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. But 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.
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? We’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 For starters, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank must be repealed.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.
But 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).
Foreign 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. Because 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.