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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.
 
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Nov 17, 2011
True, soundman, but I'm willing to try. In today's government, the sheep gets to decide that everyone goes hungry.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
True, soundman, but I'm willing to try. In today's government, the sheep gets to decide that everyone goes hungry.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
Pick me for your running mate.

Reasons to pick me:

1. Regular American guy. I grew up in the country, but have lived in Chicago and Atlanta for the last 7 years.

2. Bachelor's Degree from Indiana University - average, but not ignorant.

3. I'm highly analytical and fully support your leadership methodology.

4. I'm also politically independent. I've voted for both major parties. I see certain things from all sides I can get with. If you line up all the topics on the table I'm vaguely on the right, but that could be a selling point.

5. I say way less dumb s*** than Biden. I couldn't be that bad.
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
you had me at "In essence, you'd be electing Bill Clinton for a third term."

lifelong republican, but i'm in.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
True, soundman, but I'm willing to try. In today's government, the sheep gets to decide that everyone goes hungry.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
Heck, I'd vote for you! No kidding.

Only two recommendations...

1. If people are smart enough to legally earn more than 50 million they should be allowed to give it to who they want. Call me a sucker for some kind of "I earned it fair-and-square" freedom.

2. Don't try to make gaffes. They will come all too easily on their own. Do your very best, but don't take yourself so seriously that you think the world will end if you screw up.

Adams 2012! Reviving earlier presidents' legacies!

 
 
Nov 17, 2011
"And then he voted"
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
I disgree with the vast majority of what you said...yet I will still vote for you. How sad a commentary on voting is that!

Umm, only suggestion, find some republican you do like and say you will appoint them to something. Also, Bill Clinton might have something to say about whether he advises you or not (or at least admits to it in public).
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
Scott, I'm not sure I can support your presidential bid, unless you can assure us that you'll still produce the Dilbert strip throughout your presidency, or at least the Sunday ones since that's the only ones I usually see.

With regard to your 10% spending cut and 10% tax hike, what about large number of people who pay no income taxes? Are you going to only increase their other payroll (social security/medicare) taxes, or are you going to increase their income taxes by some nominal amount?
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
You didn't mention how your lack of moral centre could be an advantage, but perhaps with the other candidates' examples there was no need to state the obvious.

I can see your tail wagging from here.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
I think there are more than two problems with your candidacy, but let me point out the first two:

1) Opinion polls change daily. Supreme court justices are elected for life.
2) There is nothing to prevent you, once you get into office, from negating every promise you made here. Power corrupts. If you want an example, I give you ever single president elected in my lifetime.

Given all that...I'd probably vote for you. I voted for my dog last time but she didn't win.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
You keep mentioning independent economists who can tell us what works and what does not. I'd love to read their books, journal articles, and blogs. Please publish their names.

In advance, thanks.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
mouffett: Your plan amounts to pure democracy which we are not, we are a representative republic. A purely democratic government turns into tyranny of the majority. The constitutional framers knew this and set up our system to avoid that. Would you have left 1960s civil rights legislation in the hands of the majority? The goal of a representative republic is liberty for all. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner, liberty is a well armed sheep.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
Thank you, Scott. I've had this idea for some time, and you've finally given me the opportunity to make it work.

I'd like to announce my candidacy for the US House of Representatives Virginia District 11 for 2012. My platform is as follows:

I will install, at my own personal expense, at least 2 internet connected personal computers each in the 25 public libraries in my district. My staff will consist solely of web developers and technical support staff to develop a secure site that will post information on pending legislation and ensure a secure manner in which registered voters can each vote, once, on all actions before the House. My vote will conform with the majority.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
Scott, You might want to read the book,

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By, New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner.

Then tell me again how great Clinton's economic policies were.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
If I was American (which I am not, thankfully), I would vote for you.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 17, 2011
How about Alfred E. Neuman for vice-president?
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
You've got my vote (although technically, as a Canadian, I can't vote. I just convince others who disagree with me to stay home, so it sort of counts).

Still you've seen my comments on your blog occasionally, if you want any help, let me know. I can't be an adviser since I'm not Bill Clinton, but I'm happy to be a volunteer to help out in any and every way and I'm also also happy to comment on your blog to help you bounce around your ideas (along with the rest of the faithful Dilbert fans).

As for your supply-side economics debate, while the Laffer curve has been thoroughly discredited as anything more but a theoretical quirk, there is empircal evidence to show that government revenues would peak somewhere between 65% and 70% even if it did exist. If you assume that the government burns the cash, the Laffer curve would peak around 50%, but even an inept government gives the cash to somebody, so the curve would be skewed to the right.

If you want proof, look at the percentage of GDP collected in taxes by Scandinavian countries relative to the US... obviously the US could stand to close a few loopholes and raise taxes 20% while gaining revenue.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
You've got my vote (although technically, as a Canadian, I can't vote. I just convince others who disagree with me to stay home, so it sort of counts).

Still you've seen my comments on your blog occasionally, if you want any help, let me know. I can't be an adviser since I'm not Bill Clinton, but I'm happy to be a volunteer to help out in any and every way and I'm also also happy to comment on your blog to help you bounce around your ideas (along with the rest of the faithful Dilbert fans).

As for your supply-side economics debate, while the Laffer curve has been thoroughly discredited as anything more but a theoretical quirk, there is empircal evidence to show that government revenues would peak somewhere between 65% and 70% even if it did exist. If you assume that the government burns the cash, the Laffer curve would peak around 50%, but even an inept government gives the cash to somebody, so the curve would be skewed to the right.

If you want proof, look at the percentage of GDP collected in taxes by Scandinavian countries relative to the US... obviously the US could stand to close a few loopholes and raise taxes 20% while gaining revenue.
 
 
Nov 17, 2011
My wife and I are both voting for you. Finally a candidate I can feel good about voting for. No amount of 'bad for every American' you might produce could compare to any available alternative I can see.
 
 
 
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