On Iran, he said the global community needs to act quickly if the Islamic Republic is on track to build a nuclear weapon within a year — not enough time, he believes, for economic sanctions to work.
“If this is a country that’s being run by fanatics, which it seems to be, then we have no alternative” other than military action, he said.
“I think it’s a big mistake when an American president says they’re going to do something and prevent something and they don’t do it,” Kotlikoff said of the Obama administration’s stance on Iran.
On climate change, he pans Solyndra-style endeavors but said there is “enough evidence to suggest” that we can’t take a risk and ignore global warming.
“If there’s a decent-size chance that it is happening, risking terrible outcomes, we have to pay serious attention and deal with it” by means including a carbon tax, the economist said.
He would also stock his cabinet with people from a wide range of experience and wide range of political viewpoints.
“The point of this campaign is to bring people together, so I would have people in my cabinet from both parties,” he said.
Some examples of Kotlikoff’s dream team: “brilliant economist” Jeffrey Sachs as either U.S. ambassador to the United Nations or secretary of State, Dennis Ross, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) as budget director (“someone I greatly respect”), or Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, as Treasury secretary.
“I wouldn’t hesitate [on possibly] hiring people from abroad,” he said. “They would have to be on board with the policy proposals.”
People working for Obama, he said, “seem to have some old-time Keynesian views.”
Kotlikoff’s Supreme Court picks would have to have no political background or ties, he stressed. “Politics and justice have very little connection,” he added.
While eyeing apolitical means to try to fix the country’s problems, Kotlikoff also doesn’t place himself in a political corner.
“Part of me is very libertarian, part of me is very liberal,” he said. “They come together on certain issues.”
Instead of rallying against government, he advocates “efficient government.”
“The other aspect of where I’m coming from is as an economist,” he said. “I understand that we need government to run certain things. Getting rid of government involvement in health care, for example, is not the answer. Ignoring our energy problem is not the answer.”
The answer, he contends, is a presidential candidate who’s not necessarily the best at soundbites or is a great debater, but can offer “bold new leadership to fix America.”
“[Voters] need to consider someone who’s a grown-up to start with,” Kotlikoff said. “We don’t have any clear grown-ups on either side.”
PJ Media Disclosure: Laurence J. Kotlikoff has provided consulting services to PJ Media, LLC in the areas of economics and personal financial planning. PJ Media also markets selected personal financial planning applications that have been created by a company, Economics Security Planning, Inc., of which Laurence Kotlikoff is the president.