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Walmart for President

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Recognition for The Presidential Essays

BOOK OF THE YEAR for ‘Mind’
Living Now Book Awards 2012

WINNERWORLD BOOK AWARDS
Best Current Events Book 2012

FINALISTTHE USA BEST BOOK AWARDS
Best Current Events Book 2012, 2013

FINALISTNEXT GENERATION
INDIE BOOK AWARDS

Best Current Events Book 2012

“In a few short pages, William Keiper clearly assesses America’s most pressing issue, presents the facts, questions deeply held traditions, and offers a solution. Whether you want to or not, you’re going to think about it.” ~Jim Manton, author of The Secret of Transitions

“Bureaucratic morons and politicians and other shameless public grifters (our government today) will NOT want this book to get too much traction because it is a great polemic on the current frozen system and how to fix it…” ~Steve Chandler, author of Wealth Warrior.

“[The author’s] ideas are unconventional… but he clearly gets you to think about what is working and not working in our country. Entertaining and thought provoking.” ~Ron Wilder, author of Aligned Action: The Key to CEO Effectiveness

[From bestselling and award-winning author
William Keiper:]

[[Life Expectancy: It’s Never Too Late
to Change Your Game]]

[[The Power of Urgency: Playing to Win
with]] Proactive Urgency

and

The Presidential Essays:

Amazon for President!

Apple for President!

Walmart for President!

 

 

 

 

WALMART for PRESIDENT!

Copyright © 2012 – 2014 William Keiper

All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

Published by FirstGlobal Partners LLC. For more information about FirstGlobal Partners, visit: www.firstglobalpartners.com

 

William Keiper’s website: www.williamkeiper.com

Editing: Chris Nelson, Kathryn Eimers Chandler and Steve Chandler

Cover design: Brittany Alloway

 

ISBN 978-0-9849893-7-9

ISBN 978-0-9849893-5-5 electronic

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013944622

WALMART for PRESIDENT! is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Walmart. The Walmart name, logos and design marks are the trademarks or service marks of Walmart registered in the U.S. and other countries. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every usage of a trademarked name, such names are used only in an editorial fashion and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement, confusion or ambiguity as to ownership. All other marks are the property of their respective companies.

A Note for Readers

Walmart for President! is purposely quite similar in theme and content to the other titles in The Presidential Essays series: Amazon for President! and Walmart for President!

This version, however, has been customized to reflect the unique qualifications and readiness of the Walmart management team as the proposed candidate for managing the business operations and fiscal recovery of the U.S. government.

The Presidential Essays offer an opportunity
to compare the suitability of several highly qualified and experienced candidates capable
of managing our nation’s climb back to
fiscal independence.

 

Dedication

2,200,000+ Walmart Associates
around the world.

 

2,100,000+ U.S. Government Employees.

 

318,000,000+

Americans who need the country’s economic engine humming at full strength, and the leadership to get it done.

Table of Contents

Recognition for The Presidential Essays 2

[From bestselling and award-winning author
William Keiper: 4]

A Note for Readers 9

Dedication 11

Table of Contents ix

Why Not Walmart? 1

The Business that is Government. 4

[The Office of the President:
Too Big for One Person. 8]

The Blur Factor. 11

[We Have a Spending Problem.
Our Personal Liberty is at Stake. 13]

“[Welcome to the World!
You’re Behind in Your Payments.” 15]

Pay as You Go? 16

[Half of All Americans Are Struggling.
Our Personal Freedom Is at Stake. 18]

Baby Boomers Are Still Here. 22

Hope Is Not a Strategy. 24

A Reversal of Fortune. 25

The Best Available Candidate. 27

The Ends Justify the Means. 30

[Matching Job Requirements
and Qualifications. 31]

The Right President. The Right Time. 46

Unpersuaded? 48

A Fourth Branch. 49

Something Must Change. 52

Care. Immediately. 55

Silence: Your Consent? 56

A Bonus Chapter 60

About the Author 73

 

“If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone… we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save, and have a better life.”

~Sam Walton

[A] democracy, if possible [should]… adapt its government to time and place; …modify it according to circumstances and men: such is the first duty imposed on those who direct society in our day.

~Alexis de Tocqueville[
**]Democracy in America

Why Not Walmart?

If you knew of a potential candidate for President of the United States who could very likely change the course of our country’s economic future for the better—and probably faster than any other contender—would you keep it to yourself?

I am aware of one and consider it my patriotic duty to make the case for Walmart for President.

We can no longer stand around passively hoping that a new economic platform will somehow spontaneously take shape and raise our country out of its economic difficulties.

Our government’s unapologetic addiction to borrowing and the declining financial wherewithal of far too many of our citizens are two clear indicators of the magnitude of the challenge.

Our current form of government—still operating under the structure first adopted in 1788—has not kept up with the complexity and pace of the times.

In the first volume of Democracy in America (1835), Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the possibility for American government to represent a kind of living democracy. He suggested that this dynamic form of government would, over time, enable American leadership to:

. . . reanimate its beliefs, to purify its mores, to regulate its movements, to substitute little by little the science of affairs for its inexperience, and knowledge of its true instincts for its blind instincts; to adapt its government to time and place; to modify it according to circumstances and men.^^1^^

This was a profound vision of the potential for our democracy to flex and adapt according to the context and requirements of the times.

We must open the eyes of our political leadership to the value of the evolution described by de Tocqueville. Our continuing insistence on maintaining the status quo in the management of our republic could force upon us, at some point, a much more chaotic kind of change. As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has said, “What is dangerous is not to evolve.”

 

We possess the experience, financial acumen, tools and methodologies of a powerful operational science in the form of the best private sector management and financial talent available anywhere.

I fully appreciate the immensity of the Constitutional and practical hurdles involved in bringing into reality the vision (you might say fantasy) of enlisting the Walmart management team for president. But shouldn’t we consider just such a radical alternative—and other outside-the-box concepts—if they possess the potential to create a financial shift that might get us back on solid economic ground? The mere exploration of such ideas could lead directly or indirectly to actions that might improve our financial fitness, sooner rather than later.

It was not my intention to address, let alone resolve, all of these challenges here. I have chosen to present these ideas in easily digestible form for your consideration. My hope is that this essay will serve as an alarm signaling the immediate need to seriously address the economic and operational challenges that continue to degrade our financial strength as a nation, and to suggest one option for doing so.

Shouldn’t we at least consider why and how Walmart’s leadership could be counted upon to change America’s fiscal outcomes in very positive ways? Place your bets: the proven Walmart management team—or any past or present U.S. president along with ten or twenty (or fifty) randomly selected Congressmen and Senators.

If we were starting from scratch, the odds wouldn’t even be in question.

The Business that is Government.

In many, many ways the federal government can be characterized as a business. It produces revenue (including tax receipts), has expenses, managers, employees, suppliers and customers (including U.S. taxpayers and other nations), and it certainly borrows money—a lot of it.

Unlike a private enterprise, however, there is no requirement that our government be efficient, productive and profitable. It can borrow money even though it has become unworthy of credit. It pays no taxes. Government employment is basically for life, no matter how poorly an individual may perform. Leadership for the business is handed off to a new “chief executive” every four or eight years, no matter how good or bad a job has been done.

These and many other enabling elements make it very easy to get sloppy in how the business part of government is handled. If private enterprises had these advantages, they would probably get sloppy too.

[The U.S. government is a sizable and serious business to which we have
failed to apply the fundamental—let alone best—practices of outstanding
American companies.]

