure of well-being and happiness, under the previous administrations, our country has fallen low among the advanced countries, and is sliding lower. Transportation, roads, bridges, sewers, grids, housing, education, healthcare, science, research, the arts, and many other areas desperately need public investment — investment that we could not make because the money required was in the pockets of the kleptocrats. That’s over.
Our detention of these individuals is not directed against their persons. We will leave them with enough personal wealth to lead a comfortable life. We seek above all an end to the systems by which this looting took place. We will no longer tolerate the appointment of lobbyists and inside men to regulatory bodies — vultures to head the blood bank. We will put a stop to the buying of elections and to the bad joke that money is speech or corporations are persons. We will profoundly reform our tax policy. I will have more to say on this subject in a later message.
When the Saudi crown prince announced that he was jailing hundreds of his country’s wealthiest men, there were voices who expressed concern with the legal framework for the operation. But, as Mr. Friedman reported from the scene, not a single person “expressed anything other than effusive support.” The mood among the ordinary citizens he spoke with was “‘Just turn them all upside down, shake the money out of their pockets and don’t stop shaking them until it’s all out.’” And, as you all know, my predecessor in this office expressed wholehearted support for the operation, stating that the crown prince “knew exactly what he was doing.”
I conclude, therefore, in full confidence that the average American will likewise express great excitement and enthusiasm for today’s initiative. For years we all have known that the only practical solution to the evils that our modern robber barons have inflicted on this country is to “lock them up.” Today, we have done just that. We have learned a valuable lesson from a Muslim crown prince — imagine that! — and we have launched a new season, a bright new spring, in the life of our beloved America.