IVN Contributor Bianca Ciotti had the opportunity to conduct an in-depth interview with TJ O'Hara, the Modern Whig Party candidate for President of the United States in 2012. In the following interview, O'Hara lays out his philosophy of government and detailed solutions to issues that matter most to voters today, especially America's vast and growing number of independent voters.
TJ O'Hara covers his philosophy of government and "meritocracy" as interpreted from the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution; campaign finance, including his commitment to reject funds from PACs and corporations; foreign policy and the United Nations; health care, tort reform, and the Affordable Care Act; and what he would do to revitalize the American economy and bring jobs back.
It's a lengthy interview, but well-worth the read for an independent perspective on federal public policy from a third party candidate. No sound-bites here. Uncut and unfiltered, the following is Ciotti's full interview with TJ O'Hara of the Modern Whig Party:
1. One of the founding pillars of the Modern Whig Party is "Meritocracy." Can you explain, using examples, how the party would apply this principle to the current political process?
While I am honored to have received the first presidential endorsement of the Modern Whig Party, I do not believe that I have the authority to speak on behalf of the Party. However, I can speak on behalf of myself.
In that regard, I would encourage everyone to become more familiar with the following passage of the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The reason I recommend considering this sentence is because it provides insight into the basis upon which the concept of a “Meritocracy” is founded.
First, there isn’t an asterisk after the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” In that regard, we should not distinguish between classes and categories of people.
The parties like to segment people so they can more effectively market to them by isolating characteristics that are common to the group and hammering away at how only that given party cares about the group and how completely insensitive the other party is to the needs of that group. It’s a “divide and conquer” strategy. Once you recognize that the distinctions are only used to manipulate beliefs that influence voting behavior, the classifications become largely irrelevant.
What we should be committed to provide is an equal opportunity to all. Then, in a “Meritocracy,” each individual would be able to invest his or her own unique combination of time, talent, intelligence, discipline, effort, etc. to craft the future he or she chooses to pursue.
Note that I used the word “pursue” because the only “unalienable Right” that is qualified by the Declaration of Independence is “Happiness.” There is no governmental guarantee of “Happiness” nor should there be. Only the “pursuit of Happiness” is stated to be a right. To give the government the responsibility of guaranteeing “Happiness” is to necessarily give the government the authority to define it.
“Happiness” is best left to the definition of each individual. What provides “Happiness” to one individual may fall far short of what another individual may choose to “pursue.” This is the very essence of a “Meritocracy.”
For example: we may have similar talents, intelligence, and opportunities, but your aspirations may be higher than mine. If you work harder than I do and better apply your talents to pursue a goal that you desire, you should be rewarded accordingly.
Correspondingly, I may place less emphasis on recognition and material goods than you do. I may choose to measure my “Happiness” based upon free time, peace of mind, (etc.). While I may not achieve your monetary success or perceived status, I am still successful within the framework of how I choose to define “Happiness.”
The problem is that our society has become reliant upon the parties’ definition of “Happiness” and their class and category-baiting behavior. We have embraced a default position that the government knows what is best for us; that the ruling elite are somehow more intelligent than we are and that they know what is in our best interests and will protect us in that regard.
Perhaps we should read the next sentence of the Declaration of Independence: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Government’s only role is to secure our right to live and to have the “Liberty” to pursue “Happiness” in a world that recognizes our innate equality.
If our current political process recognized and respected this limitation, our government would be focused on promoting a “Meritocracy” rather than trying to define, and hence limit, the “Liberty” we enjoy and the paths we should take in “pursuit of Happiness.”We would be far better served by a federal government that remained singularly focused on its responsibility to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States” under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution rather than one that seems fixated upon expanding its influence into the lives of its citizens. Perhaps then, instead of using taxpayer dollars to support unmeasured programs that merely mask the symptoms of problems that impede equal opportunity and the development of a legitimate “Meritocracy,” the Government would be in a position to identify the root cause of such problems and eliminate them once and for all.
