The campaign for the next Elected President has commenced and what came to my mind is the relationship between the president, the gambler and the fund manager. They all have one similar interest, money. Money is a big issue not just about how much should the president be paid given the surprising revelation of his job by the Law Minister. The only part that justifies some big money is the president’s role as a custodian to the country’s reserves.
The rest of the functions of the president are more ceremonial and quite exciting, like in the company of heads of states, the kings and queens and dining with celebrities. I think many rich and successful people are dying to be in such a position and would even pay for it. As for the money part, what does the president do and how much is he deserving is now questionable.
Let me start with the gambler. Simply put, the gambler takes chances by placing his bets. When he loses, he blames it on bad luck. When he wins, he can brag about his gambling skills. In a way the fund managers also places his bets which he calls its investing. And he employs very talented and highly qualified people to justify what he is doing. All done carefully, objectively, with charts and figures. No guess work. When he makes money, he too will brag about how clever and talented he is. When he loses, there are always the forces beyond his control or he is investing in the long term. He will have the long term to cover his bad bets.
There are some startling differences between a gambler and a fund manager. The gambler’s cost is only himself. And he gambles with his own money. The fund manager pays all the top talents a fortune to place his bets. And when he loses, even in hundreds of billions, it is always other people’s money, not his money. He always wins with his huge pay packet and huge cuts in winnings. He is much better than the gambler in many ways.
And when a fund manager loses big, he can go to the president for more money. Here is the relationship. The Elected President is there to say yes or no to the fund manager gambling with the country’s reserves. But how can the EP say no when the fund manager says he is investing in the long term and will win back all his money in a matter of time? His short term loss is due to circumstances beyond his control.
What if the Elected President says no? He can be removed as the fund manager can claim that he is opposing his instruction. According to the Law Minister, an Elected President that challenges the govt can be removed. So how? Does the Elected President have any machinery or forces behind him to take on the govt? The govt is in control of everything, the media, the uniformed services, the civil services, the Unions, the clans and all govt related agencies and institutions. How could an Elected President say no to a ruling govt when he can be simply removed?
Here comes the question of his $10m pay. Should the president be paid $4m -$10m to say no when he can’t really say no? And this is the reality if one listens to the campaign speeches of the presidential hopefuls. They want to do all kinds of things that are nice to have but really quite irrelevant, and do not justify the money or the position. Who cares what they want to do? What is important is his ability to make sure that the reserves is not squander away. But can the EP do it?