“If I Were President”Posted: March 10, 2014
“If I Were President”
by JBS Founder Robert Welch, March 1968
This is a heavily edited excerpt of Mr. Welch’s 15-page speech he presented over the years and reprinted in the JBS Bulletin in March, 1968. We share it to demonstrate that the same issues we face today were not unlike those in 1968 and that there clearly is time to restore America to the greatness as envisioned by the founders.
In plain language, I have no desire, intention, or expectation of ever being President of anything except The John Birch Society and some of its affiliated organizations. The title and the whole hypothesis of this speech are chosen simply as a dramatic means of putting before you a program which we offer free, and heartily recommend, to any candidate who does want to become President of the United States.
I. FIRST THINGS FIRST
A. Tell the American people the facts of life. Our first official act, obviously, after taking the oath of office, would be the inaugural address. In this singular opportunity we would review very frankly the horrible mess in which our country now finds itself. We would stress the extremely serious dangers which now threaten us.
B. Put none but patriots in charge. Our next job would be the appointment of cabinet members and other administrative officials. In making these appointments we would not turn to the Communist press for its advice and consent.
C. Restore confidence in the dollar. With the earliest appointments made, and others on the way, we would go to work at once to reestablish our currency on a completely sound basis:
(1) Discontinue all foreign aid. Both under that name and under the various disguises in which the biggest expenditures have long been cloaked.
(2) Have the federal government sell to private industry all businesses of every kind that are now owned and operated by government agencies. The money received could be applied to make some reduction in the national debt. The businesses themselves, if continued in private hands, would begin to contribute to the government’s revenue by paying taxes.
(3) Appoint a top-grade, successful, self-made Conservative American businessman as Assistant Secretary of Defense for one job, and with that job as his only concern; namely, to find and eliminate sheer waste in our expenditures for military purposes. Of what we are spending on and for our armed forces, billions of dollars per year could be eliminated without anybody even knowing the difference—except for the greater efficiency which would result from the very measures taken to cut out the waste.
(4) Announce our intention of appointing a similar Assistant Secretary, of similar background and with identically the same purpose, for every department of the federal government with cabinet status.
(5) Issue a formal notice, to England, France, Soviet Russia, and all other nations where such notices would be applicable, that we expected their indebtedness to the United States to be paid. We would explain that longtime refunding on generous terms could be arranged. But we would make clear that the interest charges on these debts, and eventually periodic payments on the principal, would have to be made— in gold or in American dollars, which we intended to make visibly equivalent.
These five steps are all that would be necessary. You would immediately see the end of the present flight from the dollar and the beginning of a flight to the dollar, which would be the greatest money movement in all human history. And this alone would give not only the American people, but the whole world, a breath of fresh air and a hope for stability and peace and common sense once again.
II. AROUND THE WORLD
A. Break the grip of the atomic bomb nightmare. Speaking as President of the United States, we would proclaim a new kind of worldwide Monroe Doctrine with regard to the use of atomic weapons. This would state in plain language, that the military use of an atomic weapon, by anybody, anywhere, would be regarded by ourselves as an act of war against the United States. We would include in this proclamation the assurance that none of our own atomic bombs would be employed militarily, except solely in retaliation, as a means of guaranteeing that such bombs would not be used by anybody else.
B. Have our government stop helping the Communists. Let the United States government simply announce that it is discontinuing all help of every kind, material, diplomatic, political, or moral to Communist regimes.
C. Sever all diplomatic relations with all Communist regimes.
D. Wind up the wars. For without the aid and protection being given by Washington to our enemies, they could not keep any kind of sizable war going anywhere for three months. But because of the lives of Americans involved, we would early take more direct steps to end this tragic horror.
Specifically I would tell the new Secretary of Defense it was his job to see that adequate supplies of first class equipment, ammunition, and war material of every kind, were made available to our fighting forces, and kept available at all times.
E. And finally, Get US out! This means, of course, that we would get the United States out of the United Nations, and take the necessary steps to get the United Nations out of the United States.
III. WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
A. Inform the people. For thirty five years all the power of government has been used to make the people accept socialism and believe Communist propaganda. That program was never as extensive, as brazen, or as pervasive as it is today. And it is time for the other side to be heard, even through the voice of government.
B. Untie the Congressional Committees. We would repudiate and rescind the executive order, issued by President Eisenhower on May 17, 1954, and any similar or supporting Executive Orders which have been issued since. Most of the American people are still unaware that this unconstitutional and imperial edict by the ‘then President put an end to all investigation by Congressional committees of Communists in government. And during the dozen years since then their number has increased by leaps and bounds, as is clearly shown by the visible results of their influence.
