Page 11


A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer If I Were Running for President By Bernard Rapoport I had a dream a few nights ago that I was running for president of the United States. I don’t know the time interval of that dream, but I want to recite some of the hazily remembered ideas and concepts. I had been reading a book titled Moralism and Morality in Politics and Diplomacy, by Kenneth W. Thompson of the University of Virginia. I remembered this passage: “Moralism is the tendency to make one moral value supreme and to apply it indiscriminately without regard to time and place; morality by comparison is the endless quest for what is right amidst the complexity of competing and sometimes conflicting, sometime compatible moral ends.” Im my campaign, I said to the American people, “What I purport to do in this campaign is to let you know exactly what my initial message to the Congress will be and what will be contained in the first legislation that I request of the Congress. I am going to ask you, the electorate, to consider that this will be the first time that any candidate has detailed exactly what his initial program will be. “Therefore, I would hope that you will understand that those legislators who seek your vote should indicate during their campaigns whether they will support this legislation in total, and then I ask you to consider that if you want to vote for me, please vote for those legislators who affirm this program. If you are not supportive of the legislation which I advocate, vote against me and those legislators who are supportive of my program. “In other words, I want to go to the American people in this election so that it will be in reality a national referendum. “Succinctly, what follows are the important parts of my platform. One: As a nation we are committed to the work ethic. Upon passage of my proposed legislation, all forms of unemployment insurance are hereby abolished. The secretary of labor is hereby instructed to set up a national program which will guarantee that each and every American who wants to work will have a job, the rate of pay being be no less than the minimum wage. “Think for a moment what the national commitment to everyone having a job would do for this nation. It would be the greatest blow against poverty, which is the costliest item both financially and morale-wise that infects this nation. Sure, it is going to mean we are going to have to have a lot of technological training schools. Money allocated thusly is an investment, not an expenditure. “Those of us who live in the Waco community see firsthand the tremendous contribution that Texas State Technical Institute has made not only to our community but to an entire state. I do not purport to be an econometrician, but I strongly suspect that the cost of implementing the national employment program will be far less than the welfare costs with which we are now confronted. “Two: Abolish the present income tax laws and have a single income tax. Let’s get rid of all the tax shelters. Enact an income tax of 5 percent on incomes from $12,000 to $25,000, 10 percent from $25,000 to $50,000, 15 percent from $50,000 to $100,000, 25 percent from $100,000 to $200,000, and 30 percent over $200,000. “The first two planks ensure that the country’s commitment to the work ethic is real and not hypocritical and secondly confirm an unwavering resolve to fairness vis-a-vis policy. “Three: Part of the proposed legislation would be to abolish all cost-of-living adjustments and indexing, which are escape hatches that politicians use to avoid confrontation with economic reality. “Four: Recognize the need for protecting the environment and concomitantly the essentiality of having a productive society. “Recognizing this requires a dialectical approach to the solution of this problem,and so legislation should be enacted which would create within one agency a board consisting of environmentalists and producers and a neutral group that would advise the Congress as to legislation that will be protective and at the same time meet the needs of a society committed to producing goods.” That would be my simple platform. When the reporters and the questioners asked me my stand on abortion and prayer in the school, issues that involve emotion. I would refrain. In most instances such issues prevent the electorate from addressing and concerning itself with the meaningful issues of the day. That is not to say that these other issues are beyond discussion, but I think that in a national election for the presidency we must first solve the economic issues, or there won’t be any need to worry about issues that in too many instances really are smoke screens behind which vested interest groups hide to prevent the enactment of the meaningful kind of legislation I have suggested. The thrust of my campaign would be one in which there would be recognition that we can’t fix everything all at one time. So first things first. Freedom does not come free. Many have paid in their quest for it with their lives. You and I are fortunate. We are only being asked to pay for it with our money. This essay, published in the Waco Tribune-Herald in February 1986, is reprinted with permission. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25