WASHINGTON, DC—In an 86-14 vote, the Senate approved legislation Monday establishing PlatinumPlus Preferred citizenship, an exciting new program offering special benefits and discounts to select members of the U.S.
"By becoming a PlatinumPlus citizen, you join an exclusive club of elite Americans," said President Clinton, who signed the bill into law late Monday. "And as part of that club, you'll be eligible for many special benefits, including tax breaks, excusal from jury duty, and vacations at special PlatinumPlus Caribbean resorts, which are off-limits to ordinary, EconoBudget citizenry. It's our way of saying thank you to our best customers."
"And, of course," Clinton added, "there are never any annual fees."
PlatinumPlus citizens—selected according to a number of demographic factors, including age, race and socio-economic status—will enjoy a wide variety of other benefits, including immunity from speeding tickets; separate, no-wait lines at over 50,000 post-office locations nationwide; and wider, more comfortable window seating.
After just one year in the club, members can also begin earning extra votes for elections. "Wouldn't you like to earn up to five bonus votes for the next presidential election?" said U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker (R-MS), a co-sponsor of the measure. "With your new PlatinumPlus citizenship, you can."
According to Wicker, those at the highest level of the new program, or "Diamond Club" citizens, will enjoy additional rewards, including a pass good for acquittal from one crime (misdemeanor or felony), a no-interest credit line of up to $500,000 and, for able-bodied male PlatinumPlus members between ages 18 and 35, excusal from the draft should a foreign war arise.
Gordon Alarie, CEO of the Dallas-based Integrated Systems Management Group, was among the first to receive a PlatinumPlus citizenship offer in the mail. "As CEO and founder of a Fortune 500 corporation, I've contributed a great deal to the U.S. over the years," Alarie said. "It's nice to know that now, with the PlatinumPlus Preferred citizenship program, I'll finally start getting something back."
Rosalyn Murcheson Biddle, a Scarsdale, NY, art collector, was also extended an offer to join. "The PlatinumPlus-only express lanes on the highways are nice, and so are the unlimited drinks," Biddle said. "But what I really like is the program's Gold Circle Premium Health Care package, which gets me access to the finest medical care anywhere. It's nice to know that if I ever get too wrapped up in a car-phone conversation and hit another vehicle, emergency workers arriving on the scene will prioritize my injuries over those of any other people who may have been hurt."
Added Biddle: "The free cancer inoculations are a nice plus, too."
Clinton stressed that those not eligible for PlatinumPlus citizenship will still enjoy the many benefits of regular U.S. citizenship, including one free vote in each election, a court-appointed attorney if arrested, and a number of fully guaranteed constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
"To our nation's EconoBudget citizens, I want to assure you that you will still get the same great service from your government that you always have," Clinton said. "The postal delivery, the voting, the Social Security checks—it's all still part of the basic citizenship package. And while, yes, a few certain special privileges will be off-limits to you, that should in no way make you feel like a second-class citizen. Remember, we are all Americans here, no matter how poorly or well we are treated."