Telling It Like It Is: My Presidential Campaign Speech

Unknown-1My fellow Americans:

I didn’t want to run for president, but alas now I must. Mr. Trump supposedly “tells it like it is.” Unfortunately he – and other candidates – tell it like it isn’t. But I believe Americans can face reality.

This is a great country, but it wasn’t anointed by God to be that always. It requires work and even sacrifice. It’s not “morning in America” now – it’s getting late in the day.

Problem One: we face financial ruin. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were great programs, as long as three or four times as many people were working (and paying taxes) as collecting benefits. Unknown-2But that ratio is inexorably falling as lifespans rise. If nothing is done, these programs will swallow up the entire federal budget, leaving no money for anything else.

As a nation, we’ve actually been spending way more than our income for years, borrowing the difference (much from China). We could do this thanks to historically low interest rates. But at some point the debt’s size will outgrow what the financial markets can tolerate, causing our interest costs to balloon. Then we’re fucked.

Ignoring all this is the Obama administration’s seminal, historic failure.

Like Winston Churchill, I offer nothing but blood, sweat, toil, and tears. However, we remain a very rich people, who can afford to take care of the less fortunate. What we cannot afford is welfare for the better off. Social Security and Medicare will be phased out for higher income people. Taxes will rise too.

imagesSome of that money will go to infrastructure, on which we’re way behind, threatening our status as a world-class country. That spending will create a lot of jobs. I call the program “America Works.”

Another reality is that we cannot insulate ourselves from global economic competition. But free trade benefits more Americans than it hurts. No more stupid whining about “shipping jobs overseas.” If a product or service can be produced better and/or cheaper in India or China, that’s where it will be produced. American businesses that cannot match them will fail and won’t be able to employ anybody.

And did you know our rate of creation of small businesses (responsible for most job growth) is way down? images-1We’ve made it increasingly hard for businesses to operate, what with all the taxation and regulatory hassles. For starters, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank must be repealed.

A lot of folks, concerned about inequality, think businesses make people poorer, with “profit” a dirty word. That thinking must end. It’s successful, thriving businesses, making money by producing things people want, that make everybody richer. Otherwise nobody has a job.

images-2But job skills that used to assure a good life increasingly don’t cut it in today’s world. The real inequality problem is not the 1% versus the 99%, it’s the well educated versus the less educated. I know, people have been yakking about education forever, and there’s no magic bullet. But a quarter of Americans dropping out of high school cannot be tolerated. A great expansion of school choice would inject a much needed competitive ethos. And we need a rethink on college costs, because subsidizing tuition only enables colleges to raise it.

On all these issues, I will work with both parties, seeking compromise and consensus. We must end the culture of partisan demonizing, and recognize that Americans of all political stripes all sincerely want what’s best for everyone, disagreeing only on how to achieve it. Nobody’s evil (or very few).

Unknown-3Foreign Affairs: no more “leading from behind.” That doesn’t mean rushing into wars. But President Obama got the balance wrong between caution and assertiveness, shredding American credibility and making a world much more disorderly and dangerous. America must take the lead and act resolutely to nip conflicts in the bud. There must be no reprise of Ukraine. And if we decide ISIS must indeed be fought, then Heaven help ISIS.

The UN, as a vehicle for international order, has long been broken, due to bad guy vetoes. I will push to create a new “League of Democratic Societies,” with strict membership criteria (like the EU’s), to assume the role the UN cannot.

One last thing.

On May 14, 1938, my mother stood on the deck of a ship as it passed the Statue of Liberty. She was a refugee from a murderous tyranny. America has always been the go-to place for people seeking better lives; and that’s been one of the key things that has made America great. images-3Because such people, willing to give up everything comfortable and familiar, with the ambition to start life anew, even risking their lives to get here – those are the best people. We need more of them.

Elect me and we’ll keep America great.

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12 Responses to “Telling It Like It Is: My Presidential Campaign Speech”

  1. Adi Says:

    I like this

  2. Doug Smith Says:

    I get it that the country would be a better place with you as President but I’d miss the coin sales and I don’t see you having time for both jobs. Oh, that’s OK since, without Social Security, I won’t have any money for hobbies anyway and, like almost all of the Presidential hopefuls, have passed the life expectancy considered proper by FDR (and several POTUS after him) so it must be time to be a good soldier and die. Should I point out that an eight year Presidency would find you still in office in 2022 so the answer is obvious: Soylent Green.

    Seriously, have we actually come to the point where the only thing Baby Boomers can do to benefit humanity is drop dead?

