The following was originally published as part of the August 2016 edition of Wikinews’ On the campaign trail series
In August, economist, a professor and former senior economist of President ‘s , secured ballot access for his unconventional presidential campaign in Louisiana and . In addition, he plans to obtain write-in status in 41 more states. Wikinews reached out to Kotlikoff to discuss his campaign.
Kotlikoff announced his candidacy last May. He named , a professor of economics at , as his running mate. This is not Kotlikoff’s first run for the presidency. In 2012, he sought the presidential nomination of , which ultimately did not field a candidate. He also briefly sought the Reform Party presidential nomination that year. During his first run, Kotlikoff spoke with Wikinews in an interview similar to the one below. In that campaign, Kotlikoff promoted the purple plan, which combined liberal and conservative economic ideas. Today, he boasts a 157 page campaign platform that reportedly took him three months to write. Some of the ideas contained in the platform include the elimination of income taxes, privatization of health care, as well as support for , drug legalization, and increases in the federal inheritance tax.
With Wikinews, Kotlikoff discusses the prospect of his candidacy, the differences between this run and his previous run, and why voters should vote for him over the other candidates.
WSSWhat do you hope to achieve by running for president?
- Kotlikoff: There are only three people that can legally and realistically be elected President in November. I’m one of the three. Write-in candidates need to be registered across all the very large number of states across the country that require registration. If you don’t register, your votes aren’t counted. I am, to my knowledge, the only nationally registered and therefore the only real write-in candidate in the country.
- I am running to win the election. I’m not running to influence policy. I’m running to make policy — the right policy in conjunction with both parties with whom I have very good relations. The two candidates will not adopt what needs to be done because what needs to be done to fix the country is not PC [politically correct] with the extreme elements of their parties. I am running to fix America. I and the vast majority of other economists in this country recognize our country is fiscally broke (because the vast majority of our debts have been kept off the books), that it needs a brand new, single, efficient, publicly financed, privately managed basic healthcare plan for all Americans, that Social Security is totally broke and needs to be fundamentally reformed, that the tax system is a terrible mess that lets the super rich pay nothing or next to nothing and that it too needs to be fixed from scratch, and that the banking system needs to [be] reformed for real (not for fake as in the case of ). I also have very clear views on foreign policy, , immigration policy, and education policy. In these areas, as in all other areas, the history of policy has been to impose ever greater fiscal burdens, ever worsening economic conditions, and ever greater national security risk. My campaign’s theme is “It’s Our Children.” I’m running to provide the American public the truth about our domestic and foreign challenges and provide a new , which will transform the country for the better in virtually all dimensions. Unlike Trump and Clinton, I have very clear and simple (postcard length) solutions for fixing our myriad problems. They are not my solutions alone. They are really consensus solutions of economists in general. I think it’s time to introduce technical expertise in managing our country’s future.
WSSHow does your 2016 run differ from your 2012 run?
- Kotlikoff: In 2012, I ran on the third-party platform, Americans Elect. That platform/party folded in May 2012 because it ran out of money. That’s when my campaign ended, actually, was forcibly ended.
- Four years on, our country’s economy is in many ways in far worse shape. Our fiscal gap (the real measure of our country’s indebtedness) is dramatically larger. Our planet’s climate is closer to reaching a tipping point. Our Social Security system is in far worse financial shape. Our healthcare system is covering more people. But it’s a potpourri of programs that collectively are driving us broke and being run as inefficiently as possible. The pressure on jobs and wages from immigrants, foreign workers, and smart machines is greater. Education has not improved. Real average take home pay has remained flat. Millions of workers have given up finding jobs. North Korea has miniaturized and is testing land and submarine-based ballistic missiles. Iran is testing long-range missiles that can carry warheads purchased from North Korea, and the list goes on.
- In sum, I think the challenges our nation faces are far graver, and that the parties are force-feeding us two candidates who have articulated no real/novel/convincing solutions for any of these challenges.
WSSWhy should voters support you over the major party candidates and other third party or independent candidates?
- Kotlikoff: Johnson and Stein are too extreme to be elected. Clinton and Trump were each chosen by 14 percent of the voters. A majority of the population strongly dislike Clinton and Trump. They are not the same set of majorities. My sense is that over one third of the voters strongly dislike both candidates and over half are not eager to see either elected as President. Each voter has an incredible megaphone thanks to their access to social media. They can, even at this date, make their votes really count by forming groups of 10 people to vote for me as a collective enterprise and to start email chain letters to spread the word of my campaign. I have received very significant national media coverage. More is coming. I’ve been featured on radios in hundreds of cities and their surroundings across the country. I have a small army of volunteers and more joining every day. It’s as easy to vote for me as it is to vote for either of them. One just has to write Laurence Kotlikoff for President and Edward Leamer for Vice President on the ballot instead of checking off a name that was embossed by a printer. The political situation is extremely unstable. One tweet by, say, , to his tens of millions of followers could make me a household name. Similar things can flip this election. Stand by.