Congratulations on your milestone victory yesterday. I can’t begin to express how proud I am of you and our country on a whole. You ran a flawless campaign and have inspired millions across the United States. Although your election was monumental, now comes the hard part.
You’ve certainly inherited a mess. Our nation is embroiled in two wars: one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Our financial system is in shambles, ranging from continuous Wall Street meltdowns to the Political entangled Fannie/Freddie to soaring American household debt. There is a lot to fix, and it’s not going to be easy.
So, if I might impart a few ideas for you to chew on as you plan your move to Washington DC:
Build a Bi-partisan Administration. Take time to select the right cabinet members to help you forge a better future, not just focusing on tomorrow, but also on the ten years to come. Look to bring on opposing views to your administration – balance is key.
Simplify our Tax System. Reagan started this in the 1980’s, but there is still a ways to go. There are clear needs for immediate tax hikes (within reason), but another source of capital can come from simplicity. Sit down with Steve Forbes and hear him out; maybe even appoint him to your Cabinet. Be careful with your treatment of capital gains taxes. We must encourage investment and entrepreneurial spirit. Small businesses run our economy and many start small businesses with the hope for eventual payouts.
Be Careful with Regulation. Poor financial regulation is, in large part, what got us in this financial mess. Government oversight and regulation is a two edged sword. As you look at fixing the chaos we’re in, remember that our system of beliefs is rooted in small government and freedom of business.
Approach Healthcare Reform Cautiously. It’s clear that our system is broken, but there are many lessons to be learned from the drawbacks of nationalized healthcare in other countries. Countries with health systems based on greater government control tend to have more obstacles to care, such as long wait times, rationing and restrictions on the choice of doctors. Be wary of rampant administrative costs. Regardless of the outcome, at a minimum, we need to focus more on preventive care rather than reactionary medicine.
Support the Freedom of Choice. Our nation was built on the premise of the separation of church & state. Uphold this. Americans should have the right to choose. Abortion is not a religious discussion. Gay marriage is not a government’s decision. We are a nation of immigrants with different beliefs, backgrounds, languages, and should all have the right to not see our government impose on those individual rights.
Invest in Alternative Energy Research. Release us from foreign energy dependence. This will take time, but we should start now. We don't even need to spend that much on research to make simple changes to our energy policies. In addition to alternative energy, we should work on solving on foreign dependence now by migrating to existing solutions, even if not perfect. Drill at home, nuclear energy, etc. The policy needs to be comprehensive and have a 20+ year outlook. Incentivize the auto industry to innovate.
Maintain Free Trade. We live in a global economy. Imperialistic barriers cannot make any sense moving forward, however beneficial to the American worker in the short term. Competition will only make us stronger and better in the long run. Since our early days, this has been one of the main tenets of our economy. The colonies which became the United States generally supported free trade; indeed British restrictions on trade were a major factor in the war for secession.
Reform Campaign Finance. There is no longer any reason to for our electoral college system to exist. But, understanding that changing our electoral process would be a challenging undertaking given the embedded political interests, I encourage you to do what’s right and support substantial campaign finance reform. We, as Americans, do want change. And, we also want choice. Having to choose from two parties not only minimizes the potential change we see, but also narrows the field of possibilities.
Focus on Education. This is our future, our children’s’ future, and our nation’s future. Do not spare a dime on this matter. Come up with a plan to improve the quality of our teachers and our school systems. Sit down with Mark Warner (VA) and hear him out. Not only would investing in better public education would prove critical to helping the United States emerge from tough times stronger than ever, but it is the foundation for innovation that has driven us during the past century. Improved education would help us elect better officials, make smarter decisions, live healthier stronger lives, and cope with change as it’s needed.
Support our Immigrants. We have always considered ourselves the “melting pot,” driven by the rich tradition of immigrants coming to the United States looking for something better and having their cultures melded and incorporated into the fabric of the country. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” These are the people who are, have been, and will be the driving force of our country.
Listen to the People. During your acceptance speech you stated: “I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.” This was quite possibly the most critical statement you have made, in my opinion. If you can stick to this, I believe you will, I have no doubt that you will succeed.
I hope this letter gets to you and that you can, at least, acknowledge one more opinion out of the millions of opinions that you’re receiving every day.