A Possible State of the Union speech
July 30, 2017
President Donald J Trump
Dear President Trump:
First, let me say that I really appreciate what you are doing. There is a lot of chaos, but I never expected "draining the swamp" to be a process that went smoothly. I would have been worried if that were the case. The swamp creatures are fighting back, and it is going to be a while, and a bitter fight before they are tamed.
I also wanted to let you know the things we out here are noticing that are getting accomplished.
Illegal immigration is down. Getting it down just by advertising the right attitude is even better than actually building a wall and getting the Mexicans to pay for it. Who cares if action matches words, as long as we have the right results! Blocking rampant fraud in H1 applications (i.e. the claim that there is not enough local talent) is great. Getting back to a hard headed evaluation based visa grant process is totally the sane thing to do; I am glad you did not give up, and the Supreme Court has found a way to uphold the travel ban. And making an exception for the Afghan robotics team was a good idea - the swamp needs to be reminded to apply common sense.
Just the anticipation of 15% income tax rates for business income has given the market a big boost. So has the executive order delaying penalties and the prospect of permanently eliminating the individual mandate of Obamacare. That is a $6000 kickstart per affected person per year to the economy, which somebody had to pay - either the person, the employer, or the government. Dianne Feinstein herself identified the basic problem on TV - she admitted a person making just over $50000/year does not get the premium credits, and currently has to come up with $800/month for premiums - a 20% tax on such a person's income. The Cruz amendment was a good idea - allowing insurance companies to offer us options that only cover what we need and can afford. The options that the Senate came up with in the vote-a-rama, and even the new one were all bad, and deserved to die. I am glad though that you have not yet given up - but seriously, I think you need to paint a picture for Congress - a vision - lay out on the table that medical costs need to be reduced, that medical costs should be low enough that most people are able to pay for normal things themselves without insurance, and the best way to get there is to let people choose to walk away from overly expensive procedures or coverage, i.e. use the art of the deal. The focus needs to be on healthcare, not insurance. Congress needs to decide how much of the economy is too much to dedicate to healthcare, and then decide how to get below that. There are always going to be some people at the bottom of the economy who can't afford things, and for them society has to decide how much welfare (we should call it what it is!) we are willing to put up. People should be relying on themselves, their partners and their extended family and friends; and not make the government their husband, because that is what is happening now. When you push a family into accepting welfare (even if you dont call it that!), self respect goes out the window, and there you have the root cause of the opioid crisis! All that has to be said and accepted - before any real solution can happen.
You appointed Jeff Sessions to make clear that you were going to uphold the rule of law. Law enforcement did get the message that you had their backs. But a big breakdown in the rule of law and individual liberty right now is due to police bad apples, and seizure of cash by government agents. You did get upset with Sessions right around the time he went too far, and extended the brain dead trample on citizens rights that is "asset forfeiture". Too bad that is not the reason you gave for being upset; if you gave that reason for being tough on him I could totally support it, but not the reason you have given until now. I definitely did not like your speech telling police officers to get rough - I think they stomp on people's rights enough already. But I think we are failing them when we go easy on physical qualifications - a burly officer can knock some sense into an insolent teenager with a few slaps, while a pipsqueak would need to shoot him with her gun or Taser to get him under control. I think police officers would not object if you told them that they have a more difficult task - police have higher calling than the military; tell them their goal is to stop crime, and get criminals before a judge, without killing either the criminals or innocent citizens - and tell their departments their training should reflect that goal, rather than borrow from the training necessary for an occupying military force. We have the National Guards if we really need something like that.
Instead of encouraging asset forfeitures, or piling on regulations that make police hesitate to do their job, I think you could offer jurisdictions a bonus to share with their police personnel for each year they complete without killings or unauthorized (by a court) forfeitures. When cash is seized for evidence, the exact same notes should be returned to the rightful owner after the evidence purpose is over. Get the Treasury to raise the numerical limits they use to implement the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, and force financial institutions and government agencies to accept cash payments of any amount - if identification is provided. Banks should accept cash payments at any branch of the bank. Make it a real felony with effective penalties to not accept cash payment (I think it may already be a crime, but one that is neither prosecuted nor punished!), both for the employee refusing and the institution refusing. The freedom to use cash is like the right to own guns - it prevents rank stupidity and theft by central planners with insufficient faith in the free market from affecting the whole economy - because individuals will have the ability to work around and/or resist bad rules until they are changed.
Soon Syria is no longer going to be a US problem. We have stopped arming the Syrian opposition and inflaming a civil war. Maybe peace will break out once there is a strong enough government to keep a society with an eye for an eye value system in check, and a world system that discourages external (foreign) lethal support to troublemakers. And while we are at it, maybe we can draw a clear line about foreign intervention at the UN and in Congress - providing information (even if biased and incomplete favoring one side) to dissenters/competitors is OK, but arms, rumors, and financial support are not. Maybe the French take home the lesson that supplying disruptors with chemical weapons to suck in the US is a particularly bad idea. Maybe we can convince the Brits to stop meddling with our media. Europeans are beginning to put up more for their own security. Maybe foreign sanctions and other boycotts by institutions will be treated as what they are, a siege, i.e. an act of war; and need a declaration of war before they are employed. I would love to see a pocket veto of the Russia sanctions bill, but it might be better to be silent and let it happen and get Congress to repeal it all by themselves when it causes us a problem down the road. Boycotts and purchases by individuals on the other hand should be treated as expressions of free speech and should have no limitations. I hope you veto the Israel Anti-Boycott Law being proposed.
It looks like someday the US government will also act on its own assessment of the Taliban. I heard you question why we have been there 17 years. While they have been our enemy because they gave refuge to Osama bin Laden, I was surprised to learn that the US government has never classified them as terrorists. They have never given us reason to do so. They never took their fight with us in that direction. It seems we are still fighting a war after the reason for it has gone away. I think we can walk away from Afghanistan now if we have a solution for the Afghans who did help us and face retribution. We should know who those people are, and who we actually want to help.
We elected a President who is willing to speak about uncomfortable things, and love it that you continue to do so. I hope that example also carries over into college campuses (thanks Betsy Devos!), and students can once again debate and hear real issues. Lets not graduate fragile butterflies! Candice Jackson (acting head of the Dept of Education) had it mostly right about Title IX, drinking and campus rape - you should help her walk back her walk back!
I hope these thoughts were helpful, I wish you the best, and if I can help you in any away in the next few years please let me know.