Walmart is now one of the largest companies in the history of the world. It is both unique as an enterprise and representative of the success and ongoing potential of American capitalism and entrepreneurship. Walmart has proven its ability to anticipate and act upon critical shifts occurring over decades of ebbs and flows in both the domestic and global economies.

Walmart has led the marketplace in systems solutions leading to higher and higher levels of efficiency, productivity and profitability. Examples include Walmart’s accomplishments in product sourcing and fulfillment, purchasing and payment systems, and the speed and quality of customer service. Most importantly, the company has grown in all kinds of economic conditions and across many U.S. presidencies.

Walmart’s net income in 2000 was $5.58 billion. By 2013 it had grown to $17 billion. Imagine if this degree of improvement could be achieved in our nation’s economic circumstances over the next decade.

While I chose Walmart, this essay wasn’t intended as a celebration of its fiftieth year in business nor as support for an eventual nomination for the Nobel Prize in Retailing Science (should one ever be considered).^^2^^

I fully appreciate that the company has had its share of controversies and has its critics (legitimate and otherwise) in all corners of the world. Starting from a single location on Main Street in Rogers, Arkansas, you don’t get to be the largest retailer in the world without being a little pushy and stepping on some toes.

I must, however, confess my admiration for the long-term leadership, spectacular growth, consistently high-level vision and persistently urgent performance of this organization. There are many industries, companies and even countries that have lost their way and been left behind—while the Walmart organization has thrived.

This essay is not about what’s right or wrong or good or bad, about Walmart. It’s about exploring ideas that could possibly create a shift in the thinking and doing of American governmental leadership. So even if, for your own reasons, you simply don’t “like” Walmart, or you have an issue with some of its practices, simply substitute the name of a U.S. company that you admire and trust. Each time you see the word Walmart, just think “Amazon,” “Coca-Cola” or “Apple.”

[* Even if you don’t “like” Walmart, there is a better than 80% chance you have shopped there within the past year. *]

Edmund Phelps was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2006. He is of the opinion that the U.S. economy has been in a rut of stagnation since 1972 and that the U.S. government has run out of ideas about how to fix it. In an interview with CNBC he said, “Governments have thrown all sorts of ammunition at it . . . we are . . . out of that ammunition and we have to dig deeper . . . ”^^3^^

We are where we are—as a nation and as individual citizens. If we keep doing what we have been doing, we will surely get similar results, except probably faster and even worse. The time has come to embrace an unvarnished view of the American fiscal “rut of stagnation” and get on with actually doing something to manage our way out of it.

[The Office of the President:
Too Big for One Person.]

The job of President of the United States has become too big for any single human being. It is obvious that almost everything in our world has changed since our country declared its independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.^^4^^ The role of the president is unsurprisingly much more demanding and complicated today than it was for George Washington following his inauguration in 1789, or Theodore Roosevelt as of 1901 or even Ronald Reagan eighty years later

We continue, however, to approach the management of the executive branch in virtually the same way we did as a nation in 1789.

In big companies, individual roles are continuously shifted to assure that one person is not responsible for more than they can manage. But when it comes to the U.S. presidency—one of the most difficult and important jobs in the world—no one is seriously talking about how such an ongoing review might be of value.

I have as much respect for our shared American history and Constitution as anybody. However, with over 236 years now elapsed since the original presidential “job description” was written, can we agree that it might be time to take another look at it?

Doesn’t it seem logical that we would not want the chief executive of the United States to be so overloaded with making speeches, hosting world leaders and engaging in other required duties that he has trouble finding time to fully participate in (if not lead) the resolution of the most important challenges of our time?

Too often it appears that critical longer-term issues are pushed aside to handle the ceremonial aspects of the job, or to respond (as every president must) to an immediate crisis—whether that happens to be a natural disaster, an oil spill, or a terrorist threat somewhere in the world. What’s more, these days it appears as though every president must govern and perpetually run for a second term when one is available.

It is logical that the potential for serious errors in judgment could be much higher for someone who is in such a state of day-to-day overload and probably fatigued much of the time. No president has raised his hand and publicly said, “This job is more than I can handle,” but there is an occasional hint of the weight of the office. President Barack Obama (himself an avowed advocate of the value and opportunity created by the Information Age) said:

You know, I think that the thing you understand intellectually, but you don’t understand in your gut until you’re in the job, is that every decision that comes to my desk is something that nobody else has been able to solve. The easy stuff gets solved somewhere by somebody else. By the time it gets to me, you don’t have easy answers . . . and well, you have to make your best judgment about this is probably our best approach for the American people. But you know that you don’t have perfect information, and you know that you’re not going to have a perfect solution.^^5^^

What is certain is that no matter who is in the Oval Office today and tomorrow, no single person can solve the complex challenges of improving the American economy. If this were possible, it would have been done long ago.

The Blur Factor.

A single individual serving as president certainly worked in the years immediately following the writing and adoption of the U.S. Constitution. It worked through many of the periods and presidencies since then. To be sure, each of the eras since the American Revolution has had its unique challenges—but one of the key differences is that life during those times simply wasn’t as complex and high velocity as it is today.

In life during the Digital Age, the speed with which decisions must be made concerning incredibly complex domestic and global issues is breathtaking. Financial and social problems have grown exponentially in number and degree. No nation is an island and the challenges for one country have consequences for others. A good example is the linkage of banking and currencies all around the world; ripples in one country or region can and do create waves in others.

Everything happens in Internet time. If you don’t like your present moment—just wait a second or a few and it can be different. There are no delays, no filtering of information, no stopping and no time to catch your breath. It’s like trying to drink water from a fire hose turned on at full blast. Even for people who have grown up in the thick of it and who know nothing else, things can be overwhelming.

The job of president requires a single, fallible human being^^6^^ to take responsibility for the oversight and attempted resolution of endless, complex, serious and “moving target” kinds of problems. What’s more, we expect our president to do things faster than is humanly feasible and to make consistently good decisions about really difficult problems.

This work must be done with incomplete information, distorted facts (biased by each presenter), naysayers and critics at every turn and with the full, unblinking stare (and perfect memory) of the domestic and international media.

We need to rethink whether a single chief executive of our country is just a crazy, outdated notion in a world now spinning at warp speed and continuing to accelerate.

[We Have a Spending Problem.
Our Personal Liberty is at Stake.]

During the period 1967 through 2001, median household income for Americans rose by a mere thirty-one percent,^^7^^ while federal spending rose by over 300 percent.

More recently, from 2002 through 2013, household income declined by almost eight percent. During that same period, federal spending per household rose by over thirty percent.^^8^^ As you might expect, virtually every category related to fiscal measurements in the U.S. exhibits a negative trend—and in many cases has done so for decades.

In the year 2000, our federal government saved thirteen cents for every dollar it spent. Today, almost fifty cents of every dollar spent by the government is borrowed. This borrowing has our country more and more indebted to foreign governments and lenders. Today, China and Japan together hold in excess of $2.38 trillion of our debt, and we owe other nations smaller but very substantial amounts.

The U.S. government must borrow from others just to be open for business. Given the size of these obligations—and the unfortunate but compelling need to go back for more, year-in and year-out—there is certainly a chance that our nation could become a “junior partner” in some of these relationships—something that was once thought impossible.

