Drain the swamp. No president has filled the swamp with nearly as many powerful, corrupt lobbyists and donors as Trump has. He appointed a coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He appointed an unqualified billionaire heiress, Betsy DeVos, as head of the Department of Education. He appointed a former Boeing executive, Patrick Shanahan, and then a Raytheon lobbyist, Mark Esper, as head of the Department of Defense (two of the many proponents of the military-industrial complex who’ve filled that role in the last 4 years). He appointed a man who did not know what the Department of Energy does, wanted to get rid of it when he found out what it does, and then forgot its name to be the head of it (Rick Perry). He appointed a corrupt politician who supports the failed, racist “War on Drugs” as Attorney General (Jeff Sessions). These are a few prominent members, some of whom were fired, but there are countless lobbyists and Trump affiliates that Biden should get it rid of ASAP.
Support nuclear energy. We only have 59 nuclear power plants across the country. They alone produce over 20% of our total electricity and 60% of our clean energy electricity. So if one nuclear reactor can power 100 million LED lightbulbs, imagine how much cheap electricity we could produce with more power plants. Nuclear energy is cleaner, safer, and exponentially more efficient than fossil fuels. It is far better for the environment, too. It just gets a bad wrap due to a few disasters, like the accident in Chernobyl. But now we have the knowledge, means, and safety measures to prevent such events. Soviet officials stifled the inspection phase, rushed through safety tests, and made a variety of big mistakes at Chernobyl—like running their RBMK reactors with a depleted fuel isotope mix instead of natural uranium (which mixes better with plutonium and would be less likely to melt the reactors’ graphite lining). We would NEVER allow even a chance of such a catastrophe. Meanwhile, fossil fuels are destroying this planet and we’ll run out of them one day. It is time to move from oil to nuclear dependence.
Take on the fossil fuel industry. Since Trump failed to create nearly as many jobs in his first 3 years as Obama did in his last 3 years, he tried to cut as many corners as possible to conceal his macroeconomic incompetence. Part of his cover-up strategy was to remove restrictions on coal, oil, and gas companies and let them expand their operations and override regulations that were enacted to protect our waterways, our drinking water system, Native American land, marine life, and oil rigs (from oil spills like Deepwater Horizons)—as well as to mitigate the drastic ramifications of anthropogenic climate change. These moves by Trump only led to the creation of a few thousand jobs, while obviously coming with terrible environmental repercussions. Meanwhile, Biden would create MILLIONS of jobs by regulating the Fossil Fuel Industry and halting our government’s corrupt suppression of not only nuclear energy but also safe, inexhaustible forms of renewable energy like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power.
Invest in Maglev trains. Biden, sometimes known as “Amtrak Joe,” has always been adamant about his love for Amtrak trains. But the truth is that Japan’s public train system is light years ahead of Amtrak’s. It only took around $52 billion for Japan to build a Maglev train system across its country—and it was categorically worth it. While our Amtrak trains reach top speeds of 125-150 miles per hour, the Maglev trains can reach 374 miles per hour. This is faster than even the speed at which some airplanes fly while in cruising altitude. If we were to build our own Maglev apparatus, you’d be able to take a train from LA to NYC in 8 hours, instead of 41 hours. I’d rather spend $100 billion of our taxes on that than waste it on the Navy, just to build 5 more aircraft carriers and load each up with 75 more expensive Boeing fighter planes and a crew of 3,000 personnel.
Pull out of all wars that we are involved in. Overthrowing stable governments in the Middle East and replacing them with radical militant groups that we funded and armed has never been a viable strategy. The Kurds don’t need our drone strikes. They’ve been winning the war against ISIS for almost 6 years now—and they’ll be fine once they sort out their relationship with Turkey. The War in Afghanistan, meanwhile, continues to rage on; it is the longest war we’ve ever been in. We should’ve ended it on October 7th, 2001. Meanwhile, we are responsible for over 500,000 civilian deaths due to the wars of the Bush Administration (especially the Invasion of Iraq). And we are also responsible for overthrowing a peaceful, secular, modern government and a democratically-elected prime minister in Iran to consolidate power to our puppet Shah. This is not to mention that we did this merely to help BP take back control of Iran’s oil fields in exchange for British support in Korea—which caused the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the mess that Iran is still in. So, we spent $7 trillion merely to lose thousands of troops and breed the chaos that exists in much of the Middle East. We could’ve spent it on infrastructure, education, healthcare, and more.