2. You made a commitment to refuse funding through PACs and campaign committees-- how has this affected your campaign as you compete with partisan candidates with massive amounts of funding? From what main sources are you receiving your funding?
First, allow me make a semantic distinction: I am not “competing” with partisan candidates. I do not view this as a “game” to be won. Instead, I look upon the office of President of the United States with reverence. Perhaps that is one of the greatest contrasts of my candidacy. I consider this to be an opportunity to serve my country in the greatest civil service capacity afforded to a civilian rather than as a position of personal achievement or as a political trophy to be leveraged by a party.
My candidacy is a plea for a return to a level of integrity that is befitting the office of President of the United States. With regard to my decision to refuse funding from PACs and campaign committees, I chose to do what was right rather than what was convenient or personally beneficial.
There is a nuance to the voluntary campaign finance reform that I imposed on my candidacy. In the past, a few other candidates publicly eschewed PAC funds. While those campaigns refused to receive PAC funds directly, they most certainly received them indirectly through contributions and political advertising provided by their National Committees and a wide variety of other campaign committees. You see, the National Committees and those other campaign committees directly and openly solicited and received PAC funding, which then inured to the benefit of the presidential campaign of those candidates. The term “money-laundering” might come to mind in any sector other than politics.
The sad truth is that the presidency is for sale, and it most often goes to the highest bidder. In 2008, President Obama spent nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to “win” the presidency; approximately twice as much as Senator McCain had even raised. This year, I receive about four solicitations daily from his campaign committee begging for contributions, running opportunity drawings for “Dinner with the President,” and offering bumper stickers, mugs, tee-shirts and other items in return for a donation to his campaign because he “may be outspent.”
Is this how we should determine who serves as President of the United States? I prefer to offer a stark contrast: a candidacy that is singularly based upon my leadership qualities and the merit of my solutions as opposed to my fund-raising capabilities and willingness to besmirch the office by trying to buy it.
If one must use the word “win” in conjunction with my candidacy, then it should be used in an entirely different sense. My campaign will be an unbridled success if it helps create a more informed electorate and restores at least a hope of returning integrity to the electoral process.
As to the question, “From what main sources are you receiving your funding,” there is only one source: citizens who are eligible to vote. This elegantly precludes PACs and campaign committees. It also reflects my belief that only eligible citizens may legally vote, so only eligible citizens should be allowed to contribute to a political campaign.
In this regard, we should reflect the flawed logic behind the need for PACs to filter corporate, union, and other organizational money to political campaigns. It is a truism that no such entity can accurately reflect the will of its members. At best, it can reflect the position of the majority of its members. At worst, it may only reflect the opinion of its leadership. The reality is that each member has the right to contribute independently and to cast a vote as he or she so chooses. There is no need for additional representation on a group basis other than to create the opportunity to exert undue political influence. I have chosen to insulate my candidacy from such influence.
I also capped donations at $100 per eligible voter in an attempt to further insulate myself from any inappropriate influence. Under this restriction, Warren Buffet and a common laborer have essentially the same economic clout. While the current administration awarded about 80 percent of senior White House staff positions and nearly 50 percent of ambassadorships to “bundlers” who raised $500 thousand or more in the last campaign, I will happily make appointments to those positions on a basis of merit. I think that is what America deserves.
3. You have suggested that the US withdraw from the UN if it should refuse to take a more active role in the global peace keeping process. As the only first world power to withdraw from the UN, what effect would this have on the global political climate? Many would consider this withdrawal as an act of isolationism-- how would you respond to this point of view?
I believe that the United Nations needs to take a more proactive role within the limited framework upon which it was formed. Interestingly enough, President Wilson was the most aggressive proponent of the League of Nations, which preceded the UN, yet the United States was never a member of that organization.
The reality is that the United States presently funds approximately 22 percent of the operating budget of the UN and 27 percent of its peacekeeping forces. In return, the UN remains inherently ineffective.
My suggestion is to establish clear, measurable expectations for the UN and to express clear, measurable consequences with regard to its failure to make discernible progress toward those metrics.