With all of our debt principal in the category of unpaid, there is also the potential we will be asked for some very large favors. Imagine, for example, a request from China that all U.S. import duties be eliminated on their exports to us. Should our debt to China continue to grow, do you honestly believe that we could respond to such a demand by saying, “You didn’t tell us there would be strings attached to this money!” Could we seriously ignore such a request from our largest creditor?

[“Welcome to the World!
You’re Behind in Your Payments.”]

An American born today comes into the world already owning a piece of the U.S. debt to the tune of about $55,000. Unless we undertake some serious measures to address this problem, by the time such a young American approaches his fortieth birthday that initial “gift” will have grown to almost $300,000.

Just paying the interest on our national borrowing has become a major financial undertaking. In 2013, net interest alone on the national debt amounted to over $220 billion. By 2020, it is projected to be almost $650 billion.

We cannot stop borrowing. We just can’t. We continue going back to our creditors for additional helpings of cash as an annual Band-Aid when what we actually require is major surgery. Perhaps a better analogy would be that we desperately need a rehabilitation program to get us off the toxic debt upon which we are undeniably dependent.

Pay as You Go?

For individual citizens there is a built-in corrective mechanism for failing to pay our bills as we receive them: we stop getting the goods and services for which we had agreed to pay. Try it out. See what happens if you don’t pay your phone or utility or garbage bill for a month or two. If you stop making your required payments and ignore demands from your creditors to deal with them, you may ultimately lose possession of the things you’ve financed, such as homes and cars—even wedding rings.

Of course, when you do make your payments, I suspect it is rare for you to mistakenly overpay, let alone do so repeatedly. It is probably even rarer for you to make payments to businesses or people to whom you don’t owe any money and who haven’t even requested any from you. Yet so unfamiliar is our federal government with basic business practices that between 2002 and 2012 federal agencies spent more than $688 billion (well over half a trillion dollars) making payments that were not necessary or required.^^9^^ If recovered (and not much of it is) this sum would almost cover three years of interest on the money the U.S. owes to foreign governments.

These “payments made but not required” represent negligence of the highest order in the management and oversight of taxpayer money. Think of it this way: the first $100 billion in taxes paid by Americans each year is simply being tossed out the window. This kind of serious incompetence would never knowingly be tolerated in a private sector business of any size or kind in the U.S.

If a principal requirement for governing today is the ability to understand national and global financial issues, economic theory and practice, budgeting and borrowing, deficits and surpluses, how can we continue to elect people who seem to be incompetent even to oversee the balancing of a checkbook?

Borrowing to increase the cash flow for an already dysfunctional bureaucracy is choking U.S. taxpayers. Doing so adds to an existing mountain of debt, undermines our financial strength as a nation and has the potential to diminish our credibility in the world at large.

The entire Western world is operating on an unsustainable business model driven by debt and financial game-playing. Your family budget or small business couldn’t be operated this way without crashing and burning—and it wouldn’t take very long for it to happen.

[Half of All Americans Are Struggling.
Our Personal Freedom Is at Stake.]

There is more to this story. It has become personal for tens of millions of Americans who simply cannot make ends meet. Describing these individuals as being in a state of suffering is not an overstatement.

Unlike our federal government, our citizens can’t line up in front of a massive ATM machine—in the form of countries willing to loan them the money needed to pay their bills. Even if it was smart to borrow to meet our individual and family needs, credit has dried up except for those who already have enough cash to get by and who therefore don’t really require the money.

Today, the financial pressure is almost always on for many Americans. How bad is it? Consider the following: In our day-to-day lives the need for an extra $1,000 or $2,000 can show up unannounced several times during any given year. Auto repairs, worn out tires, dental or medical emergencies, a leaky roof or a faulty heating system are just a few familiar examples. These kinds of things cannot typically be ignored for too long or the consequences can be even more costly.

According to a survey done by the National Bureau of Economic Research (via WSJ.com), only 24.9 percent of U.S. citizens could definitely come up with $2,000 within thirty days’ time.^^10^^ Many Americans are unable to cover for the kinds of commonly encountered expenses described in the previous paragraph.

How is this possible? A good part of the explanation lies in the improbably large number of Americans who make very, very little money relative to today’s basic living requirements. The poverty level for an American household of four is $23,550.^^11^^ According to the U.S. government, if the people in your household collectively earn less than this amount per year, you are living in poverty.

In the current year, the Census Bureau estimates that over fifty million Americans are living in households with a total income at or below the poverty line.

Even more disturbing is the size of a much larger group of American households that fall into the “low-income” category. A low-income household of four has earnings above the poverty threshold but less than about $45,000 per year. If this is your situation, you and yours are a tiny part of a group consisting of approximately 105 million Americans living in such households.

Given the current U.S. population of about 317 million, those living in households that fit within the definition of poor and low-income now encompass over fifty percent of all Americans.

When I saw these numbers for the first time, I was shocked. I’m still shocked. It is no secret that tens of millions of Americans are feeling real financial stress, pain and frustration. It’s not a secret on Main Street or Wall Street. It’s not a secret in Washington, D.C. Yet, there don’t seem to be any significant and urgent efforts to deal with the problem.

It’s almost as though these stark facts represent an elephant in the room that everyone chooses to ignore (despite its size and presence in a place where it obviously doesn’t belong). It is almost unimaginable that these important insights are not widely acknowledged and have so little part in our daily conversation.

The gravity of this situation and the level of pain being felt by American families and taxpayers should not take a back seat to anything else. Yet the problem clearly has not been at the top of the priority list of the Office of the President (no matter who is occupying the position) nor that of our Congressional representatives.

 

How is our economic malaise any less of an emergency than the need to help American people and communities recover from damage caused by a hurricane, an earthquake or an oil spill?

Why aren’t these national and individual fiscal problems worthy of full-blown, “all-hands-on-deck” attention? Doesn’t it call for the best available leadership, no matter if it comes in the form of individual citizens or American corporate citizens?

Baby Boomers Are Still Here.

Seventy-five million children of the baby boom years (1946 to 1964) are now adults moving toward and through the traditional retirement age of sixty-five. The first of them crossed this point in 2011 and the passage continues at the rate of about 10,000 people per day.

It can’t possibly come as a surprise to our government leadership that this generational mass of boomers will soon need greater health care and other services simply because of normal aging. It is common knowledge that the Social Security and Medicare systems aren’t up to the task of supporting this huge chunk of the population, even though the size and scope of this problem has been coming into view for decades.

Our federal government cannot do what it has promised generations of American voters it would do. Namely, support the majority of baby boomers as they enter and live through their “golden years.” These political promises, if anyone dares make them today, are rightly dismissed as mere rhetoric.

What is surprising is that there seems to have been so little planning for this perfectly predictable period in U.S history. Even more surprising is that even today there is no obvious sense of urgency around addressing the financial and social stresses that the aging of boomers is now bringing to the table.

Right or wrong, the political and other promises made over the preceding decades now have real consequences. Many people relied on those promises. They contributed to Social Security as though it mattered. They may even have viewed it as a savings account.

Many in our nation are now or will soon be affected by the absence of credible, predictable, trusted governmental financial support. As a result, they will come face-to-face with the reality of the gap between what they have and what they need. The effects of these shortfalls will be disruptive for generations of Americans—older and younger—for decades to come.

Hope Is Not a Strategy.

Major financial engineering is required to make our economy, financial institutions and government effective, efficient and strong once again. The current efforts to accomplish this—if any sincere attempts have been made—are unfortunately weak and very late in coming. Our leadership is insufficiently committed for the massive work required over the extended period required to see real results.

