Today I’m declaring my candidacy for President of the United States. I’ll be running as an Independent. Getting on the ballot in every state won’t be a problem, thanks to Americaselect.org.
Campaign funding won’t be an issue, thanks to the Internet. Any good ideas I might have will be viral, and the bad ideas will die. That’s the way it should be. It won’t cost me a penny.
You might have some concern about the fact that I have no moral center, no relevant experience, a history of public pranks, and a penchant for flip-flopping. But watch now as I convert those problems into advantages.
Let’s start with my lack of experience. Being an outsider probably isn’t as good as it sounds. So, as President, I would appoint ex-President Bill Clinton as my only advisor. I’d publish all of his advice to me that doesn’t involve top-secret issues, and I’d pretty much do whatever he told me to do. (He could have his own advisors.) In essence, you’d be electing Bill Clinton for a third term. Remember, he had that triangulation thing going for him, where both Democrats and conservative independents liked him. Republicans would support me too if they saw it as the only realistic way to beat President Obama. Unlike President Obama, I’d always give Republican philosophies a fair look, just as Clinton did. The truth, along with most Americans, is somewhere in the middle.
I’d also keep Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, if she were willing. She’s plenty experienced, and she hasn’t broken anything yet. My second choice would be Bill Gates. He’s all about what works. And thanks to his charitable activities, when he says, “I’m here to help,” it actually means something.
For my Supreme Court appointments, I’d pick qualified candidates whose opinions map to the majority of Americans. If you don’t like where the majority is at, change the minds of your fellow citizens. If you succeed, and I’m still in office, I’ll pick the next candidate to reflect that change in public opinion. The Supreme Court works for the country, not the President. My opinions shouldn’t matter. I’d only act as a safeguard in case the majority decided to discriminate against some group in particular. I don’t like bullies.
On the budget, I propose a plan to cut every Federal government expense by 10% and increase every Federal tax by 10%. I’d call that the default plan, meaning I prefer a better plan, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to come up with one. The advantage of this plan is that it’s bad for every American. That’s a little something I call “fair.”
I’d also call a public debate on the topic of supply side economics, to end once and for all the question of whether lowering taxes increases government revenues. I would host the debate myself, with a Judge Judy sort of approach, and decide the winner. If it turns out that my proposed 10% tax increase would reduce government revenue, I’d cancel that part of my plan the same day.
I’d propose capping the amount any one person can inherit per death at $50 million. Estates can choose to donate the rest to charities, distribute it to stockholders, or give it up in taxes. $50 million is more than enough to turn any offspring into a lazy, self-absorbed, drug addicted, douche bag. Any more would be a waste. That plan needs some fine tuning, but you get the idea.
As President, I would remain deeply committed to flip-flopping. If new information or better thinking changes my opinion, so be it. That’s how brains are supposed to work.
I can also promise that I won’t try to remember the names of other world leaders, federal agencies, or even my own staff. Only an idiot believes a president can remember all of that stuff.
I’ll commit one gaffe after another to keep the media busy with nonsense. I’ll appear to confuse China with Japan, suggest withdrawing troops from North Korea, and let slip some ethnic insults around live microphones. The public loves that stuff, and I would not disappoint.
On day one of my presidency I would form a committee of libertarians to recommend ways to shrink government. But I would require them to describe in detail how the country would look when those government functions disappear. When they finish, I’ll turn over their recommendations to independent economists and other smart people for evaluation. Then I’d open it up for public scrutiny and debate. Then I’d let Bill Clinton decide which reductions in government passed the common sense filter.
I’d use states as test laboratories for social policies, education plans, healthcare schemes, tax policies, and that sort of thing. If a state wants to try something new, and the change goes against current federal policies, I’d favor giving the state a temporary exception, and perhaps some funding, to try out its plan. I might even encourage another state to try the same plan, just so we have a control group (roughly speaking) to evaluate the results. After a reasonable test period, the state’s plan would either be terminated if it didn’t work, or encouraged in other states if it did. I see the federal government as an objective broker trying to maximize best practices in the states.
On the environment, I’d try to make America the least polluted place on Earth, and the most visited by tourists. A clean environment is a good way to keep healthcare costs down too. But I wouldn’t reflexively say no to pipelines and drilling and fracking if the cost-benefit ratio seems reasonable. We don’t live in a risk-free world, and windmills can’t do it all. At the same time, I’d also go hog wild for geothermal energy and other clean technologies so we can someday lower our collective risks.
Unlike most politicians, I’ll admit I’m in it for the money. I’ll only accept $1 per year in salary, but I think I can make it up later in book deals, licensing, and speaking gigs. I’ll be the most economical president ever.
If you don’t like any of the ideas I just explained, tell me why. There’s a good chance I’ll flip-flop to your point of view.