NY Times Columnists Dowd, Brooks, Collins, Kristof, Bruni, Friedman, and Douthat — Time to Write About a New Next President


Dear, Maureen, David, Gail, Nicolas, Frank, Tom, and Ross,

I’ve read your many fine columns detailing Trump’s narcissism, racism, sexism, intemperance, tantrums, and undiagnosed mental illness.

I’ve also read your many fine columns describing Clinton’s moral turpitude, arrogance, lack of vision, public disfavor, and lust for power.

But isn’t it time to stop writing about candidates that no one actually wants and start writing about a candidate that people really seek, but may not know?

Here’s what you might write were you to peruse www.kotlikoff2016.com.

Write-in candidates have historically been a joke. But not this year. This year one of our top nation’s top economists, Laurence Kotlikoff, Boston University professor and fellow of the American Academy, is running for President as a write-in candidate. Renowned UCLA economist, Edward Leamer, is his running mate.

No economist has ever run for President. And no presidential write-in candidate has ever received so much media attention. 

Kotlikoff’s candidacy has been covered in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, Money, Forbes, PBS, NPR, CNBC, Politico, Ozy, Newsmax, Investment News, and other leading media outlets.

Kotlikoff’s jointly designed package of economic policies to fix taxes, Social Security, healthcare, energy policy, and education represents nothing short of a new New Deal. His plans, including his plan to fix banking, were carefully crafted to strongly appeal to both Republicans and Democrats.

They are common sense, modern economic plans that would run much of our government by computer and eliminate large masses of government bureaucrats who seek to micromanage our lives.

But make no mistake. Kotlikoff, while he feels their pain, is no member of the Tea Party. He recognizes the vital role played by the government in each area in which it is involved. He also recognizes the abysmal job the government is doing in each area in which it is involved. His plans don’t dismantle government, which the libertarians seek. They eliminate the bureaucrats with intelligent design. This is why left- and right-wing voters can embrace this new (at least to us) presidential candidate. 

Republicans are fleeing Trump in droves and could easily flip to Kotlikoff.  The millions of Democrats who can’t stomach Clinton could do the same. 

Many things in our physical and social world are prone to flip, i.e., they are highly unstable. And when systems are unstable, exactly when they flip is unpredictable. People have known this for centuries. The expression, “The straw that broke the camel’s back,” dates to at least 1677.

This year’s presidential election is as unstable as it gets. Kotlikoff’s one and only sound bite, It’s Our Children! should resonate with Millennials who can collectively flip the electorate from Trump and Clinton to Kotlikoff and do so in a heartbeat. 

If www.kotlikoff2016.com goes viral, tens of millions of young people will, for one, understand the true extent of our nation’s colossal fiscal bills and Trump and Clinton’s intention to dump every single dollar owed in our kids’ laps. They will also understand why Clinton and Trump (and Johnson or Stein, for that matter) would greatly exacerbate America’s fiscal child abuse. 

Instead of mouthing alternatively vapid and uncouth soundbites at pep rallies, Kotlikoff spent months writing a 157-page platform book explaining in layman’s terms exactly what’s wrong with the country and precisely how to fix it. Kotlikoff’s a good writer. Indeed, he’s a NY Times best selling author and his book (available for free at his campaign website) is a page turner. His solutions to taxes, healthcare, Social Security, banking, climate change, and education are both novel and remarkably simple — postcard length. And they have, it seems, the strong support of the vast majority of economists. He also has very different views about foreign policy than Clinton or Trump who he feels are endangering our children in downplaying North Korea’s and Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile threats.

Kotlikoff’s also in the debates — what he views as the substantive debates. Last week, he started debating Clinton and Trump in Forbes. Last week’s topic was fixing taxes. This week’s will be healthcare reform. 

Maureen, David, Gail, Nicolas, Frank, Tom, and Ross, if just one of you writes about my candidacy, the rest of you will likely do so as well. The same holds for George Will, Robert Samuelson, and every other major political and economic columnist in the country. That’s the nature of instability. Any one of you can be the first straw for me and the last straw for Trump and Clinton.

But let me politely suggest what not to say. Don’t say something you don’t know and that nobody knows — that no write-in candidate, including Kotlikoff, can win because none has ever done so. That’s like going back in time and saying Trump has no chance to be nominated or that the Cavaliers have no chance to come from three back or that a black man has no chance to be elected President or that Kotlikoff’s write-in campaign will never receive any national media attention.

Here’s why there are unknown unknowns and why you cannot legitimately pretend to know my election chances. Events that arise under unstable conditions can’t be predicted. Any mathematician who studies unstable systems (economists call them multiple equilibriums) will tell you. When systems are unstable, there is no way to place a probability on whether the next straw is the last straw.That’s why the expression about that poor camel, whose life hangs on a thread, has been around for centuries! That’s why books like the The Tipping Point and The Black Swan are so interesting and have sold so many copies. It’s not just that there are unknown unknows.  It’s that the unknow unknows are intrinsically unknowable.

But here’s what is knowable. Ed Leamer and I are on the ballot in Colorado and Louisiana and will be registered write-in candidates in another roughly 40. Together these states represent well over 90 percent of the electors in the Electoral College. So if enough people use the space provided on their ballots to write just these nine words: Laurence Kotlikoff for President, Edward Leamer for Vice President, then Kotlikoff and Leamer be our country’s next President and Vice President and work with both parties to intelligently redesign all of our dismal institutions. Yes, they will pull off the “impossible.” But the “impossible” happens all the time. As Heisenberg taught us, it’s a fundamental law of nature, including, apparently, human nature.

If just one of you do your homework (sorry for the assignment, but I am a professor) and write about our campaign, you could flip the election all by your lonesome. That’s the nature of instability. It only takes one straw.

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