Americans have a history of turning to hope as a salve for almost everything that ails us. All aspiring American presidential candidates attach words such as “hope” and “change” to key parts of their rhetoric. To date though, nothing significant has changed except the size of the deficit and the increasing difficulty of getting anyone in Washington to agree on anything—except an annual raising of the debt ceiling.

It also doesn’t seem to matter much which party spouting hope and change is in power. Over time, each of the major political parties has contributed to the deteriorating state of trust most of us have in the American political process to solve our largest challenges. We don’t really expect the process to produce anything except increasing noise, irritation and rising national dysfunction. Unfortunately our expectations are always met.

Hope is an analgesic—it can temporarily diminish the pain and cause a positive shift in attitude. But no matter how exciting and credible a candidate from any party may sound when proclaiming, “I represent the hope you’ve been waiting for and things will be different under my leadership!” it hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference.

Hope cannot solve our complex economic challenges, no matter how good any particular president may be at generating enthusiasm.

As wonderful as it would be if it did, hope doesn’t pay the bills.

A Reversal of Fortune.

If our government was evaluated as a private enterprise, it would be viewed as an enormous, poorly run—and failing—business. It has many of the hallmarks of an empire in decline after a vigorous and healthier youth.

No private sector business could be run like the U.S. government without going out of business in one of several ways: closing its doors, filing for bankruptcy, being turned over to creditors or being sold at a discount to an opportunistic buyer.

Our professional politicians collectively represent amateurs as business leaders. It isn’t news that they cannot successfully manage or even oversee the operational complexities of our government as a business. They simply don’t have the skills or experience to handle it.

Despite these limitations, we elected them to represent us. It seems we often did this without thinking that it might be in our best interests to elect people who knew something about business, financial statements, budgeting, cash management—even simple arithmetic. Though our representatives have proven over and over for decades that they don’t possess this kind of knowledge, for some reason we keep voting them in.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

If Jefferson observed the bloat and inefficiency of government operations today he might say, “Government shall utilize the skills of business people in regulating its affairs,” and “Government shall not be permitted to take from the electorate tax dollars it cannot spend in an efficient and effective manner.”

We now find ourselves in a position where we desperately need to execute a reversal of fortune for the business that is our U.S. government. At this point in our history, it makes complete sense for professional business leaders to take over at least some of the operations of government.

The Best Available Candidate.

The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the President of the United States must be a “natural born” citizen. This clearly excludes U.S. corporate citizens—which are founded, not born. However, since almost everything about the job is different today than it was at the time the Constitution was adopted and ratified, it may be time to consider “a properly created American corporation” as a permitted holder of the office.

Whatever “person” we entrust to be chief executive officer of the American economy should have competencies and experience that have prepared them for leadership in solving the largest challenges of our times. In our current economic situation, having political leadership (not just a president) that isn’t experienced in the management of complex financial and economic challenges is a big part of the problem.

An extensive understanding of business processes and management would be a powerful asset in providing quality, informed leadership in the pursuit of solutions to many of our greatest conundrums as a nation.

If we discovered someone with the conviction, experience and expertise to handle the complexity of our business of government—someone who could also understand and deal with Wall Street and the other organizations financing our economy—wouldn’t it be wise to consider such a candidate?

If we could manage to set aside our divisive two-party political system in support of such a candidate, wouldn’t this be in our best economic interests as well as in the interest of our liberty and security as a nation?

 

The Ends Justify the Means.

There is a straightforward way to drive substantive improvements in how we address the complex economic challenges facing America today. We could delegate the running of the business side of government to a team of world-class, professional business innovators and managers—the Walmart management team.

Many U.S. business managers have moved their companies forward without the benefit of government subsidies, bailouts, loans or investments. There are plenty of self-reliant business executives and managers currently working within the limitations of their financial resources. They are self-reliant out of necessity. They can’t count on being saved by government largesse or by their connections with influential buddies in major U.S. financial institutions.

Think about it. In the Walmart management team we have superior business leaders that routinely solve complex operating problems. The company has accomplished almost unimaginable growth as a pioneer working in the world of global retailing. What better candidate for the hugely complicated and long term challenge of restoring financial sanity and order to our economic infrastructure?

My belief is that if Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford or Andrew Carnegie were alive today, they would support rethinking the requirement that only a “natural born” citizen may be elected to the Office of the President. I can imagine their agreement that accessing the capability to dramatically improve our economic fundamentals and make our country less dependent upon borrowing to keep our noses above the water line would be worth the trouble of a Constitutional amendment.

[Matching Job Requirements
and Qualifications.]

Candidates for employment in a business must have the qualifications necessary for delivering the expected results. If you are open to considering a business management team acting as an apolitical, collective president, let’s take another step in that direction by matching the job requirements with the specific candidate’s abilities and experience.

The qualifications for the office of American chief executive should take into account the skills and experience required to deal with the biggest challenges facing our country now and over the next several decades. Suggested below are some of the key attributes we should be seeking no matter who the candidate is or what his or her party affiliation happens to be. As I am making the case for the Walmart management team, I also offer some thoughts about how they might measure up to these selected requirements.

#
p={color:#000;}. Independent Spirit.

To be effective in addressing the “business” of government, our president should embody the spirit and values of the best American entrepreneurs and business builders. In Walmart’s case, the growth and expansion of this iconic company has been accomplished against long odds over more than fifty years, including withstanding one of the most serious economic downturns in American history.^^12^^

Walmart was founded by Sam Walton, when he opened a single store in Arkansas in 1962. Though it is now the largest company in the world, Walmart has never forgotten its roots. It is still headquartered in nearby Bentonville. It is the most successful retailer in the history of the United States.

Since Walmart’s founding, eleven U.S. presidential administrations have presided over an increase in U.S. national debt from less than $300 billion to over $17 trillion today.^^13^^ Over the same period, Walmart’s sales increased to more than $469 billion. This was accomplished by being fiercely committed to the values of entrepreneurship and cultivating and sustaining the innovation that is much more typical of a start-up business. Imagine if these qualities were adopted by our U.S. leadership.

#
p={color:#000;}. Long-Term Vision and Commitment.

Our political leadership’s ability to both print and borrow money has caused it to lose sight of the actual value of a dollar. Walmart on the other hand has self-funded its growth and accessed capital from private and public sources. It has never been bailed out or to my knowledge received special financial support from the U.S. government.

A return to self-funding on the part of our federal government is, best case, a very long-term effort. Having the vision and pragmatism to see and do what is necessary to reap benefits—even decades from now—is what is required of our presidential and Congressional leadership. If we don’t begin the process with an acknowledgement of the complexity and time required to restore our government to functioning without massive external borrowing, it cannot possibly be accomplished.

Walmart’s unshakable commitment to its long-term objectives is the kind of mindset required for dealing with the fiscal challenges we face. Should we now commit to dealing with those issues under Walmart’s leadership, our country may be able to rejuvenate its competitive nature and accomplish what is required.

#
p={color:#000;}. Confidence of the U. S. Electorate.

The trust and confidence of American citizens in our country’s major political and social institutions has been in decline for decades. This situation has been described as a “crisis of confidence.” President Jimmy Carter painted the picture in a television address to the American people on July 15, 1979, saying, “A subject even more serious than energy or inflation . . . a fundamental threat to American democracy . . . [is a] crisis of confidence . . . that strikes at the very heart and souls and spirit of our national will.” He referred to “a growing disrespect for government” and observed that “the gap between our citizens and our government has never been so wide.”^^14^^

These remarks were made by President Carter over thirty-five years ago. The gap he referenced back then is much wider today. The trust and confidence Americans have in the federal government’s ability to solve problems have recently fallen to all-time historic lows.^^15^^

Confidence in Congress has also been declining for years and is now at a historic low. Just ten percent of Americans currently approve of the job Congress is doing; eighty-seven percent say they disapprove.

