Almost four years ago I wrote a hopeful but quixotic post addressed to the president-elect calling on him to listen to his better angels (if any exist) and pivot from his divisive campaign rhetoric to a more mature, inclusive approach to governing. Needless to say my words fell on not just deaf ears but a completely closed and uneducated mind. Readers can draw their own conclusions but I would not give my persuasive powers high marks.
I am writing you this letter because I love our country and, despite your hateful rhetoric, I suspect that you do as well. Since I doubt you do much reading other than fanzines about yourself, I don’t expect you to read this or the many other unflattering (but true) posts I’ve written about you in this blog over the past four years. Nonetheless, I hope that others closer to you will convey the recommendations (really, the hopes) I set forth below.
Listen to your better angels.
Set yourself the goal of competing with the Obamas in dignity, grace and inclusion.
Disavow the racists who celebrate your victory with hate speech and waving Confederate flags.
Surprise us all with kindness, compassion and inclusiveness.
Eschew the has-been loyalists and fanners of the flames of prejudice who campaigned with you by appointing the best and the brightest to advise you. Listen to them patiently and seek out those who will speak truth to power now that your office confers it upon you and you need not bully others to obtain it.
Appoint a Muslim and a Mexican-American to high office. Better yet, make sure they are feminists. Appoint the best qualified jurist to the vacant Scalia seat on the Supreme Court. Since you tend to pack your teams with family members you might even consider choosing your elder (and better behaved) sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.
Focus your boundless energies on attacking the entrenched bureaucracy of Washington – the kudzu of rules and agencies that strangle good governance. You can start by merging the SEC, CFTC and CFPB into a single agency that balances investor protection with vibrant and fair capital markets.
Don’t tamper with the independence of the Federal Reserve, but follow through on your proposals to use the fiscal policy of infrastructure investment (as I’ve been arguing for years in this blog) to relieve the burden that the Fed and other central banks around the world have had to carry with monetary policy alone.
Revamp the tax code to make it simpler, shorter and more fair: reduce the corporate tax rate to be more in line with the economies around the world with which we compete; move to a territorial system of corporate taxation and encourage the repatriation of foreign source income; increase the earned income credit for poorer families to provide a basic income to those who work less skilled/lower paying jobs; abolish the preferential treatment of carried interest; abolish the AMT but make all individuals (yourself included) pay at least 20% of their income and gains.
Protect the environment. If you really don’t believe the science of global warming, ask your son Baron – most 5th Graders who attend Columbia Grammar in NYC know more than their parents about climate change.
On healthcare, rebrand Obamacare Trumpcare if you prefer and fix the insurance/payment provisions that don’t work, but leave in place the protections that actually benefit the folks who elected you such as coverage for those who had no health insurance and the prohibition on denying coverage based on prior conditions.
Don’t underestimate the value the US receives from the “Pax Americana.” Yes, the United States bears a disproportionate share of the cost of defending freedom and democracy around the world, but we benefit greatly from free trade, open shipping lanes and the reserve currency status of the US Dollar. Respect international treaties and don’t encourage further nuclear proliferation.
Keep a cool head; don’t let others bait you; keep off Twitter, you now have a very big megaphone.
Oh, and don’t build that silly wall.