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Laurence J. Kotlikoff

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Time for a Serious Third Party Candidate

Posted: 04/10/2012 11:15 pm

Now that the presidential race has come down to a choice between two candidates that most Americans don't love, representing two parties that most Americans don't like, it's time to consider an alternative -- a serious third-party candidate who isn't a politician, who won't say or do anything to get elected, who understands the grave short- and long-run problems we face, who has simple and clear ways to fix them, and who can work with both parties to reach agreement.

I'm such a candidate. I'm running for President on the Americans Elect platform (www.americanselect.org). My campaign site is www.kotlikoff2012.org, and I need your help.

I'm an economist, a researcher, a small businessman, a consultant, a columnist, and an author. But my best title is father, and like you, I'm worried about our kids and the future we're handing them.

Our country's broke, saving nothing, investing next to nothing, growing slowly, becoming more unequal, and turning on itself. The American dream is now a nightmare of unemployment, underemployment, derisory real wage growth, huge deficits, massive unfunded entitlements, educational failure, environmental damage, financial malfeasance, and stifling government bureaucracy.

We didn't sign up for this, and we don't need to stand for it. There is much more consensus in our country about what needs to be fixed and how to fix it than the incessant, childish fighting between Republicans and Democrats suggests. And this ridiculous excuse for governing will continue, unabated, if politics proceeds as usual.

The truth is that whether we're red, blue, or, like me, a purple mixture, we agree on most things. We want the economy to work. We want to keep inflation low and employment high. We want our government to pay its bills. We want to treat the young and old fairly. We want to help the poor. We want the rich to pay their fair share. We want everyone to have a basic health plan and save for retirement. We want to educate our kids and keep them safe. We want a government that functions efficiently at low cost and only where it's really needed. We want our privacy rights protected. We want to keep faith with our vets. We want a strong defense. We want to take military action only when it's vital to our national security. And we want to be safe from maniacal dictators armed with nuclear weapons.

We also agree that we're not getting what we want. The economy isn't working, 27 million Americans are out of work or short on work, inflation is a very real threat, our government is borrowing like there's no tomorrow, our kids are inheriting massive fiscal bills, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are all going broke, our education system deserves an F, our government is dysfunctional and very expensive, our tax system is a inefficient, regressive mess, our privacy rights are being eroded, our vets are being neglected, our servicemen and women are being put at risk in wars that can't be won, and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is growing by the day.

Each party views the other as the enemy, and their intense antipathy prevents their hearing each other's legitimate concerns and aspirations. What's most discouraging is that the two sides are often advocating very similar policies, but because they use different words, they are presumed to be promoting very different things. The two parties are like a divorcing couple, who desperately need a mediator, but one who can move them off the dime by suggesting win-win solutions.

The tremendous value of an independent president would be in getting both sides to agree when, in fact, they do agree. But the much greater value is having a third-party president who pulls no punches in telling the public what's wrong with the economy and in prescribing new, strong, effective medicine.

The press and political pundits will tell you a third party candidate has no chance to be president. But we're a people with a long history of changing the odds and those who say nothing can change have nothing to offer.

The hour is late. Four more years of the Reds and Blues is a national economic death sentence.

So seize the day. Suspend your disbelief, suspend you apathy, suspend your conformity. Stand up for your children, yourselves, and your country, and join me in this campaign to fix America.

If you read the Purple Plans at www.thepurpleplans.org, you'll see I call a spade a spade and offer solutions with broad public appeal. If you like what you see, please go to www.americanselect.com, register, verify your voter statues, and click on my name to help me qualify for Americans Elect's primary. Also, please consider contributing and joining my campaign at www.americanselect.org.

 

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