Current efforts directed toward improving the performance of our government—to the extent this is even on today’s agenda—are not working. As a starting point for creating a positive shift, our president must be in tune with the challenges of everyday Americans and be committed to restoring their confidence in U.S. leadership.

[More than ninety percent of
all Americans live within fifteen
miles of a Walmart location.]

Just based on the number of transactions handled by Walmart today, it would take less than two weeks for Walmart to connect at a person-to-person level with every man, woman and child in the U.S. Through its 4,233 U.S. stores and its pervasive online presence, Walmart is already deeply entrenched in American communities and understands the issues facing citizens. If asked, I suspect Walmart would even be willing to add a community center to its stores to enhance its accessibility to and relationship with the American people.

Americans are spending billions of dollars with Walmart every year. People who trust a business to provide fair value and excellent service in exchange for their dollars would very likely trust its leadership to appropriately manage their tax dollars.

#
p={color:#000;}. Creative Thinking and Innovation.

The Walmart leadership team is up to the task of restoring the confidence of American citizens for another very important reason: Walmart has a deep cultural commitment to creative thinking and innovation. Walmart of necessity has been one of the top business innovators of all time. The company routinely solves huge and complex challenges associated with sourcing and providing goods for the 245 million people around the globe that shop at Walmart each week. Yes, that’s right! Nearly one billion shoppers per month spend their money with Walmart. Imagine if we could apply this expertise and commitment to the biggest problems facing our citizens and our nation.

It is abundantly clear that our ragged approach to addressing the fiscal morass we are confronted with is not working. As a hostage to partisan politics and our daunting economic challenges, our leadership has been unwilling to approach the issues with the necessary commitment, creativity and innovation.

When it comes to developing and implementing innovative solutions to this complex set of fiscal challenges, no candidate could be better equipped than the Walmart leadership team.

#
p={color:#000;}. A Jobs Creation Mentality.

Given the current high unemployment rate in the U.S. and its impact on individual American families, it is critical that any presidential candidate have an understanding of the basics of job creation.

From a handful of employees at the founding of the company, Walmart now employs over 2,200,000 people worldwide. This makes Walmart the largest private employer in the world and the third largest employer of all types. (The largest global employer is the U.S. Department of Defense and the second largest is China’s People’s Liberation Army.) Walmart employs over 1.3 million people in the United States alone.

As with most successful companies, Walmart has many detractors who point to, for example, its treatment of its workforce, its offshore sourcing and the impact of its practices on other U.S. merchants of all sizes. Without diminishing their importance to the affected people or businesses nor the impact on the American economy, these kinds of claims are made against virtually all successful companies competing in markets that are subject to severe cost pressures.^^16^^

Achieving the objective of even a breakeven U.S. government operation is virtually impossible without some actual and perceived unfairness in the process. The fiscal future of the U.S. government (and consequently its citizenry) is bleak without extraordinary efforts and accomplishments on the part of gifted, committed people and organizations. No matter the leadership, we can expect to endure some individual and collective financial “collateral damage” relating to pay, productivity expectations and other elements in order to succeed. As they say, “No pain, no gain.”

Imagine if the Walmart management team could simply be counted upon to not mistakenly dole out the estimated tens of billions of dollars in payments not due or required—something our government accomplishes—every year.^^17^^ A real dent could be made in the unemployment rate with that kind of money repurposed to creating private sector jobs.

#
p={color:#000;}. Committed to Productivity.

In American businesses, the absence of any appreciable turnover in the work force usually indicates a serious management problem. This is because in every organization there are employees unable or unwilling to do what is required of them. Poorly performing workers simply don’t fire themselves. It falls on management to do it.

It probably won’t surprise you that many federal employees are more likely to die from natural causes within the next year than they are to lose their government jobs. An analysis by USA Today concluded that “Death—rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs—is the primary threat to job security” at a number of high visibility agencies and departments of the U.S. government. “The job security rate for all federal workers was 99.43 percent [in 2010] and nearly 100 percent for those on the job more than a few years.”^^18^^

How can it be that managers in the federal government are not asked to say goodbye to any employees when companies all across America are forced by the reality of market conditions to do just that?

With Walmart serving in the Office of the President we would at a minimum see an immediate improvement in the efficiency and productivity of some of the 2.1 million federal employees. As you may have surmised, Walmart employees are among the most productive in the world. (For one proof of this, in a location of your choice, simply observe a Walmart cashier in action for an hour.)

#
p={color:#000;}. Healthcare Revolution.

For years, American politicians have grappled with the complex issues of healthcare. The unsolved and underfunded challenges have created uncertainty for seniors and the tidal wave of older boomers waiting in the wings. Most of those over sixty years of age have arrived at the moment when they need to know what they can and can’t count on in terms of support from any source.

Walmart sales of prescriptions make it the fourth largest pharmacy in the U.S. as of this writing. The number of in-store health clinics will likely expand and it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine full primary care facilities at selected Walmart locations at some point.

Can you imagine the same highly-skilled, experienced people working for Walmart who negotiate with suppliers for the best possible prices instead negotiating with doctors, hospitals, drug and medical device companies, insurance carriers and so on to help average Americans make their healthcare dollars go further? Talk about negotiating power and expertise…

Remember also that Walmart was the initiator of the five- (now four-) dollar prescription program. Compare that value to any other place you may fill your prescriptions. (And I would not be at all surprised if Walmart still manages to make a little money charging only four dollars per prescription.)

There could be worse things than having a successful company take over some of the challenges of providing healthcare, especially when the company has figured out how to efficiently deliver millions of products and services around the globe in a highly competitive environment.

#
p={color:#000;}. [Understanding of Complex Domestic
and Global Issues.]

As the major countries of the world are intertwined at many levels, a president must possess a strong grasp of the issues of significance in the world at large. Understanding and dealing with these issues represents a complex and far-reaching management challenge. Therefore any candidate that already has a couple of decades of experience in this arena would be able to hit the ground running.

Walmart is in the top three on the list of the world’s largest companies by revenue, and tops in number of employees. By definition, managing its operations is an enormously complex task. Walmart has created relationships, hired people, built buildings and dealt with most major global currencies. It is operating over 11,000 locations all around the world under 69 different banners. It stocks tens of thousands of products and offers a variety of services.

Comparing its overall revenue to the gross domestic product of a country, Walmart would be in the top twenty-five nations in the world (and ahead of about 170 others). You could say that Walmart has conquered most of the economic territories of the world—without firing a shot.

Walmart has created relationships, hired people and dealt with most major global currencies. It currently operates over 6,000 physical stores in twenty-seven countries outside the U.S., as well as Walmart Global eCommerce that is even more far-reaching.

Wherever they reside, people prefer to buy products that are both good and cheap. If you can meet this requirement—no matter where in the world you are located—people will find you. Because of this, the barriers to competition among companies based in widely diverse parts of the world have tumbled down. Walmart not only understands this but has developed strategies to turn this variance and diversity to its benefit.

In support of its pricing commitment to customers, Walmart has done the job of finding goods and services in many corners of the globe that can meet their requirements. Such large-scale purchasing power may have unexpected benefits as well.

