Let’s Send All Billionaires to Mars!

Why not just send our “genius” billionaires to Mars, and let them report back?

Unfortunately, in the short time we homo sapiens have existed on this 4.5-billion-year-old Planet Earth, we have trashed the place. Climate change, deforestation, desertification, plastics in everything, etc.

Fortunately, though, we large-brained hominids have evolved an almost-magical resource that promises to be our salvation: Billionaires!

One of the priceless benefits of amassing a multibillion-dollar, self-regenerating pile of wealth is that it automatically establishes you as “a Genius.” Never mind that you’ve most likely acquired your stash through some combination of inheritance, grift, rank exploitation, tax dodging and such; you’re suddenly treated as a savant whose most fanciful nonsense is now taken seriously by the establishment.

Thus, we presently have two overstuffed money hogs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, preaching that Earth is a lost cause. But, no problem, for they are designing space technologies that will let a cadre of select humans escape doom by colonizing the Moon and Mars. Using untold billions of our tax dollars, the two are in a PR race to land their spaceships first. But — hey, bozos! — what then? You think our blue-green planet is hell, try living with no air, water, soil, little gravity and zero protection from the incessant bombardment of cosmic radiation.

Well, postulate the billionaire space cadets, “we” (actually meaning us taxpayers) will just geoengineer Mars and the Moon, terraforming them into an Earthlike oasis. But, wait — as astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out a decade ago — “If you had the power to terraform Mars into Earth, then you have the power to turn Earth back to Earth.”

Tyson later said he’d only go to Mars if the designer of the colony “had sent their mother first.” Nice… but I have no doubt Musk and Bezos would gladly sacrifice their moms to advance their egos.

Forget Millionaires. A Few Billionaires Are Now Stealing Our Country

In the serious business of politics, a little humor can be your best friend.

I saw its impact 30 years ago in Austin when a group of young, irreverent democracy activists decided to try limiting corporations that were drowning our local elections in their special-interest campaign cash. The upstart group named their grassroots effort a name that was a bit whimsical, yet pointed: “Austinites for a Little Less Corruption.”

It caught on. Even though the entire corporate, political and media establishment united in furious opposition to the reform, 70% of voters rather joyously shouted, “YES!”

Now more than ever, we need to rally grassroots Americans in a high-spirited, openly rebellious campaign to save our people’s historic democratic values. An autocratic coterie of plutocratic supremists with unlimited corporate funding already dominates our elections, public policy, agenda and our highest courts. It’s not a secret conspiracy; they’re quite open about it!

But forget the days of million-dollar donors; the arsenal of the systemic corruptors has now been nuclearized. For example, Charles Koch has just injected $5 billion in his 2024 political operation. Tim Dunn, an ultra-right-wing Texas oil baron and extremist GOP sugar daddy, has just sold his fracking empire for $12 billion, gaining a new gusher of cash to weaponize his intention to impose laissez-faire rule over America.

It’s hard to visualize how much more anti-democratic firepower one gets by spending billions instead of mere millions. Think of the difference not in terms of dollars, but time. If you have a million seconds, that’s 11 days. But a billion seconds — that’s more than 31 years!

We can have no progress — no democracy — without getting corporate money out of America’s political system. For info and action, go to citizen.org.

Jim Hightower
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