Why not a CPA as President?
By William Brighenti
With the economy the most central issue, why not elect a CPA as President? A recent poll showed that 47% of our fellow citizens thought that the economy was the central issue of our country. So we elect lawyers to manage and direct our economy? Why not elect someone who can read a budget?
I love the scene in the movie, “Dave”, when Dave Kovic, acting as President, calls in his buddy, a nerdy accountant named Murray Blum, played by Charles Grodin, to find $650 million dollars in the budget to keep open shelters for the homeless. Do you recall what Murray says, reviewing the U.S. budget?
"I'll tell you, Dave. I've been over this stuff a bunch of times. It just doesn't add up. Who does these books? I mean, if I ran my business this way, I'd be out of business."
However, in an hour or two over lunch (Blum loves bratwurst; no quiche for him), Blum finds the funds. Let’s face it: accountants are meat-and-potatoes kind of people; some lawyers can’t even spell that word…recall Dan Quayle. Accountants love the meat… they look at the numbers, add them up, and make certain they balance and whether or not one has the funds. Lawyers? Put two lawyers in a room, and you have a never-ending discussion…excuse me, debate. Put 100 lawyers in the Senate, and you have gridlock.
The perennial question is, can lawyers add? Maybe it has something to do with left side/right side of the brain, verbal and quantitative abilities being on opposite sides of our central synapsis unit. Lawyers can sure talk. And they can write better than us accountants. Do you recall those arrogant replies to your legal confirmations as a young public accountant, with their corrections of your spelling and grammar in red ink? They can write endless tomes in that Swiftian language called “legalese”. But have you ever noticed their inability to compose correctly any reports dealing with money? Did you ever receive a bill from an attorney? I rest my case.
Personally, I think accountants should govern the entire world. I’m tired of generals with degrees in war becoming dictators, and lawyers talking endlessly and gridlocking, and B-rated actors holding public office and reading scripts. Engineers are not suitable either: remember Hoover? Keep them building dams. If a prerequisite to being President was an accounting degree, our country would not be in debt for $12,297,657,622,986.34 as of 08:41:56 on 01/14/10, and owned by the Bank of China. Always the accountant.
In 1964, I recall a speech at the Goldwater convention made by an actor who was to become President. The theme of his speech centered on our reckless government’s fiscal and tax policies, when our national debt was $311 billion dollars. When he took office in 1980, it was $907 billion dollars; when he left office in 1988, it was $2.6 trillion dollars. Never once did this President present a balanced budget to the United States Congress.
Rest assured, an accountant means what he or she says. An accountant knows that a budget must balance. If an accountant were President, here is what you could expect:
- A balanced budget.
- No waste or pork (except for bratwurst).
- No needless wars: CPAs are geeks; we’re used to getting beaten up. And only “pay as you go” wars, which would end all wars immediately anyway. We’re broke!
- And press conferences not covered by the media. Why would CNN, FOX, MSNBC roll cameras and microphones to hear a CPA rattle off numbers for two hours? Rest assured, your NASCAR, football, baseball, or basketball game would never be interrupted for a Presidential press conference again.
It’s time for a CPA to come forth, run for office, and save our country. Any volunteers?