For example, annual imports from China are so substantial that if Walmart was a country it would be China’s sixth largest export destination. Because of its strength as a buyer of Chinese goods (annually importing tens of billions of dollars’ worth into the U.S.), Walmart is actually providing a bit of an American check-and-balance against the Chinese global business and investment machinery. Because China is now our largest single creditor-nation, the Walmart purchasing volume and leverage may be the only muscle we have to keep future Chinese demands for concessions in check. No other single company is in a position to do this today.

You might say that Walmart is a candidate already familiar with most of the major economic markets in the world and with the special requirements necessary to navigate the complex challenges presented by the wide diversity of national interests.

#
p={color:#000;}. [Familiarity with Government
and Public Affairs.]

Many presidential candidates crow about the fact they are not “Washington insiders” and expect that claiming such will make them more palatable to voters. It makes sense, though, that the best candidates will possess, at a minimum, some familiarity with how our federal government works.

Any company doing business in the U.S. must deal with governmental regulators and myriad laws, regulations and policies as part of its daily operations. Multiply the complexity of managing through these requirements if the company is as big as Walmart and ships merchandise to customers in all fifty states and around the world.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if politicians of all kinds from every party seek occasional campaign contributions from Walmart. Nor would it be too surprising to learn that Walmart may involve itself from time-to-time in selective efforts to have its voice heard in Washington on major issues affecting its business. Given all this, it is no exaggeration to say that Walmart has an extensive understanding of how government works.

The Right President. The Right Time.

Based on the obvious matches of the qualifications with the basic requirements for the job, the Walmart management team is as ready as any candidate in the history of our republic to be president today.

As referenced earlier, for the past thirty or forty years—maybe longer—most of the major long-term financial trends in our country have been negative. We have suffered through a Great Recession, bank foreclosures, mortgage debacles, lender bailouts and Wall Street aggressiveness in figuring out which loopholes are big enough to drive a truck through.

In order to serve special interests of almost every kind and color, the U.S. Internal Revenue Code has to date ballooned to over 4,000,000 words spread over 74,000 pages (compared with 8,329 pages in 1950).

Since its inception, Walmart has grown into a huge business, made money, created a lot of jobs, kept millions of suppliers in business, cemented strong economic relations with many of the major countries around the world and mainly fostered goodwill while doing so. Walmart has become the go-to place for millions of Americans struggling to make their limited dollars go further.

Even if you have philosophical differences with Walmart, you or a person sitting within earshot of you at the moment, has without a doubt shopped there. Walmart has realized the vision of what American capitalism is supposed to be at its most successful. Let’s give them a shot at an even bigger challenge.

 

Unpersuaded?

It is incontestable that Walmart is a proven leader in global commerce and expected to reach $200 billion in sales in 2015.^^19^^ It has successfully engineered business and technical innovation and best practices of all kinds. However, I understand that you may not be able to get past the fact that an American corporation is not “natural born” in the way our founders intended.

It is certainly true that Walmart as a corporation cannot “fog-a-mirror.” But should the ability to condense one’s breath on a mirrored surface be a barrier to the service of a highly qualified candidate in a time of urgent need for financial and operational competence?

The case made in this essay is obviously and purposely one-sided. My objective has been to persuade you that the application by an American management team of its energy, experience, commitment and best practices to the largest fiscal and economic challenges facing Americans, is worth considering. I realize there are many good reasons that are or could be used to undercut the premises offered here. I am familiar with many of those arguments.

Given this awareness, I fully appreciate that a consensus of opinion in support of this idea will likely never occur. Therefore, please consider the following.

A Fourth Branch.

There are currently three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The structure has worked pretty well, operating as the kind of checks and balances system that was intended by the founders of our country. But now, nothing of significance in our country or the global economy moves without complex financial and economic challenges of some sort being involved directly or indirectly. Nothing.

If we can’t agree on the concept of an outstanding American corporation like Walmart acting in the Office of the President and running the relevant operations of the government, let’s simply create a fourth branch of government.^^20^^ For simplicity we’ll call it the Fiscal Management branch.^^21^^ This would enable the consolidation of the leadership and management of national financial and economic activities under a separate branch of government run by people with deep and relevant experience.

We could require all government “business and financial operations” to be separated from the rest of its functions. We would identify all of the activities that make government operations tick: building and leasing offices, staffing them, buying airplanes and computers, printing tax returns, arming the military, paying the bills. You get the idea.

More than that, the objective of matching revenue to expenses in order to eliminate U.S. borrowing would be the principal long-term goal of the Fiscal Management branch. Not only would this add tremendous strength and staying power to our position among all of the nations of the world—it would also set a good example for Americans now out of the habit of living within their means.

Another benefit of establishing the Fiscal Management branch would be that many well-qualified candidates who are up to the task of dealing with the administrative and political aspects of government could do so without doing harm in the fiscal arena. We would insulate them from negatively impacting the American people through their absence of experience running so large and complex a business enterprise as the U.S. government. The Fiscal Management team would be responsible for these activities. Many future American presidents would probably be relieved.

I believe that with Walmart—or an equally efficient and successful company—as the initial leader of the Fiscal Management branch, we could see real improvement, and quickly. It would simply be a matter of realigning the economic operations of government activities under the new branch and getting out of the way.

Business people think differently than bureaucrats and elected officials; they will get started immediately and they will get things done.

This proposed new addition to our existing branches of government could be somewhat less controversial than Walmart as president, not least because it will leave as-is the requirement that a U.S. president can only be a “natural-born” citizen. Avoiding such an issue is something for which many citizens will no doubt be grateful.

Finally, such a fourth branch would not make government bigger because it would simply concentrate the existing fiscal management operational activity in a place where it could be addressed in a more objective and apolitical manner. In fact, one goal of this emphasis on efficiency would be to make government smaller.

I like a friendly politician or bureaucrat as much as the next person. I just don’t want him or her leading our nation further in the direction of economic ruin.

Something Must Change.

What’s the bottom line?

*
p))<>{color:#000;}. It is unlikely that Walmart can or will serve as president anytime soon.

*
p))<>{color:#000;}. Today, there is probably little political support for the creation of a Fiscal Management branch of government; furthermore, the idea hasn’t yet reached a high enough level of awareness for the American citizenry to properly evaluate it.

*
p))<>{color:#000;}. I also suspect that, although it would clearly be helpful, Congress won’t mandate financial experience and expertise as a requirement for being president or for serving in any other national elective office.

Does this mean that there are simply no actionable options to change the obviously unacceptable status quo? Is the deficit accelerator simply stuck to the floorboard as we speed toward an even rougher and more unforgiving road, and possibly a cliff, ahead?

We as voters ultimately have to take responsibility by voting in support of candidates that can prove their readiness for dealing with the key issues of the time, whatever those issues may be.

This is true not just as it relates to the Office of the President, but for all elected officials. How can we continue to send people to the House and the Senate who are clueless about budgeting? The time to understand budgeting is before they are elected. The stakes are too high to overlook the lack of experience relevant to the principal tasks at hand.

We have to have our best minds working on engineering our way out of the economic condition that is weakening our country. Are you yet concerned or mad enough to exclusively cast your votes for people with proven experience in financial affairs and budgeting?

If we start today and we are committed and we are of a single mind and we push like hell—it will still take twenty years. And that presumes we can be mainly nonpartisan in the effort.