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    No! They can go back to work and be productive and contribute to society. Many in fact do so. The idea of retirement at 65 dates from a time when at that age most people were just clapped out. Today most people at 65 are quite fit and healthy. Yet many retire much earlier even than that. (OK, I quit my job at 49, but now at 68 I am still very active as a coin dealer which I consider contributing to society (moving coins from people who value them less to people who value them more and thus making both better off, which economists call “consumer surplus.”)
    I promise to continue doing this while in the White House.

  4. Doug Smith Says:

    Disagree. I retired at 57 and have not made one red cent from a job since. Jobs around here are needed by young people (in their 30’s) without retirement checks and Social Security. They do not need competition from 69 year olds with or without pensions. To pass time and be productive,old people being paid from work done 30 years ago can volunteer at schools (I have two of these), county Extension offices (for gardeners and lawn fanatics), Senior centers (doing taxes for 90 year olds and reading to the blind) and heaven only knows where else. Being freed from wondering where the food money comes from for next month enables oldsters to find things to do not based on how much the job pays but how rewarding the job is in other ways. Sure there will be many who will take the money and sit on the couch watching soap operas but experience suggests that that group doesn’t live as long anyway. Don’t change the system so people HAVE to work until they are 90 (the new 70, you know) but encourage a society where people are valued by what they contribute rather than how much they are profiting from selling their services.

  5. rationaloptimist Says:

    The idea that there are only so many jobs to go around, and someone working means someone else not working, is a fallacy. (In fact economists have a term for it, the “lump of labor” fallacy.) We need to find more ways for more people to be more productive. “Profiting from selling their services” is twisted lefty lingo — I translate it to actually mean someone producing something that someone else needs or wants, the sale of which increases welfare for both.
    But a lot of people can’t be productive today because they lack the education/skills. “Disability” rolls are exploding not because so many people are physically disabled but in truth are given “disability” because they are just unemployable. See my post on this: https://rationaloptimist.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/america-on-disability/

  6. Bumba Says:

    When you become prez, restore the income tax on the top bracket to 50% minimum. If you start any wars, that rate goes to the 90% it always was. Restore the capital gains tax, remove the oil depletion allowance……

  7. Doug Smith Says:

    Perhaps more people would be employable if ‘righty lingo’ hadn’t considered catsup a vegetable and proper 1st grade class size 25 kids. Additional productivity in some sectors is defined as fitting more kids in a classroom and more crooks in a courthouse.

  8. bruce Says:

    Doug, As I recall there were over forty kids in my grade school classroom. The sandwiches my mom made may have been “healthy” when they were packed but not when they hit my stomach.
    I think one of the differences was the, to put it mildly, STRICT method the Sisters used in discipline.
    Granted, it didn’t hold for me, instead of a degree I went into construction and used a hammer to make a living.But I tell you what, to this day when I’m in an office I keep my hands folded and still in front of me.

  9. Lee Says:

    What, no mention of climate change? Are you a denier or do you think simply that we should wait 8 more years before we make that a priority?

    You could use climate change to replace your number one plank on “too much debt.” As most anyone who “owns” a home will tell you, the mortgage for multiple times your annual income is well worth it. As most anyone who runs a successful business will tell you, it is large amounts of debt that allow one to build the factories that create wealth.

    Debt is a very, very (okay let’s go for three: very) good thing … so long as the money is spent wisely. Keeping people fed and housed are good uses of money. Building infrastructure for the economy is a good use of money. Dealing with the “too much carbon in the air” problem is a good use of money. Humanitarian aid is a good use of money. Training and retraining people so that they have the skills to create wealth in the new economy is a good thing. As with the “lump and labor” fallacy, it is not a zero-sum or finite game … so long as each individual expenditure is a net win, there is almost no limit to how many good things we can do. (And no it does not have to be government that does these good things; it can be the private sector. But this argument about *who* does the good things, while important, is not the number one priority of the nation nor is it the single biggest failure of our current president, etc.)

    Blowing things and people up is not as efficient as aggressive diplomacy. If you want to reduce spending for something, perhaps you could emphasize a reduction in the spending for destruction.

    While the private sector or cash grants can do many things, some goals are natural monopolies that should be run by government. Making sure that everyone has healthcare (as in single payer), making sure that everyone has food (e.g. food stamps), making sure that everyone has reasonable housing, etc. are things that government should always guarantee. When you are president, please don’t slash spending for these.

  10. rationaloptimist Says:

    Lee, I guess you need to write your OWN campaign speech.
    Debt is OK but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

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