Cut down the military budget. In 2016, our base budget for the Department of Defense was $534.3 billion under Obama. But ever since Trump took office, he has pushed major increases to the military budget each year. This February, Trump proposed a budget of $740.5 billion for the 2021 fiscal year. So Trump raised the standard by over $200 billion despite us being in fewer wars and conflicts now (not to mention all of the dark money that doesn’t show up in the budget). We should cut the defense budget by at least $200 billion. We don’t need to keep spending billions of dollars on M1 Abrams tanks that sit in warehouses for nothing. We don’t need to have a Navy that could beat the rest of the world’s navies combined. We don’t need all three of the world’s largest air forces (the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy’s Air Force, and the U.S. Army’s Air Force). If we cut the defense budget to $540 billion and adjusted that for inflation in the future, we’d still spend more than twice as much as China and be able to protect our country.
Adopt Bernie Sanders’s free-tuition-for-all plan. This would cost the federal government a total of just $48 billion per year. Biden needs to adopt Bernie’s policy. I always laugh when people say “nobody could ever pay for Bernie’s proposals.” Well, if we can’t afford a $48 billion plan that would help hundreds of millions of people, how did we afford to pay $7 trillion on pointless wars? And how did we spend $25 trillion to rebuild the economy that fiscal conservatives crashed (looking at you, Alan Greenspan) in 2008? How did we afford to add another $8 trillion in debt under Trump? How can we afford to keep pouring trillions into big banks via the Federal Reserve merely to temporarily embellish stock market numbers so that Trump can claim credit? That’s almost $50 trillion of spending down the drain. How could do all of that, but we can’t spend a few hundred billion on nuclear energy, Maglev trains, free-tuition-for-all, and cheaper healthcare—things that would also save us more money than tax cuts would? At Harvard, tuition is already free for students whose families make less than $65,000 per year. NYU’s medical school is free for all. And these are just private universities (which wouldn’t get money under the plan). There’s no doubt that we can make tuition free at public ones.
Adopt a viable foreign policy platform. Trump has done a decent job of being tough on China lately—aside from pulling us out of the TPP and thus allowing China to make its own trade deals (only to pull us into a nearly identical deal once he saw how much he hurt our consumer economy). But he needs to be tougher on Russia and North Korea. We need to stop selling out to Israel and letting them dictate our government and our media. And we also need to stop selling out to the evil Saudi government. We must stop selling arms to them for cash (to use on clandestine operations) and letting them bully us around just because they have oil. After all, if we doubled the number of nuclear power plants in our country and invested more in solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power, we wouldn’t need to use any fossil fuels (as mentioned earlier). Plus we already produce far more oil than Saudi Arabia does now, so we don’t need them anymore.
Restore the character and respect of the presidency. The President of the United States of America is supposed to be a responsible, intelligent leader who represents our country to others well; listens to the experts when it comes to policymaking; serves as a role model to the youth; protects the rights of the people; and serves his or her constituents with their interests in mind, not his or her own ones. Trump isn’t responsible or intelligent—and he never fulfilled these roles the way that they were designed to be fulfilled by our Founding Fathers. FDR was famous for his “Fireside Chats,” in which he communicated frankly and effectively to the American people on the issues that matter. JFK was an international celebrity who inspired us to build a better world and was admired by people of all types of beliefs. Donald Trump, on the other hand, built a reputation for posting poorly-written, angry, ludicrous fake news on Twitter between visits to his tanning booth and the golf course. I was never a fan of Biden’s policies—but I know from his tenure as vice president that he can indeed restore order and decency to our presidency. I know times have been hard—and it’s so easy to be negative—but he can revive positivity within the political arena. He can also make up for his past by investing in criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, and economic equality.
Build an economy that serves the bottom 99%, not the top 1%. We need to shoulder the burden of taxes from the middle class to the top 1%. We don’t even need to raise taxes on anybody in the current brackets. We just need to make new tax brackets for those making more than $518,400. The richest benefit from our large-scale systems (like public infrastructure, national labor forces, and subsidized corporate healthcare) the most, and this should be reflected in how they contribute to the systems. We should simply add new tax brackets to our current progressive tax system for those with an annual income of $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, $50 million, $100 million, etc. Even under Eisenhower, the tax rate for the top bracket was 92%, but the ultra-rich found clandestine ways to influence Congress to cut it down to 37% ever since then. They’ve consolidated power and wealth to disproportionately command more and more of our GDP. It’s ridiculous that the three richest people in the country are wealthier than the entire bottom 50%. It’s also ridiculous that the rich and the corporations find ways to contravene tax code and get away with paying little to nothing in taxes. The minimum wage should be increasing with the rate of inflation, but it isn’t. Unions should have rights, but they are losing them. The list continues. We must save the bottom 99% to truly Make America Great Again. -Luke