There isn’t any alternative to a growing deficit and more national borrowing unless and until a major U.S. government financial restructuring takes place and we make significant progress down the road to recovery. Such big and complex work must be driven by someone, or by a group of people, with some idea of what to do, where to go and how to get there.

Something has to change. It will take real courage. It will also take a battalion of people who understand what it’s like to run a large enterprise and make it hum like a finely tuned engine. Anything else is going to hurt our chances of getting back to a “no-borrowing zone” even within the next twenty years.

Care. Immediately.

It wasn’t easy to get to where we are as a nation. It was necessary for a lot of Americans and their political leadership to be asleep at the switch for decades. And yet we have private sector brilliance and expertise that could be brought to bear on solving our problems.

If we don’t care—and care now—about the national leadership and agenda concerning fiscal and economic issues, the remaining years of our lives may well be profoundly different than we expected. Our poor fiscal health will likely affect employment, savings opportunities, relative asset values, tax rates, government support and entitlements, social programs, family dynamics and more.

What rationale do we have for keeping the system the way it is: managed by politicians and bureaucrats who—though in many cases well-intentioned—simply don’t have what it takes to make a dent in these complex issues? Why shouldn’t American voters insist on a more intelligent and disciplined approach?

I suggest that the next time you go into the voting booth and close the curtain behind you, a great write-in choice would be: “Walmart for President of the United States of America.” Doing so would send an unmistakable message about American readiness to be creative and open to alternatives for addressing their very personal economic and financial challenges.

And it could give us a shot at collectively restoring the greatest economic engine in the history of the world—before it’s too late.

Silence: Your Consent?

When was the last time you wrote or spoke to the Congressman representing you in Washington to offer your opinion on any issue? They are elected to represent those opinions—that’s why they call them “representatives.” They are responsible for understanding and serving your interests.

If you don’t do your part by letting them know what you are thinking, the equation doesn’t work. They then have the option of thinking and saying and doing what they want, whether or not it is adverse to your interests. It also gives them more time to run for reelection rather than serving their constituents, including you.^^22^^

Are you willing to call or write your Congressman? If you appreciate any of the ideas you have read about here, or would like to convey some of your firsthand experiences relating to the distress of our citizens, contact your Congressman. It is easy to do. Just go to:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

The contact information for all Congressmen and Senators is there, by state. Do it!

I know this may seem like a small and likely futile effort given the complex scheme of politics and government. But as American citizens we only have power when we raise our voices. And more voices, especially when they are raised together in a common cause, are even more powerful.

Whatever your opinion may be about the state of things, remaining silent signals your acceptance of the status quo and your agreement with those willing to be noisy.

Make a little noise of your own.

 

A Bonus Chapter

…from the author’s award-winning and bestselling book:

Available in print and eBook formats through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble
and other major retailers.

Chapter 1

High Wire, No Rope

Given his incredibly dangerous position, he was probably insane and likely to die within moments.

It was impossible to look away.

Although it was difficult to see him clearly from street-level because of the distance and the early-morning mist, the people looking up at him were riveted. The sight made some of them sick to their stomachs.

The man had longish, ginger-colored hair and wore what appeared to be a dark robe. High above the streets of Manhattan, he was flat on his back looking up at the sky. A long pole was lying across him and one leg was casually dangling below the level of his body.

The wind was blowing, there was no net below and he wasn’t tethered in any way.

His improbable resting place was the mid-point of a slightly sagging, three-quarter-inch cable strung between the rooftops of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. The cable was precisely 1,368 feet above the onlookers—a bit more than a quarter of a mile.

Man on Wire.

Philippe Petit was not the least bit disoriented.

He was deliberate, calm and focused.

His appearance on this particular wire was neither random nor impulsive. Nor had anyone forced him to be there. Although this was an extreme showcase for his talents, he had accumulated years of professional experience on a variety of wires—both high and low—in preparation for it.

He had dreamed, planned and practiced to be in this precise place.^^23^^ At this moment though, he was no longer considering it or thinking about it or hoping it would happen.

He was doing it and he could not possibly have been more committed.

Some onlookers said he looked as though he was dancing on the wire rather than walking. He moved with seeming ease all the way across the two-hundred-foot span between the rooftops. But reaching that destination was not the finish of this bizarre feat. It was just the opening act of a forty-five minute performance.

With the police shouting at him from both ends of the wire, he lightly stepped forward and then quickly back. He made a full turn and danced away in the opposite direction. No one dared chase after him.

Based upon his obvious command of the situation, he was clearly experienced, but he was also drawing energy and confidence from someplace else. Wherever that place was, it was making him smile.

He had tapped into a dimension of his being enabling him to be as urgent as the circumstances demanded. It wasn’t mere thinking in the usual sense. At that moment, he was singularly focused on the achievement of his objective by trusting in his deeper knowing. He was harnessing the best of his personal power in the service of his goal, and was accomplishing exactly what he intended. He was getting results that were simply impossible for anyone but him.

But you can imagine that the people far below saw what he was doing as being well on his way to fulfilling a death wish.

© Blondeau/Polaris

But then we do not typically set our goals with the clarity that he did.

Nor do we often become as single-minded as he was about achieving what he had determined was his most important objective.

We do not, for the most part, even attempt to access the state of mind he was relying upon at that precise moment of truth in his life.

Nor do we typically manifest the kind of commitment that he obviously had, for perhaps decades, ahead of those awe-inspiring moments spent on the highest of high wires.

Without the Rope.”

In a dramatic scene from the Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, this clarity of choice about commitment is played out in a similar fashion.

Bruce Wayne is confined in an underground prison with only a distant patch of sky overhead offering proof that there is a way out. He attempts to scale a wall to escape from the prison while tied to a rope that provides a measure of safety should he fall. After several failed attempts it becomes clear that although the rope is saving him from death, it is also keeping him from freedom.

A fellow prisoner offers Wayne the seemingly nonsensical advice to pursue escape without the rope. He realizes that Wayne—by trusting the lifeline of the rope—is short of the full commitment required to complete his escape.

Mr. Wayne is faced with a stark choice: the possibility of a life of freedom which requires him to risk death—or the likelihood that even a valiant effort with the rope attached will keep him confined as a prisoner for the rest of his life.

Ultimately he accepts the fact that the safety represented by the rope is the very element keeping him from reaching his goal. He decides to hold nothing back; he goes all-in and leaves the rope behind.

Unsurprisingly, Batman lives to fight another day.

Proactive Urgency.

Proactive urgency is purposeful, insistent, committed action pursued with a passionate edge.

In this book I refer to proactive urgency variously as pro-urgency, urgency-by-choice, applied urgency and conscious urgency. In doing so I am contrasting it with the fight-or-flight type of urgency that instantly—and automatically—seizes us when we are confronted with a crisis or emergency. This latter type I refer to as reactive urgency. Just ahead in Chapter 2 you will read more about the differences between the two.

The passionate edge of proactive urgency is engaged when you put more of yourself into something than is necessary to accomplish it.^^24^^

It is cool, clear, energetic and sustainable passion in the pursuit of something important in your life—something that, when achieved, will be game-changing for you, your business, your family or your community.

Philippe Petit and Bruce Wayne (and his well-known alter ego) offer examples of acting with proactive urgency that may seem extreme in terms of our typical challenges, and they are.

But the truth is that when you harness the power of urgency, proactively, you can tap into inner resources that will enable you to transform your work and your life.

Your Discomfort Zone.

