Letter to Donald Trump

23 December 2016

Dear Donald

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.

Peter Winsley

Wellington, New Zealand

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About Peter Winsley

I’ve worked in policy and economics-related fields in New Zealand for many years. With qualifications and publications in economics, management and literature, I take a multidisciplinary perspective to how people’s lives can be enhanced. I love nature, literature, music, tramping, boating and my family.
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2 Responses to Letter to Donald Trump

  1. David Lillis says:

    Peter.
    An interesting letter that may get read by some of the right people in the US if you put it out there on the Net. I was expecting yet another anti-Trump diatribe, but instead you gave a thoughtful recipe for enhancing the wellbeing of the US and prompting the US to take a leading role in world politics and economic development. Trump is not everyone’s idea of a President, but, now that he’s there, it’s better to present good ideas for a peaceful and prosperous future than to engage in yet more vitriol. Perhaps, as Reagan and Schwarzenegger did, he will prove to have some positive sides to his character, that he is willing to listen to good people, and that there is possibly more to him than bigotry and bluster. Possibly, not all that he says is spiteful. Possibly, illegal immigration and unfettered, uncontrolled immigration (inviting in many who have their own selfish political, economic and religious agendas) really do pose serious risks, and not only to the US. Look again at what is happening in Germany, Sweden and other european countries, and consider what some of those people are willing to do to all of us. Wherever he chooses to live, I do not want my own son to live in a world where he fears daily for the safety of his own family, fifty years from now. We must not tolerate the far right and our own home-grown bigots, but neither can we afford to remain blind to the real menace posed today by fundamentalist religions that are set in the middle ages, that espouse violence, that see women as second class people, that promulgate hatred for everyone not like themselves, that justify murder, and that seek to impose their will and rule of law on everyone around them.

    Meanwhile, we do not seem to be mindful of the need to develop sustainable energy for the future. We have known about peak oil and our polluted lands, oceans and air for many decades, but we continue to burn oil at an ever faster pace and continue to damage our world. The aircraft and vehicles that roll off the assembly lines in 2017 are more efficient than ever before, but they continue to multiply in number, and ever increasing populations of human beings on our only planet continue to enlarge our capacity to cripple our environment permanently. Any child born today may live to see New Year 2117. What will our world look like then after another century at the present level of affluence? The solution, if there is one, lies in good people providing positive intellectual and political leadership to the world’s elite leaders.

    David

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