C. Impeach justices legislating from the bench. There would be nothing new about this in American history. The precedent was set by President Thomas Jefferson, in his unceasing and successful effort to bring about the impeachment of Justice Samuel Chase of the Supreme Court.
D. Start a spring house cleaning. It would probably last into the summer and the fall. In the administrative departments we would begin, with the help of our appointees in top positions, a careful but steady weeding out of all officials whose loyalty to the United States was subject to serious question. In the most flagrant cases of actual treason, as revealed by Congressional committee investigations or the files of the FBI, we would not stop at removal, but would see that criminal prosecution was duly instituted. The trial even of obvious traitors should be carried out cautiously and meticulously according to law. But this whole mighty issue, of Communists in government, has to come to a showdown sooner or later; and the sooner it takes place, the safer for our side.
E. Support our local police forces. We would do everything properly in the power of the federal government, and anything which could be accomplished by the prestige and persuasion of the President, to return the preservation of law and order to the local police forces of this country. We would do all we could to keep those police forces independent, and to see that they were allowed to do their duties as guardians of life and property, instead of being made the helpless victims of brutality on the part of mobs, rioters, and protected criminals. And we would help to arouse such a public clamor against the coddling of criminals by the courts and various government agencies as to start the crime rate in this country dropping like a punctured balloon.
F. Put government on a diet. Before this was done we would need a diagnosis. The first job given each department head therefore, as one means of becoming thoroughly familiar with his own department, would be to prepare a written justification of its existence and its size.
G. But don’t kill the patient. In thus reducing the quantity of government, and with regard to what every agency does or is supposed to do, we would be guided by one basic principle: Is there a better way? And the emotion-packed question of so-called social security offers an excellent example of what we are talking about. For even though the whole system is based on falsehood and riddled with fraud, simply to wipe it off the books today would be unwise and unfair, as well as politically impossible.
H. Practice what we preach. We would rapidly take whatever steps were necessary to bring the powers of the presidency itself back within those bounds and functions clearly prescribed by the Constitution. This would include the elimination altogether of government by what are now called Executive Orders, and government by any other means of circumventing or short-circuiting the legislative and judicial processes.
I. Kill the income tax—and its brother. The graduated income tax, of course, always has been a cardinal part of the Communist program for the subversion and subjugation of any capitalistic nation. The income tax takes purchasing power out of the hands of the producers, and puts it into the hands of government. The excuse for the graduated income tax is that the government needs the money. This was carefully planted in the minds of the American people, in the very early years of the income tax, when the small percentage taken by government had no other visible purpose than to pay the government’s bills. Today, and at the present tax levels, the government not only does not need all of this money, but the bureaucrats have to work very hard to waste and spend enough to come out with the desired deficits.
J. And find everywhere the better way. We cannot deal here with the government’s hands in public health, in public education, or in public welfare. To show the horrible and evil mess that the federal government is now creating in any one of these fields would require a speech twice the length of this one. We cannot go into such matters as the government in agriculture, in the subsidization of manufacturing, in the gradual gathering under the government wing of so much of American research, and in a hundred other areas and activities where it has no business or right to be, and where it can only do drastic damage in the long run.
Never using a meat axe, therefore, to chop off government services, but always trying to find a better way for any positive and worthwhile service or security it is trying to provide, we would seek — by public consent—to return government to its sole proper function of protecting the lives and property of all its citizens from the criminal tendencies of the few and the ambitions of foreign tyrants. And our program would resolve itself into pursuit of a long familiar objective. We would try to bring an era of less government and more responsibility to a people now bitterly frustrated and confused by exactly the opposite philosophy.
IV. AND WHAT MATTERS MOST
Finally, in a very short section and without subheads, let’s cover briefly the most important of all the problems our Administration would tackle—if I were President!
By the example of our appointees and ourselves, by exhortation based on the experience of ages, by trying to make the younger generation understand the meaning of civilization and realize the long hard cost of the civilization we have inherited, we would undertake to turn this nation back to a belief in morality, in dignity, in self-reliance, in cleanliness, in good taste and good manners; and to a sound sense of values based on all that man has learned, or should have learned, from the past. We would try to make America understand the truth that no nation has ever been happy except during those eras when devotion to God, country, and family were taken for granted as virtues, to be praised and practiced to the fullest extent that human frailty would permit. Having finally routed, at whatever cost of labor or even of life, the forces of evil now arrayed against us in the most sinister and extensive conspiracy of all human history, we would try to set our country on the right course to live out its great destiny and—with God’s help— to lead the way to a better world.
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