Creating with proactive urgency does not require a daily confrontation with a “live free or die” choice. But the preceding examples suggest that to find and access your greatest personal leverage you must enter the promised land of your discomfort zone.

When you do, you enter a space where you can tap into your own sense of urgency in the conscious and passionate creation of your future. This is where you turn away from passively doing what you have always done or reactively accepting whatever comes your way.

Here you can ignite the parts of you that have become hidden, lost or numb. Entering your discomfort zone enables the engagement of the passionate edge I refer to above. You can use that edge as a tool for reaching the work and life objectives that you have determined really matter.

As you will see, acting with pro-urgency is life-enhancing, not life-threatening. When harnessed with commitment and clarity of intention, it is a force with which you can create almost immediate transformation in the service of your most important goals.

The purpose of this book is to show you how to discover or rediscover and consciously direct your power of urgency to make your life better, no matter the circumstances of your past or the potential challenges—and fears—you may face in the future.

Urgency Rule #1

[Proactive urgency is purposeful, insistent, committed action pursued
with a passionate edge. It is an activist choice to access your deepest personal power for the creation of almost immediate transformation.^^25^^]

 

You have just read a chapter from The POWER of URGENCY: Playing to Win with Proactive Urgency, available in print and eBook formats through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and other major retailers.

 

 

About the Author

William Keiper is the award-winning and bestselling author of Cyber Crisis – It’s Personal Now; The Power of Urgency: Playing to Win with Proactive Urgency, LIFE Expectancy: It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Game, and The Presidential Essays series, including Amazon for President!, Apple for President! and Walmart for President!

His mission in life is motivation, leadership and support for businesses and individuals committed to the urgent pursuit and achievement of their important objectives.

He has served as Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, President and trusted advisor for a variety of public and private companies and committed individuals. Through his consulting firm FirstGlobal® Partners, Mr. Keiper serves individuals, company owners, executives, investors and others.

He earned a business degree with honors from Eastern Illinois University, a law degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and a Master’s degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

For more, visit www.WilliamKeiper.com

 

 

1 de Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

2 Let me also say here that I wasn’t asked directly or indirectly by Walmart to write or not write this book. I am not now nor have I ever been a Walmart employee and I am not a Walmart shareholder. I must admit that I am a Walmart shopper.

3 Kharpul, Arjun. “Has the US run out of ideas for fixing economy?” MSN Money. 23 Jan 2014.

http://t.money.msn.com/now/has-the-us-run-out-of-ideas-for-fixing-economy

4 A few additional important dates: The current United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, and it was ratified the following year. The Bill of Rights (comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms) was ratified in 1791.

5 From an interview with Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor. The complete transcript can be found at:

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/02/06/transcript-of-president-obamas-pre-super-bowl-interview-with-bi/

6 Although every president has a cabinet and other advisors to call upon, the executive leadership for the United States ultimately falls on the shoulders of the President—as illustrated by the above quote from Barack Obama.

7 United States Census Bureau.

8 Congressional Budget Office, “An Update to the Economic and Budget Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, Table 1 – 1.” 22 August 2012. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43539

9 Garver, Rob. “Feds Blow $100 Billion Annually on Incorrect Payments.” The Fiscal Times. 15 January 2014. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/15/Feds-Blow-100-Billion-Annually-Incorrect-Payments

10 The rest of the results: 22.2 percent said that they probably could not, and 27.9 percent said they certainly would not be able to do so. The remaining 25.1 percent said they probably could come up with the cash (but about three-quarters of them would have to sell possessions or take out a loan in order to raise the money in the stipulated number of days).

11 According to 2013 guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

12 The Great Recession, which began in December 2007.

13 http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt.htm

14 Carter, Jimmy. “Crisis of Confidence.” 15 July 1979. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/ primary-resources/carter-crisis/

15 Wilke, Joy & Newport, Frank. “Fewer Americans Than Ever Trust Gov’t to Handle Problems.” Gallup.com. 13 September 2013. http://www.gallup.com/poll/164393/ fewer-americans-ever-trust-gov-handle-problems.aspx

16 The focus and brevity of this essay do not permit a full exploration of these issues.

17 See the section “Pay as You Go?” above.

18 Cauchon, Dennis. “Some federal workers more likely to die than lose jobs.” USA Today. 19 July 2011. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-07-18-fderal-job-security_n.htm

19 Wee, Willis. “Apple to hit $200 Billion in Sales by 2015 [FORECAST].” TECHINASIA. 6 Dec 2010.

http://www.techinasia.com/apple-sales-forecast/

20 I am suggesting an official fourth branch. It is true that a colloquial use of the term “fourth branch” already exists and refers to an unofficial group or groups that “[influence] the three branches of government defined in the American Constitution (legislative, judicial and executive). Such groups can include the press (an analogy for the Fourth Estate), the people, and interest groups. U.S. independent administrative government agencies, while technically part of the executive branch (or, in a few cases, the legislative branch) of government, are sometimes referred to as being part of the fourth branch.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fourth _branch _of _government

21 Fiscal management is defined here as the management and expenditure of government income (including revenue from taxation) to drive the economy. It refers to the use of the government budget to positively influence economic activity.

22 Term limits would be a starting point for focusing on service while in office rather than continuation in office. But that is a topic for another day.

23 The story of this adventure is told in the documentary film: Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh (2008; Magnolia Home Entertainment).

24 “Passion,” Urban Dictionary, accessed June 1, 2013. www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=passion

25 Each chapter in The Power of Urgency concludes with an Urgency Rule.


Walmart for President

What about having the Walmart management team run the business operations of our country? Although the title Walmart for President is, I hope, somewhat provocative, the subject matter is serious. As citizens, we can no longer stand around passively hoping that a new economic platform will somehow spontaneously take shape and raise us out of our economic difficulties. Our government’s unapologetic addiction to borrowing and the pervasive financial challenges of many of our citizens are two clear indicators of the magnitude of the challenge. Creating a shift of the magnitude now required will necessitate applying the best of our political leadership and the best of our private sector acumen and brilliance--all in the service of re-engineering our government and economy. Only by engaging the best thinking and practices of a leading U.S. business do we have a shot at resolving the most critical fiscal challenges facing our nation. The compelling conclusion is that the best candidate for the job is the Walmart management team. Our current form of government—operating under the same structure first adopted when our Constitution was ratified in 1788—has not kept up with the complexity and pace of our times. Consequently, no individual president—no matter how brilliant or gifted with leadership and other skills—can show the way forward in the creation of a new economic platform. We need a flexible democracy to meet the challenges of the times. We must think outside the box of our divisive two-party political system and seek innovative solutions together.U.S. economic independence can only be regained through a concerted, long-term effort. We owe it to future generations of our republic to elect leadership capable of getting the job done. As voters we must voice our collective displeasure at the lack of commitment shown by our elected representatives in the face of our fiscal emergency. Walmart for President: an idea whose time has come. >> A Note for Readers: The content and theme of this essay is purposely quite similar to the others in The Presidential Essays series, including Amazon for President! and Apple for President! (also available on Amazon.com). This version has been customized to reflect Walmart's unique qualifications and readiness as the proposed candidate for running the operations of the executive branch. Most elections offer at least two candidates, and each of us usually views one as more qualified than the others. These essays offer an opportunity to compare highly qualified but very different candidates.

  • ISBN: 9781370319121
  • Author: William Keiper
  • Published: 2017-05-13 01:20:22
  • Words: 12522
Walmart for President Walmart for President