In recent years, our country has increasingly faced charges by the UN of human rights violations pertaining to issues such as our efforts to address illegal immigration and the administration’s use of drones. This is not to suggest that we should be above such deliberation, but rather that it should be reasonably based.
In the case of illegal immigration, we are being judged by countries whose immigration laws are far more pernicious than ours while their systems remain unchallenged. With regard to our use of drones, we are being reprimanded by regimes that practice eugenics and permit unfathomable punishments. Does this scenario appear to be rational to anyone?
The UN’s Human Rights Council is replete with members of questionable cultural models. For example: Sudan is a member of that Council and sits in judgment over the United States while orchestrating genocide in Darfur. Similarly, Iran sits on the Commission on the Status of Women while continuing to permit stoning them. Are these appointments reflective of a balanced approach to maintaining peace throughout the world or are they political in nature?
I am not suggesting the wholesale abandonment of our involvement in the United Nations; rather I am suggesting that we work toward fixing the current model, which can only be described as “broken.” If the organization is to survive, it must evolve. If it chooses to ignore its charter, we should disengage.
This is not an act of isolationism. It is an example of properly defining a readily apparent problem, identifying the root cause, and selecting from among the available alternatives.
The United States has no constitutional or moral authority to serve as the police force of the world. Conversely, that is ostensibly the core mission of the United Nations.
Too often, the United States has failed when it has tried to supplant the United Nations in this regard. For example: we intervened in Libya upon the president’s pronouncement that he “refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” Yet, to date, we continue to ignore “the images of slaughter and mass graves” in Syria… or Mexico for that matter. That is because our nation is not immune from making decisions that are based upon economic and political expediency rather than a consistent foreign policy. A more focused and effective United Nations could fill that void.
In effect, I think the establishment of clear and measurable expectations for the United States’ continued involvement in the UN would actually stabilize the global political environment in that it would force a well-reasoned response. Either the behavior of the UN would match the premise upon which it was founded, or it would need to learn to move forward of its own accord.
This would not preclude the United States from continuing to participate in humanitarian relief efforts with the UN and other nations. It would not preclude the United States from sharing military resources or taking independent action in circumstances that directly threatened the United States or were deemed to be so unconscionable as to shock the senses of a civil society (a holocaust, for example). It should be noted that the United States could always be counted upon to engage with the world before the United Nations came into existence, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that our nation wouldn’t continue to be every bit as consistent in its global commitment regardless of whether it remained a member of the UN.
4. What are your thoughts on "Obamacare," and how would you reform the current healthcare system? What distinctions would you draw between your plan and the policy agenda of the two major party candidates?
I prefer to refer to the legislation in question as the Affordable Care Act. I find the more colloquial term to be divisive from one perspective and arrogant from another. In any event, I feel that the ACA is an ill-conceived solution to a legitimate problem.
Since healthcare comprises about one-sixth of our nation’s economy, it certainly merits serious attention. The first step is to clarify the problem, which I believe to have three core components: access, quality, and cost. The second step is to understand the interrelated aspect of these three components (i.e. quality impacts cost; cost impacts access; access impacts quality; etc.). The third step is to apply subject matter expertise to the matter and resolve it.
The ACA addressed the components, but did so in a random manner that was driven more by political expedience than a sense of solving the fundamental problems. There were a myriad of opportunities to increase access by reducing cost without negatively impacting quality, but they were largely ignored.
For example: tort reform represented one of the easiest areas to pursue in the interest of reducing costs to expand access without necessarily impacting quality. It was entirely disregarded because of the political influence of trial attorneys.
Another example would be in the area of fraud. IBM’s then-CEO, Sam Palimisano, met with President Obama and offered to provide IBM systems and consultants to identify the sources of fraud within the healthcare administration system that were projected to represent approximately $900 billion in savings (or nearly the entire originally-projected cost of the ACA). Did I mention that the offer was made on a pro bono basis (i.e., at no cost to the taxpayer)? Mr. Palimisano never received the courtesy of a reply. The American people should justifiably ask, “Why?”
