Advice John Edwards didn’t take
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Two years ago John Edwards invited me and a bunch of Chapel Hill bloggers for dinner. At one point, each of us offered a bit of advice. I told him that a smart candidate would bet that the US economy was soon to crumble and stake out positions that would address that crisis. I focused on the coming housing crisis. Here’s the post — titled “if I were running” — that I wrote the morning after that meeting, adding a couple of additional forward-looking positions a smart candidate would take.
If I were running for President as a dark-horse, I’d:
a) stump for an “energy trust fund to pay for our children’s future energy needs” in the form of a $2/gallon gas tax, with rebates for everyone making less than $80,000 a year. Higher gas prices would reduce pollution, encourage Detroit to build cars for tomorrow rather than yesterday and, by cutting consumption/imports, reduce US funding of anti-American regimes abroad. The revenues would also go to reduce the deficit, lowering interest rates and helping to bail out mortgage holders. (See plank #2.)
b) stump for protection for home buyers who will see their mortgages jump 200-300% in the coming eighteen months and be faced with foreclosure and/or tumbling ad prices.
c) make banks and credit card companies bear the burden for identity theft.
Though not fully baked, some variation on these issues would have broad middle class appeal, and grow more popular in the next two years.