Howard Schultz knows how to build something from scratch. He grew up poor and ended up a billionaire by transforming Starbucks into an international business phenomenon. Now, 65, he's ready for Act II -- not building another great business, but fixing a great nation.
Schultz, who just stepped down from Starbucks, is purportedly considering a 2020 Presidential run. That's great news. The question, though, is how to run when gaining the Republican or Democratic nomination requires catering to the far right or the far left, which dominate their parties' primaries and which would block needed reforms.
The best option for Schultz is running as the candidate of a moderate, third-party. The Modern Whigs and The Serve America Movement are two such parties. Both are shopping for two things -- $30 million to get on the 2020 Presidential ballot nationwide and a Presidential candidate with a big enough wallet to meet the press' financial litmus test. The two parties can be merged into The Independence Party. Some 42 percent of voters currently declare themselves independents. Another large share of voters, possibly 30 percent, are neither diehard Democrats nor diehard Republicans. And two-thirds of millennials say they want a third party.
What kind of economic policies would a reform-oriented moderate party base its candidacy on? Here's my 10-point CliffsNotes guide. See this free book for details.
1. Equalizing Education -- Pre-K for all and half-day, uniform, 4th-12th grade online education, effectively moving to class sizes of 1. High-speed internet in all schools and free laptops for all children.
2. Universal Healthcare -- Enroll the entire population in Medicare Part C and adjust the system's coverages through time to keep costs at a fixed share of GDP.
3. Fix Taxes -- Switch to a progressive personal consumption taxation combined with a VAT and a progressive payroll tax. Eliminate personal and corporate income taxes.
4. Fix Social Security -- Freeze the current system. Pay off all accrued benefits over time. Initiate the Personal Security System with a 10 percent mandatory contribution to Personal Security Accounts, contribution sharing between spouse/partners, progressive contribution-matching by the government, and collective investment of all Personal Security Accounts in a single global, market-weighted index of stocks, bonds and real estate. Hence, all participants earn the same rate of return on their contributions. The government guarantees that account balances at retirement equal at least what was contributed adjusted for inflation. The entire system would be run by a laptop with no Wall Street involvement or fees. As workers reach retirement age, PSA balances are gradually transformed into inflation-indexed pensions on a cohort-specific basis. See here for details.
5. Immigration -- Amnesty for all illegal immigrants now in the country (provided they have no criminal records), far stronger border enforcement, including walls as needed, no separation of children from parents.
6. Climate Change -- Tax carbon emissions at $80 a cubic ton. Rejoin the Paris Accord, but push for accelerated carbon abatement.
7. Long-run fiscal accounting -- Adopt fiscal gap and generational accounting as proposed in The Inform Act. This will force the government to put all its hidden debts on the books and end Congress' ongoing take-as-you-go, intergenerational Ponzi scheme.
8. Banking reform -- Adopt Limited Purpose Banking, which transforms all financial corporations into mutual fund holding companies that issue 100-percent, equity-financed mutual funds. Limited Purpose Banking eliminates banking crises forever.
9. Work incentives -- Over half of American workers, particularly the poor, face sky-high work disincentives. Reform our tax/transfer system so that all workers face a 30 percent marginal tax on their labor earnings.
10. International Trade -- Re-authorize NAFTA, rejoin TPP, and eliminate Trump's tariffs. Take trade disputes to The World Trade Organization.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.