Then, there is the matter of creating 159 new federal agencies to administer the ACA. Each federal agency will require infrastructure to promulgate regulations; each federal agency will require infrastructure to monitor compliance with those regulations; and each federal agency will require infrastructure to prosecute those who are non-compliant …at a cost of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Add to that figure the costs that are added to private sector healthcare to remain in compliance with the ever-increasing level of regulation. Then, understand that all of those costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer.
With respect to quality, the ACA was devoid of any method for ensuring that there would be qualified doctors and healthcare providers to handle the expected surge in non-emergency care. Add the unrelated “pork” that was added to the ACA to secure the necessary votes as well as the money that was redirected from Medicare to reduce the CBO score to something just south of $1 trillion, and you have a poorly conceived solution that will exacerbate the problems over time rather than fix them.
A better starting point would have been to assess the issue with a team of healthcare experts rather than marginally-informed legislators. We should have pulled together a team of physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers, pharmacists, insurance professionals, healthcare administrators, drug and medical research professionals, medical malpractice attorneys, and individuals with extensive patient experience to identify opportunities to improve the quality of care, to increase operating efficiencies, and to reduce the cost of providing healthcare. Then, that team would have been in a position to identify and prioritize the objectives of comprehensive healthcare reform (e.g., the elimination of vexatious litigation, the elimination of preexisting condition restrictions, etc.) and present them to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In turn, each issue would be considered separately with an up-or-down vote and that consensus would be used to build a bipartisan bill that would pass both chambers.
Among other components, my recommended plan would include medical malpractice tort reform. This would reduce the use of unnecessary procedures, prescriptions, and tests that are associated with the defensive practice of medicine that currently inflates the cost of healthcare without improving its quality.
To eliminate or reduce the filing of frivolous lawsuits that needlessly increase the cost of medical malpractice insurance, we could adopt a “loser pays” scenario relative to court costs and legal fees, and a “double or nothing” approach to appeals (as other countries presently use). If the appellant’s argument wins on appeal, all fines, etc. are dropped. If the appellant loses but presents a well-argued position on appeal, the original fines, etc. stand. If the appellant loses and is deemed to have presented a frivolous argument on appeal, the fines, etc. are doubled (an approach that would significantly reduce the federal court case load as well).
I would instruct the Department of Justice to aggressively prosecute medical, pharmaceutical and insurance fraud and to prosecute violators to the fullest extent allowed by law. If IBM’s offer still remains, I would immediately accept it to assist in this regard.
I would encourage the FDA to explore restricting pharmaceutical companies from advertising prescription medications to the general public. This would reduce the cost of prescription medications by eliminating advertising expense and reducing the public’s dependence upon brand names. It would also place the focus of prescription marketing where is it should reside: within the trained medical community.
I would require the FDA to evaluate its regulations with regard to clinical trials to determine whether there are more efficient and effective ways to conduct clinical trials. I would also direct the FDA to evaluate restrictions on the voluntary participation of terminally ill patients in clinical trials to establish sufficient sample sizes and accelerate research and development cycles.
With regard to Medicare / Medicaid reform, I would encourage Congress to guarantee that the reasonable reliance interests of those who have paid into Medicare / Medicaid and are within an agreed period of eligibility are fulfilled (as an example: the median age at which more than 50% of one’s lifetime contributions will have been made). Congress created that element of our healthcare system’s problem and should be required to take responsibility for it.
In that regard, Congress may need to de-fund other non-essential government programs to the degree necessary to supplement any projected shortfall in Medicare / Medicaid. It will need to determine the impact of comprehensive healthcare reform (including tort reform and the identification and prosecution of fraud) on the long-term viability of Medicare / Medicaid. If additional reform is required to “cure” Medicare / Medicaid, then such adjustments should be made on an inverse-age basis (i.e. the scale of changes should be inversely related to the age of the participant to provide the greatest period of time to adjust to such required changes and the greatest ability to reset expectations).
