This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

How Bloomberg Can Win

In today's Washington Post Outlook section, Ed Rollins and David Broder write about Mayor Michael Bloomberg's possible run at the White House.

They both point out that, unlike Perot, the Mayor will get in the race to win. Let me add to the chorus in speculating how to do that.

One of the keys to a successful run is to run candidates for every House seat. This is a proposal which is also made by the Draft Committee. Why is this important?

Given the electoral math, victory in only one state may throw the election to the House of Representatives. If Hizzoner wins in New York, which is possible, that would be enough. If he wins in New York and in Delaware and in a few of the western states and his compatriots running for the House do the same he can win a few states outright and force other states into non-voting status (since in the House, each state gets one vote decided by a majority of its delegation). This puts all of the small states in play, especially if a few million dollars are used to find and fund candidates who would vote for Bloomberg in the House.

I can't see him winning any other way, as the parties are too strong. Of course, if he wins this way and does not do well in office there will be moves to abolish this method of settling ties, and possibly abolishing the Electoral College as well.

How is he going to martial such a majority?

Many have advised ignoring the hot button issues. Unity08 has a platform which does not even mention Abortion.

I don't recommend this strategy. I recommend facing these issues head on and coming up with positions that will unite the nation from the center. On abortion, this means finding a realistic legal solution to late term abortion and convincing the voters why overturning Roe and criminalizing other abortions would both be bad public policy. Instead, abortion can be discouraged by giving families the kind of tax breaks to constitute a true living wage, even small families.

Dealing with tax reform in general could have high dividends if done from the center. The right wing wants tax reform that makes taxes more noticeable, either a flat tax or the FAIR Tax. I counter that the reverse would be better for the republic. Most people should be spared the headache of filing taxes at all by channeling most tax obligations and tax benefits through the Business Income Tax. Promising to do this won't win any friends for him among right wing policy wonks, but they won't vote for him anyway (unless he hires them), however the vast majority of the population would love to forgoe the annual chore of filing taxes, especially if their paychecks included some form of tax credit every week or two.

Bloomberg might also deal with Social Security. I would recommend to him a twist on personal accounts, which readers of this blog will recognize. Allow personal account holders to direct that some of their funds go to purchase the companies for which they work. Hizzoner got rich by owning his own company. We should all have the same privilege. To make this attractive, have these funds be diverted from the employer contribution and credit such contributions equally rather than as a percentage of income. This also provides a popular incentive for raising or eliminating the income cap, since this would increase the average employee contribution diverted toward employee-ownership (a portion of individual contributions would still go to the kind of index funds the current President proposes). Companies would like this, because they would keep the money and use it to grow the company rather than the government. Employees would like this, because given the size of the funds involved, they would soon control these companies. Proponents of smaller government would like this as well, since employe-owned firms need far less regulation in both workplace safety and product safety. This would also stop jobs from going overseas unless the overseas workers were also owners.

Note that none of these proposals have been endorsed by the potential candidate. However, if he were to adopt them, he may win outright. Note that these are all proposals that will never see the light of day in either of the two major parties. They gore too many sacred cows. This is precisely why we need Michael Bloomberg.


Blogger Joedo said...

Interesting strategy. I am a FairTax proponent because it replaces income tax. Flat tax is still tax based on income.

I also support dropping the Electoral College. While we are at it let’s enact Universal Voter Registration and replace the Columbus Day holiday with Election Day making it one month earlier (for those of us campaigning in the harsh northern weather) and allowing people the day off to vote.

10:15 AM

Blogger Michael Bindner said...

Income Taxes are, for the most part, consumption taxes, since they add to the wage of the workers and the price of the product. My proposal simply stops most employees from having to file forms with the government and keep all of those records.

10:42 AM

Blogger Michael Bindner said...

I just figured out who you were, Joe.

I am not sure about abolishing the EC, since it is a major component in federalism. Since I am a believer in regional government, the EC and the Senate are important tools so that one large state does not dominate the politics of the entire region.

Besides, the existence of the EC may be what has us win next year.

Ballot access is a big issue, although to really get higher turnout proportional representation in at least local elections is needed. In Puerto Rico they have PR, and everyone votes. Of course, this also makes consensus harder too.

10:47 AM


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