Advice for Obama?


In a matter of hours, President-elect Obama will start holding transition meetings that he’s been planning for months. There are obviously a lot of issues to address, matters of great substance and important issues of style as well. I thought the McCain concession speech and Obama victory speech both set a very positive tone; but now comes the hard part.

So what do you suggest? If you had a seat at one of the tables where Obama will be meeting over the next days and weeks, what would be some of your suggestions for how he should shape his administration, address the economic mess, consider the energy future, engage the global community, and so on and so forth?

Feel free to float ideas that are general or specific, from personnel to philosophy. Also, what are some things to avoid?

Maybe we will cull the 10 best ideas and pass them along as a Bill of Suggestions from the Freakonomics readership.

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  1. Ben says:

    Please, please, please fix our broken Patent, Trademark, Copyright laws!

    These laws are simply not effective in the digital age and desperately need to be revamped.

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  2. Jake says:

    Delivery of Energy Independence?

    Appoint Amory B. Lovins to Secretary of Energy.

    Give him autonomy.


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  3. Gabe says:

    I think the White House is in strong need of a proponent of some supporters of market-based solutions to policy problems, an arena that has been virtually untouched over the past eight years. I believe the new president will choose wisely in surrounding himself with smart people in virtually all non-economic roles (if there is such a thing); I can only hope that his comments on personal responsibility and liberty will translate into a move toward the sound principles that have been battle tested since the time of Adam Smith and beyond.

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  4. Frederico Luna says:

    I would suggest Obama to privatize the Social Security Retirement Plan as Mark Skousen suggests on his book “Econopower”. Subsequently this would solve two huge problems with only one move: the hole on the Social Security and the big lack of savings in American Society.

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  5. Steve says:

    Use your mandate, but remember that the electoral college is a funny thing. In two years, a percentage point swing in a couple of key states is all it takes to swing the pendulum back.

    So think of your most important constituency as the people who voted republican in 2004 and democrat in 2008. What is it that they want from you? Use your mandate to do those things.

    Stay away from the considerable pent-up pressure you’ll be under to go after partisan hot-button items. If you fail to govern from the center, you will quickly see the pendulum swing back. You can do that in four more years, if you want, after you’ve made sure that you’ve taken care of the middle.

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  6. jimi says:

    1)Drop agricutural subsidies,

    2)close guantanamo,

    3)end the cuban embargo, and

    4cut off all aid to israel until they return to pre-1967 borders.

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  7. DNS says:

    Not the most important thing, but he should start early in drafting a plan for the closing of Guantanamo; one of his campaign promises. It won’t be easy, which is why it needs to be thought out before he arrives in office.

    For the first time in a decade, the rest of the world sees America as the country it was founded to be. This is an incredibly rare chance to build on that, by removing the most tangible expression of the ‘say one thing, do another’ attitude to freedom and human rights that everyone has gotten so sick of.

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  8. a dog owner says:

    get your kids a Havanese…you promised a dog!

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