In recognition of the fact that healthcare-associated illnesses (e.g., CDF, MRSA, VRE, etc.) contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality rates in healthcare facilities, I would encourage Congress to pass government assistance reform that would provide public sector workers to support health facility maintenance. This public sector resource could be used to expand sterilization, disinfection, and laundry efforts within healthcare facilities. Reducing the related morbidity and mortality rates would save lives, reduce healthcare costs, and provide meaningful jobs.
I would also encourage Congress to evaluate the impact of labor regulations as they apply to in-home healthcare providers. Today’s labor laws (with respect to hours, breaks, minimum wage, etc.) have a disproportionately negative impact on in-home healthcare providers. The in-home healthcare industry will increasingly become an engine of job growth as the supply of providers will need to rise to meet the demand that will be created by the demographic shifts in age of which we are already aware.
Please note that these solutions would generally not require any new agencies (and would eliminate the need for the 159 new agencies that were created by the ACA), they would radically reduce costs (and thereby increase accessibility), they would improve the quality of care offered (based upon redeployment of capital otherwise wasted on compliance as well as the improvement of sterile environments, etc.), and that all of this would be accomplished at little to no additional cost to the taxpayer (as compared to the approximate $1.6 trillion current CBO score attributed to the ACA).
That is not a comprehensive overview of how my approach would be different, but I believe it provides a relatively strong glimpse as to the types of differences I would pursue.
5. In light of recent, dismal job reports, how would you stimulate job creation and reduce unemployment as president? And again, what distinctions would you draw between your plan and the policy agenda of the two major party candidates?
The greatest distinction I can draw is one of approach. The party candidates are required to serve as past party presidents have always served; bowing to the tenets of their respective party’s platform. After all, the parties will have raised and spent hundreds of millions of dollars on their campaigns. As a result, party presidents have to spend an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer money traveling around the country to promote their party’s best interests. I can recapture that wasted time and money and redirect it toward addressing the people’s best interests: solving our nation’s most pressing issues of stimulating job growth and reducing unemployment. It’s called “leadership by example.”
Rather than traveling around the country at an exorbitant cost to the taxpayers to fundraise for a party or to campaign for myself or on behalf of another Party candidate, I will actually serve as a full-time president. I will also be able to consider the full range of potential solutions to job growth and unemployment rather than just those that comply with a party’s fundamental principles. As a result, I will have far more time and flexibility to fix our nation’s problems rather than to be preoccupied with fixing the blame.
In that regard, allow me to make several operational distinctions. I will focus on what I can control through the authority granted under Article II of the Constitution rather than to pretend that I have authority that is otherwise reserved to the Legislative Branch under Article I. Second, I will concentrate on those elements that are controllable by, or at least subject to the influence of the president. Third, I will concentrate on inspiring change within the private sector so that it learns how to more effectively function without requiring the intervention of government.
Under Article II, I would have control over the operational aspects of the departments and agencies of the federal government. Each department and agency would be required to lead by example. The federal government needs to demonstrate a renewed level of fiscal responsibility before it has the moral authority to impose additional costs upon its citizens.
I would immediately ask Congress to renew the Reorganization Act, which had been in effect for approximately 50 years but was allowed to lapse in 1984. A renewal of that act would allow me to consolidate departments and agencies while maintaining a degree of Congressional oversight. I would use that authority to recommend consolidations that would streamline the executive branch of government, reduce cost, and improve operating efficiencies.
Beyond consolidation, I would appoint a “working” cabinet that would be tasked with driving additional operating efficiencies and effectiveness into the remaining departments and agencies rather than giving speeches on my behalf. We would immediately begin to implement the recommendations of GAO-11-318SP (Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue) that was released on March 1, 2011 and GAO-12-342 SP (2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue) that was issued on February 28, 2012, but which have been largely ignored by the current administration. Those reports identify hundreds of billions of dollars of government waste.
