Our campaign for public office

US markets were closed yesterday. So, we turn our attention to other things.

Our campaign to replace Ben Bernanke as the next head of the Fed went nowhere. The phone never rang. Instead, the post went to Janet Yellen, a woman who looks like she would make a nice fraternity housemother.

But we haven’t given up on a career in ‘public service’. Yes, dear reader, after 40 years of labouring in the hard ground of the private sector, we’re now aiming for pastures new. We want to confront the issues of the day and do our part. We want to get involved in the major challenges of our time and ‘make a difference’.

We’ve been inspired lately by office-holders all over the world. They unselfishly ‘give back’. These role models incite in us a longing to join the ranks of the civic-minded, those people who work for the benefit of others, not just for themselves.

Yes, all that. But we also want to wallow in the public trough, to suckle on the government teat and enjoy the perks of high office.

Just like the mayor of Toronto.

We don’t do cocaine here at The Daily Reckoning. But who can honestly say he doesn’t like to get drunk once or twice a week? (And if some major crisis erupts during our term in office, we hope to be at least as inebriated as Rob Ford at the time.)

Or how about the governor of New Jersey? Mr Christie denies that he had anything to do with it, but that’s just another perk, known well to kings, mafiosi and mayors everywhere.

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest”, asked Henry II in 1170. A short while later, the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett, was dead. “What can we do about these jerks in Fort Lee?” Chris Christie might have asked. Before he knew it, the traffic over the George Washington Bridge was hopelessly snarled.

If elected, we will pose a few questions of our own. “What do you mean, no one has audited Tom Friedman’s tax return? Why did the Nobel Committee give Paul Krugman the Prize in Economics; can’t it be taken back? And will no one rid the nation of these zombie banks?”

And that’s just for starters.

FREE daily investment email from MoneyWeek
Receive our thought-provoking investment email Money Morning every weekday morning, plus occasional promotions, & become a smarter investor.

Please enter a valid email address

To sign up, enter your email address:

When we look overseas, public service looks even more attractive. Bill Clinton had his student intern; Arnold Schwarzenegger had his housekeeper. But they were tawdry and lame compared to what a European office-holder pulls off. How about prime minister of Italy, for example?

For years, Berlusconi held his famous ‘bunga bunga’ parties, with teenage hookers such as ‘Ruby the Heart Stealer’. He never had to lie about never having “sex with that woman”. He didn’t have to issue a public apology. He could just enjoy the perks of office that were available to him.

But our overall favourite is François Hollande.

We lived among the French for 15 years, or thereabouts (we stopped the clock when the French IRS audited us). We learned their language and their ways. One thing we learned was that we couldn’t do a worse job of running the country than François Hollande.

You have to give the man credit, though. He is smart. He can be charming and witty. But in matters economic, he has nothing to guide him other than crackpot Keynesian theories and the empty jingoes of France’s socialist elite.

That is why Paul Krugman was so cheesed off when he read the paper last week. He discovered that Hollande had tacked to the right. Hollande noted that France’s focus on the demand side hadn’t worked out so well.

France’s unemployment rate, for example, is twice as high as its next door neighbour, Germany. Their debt has just been downgraded by S&P.

And anyone who has tried to start a business in France, as we have, would rather not go through it again. If you fail, they punish you with taxes, administration headaches and ‘gotcha’ union contracts. If you succeed, on the other hand, they reward you with taxes, administration headaches and… you guessed it, ‘gotcha’ union contracts.

That doesn’t stop France’s well-educated and dynamic entrepreneurs, though. They still start up new businesses – in Britain and America!

Krugman wrote in The New York Times that it was a “scandal” that Hollande was abandoning his claptrap principles. But our old friend, Michel, on the scene in Normandy, reports that the whole thing is not so much scandalous as fraudulent.

“There is no real shift to the right”, he tells us. “Instead, Hollande is just doing what he always does… throwing a bone to some of his friends in big business… without undertaking any really major reforms”.

What we admire about Hollande, however, are his priorities. While all this is going on, the president of the Fifth Republic and leader of Europe’s second-largest economy still finds time to get away on his scooter.

He leaves the Élysée Palace, with his “First Lady” in the ‘madame wing’, to sneak off to spend some quality time with Julie Gayet, a beautiful actress. This left said ‘First Lady’, Valerie Trierweiler, otherwise known as the ‘Rottweiler’, so shaken and humiliated that she had to be checked into a hospital, where she still was as of yesterday.

American voters would be appalled. British tabloids would go mad. The electorate in Germany would be dumbfounded. But in France, no one seems to care.

And that is why we are preparing a bid to become the next president of France. If the presidency of France can turn François Hollande into an attractive man, it must be the most powerful aphrodisiac ever found.

True, the next election is not for a couple years. And true, too, that we will probably not get a place on the ballot. But we will count on you, dear reader. We need your ‘write-in’ vote to put us over the top.

We hope we can count on your support. In the meantime, we’ll begin saving our money to buy a scooter.

FREE daily investment email from MoneyWeek
Receive our thought-provoking investment email Money Morning every weekday morning, plus occasional promotions, & become a smarter investor.

Please enter a valid email address

To sign up, enter your email address:

[xyz_lbx_custom_shortcode id=5]

• Stay up to date with MoneyWeek: Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Google+


    The French ‘champagne’ socialists capitalize on the politics of envy, whilst they themselves occupy many plum government jobs simultaneously (‘cumul des fonctions’). The french Revolution created an inexhaustible reservoir of envy and malcontents which the socialists pander to endlessly, promising state intervention, protectionism and patronage at every opportunity. France under Hollande is now in a much worse position than under his predecessor Mitterand, because in spite of his socialist label he was a pragmatist and realist who reversed socialist policies when they were failing. The decline will be much steeper under Hollande who has no answer to France’s woes and who’s survival strategy as the next \president is to hope that Sarkozy will end up in jail thanks to the ‘juges rouges’ of the notoriously left wing justice system. Corruption has always been a problem in France, but never more so than under the Socialists ‘ parce qu’il s n’ont pas l’habitude de l’argent, et ca leur est monte a la tete !’ in the words of Mitterand’s close confidante and victim, Francois de G.

  • Jimmy O’Goblin

    I’d stick to comments on economic issues rather than the image you portrayed of the incoming chairperson of the Federal Reserve, if I were you.

    I suspect revolution in France will come soon enough, without your help!


    JOG (not a Brad Pitt look-alike).

  • osprey

    ho! ho! bonne chance guillaume!

MoneyWeek magazine

Latest issue:

Magazine cover
Prime location

The best property buys in the eurozone

The UK's best-selling financial magazine. Take a FREE trial today.
Claim 4 FREE Issues

Which investment platform?

When it comes to buying shares and funds, there are several investment platforms and brokers to choose from. They all offer various fee structures to suit individual investing habits.
Find out which one is best for you.

22 May 1980: Pac-Man hits the arcades

It didn't take long for Pac-Man, or Puck Man as it was originally called in Japan, to become a worldwide craze after it was released on this day in 1980.

The Kids' Portfolio: the four best funds to buy for your children

Investing for your children's long-term future is an excellent idea. But what should you buy? The Kids' Portfolio is a simple collection of four funds intended to be tucked away for 20 to 40 years.