23 December 2016
What you bring to the Presidency is the ability to reach across the aisle, make workable deals, and drive them through Congress.
You also need to carry Americans with you. To do this, you must drive a wave of innovation that delivers mass benefits and a nationwide flourishing.
You need the entrepreneurs and wealthy investors to make this happen. However, well-rewarded blue collar jobs and middle class upwards mobility must be delivered. America must show leadership in the world.
America’s difficulties do not come from trade, or from Hispanic immigrants. America has the right to ensure other countries respect its intellectual property rights, and that foreign bureaucrats do not impede its exports. All countries have the right to control their borders. However, you need to deal with the real causes of America’s malaise.
The American tax and regulatory system has favoured the existing wealthy and powerful, and led to corporate welfare and economic stagnation. It has destroyed the self-esteem of millions of Americans through eroding meaningful employment and the sense that people have control over their lives.
American businesses used to lead the world in innovation to deliver great new products to customers, and to create jobs that give people pride as well as better lives. Such businesses were based on the “retain and invest” model.
Since the 1970s, these businesses have been degraded by the “maximize shareholder value’ model. This has led to share buy-backs and excessive CEO benefits, at the expense of long-term wealth creation. Banks drifted away from their core lending functions to developing complex derivatives disconnected from the real world. Inept regulation and tax policy allowed this to happen.
The American education system needs to be upgraded and made more equitable. Vocational education linked to academic content needs to be expanded. Social and ethnic background should not become social predestination. Invest in young Americans! Give every American child a Great America capability development account, to be used only for education, business and home ownership investment. This should be favoured over tax cuts.
US decision-making has been gridlocked through politics, regulation, and litigation. You have broken the political gridlock. Regulation is needed to protect the environment, working conditions, health and safety. However, too much corporate welfare, agricultural subsidies, occupational licensing, and FDA and other regulation burdens Americans and stifles their innovation. Cut through it with well-targeted secateurs, not a chainsaw!
America’s litigious environment is more about coupon-clipping and deadweight loss than it is about justice. Test some new ideas. Look at New Zealand’s Accident Compensation scheme.
In healthcare, ask yourself why other western democracies have better health coverage, and why it is far cheaper. Retain the best elements of “Obamacare”. Look at a single-payer system. Learn from what New Zealand has done with its Pharmac model.
Invest in a massive upgrading of America infrastructure. Lead America’s transformation to a sustainable society that manages through climate change and bullet-proofs its future. This means millions of job making electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines, smart grid technology and biomaterials. This is far more job-rich and technology-intensive than fossil fuel production. It would break the power of oil producers in countries hostile to democratic values. You can pay for future tax cuts from the wealth streams the above strategy would generate in future.
Simplify the American tax code, and if you must cut taxes do so to benefit the working poor and middle classes. A destination-based consumption tax and elimination of interest tax deductions could level the trade playing field, keep jobs in America, and discourage debt-fuelled real estate and financial sector growth.
Work constructively with China and Russian, since common interests are greater than differences. Avoid future entanglements, and foster potential new friends such as Iran. Deal with international issues in a constitutional way that respects international law. The breakdown of trade and of arms limitation agreements would be catastrophic for everyone.
You have your chance to make America Great. History will not forgive failure, so let’s make sure it canonizes your success.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
Wellington, New Zealand