My administration would be directed to further eliminate redundant and conflicting regulations to reduce the burden on private sector businesses. It would also be directed to put performance metrics in place to accelerate licensing and other regulatory requirements (i.e. business file for licenses, etc. and receive a response from the associate agency within a reasonable and well-defined period of time). These regulations, along with the uncertain state of our tax code, have paralyzed job growth and kept about $3 trillion in capital on the sidelines.
Speaking of taxes, while I believe we must radically simplify our tax code and move to a flat-tax for businesses and individuals that funds a federal budget. In turn, the federal budget should be indexed to GDP to provide a cap on spending that is commensurate with our nation’s economic performance. However, that level of legislative change will take time to broker. In the interim, there are steps that could be implemented immediately.
With corporate tax rates fluctuating between 25-35 percent, I would encourage Congress to strip away the loopholes that allow a company like General Electric to avoid paying any taxes on over $14 billion in profits while moving tens of thousands of jobs offshore. Instead, we should provide a tax incentive equal to a 10 percent rate reduction for every 10 percent of US-based job expansion a company creates (i.e., a 10% increase in U.S.-based employees would equate to a 2.5% tax incentive given a 25% base rate, etc.). This would provide a disproportionate tax incentive to small businesses, which are the economic engine of the United States, since it is easier for them to grow proportionately than it is for large businesses. However, it would also provide a huge, cumulative dollar incentive to larger, high-profit corporations to bring jobs back onshore as their other tax advantages dissipate.
I would also encourage Congress to consider approving a tax incentive for hiring those who are receiving unemployment. This would not require any additional taxpayer funds but would rather redirect those that are already accrued to supplement incomes for the unemployed. By reintroducing those individuals into the workforce, we would not only reduce unemployment, but we would expand our nation’s tax base.
While there are a wide variety of additional steps that we would take within the government because they are controllable, I would also work to identify private sector solutions that require little or no government intervention. For example, I wrote an article for the Communities of The Washington Times entitled Mr. President: You’d sell 14,000 buildings; I’d use them. In it, I describe how the president’s political solution to dispose of 14,000 unoccupied federal buildings is to sell them. Of course, this would be done in a “down” market in which few buyers exist and even fewer banks would be inclined to finance the transaction.
Instead, I describe how the buildings could be repurposed within three segments of the private sector: entrepreneurial start-ups, charities, and community college/trade schools. Each segment would have the opportunity to use the properties without having to pay rent or establish separate accounts to secure the lease. This frees a tremendous amount of operating capital that can be redeployed to accelerate R&D, time-to-market, and job growth in the entrepreneurial segment; reduce cost, expand services, and grow jobs in the charity segment; and, reduce cost, provide training that is designed to reduce unemployment, and grow jobs in the community college/trade school segment... at virtually no cost to the taxpayer.
Correspondingly, I would also create other opportunities for skills-based training that redirected those who are receiving government assistance toward discernible jobs that contribute in a meaningful way to our society. We have to break the cycle of dependence, restore hope, and reinforce pride so that future generations can recapture the entrepreneurial spirit that once was so prevalent in our country.
This approach would also help address other issues our nation has with respect to its eroding infrastructure. These citizens could learn new skills as they repaired, maintained and updated our road, rail, and airport systems, which in turn would yield environmental and economic dividends through the more efficient transportation of goods.
Similar opportunities exist in other vital areas such as healthcare as I have mentioned before. We just need to identify and fulfill them.
There is also another economic reality that is crippling our nation. The income gap between the middle and upper socio-economic classes in the United States is growing at an alarming rate. One party chooses to ignore it, and the other party chooses to mask it rather than fix it. To pretend it isn’t a problem is to ignore the truth. To pretend that the problem will be remedied by “taxing the rich” is to ignore its root cause as well as the mathematical certitude that the problem cannot be resolved that way.
Luckily, this is an example of where an informed private sector can address a problem far more efficiently and effectively than the government can. It just takes real leadership.
First, understand that it is the reward structure within the private sector that is driving the disparity. Second, the electorate must learn to distinguish between privately-held companies and publicly-traded companies.
