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The Only 2 Planks that Matter in the 2020 Election

Jobs are at the core of most voter’s day-to-day decision-making. If a person feels secure in their job and in their future job prospects, a whole range of different priorities cascade from that. Their perspective broadens and deepens. The same goes for their family and friends.

If a person does not feel secure in their job and/or in their future job and earnings prospects, then an entirely different set of priorities take hold. They become fearful for themselves and of others. Their viewpoint narrows. The same goes for their family and friends. The likelihood that they even can or will vote decreases.

In a very real sense, good jobs create good, strong communities, including respect for and understanding of others and civil participation. With respect to civil rights, the best way to provide them to everyone, is to give each and every individual a good job with a secure future.

Fearful people are most likely to seek to exclude and suppress. If someone is hanging on by their fingernails to a rung on the ladder, they are not so worried about the people above them. In fact, they aspire to be them. They are worried about being displaced by the people in the rungs below them, and they will fight desperately not to be displaced.

On that basis, jobs are the #1 plank, always.

But, that does not answer how to encourage widespread good jobs with secure future prospects. There are of course emergency measures, such as the WPA. And, there are data-proven but politically unpalatable measures, such as universal basic income. There is even the option of going to war. But there is a better and stable short and long term solution, and one that serves every state in the country.

The single best way to create jobs that will deliver real value is to invest in the nation’s public universities. They are major employers of everyone from janitors and food service workers to tenured professors. They provide the single best opportunity for the people of each state to get the education and training they need to get good jobs across the full spectrum of academic departments.

Therefore, the optimal plank to create long-term growth in good jobs in this country is to invest in the public universities across all departments, and, in particular, in basic research.

The job-plan plank is to commit to a vast increase in funding to each state’s public university system. This will drive immediate job opportunities as well as create a pipeline of both trained workers and new research that will convert into long-term growth in the private sector.

Good, solid, long-term private sector jobs are the core of stable, civil society. The are at the core of a working democracy, the ability to independently exercise the right to vote, the full spectrum of civil rights and the actual exercise of the pursuit life, liberty and happiness. No other jobs program can come close to meeting these needs than a vast increase in funding of public universities in every state.

There may only be one way to truly help manage climate change. It is fusion energy. The reasons are (1) that essentially all countries around the world are dramatically failing to address climate change in any substantive way, (2) even private institutions with the scientists who have the deepest knowledge are failing to making the truly substantive changes to their 5, 10 and longer planning (such as MIT, Harvard and CalTech), which means there is a failure of leadership even at these institutions in areas they control, and (3) most important of all, scarcity is one of the most destructive forces with a staggering power, and climate change will increase scarcity across almost all resources (clean water, arable land, coastlines, etc).

Fusion solves each of these: (1) it does not require radical changes to daily lives, and (2) institutions and individuals can continue to make statements of the danger of climate change while at the same time failing to take necessary action, because (3) by removing the scarcity of energy and replacing it with essentially unlimited, very low cost energy, fusion radically changes almost all equations.

For instance, the cost of carbon sequestration drops to levels that can make large-scale sequestration economically and technologically viable.

But, most important of all, is the unheard-of-in-human-history situation of having almost unlimited, very low cost energy. The ramifications of removing that scarcity will unleash untold amounts of innovation and societal change that will include the ability to manage climate change in entirely new, more powerful and societally acceptable ways.

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