Over a lively dinner discussion the other night, I realized this is the first Presidential election year that I am technically “qualified” to run for President of the United States, having met the minimum age requirement since 2016. I also joked that I am utterly unelectable, given my contrarian views and pragmatism on many issues. But just for fun, I’ve been hashing out a Presidential platform in my head. I lack experience and expertise in many areas, so I spare you my thoughts on foreign policy, social issues, and criminal justice.
Divorce Health Care Coverage from Employment – Health care coverage should not be dependent on where you work. I don’t know all the answers to fixing healthcare, but I know that linking coverage to employment is not working. Basic healthcare coverage for all, as proposed for years by the brilliant Dr. Carolyn McClanahan makes sense to me. I think we can all agree that it feels un-American to limit healthcare coverage to only those who can afford it.
Reinstate SALT Deduction with no Limitations – Limiting those in high cost states to a $10,000 deduction for property tax is wrong. I would reverse this limitation. I would also suggest that a modest charitable deduction be allowed above the line, so that the majority of taxpayers who use the standard deduction have an incentive to donate.
TSP Retirement Plan Access for All – If you have a 401(k) at work, consider yourself lucky. The overwhelmingly majority of American workers have no access to a retirement plan. They are left to navigate setting up an IRA or Roth IRA on their own, which have much lower contribution limits. Employees of the federal government have access to a fabulous, low-cost 401(k)-like plan called the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The investment options are clear and simple and the plan costs are super low. Why not allow all American workers to participate in the TSP if they want to? I’m sure the brokerage lobby would be heavily against this idea.
Save Social Security – Social Security is a beloved program that keeps many elderly Americans above the poverty line. We know that it is underfunded, but touching Social Security is political kryptonite. I actually like Joe Biden’s idea to reintroduce the payroll tax above a higher level of income, say $400,000, rather than taxing the amounts in between where it hits middle class families. Rather than imposing means-testing, I am in favor of withholding COLA increases for Americans earning a high income while collecting benefits. This allows everyone to collect benefits but saves on the overall cost of the program. I am also in favor of raising the retirement age, but only for those more than 20 years from retirement.
Simplify Savings – I have seven different types of deferred savings accounts, including one for daycare expenses and another for out-of-pocket healthcare costs. The administration of these accounts is cumbersome, and I often jump through hoops to withdraw money for qualified expenses. Why not raise the limit on deferred savings and allow funds to go to one deferred account?
Freedom Dividend for Newborns – Compound interest is a beautiful thing, and no one has a longer investment time horizon than a newborn baby. Why not pay a ‘bonus’ to all children born in America that grows deferred in an investment account until they reach retirement age? A small amount of money today will be a substantial boost to retirement savings in 65 years. I stole this idea from my colleague Ben Carlson, who I may tap for Secretary of the Treasury.
Reverse Reg BI and Enforce Existing Laws on Brokers – In 2015, the Department of Labor introduced a “Fiduciary Rule” to require all financial service providers to work in their clients’ best interest with regard to retirement assets. Although the DOL Rule did not go far enough, it was a good attempt to fix the bad practices caused by conflicts of interest in the financial industry. The rule was eventually scrapped by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the SEC was working on Reg BI which claims to force brokers to use a ‘best interests’ standard with clients but really slaps a dangerous sense a safety on top of a flawed system. Brokers should hold themselves out only as salespeople, which is what the current laws allow. Brokers are salespeople. Advisors are advisors. No one can operate as both.
Overhaul Life Insurance – Technically life insurance is regulated at the state level by independent commissioners, but I would still love to tackle this issue. Huge sales commissions and incentives lead to dangerous sales tactics for life insurance and annuity products. If you are reading this blog, chances are high that someone has tried to sell you an annuity at some point in your life. Life insurance is a vital risk management tool for many families, and annuities can be effective tools for securing retirement income. But expensive permanent life insurance products and variable annuities are sold for an infinite number of inappropriate reasons every day. I want to find a way to put an end to this destruction of wealth.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the duQuesnay 2020 platform, and I reserve the right to change my mind, add, and subtract from this platform at any date in the future. My opinions and philosophy are constantly evolving as I learn.
I am sure that I remain completely unelectable.