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Economists Built Dream Presidential Candidate (Who Would Never Get Elected)

What if economists designed a candidate? Well, for one, the candidate wouldn't get elected. But what else?


What if economists designed a candidate? Well, for one, the candidate wouldn't get elected. But what else?

Already, the premise is depressing on a cosmic scale: NPR pulled together smart people and asked them for smart policies to apply to a fictional candidate, because presumably no real, viable candidate would take such ideas from such people.

From Planet Money:

But we aren't creating a real candidate. We're creating a fake candidate. And to help us, we talked to two veteran political consultants — Hank Sheinkopf and Kim Alfano.

"You have a radical plan which will bankrupt families," Alfano told us. "You're insane."

"I think you should move to another country," Sheinkopf said.

Canada, maybe?

"Not even Canada," he said. "Some of this won't fly in Canada."


The policies the fake candidate lays out: lose the mortgage tax deduction, end the tax deduction companies get for providing health insurance to employees, eliminate the corporate income tax, turn income tax into consumption tax, tax carbon emissions and...

Well, something that is (sort of) on the ballot in my own state of Colorado: Legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. This one is the subject of the "candidate's" second video:


The site asks for people's opinions on the faux candidate's policies. Guess what! They are unpopular.

If you take a look at those policies again, they look pretty foreign for the most part. We hear about marijuana at the state level. We've heard threats made about Romney being dangerous to the mortgage tax deduction, but is he? No (he has said). The closest anybody seems to come to any of these is that Romney has said he wants to reduce (not eliminate) the corporate income tax.

But is anybody up for a carbon tax? Both candidates have at least dedicated some critical thinking to the concept at some point, so in a way it has the best chance of any of the fake candidates policies. Still, it doesn't look likely.

And the others? Well, you can see why this exercise must have been fun for the economists.

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