Can prisoners run for president

“It's Obama's fault that Trump is President. And he has a good chance of being re-elected »

The democratic opposition cares too little about the economic worries of normal US citizens, says Richard Vague. The Philadelphia venture capitalist has even considered running for president in the upcoming election.

Impeachment process, perpetual dispute over the surrender of tax documents, rude behavior or tweets with false claims - despite everything, the re-election of Donald Trump as American president next year does not seem to be ruled out.

Richard Vague has a simple explanation for this. "The average American voter is stressed by everyday life and is not interested in the political scuffle in Washington." He quotes an Iowa dairy farmer as an example: “We are in a terrible position. We're dying out here, we're losing our farms, there are no buyers for it - and all the Democrats are interested in is Trump's tax behavior and impeachment. "

The normal citizen struggles with everyday life

In fact, the former banker and author of several books on debt crises has traveled across the country to personally get the pulse of American voters. In the conference room of his venture capital company on the 25th floor of the Mellon Building on Market Street in Philadelphia, Vague recounts how he sat down three dozen times in two years with middle-class voters from both parties in ten states. "We didn't talk about candidates because it could get emotional pretty quickly, and we didn't talk about politics because it's very cryptic, but about everyday life."

Where once a week, with a phenomenal view of the city center, he “grinds” the clumsy founders of startups, the gigantic sixties sums up what almost led him to enter the race for the presidency. "These people do not think abstractly, they struggle with everyday life - and they are not given enough support."

The four main concerns. . .

The Democrat identified four key messages. The one related to American healthcare is, “My plan is terrible, the premiums and franchises are increasing every year. I cannot have the necessary operations carried out because I do not have the necessary capital. So I'm at risk and in a terrible state. "

Despite full employment, there is often a lack of prospects on the labor market. “I have a job, or two or three, but there are dead ends. There is no career possible that would lead to increasing incomes. " He heard such sentences regularly. Many of the respondents couldn't even cope with the loss of a month's wage. Then how should they raise $ 20,000 to $ 30,000 for further education - for example to learn a new programming language?

In the education sector, private funding for attending secondary schools or universities seems to have led to downright bizarre conditions. Apparently a surprising number of 50- or even 60-year-olds complain about not having paid off their own student loans and at the same time feeling compelled to sign their children's contracts.

In addition, there is the opioid crisis, which has widespread in the USA. "My mother, sister, daughter or cousin are on withdrawal because they were addicted to drugs containing opioids." He heard such statements in Nevada, Florida, Michigan, Texas or even New Hampshire, reports Vague - regardless of whether the people in question belonged to one of the two parties or not.

Obama as a scapegoat

How can the worn out soul costume of the average American voter be explained? Vague blames Barack Obama. Trump's predecessor in the White House screwed up “Obamacare” because it did not exonerate ordinary people. "And if debt is a problem, how can more of it be the solution?" He asks provocatively, referring to the chosen way out of the financial crisis. Instead of lowering interest rates and buying securities, private mortgages should have been restructured, argues the expert. In return, the creditors would have been given time to write off losses and they would have been given a share of the proceeds that might later have arisen after all.

"If we had done that, Donald Trump wouldn't be President of the United States today," says Richard Vague firmly. After debt relief, consumers would have rejuvenated and the American economy would have been very different. But as it was, “I met a lot of people who could no longer afford to go on vacation, buy a new car or look after their children properly”.

Democrats don't know the voter. . .

Of course, he sees the risk of creating the wrong incentives. But «we both know that in the recent crisis, many mortgage contracts were not concluded because the borrowers made an effort of their own accord, but because they were forced to do so by commission-driven sellers with predatory conditions. Often it was not the private households that behaved wrongly, but the lenders. "

So Obama has not cut the cost of health insurance, has not resolved the problem of addiction, has not created career opportunities, and has not taken care of student debts. That's why many voters thought, "the Democrats won't help me, so I'll give Trump a chance". Vague is a little afraid of the near future. "The democratic party is just what it is," he says with resignation, saying that it still does not focus on normal voters. If Trump doesn't commit political suicide, he has a good chance of being re-elected.

Neither does Michael Bloomberg

«I have the greatest respect for Michael Bloomberg as a manager and as an administrator. Few people are as smart and effective as he is. I am not sure, however, whether he will get very far, "says Vague with doubts about the success of the billionaire's candidacy. Ultimately, he was on the wrong side on various topics, did not set the focus correctly, did not achieve the sympathy of the population and instead stepped into the ring against the gun lobby. "But I can say with certainty that he will not earn any laurels from the voters in Wisconsin, Michigan or even central Pennsylvania."

What does Richard Vague propose instead? He would first lower the age at which he or she would be eligible for Medicare public state health insurance from 65 to 55. This measure should improve the medical care of the population in a phase of life in which they would often need it. If people were healthier across the country, costs would not skyrocket and companies could lower the premiums and franchises of their retirement plans for the younger part of the workforce.

Courage is required. . .

In the labor market, the country must show courage, move and train at least one million people every year in the near future. "Something like that would cost a few billion dollars, but what is that with a state budget of around $ 4,000 billion?" Asks Vague rhetorically? As a result, many companies could fill vacancies for which they had not previously found qualified applicants, and at the same time some would be released who had been unsatisfied for a while in dead-end jobs. In any case, in future it should no longer be a shame to only go to a vocational school instead of striving for a “four-year study of the liberal arts”. Vague would cancel their loans for the students once they met various conditions. For example, when they provide social services to a certain extent.

And what happens to the many pharmaceutical sellers who push their opioid-containing pills onto the market on the basis of misleading information and who are still transforming the USA into a “zombie factory” today? Quite simply, you have to get the supervisory authorities and associations in the medical field to exhaust the given room for maneuver in a concerted manner. If they change the standards of care and treatment protocols so that doctors prescribe fewer of them, the spook will soon be over, Vague thinks. Soon they would no longer be issuing 200 million prescriptions a year for drugs like Oxycontin, but only about half - just like in the past.

. . . and targeted investments

As for US economic growth, "it may not be very robust anytime soon, but we will not have any catastrophic, serious problems either". Even the deep red state budget does not give him a headache. "I'm not happy about the deficit, but I don't think it will lead to a fiscal crisis," says Vague. That is hardly surprising, after all, he sympathizes with the post-Keynesian school. National debt is not considered tragic there. “It only becomes difficult when the private sector has taken over. That is true today, but the relevant areas are too small to trigger a systemic crisis. "

On the other hand, he is concerned about the underfunding of basic scientific research. "If we want to stand on our back legs and keep our lead over China, and if we want to create vibrant industries that will generate interesting jobs in the next few years, we have to increase investments in this area," said Vague. He advocates spending more money on the further development of genetic engineering, 5G and 6G infrastructure, alternative energy supply and supercomputing. This closes the circle, because infrastructure investments are currently in.