Will an Economist Make a Difference as the next American President?
By Christine Gaylican | January 9, 2012 3:48 PM EST
With mounting issues concerning the world's largest economy, should the United States with an estimated 231 million voters this year, consider an economist as its new president?
This was the opinion shared by Boston University Laurence Kotlikoff as he becomes more confident on his decision to run as third party candidate in the forthcoming presidential race.
Kotlikoff is aiming to secure a place on the 2012 ballot as an independent candidate through an online nomination site, AmericansElect.org. The nonpartisan group aims to put an alternative candidate on the ballot other than the nominees from the reigning two parties.
Admitting he has never run for public office, he believes he might have an answer for the country's economic woes. He has a different proposal in solving the country's problems in healthcare and taxes-two subject matters that Democrats and Republicans had been arguing about in the halls of Congress and Senate.
Kotlikoff 's "Purple Plan lays out his platform of government that he hopes could draw the support from both the so-called red Republicans and the blue Democrats, and all the voting Americans in-between with no party affiliation with the two.
If he does win, Kotlikoff plans to eliminate income taxes on businesses and individuals as well as on estate and gift taxes. He plans to institute a progressive sales tax and inheritance tax, and make the payroll tax highly progressive.
Kotlikoff would also replace the current health care system with one under which all Americans receive a voucher each year to purchase a standard health plan from the private-plan provider of their choice.
"I would reallocate the roughly 10% of GDP that the federal and state government currently spend on Medicare, Medicaid and health exchanges, to pay for this program," he notes in an interview with CNN.
In addition to his role as an economics professor, Kotlikoff is the author of 15 books and a regular columnist for Bloomberg.com. He has also served as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, central banks and international agencies like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
"I'm not suggesting that only an economist is qualified to be President, but I am suggesting that, other things equal, economic problems are likely to be better understood and fixed by an economist than a career politician or someone who has, for example, spent his life running a pizza chain," Kotlikoff wrote on his campaign website Kotlikoff2012.org.
Kotlikoff says he does not have a party affiliation and he plans to file an official statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission this week.
He previously worked as a senior economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors, but voted for President Carter. He has also served as an economic adviser to former Senator Mike Gravel, who switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party amid his 2008 bid for president.
Political observers are quite pessimistic on the prospect of nonpartisan candidate in having a shot at winning.
Other alternative candidates in the U.S. presidential elections
There are currently 165 people, not in the Republican or Democratic parties, who filed with the Federal Election Commission as presidential candidates.
Another presidential wannabe tracked by the AmericansElect.org is Representative Ron Paul, who is also pushing for an economic agenda; second top tracked candidate is U.S. President Barack Obama with education as his focus; on the third spot is former Governor Jon Huntsman, who is also pushing for economic reforms; on fourth top tracked is Senator Bernie Sanders with social issues as his top priorities.
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