Our country is in deep trouble and our politicians are making things worse. It's time for bold new leadership to fix America.
Why I'm Running
Our country is at a critical juncture. Twenty-nine million Americans are out of work or short on work. For most of those with jobs, real wage growth is a distant memory. Younger Americans are searching for the American dream and finding no-help-wanted signs. And millions of retirees are reeling from huge losses they've taken on their homes and life savings. The few doing well are doing very well, with income and wealth growing more unequal over time.
Our ongoing economic nightmare was triggered by Wall Street's systematic production and sale of trillions of dollars in toxic assets. The discovery of this fraud ignited a massive financial run, leveling one financial giant after another. Overnight, everyone expected bad times and took steps to produce that collective outcome. The result is a massive coordination failure with no one wiling to hire because they think no one else is willing to hire.
The long-term economic picture is equally troubling. Countries that don't save, don't invest. And countries that don't invest, don't grow. Our country's national saving and net domestic investment rates both stood at 15 percent in 1950. Today, we are saving literally nothing, meaning we have nothing to invest. Without foreigners investing in the U.S. (which explains our current account deficit), our investment rate would also be zero rather than a meager 4 percent.
The decline in U.S. saving is no accident. Our government has spent decades taking ever larger sums from young savers, be they poor, middle class, or rich, and transferring them to old spenders, be they poor, middle class, or rich. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have been the central vehicles of this Ponzi Scheme, notwithstanding the enormous good these programs have done.
By the careful choice of words, Congress has kept Uncle Sam's massive obligations to pay current and future retirees their pensions and healthcare benefits off the books. Today, our government is utterly broke. Based on the Congressional Budget Office's latest projections, the fiscal gap separating the present value of projected non-interest spending plus the official debt and the present value of projected taxes totals a colossal $211 trillion.
This is the mountain of obligations we ignore while focusing on the $10 trillion molehill of official debt held by the public. Our fiscal gap is 14 times GDP -- a larger ratio than prevails in Greece or, it appears, any other developed country. Eliminating the fiscal gap under the current fiscal system requires either an immediate and permanent 64 percent increase in all federal taxes or a 40 percent cut in all federal non-interest spending or some combination of these horribly painful remedies. Delaying such adjustments leaves an even bigger bill for our children.
We need fundamental structural reforms of our fiscal and financial institutions to kick start our economy and protect our children from an economic future we would not seek for ourselves. Our tax system is a disgrace. Our Social Security system is an inefficient and inequitable morass of incomprehensible rules. Moreover, Social Security is in worse fiscal shape, even counting its trust fund, than in 1983 when the Greenspan Commission "fixed" it. The direct costs of Medicare and Medicaid and the indirect cost of the tax subsidy to employer-provided health insurance continue to explode, and the new Health Exchanges, while promising to cover tens of millions of uninsured, could easily face explosive costs. We have also squandered America's youth and treasure in two wars that went far beyond the imperatives of national security.
The 2,300-page Dodd-Frank bill retained our "trust me," highly-leveraged banking system. As a consequence, our banking system stands poised to re-detonate, whether triggered again by fraud or by a collapse of U.S. or European government bond markets. Finally, our energy policy continues to endanger our children and our globe and enrich our enemies.
Our future lies in one place and one place only -- in the well-being of our children. Our sacred duty as adults is to protect their welfare. We have failed in that responsibility. Our politicians, in both parties, care, it seems, much more about the next election than the next generation.
The time has come to honesty recognize our problems and fix America from the ground up. We need solutions that are bold, efficient, transparent, sustainable, and fair, both across and within generations. I am running for President to advance these solutions. I am a father, a professor of economics, a small business owner, a consultant to companies and governments, and a columnist. I am not a politician. I'm an independent.
The red Republicans and blue Democrats are hopelessly deadlocked, blind to their common purpose, and unable to listen to one another, let alone hear the other side's concerns. They are wasting our country's time, endangering our country's future, and are unable to advance the straightforward red + blue = purple solutions available to fix our country's problem. My platform, posted at www.thepurpleplans.org, lays out six simple, but fundamental reforms for taxes, the financial system, healthcare, Social Security, energy, and generational policy. I will be adding additional purple plans covering jobs, education, immigration, and foreign policy in the days ahead.
Please examine the Purple Plans at www.thepurpleplans.org and endorse them if you can. Endorsing the Purple Plans neither requires nor implies you are endorsing me as a candidate. To endorse my candidacy, please register at www.americanselect.org (answering the priority questions is not required), retrieve the email sent to you as part of registration and click on the link that verifies its receipt, return to www.americanselect.org, click My Account, click on Voter Security and complete the questions, and finally click support for me at http://www.americanselect.org/profile-candidate/365903/draft-status. I need 50,000 clicks on my name to become a candidate for Americans Elects' primary. Also please consider contributing to my campaign and spreading the word of my candidacy to everyone you know.