Privately-held companies tend to be small businesses, which even Democrats and Republicans agree serves as the economic engine of the United States. Those companies are generally run by individuals who have made great sacrifices and taken monumental personal risks to achieve their success. Leave those people alone. They are, in fact, proven job creators.
Conversely, the senior executives at publicly-traded companies have benefited by an unwarranted paradigm shift. Much as has occurred in professional sports in which salaries have soared due to a fear of losing a player to another team, so has the mindset of corporate Boards and Compensation Committees degenerated. The salaries of publicly-held corporate executives have increased disproportionately over the last ten-plus years relative to their actual contribution. A CEO’s compensation in this segment now approaches 360 times the average income in the United States, which is absurd.
Taxing these individuals at a higher rate is a political charade. It does not address the root cause, and it is only done to redistribute the wealth to another privileged class: the two major parties.
So, here’s what an informed electorate can do without the government.
Publicly-traded companies are owned by their shareholders. If the shareholders were to demand that their Boards and the Compensation Committees stop escalating the compensation packages of their senior executives or risk being replaced themselves, you would be amazed at how quickly the situation would be resolved.
There is also a collateral benefit. Let’s say that a CEO earning $55 million per year is replaced with one earning $5 million (still a princely sum). The corporations would have freed $50 million in capital that could be used to accelerate job growth. In the alternative, it could be used to procure state-of-the-art equipment, or to advance R&D, or to invest in a myriad of other opportunities that would lower costs, accelerate time to market, or increase market share… all of which would be accretive to economic expansion.
If the money wasn’t redeployed internally, the corporation could distribute it in the form of dividends. The recipients of those dividends would have three options: (1) to spend them on goods and services, which would create jobs and expand the economy; (2) save them, which would increase the capital that banks have to reinvest and, hence, stimulate job growth and economic expansion; or (3) reinvest the dividends in other companies, which again would create jobs and expand the economy. That is how balanced business systems are supposed to work. We simply have allowed our business system to become imbalanced.
As a full-time president with private sector experience, I will have the time and experience to work with labor and management to identify these types of opportunities. I will also work with the private sector and our educational institutions to establish relationships that will build the type of competitive advantages we need to continue to lead the world in future generations.
For example: I would work with universities, private sector corporations, and philanthropists to establish and fund cooperative development projects that create internships or cooperative employment programs for students. These programs could be designed, not only to advance R&D in areas such as alternative energy or biomedicine, but to provide valuable real-world experience for the students as well as to establish potential post-graduate employment relationships between those students and the corporations.
When appropriate, we could interject government resources to accelerate the process. Specifically, we could release declassified technologies that were developed at taxpayer expense to accelerate and enhance development cycles. This would not cost any additional taxpayer money and, instead, would serve to increase the return on our original investment. If such technology became an integral part of an ongoing solution, there may even be an opportunity to establish a new royalty stream in which the government could participate on behalf of the people to help reduce our national debt and/or our tax burden.
There are a plethora of other issues that are every bit as relevant to job growth and economic expansion as what I have mentioned. Foreign policy, trade negotiations, our energy and environmental policies, the possibility of auditing of the Federal Reserve to better understand the inflation we will inevitably be facing, and a revisiting of the efficacy of Glass-Steagall, Sarbanes-Oxley, TARP, the Stimulus Package, and Dodd-Frank, among others, all merit further discussion.
The reality is that every single issue and decision impacts the economy in some way. Our current political environment prefers sound bites rather than real solutions because sound bites are easier to market, they’re easier for the candidates to memorize, and they’re easier for the general public to remember on Election Day. Unfortunately, they rarely solve our problems, and four years from now, we will be wondering why we haven’t made progress.
Our nation desperately needs real leaders. They may not have the name recognition of those who have spent their careers seeking personal recognition or those who are willing to sacrifice their ability to exercise independent judgment in return for party money and support, but we need them just the same. We need real leaders, who have the experience and skills that are necessary to address the types of complex, interrelated problems that challenge us today, and we need real leaders, who will do what’s in the best interests of the people because that is what the job of President of the United States demands. That is the type of leadership I offer.