My Advice to President-Elect Trump

by Jeffry R. Fisher

Near Thanksgiving 2016, I discovered the Trump transition team's web site soliciting public input on how to make America great again. I sent several suggestions, copy-pasting each so I may share them with others. Some recap articles that have been on this site for a while. Here's the collected set, in order of submission...

All Regulations Should Face Congress

"Regulations" written by bureaucrats should not be binding on The People. To treat them so is to violate the Constitutional separation of legislative and executive branches/powers (See Article I, section 1: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States...").

When a law would grant rule-making authority to the bureaucracy, it is a transfer of legislative power in violation of that section and so is unconstitutional. Therefor, all regulations written by executive branch should be submitted to Congress and passed as law before the people (and their businesses) need to obey.

Any regulations that have not passed this hurdle should be declared as null and void as bills that have died in committee. Any new law that would transfer such rule-making power should be vetoed with my message attached.

Federal Land Management

Start a long-term program to gradually auction off much of the range-land and mineral rich lands in Western states where the federal government owns most of the land. Work with Congress to privatize and restore property rights on all of those "national monuments" confiscated during the Clinton admin.

Civil Asset Robbery, er Forfeiture

The government practice (federal, state and local) of "civil asset forfeiture" is criminal. Governments inflict unreasonable fines upon people without trial or conviction, and then the victims are presumed guilty until they can prove themselves innocent (which can be impossible after one's bank accounts have been robbed).

In most cases, those who've lost their property are never convicted of any crime. They're usually not even charged. To compound the evil, government agents are rewarded with shares of stolen money, motivating them to pillage the populace rather than serve and protect.

Cure this abomination. Work with Congress to repeal current forfeiture laws at the federal level and abolish them at the state level. If need be, replace those laws with fair fines that can only follow lawful convictions for crimes committed.

Abolish Medieval Guilds

Among the worst obstacles to economic growth and opportunity in the US are various laws that prohibit business activity until a would-be entrepreneur "proves" something (e.g. "necessity") to a licensing board occupied by incumbent business owners who only approve their friends and family. The result is that many professions are all sewn up by virtual guilds that belong in the middle ages, not a 21st century information economy.

Work with Congress to abolish all "mother-may I" licensing requirements at all levels (federal state and local). If need be, have businesses register (*tell* government what they do) rather than needing to beg for permission. Let information, not corruptible commissions, determine which practitioners will survive in business.

Liberate Markets

Work with Congress to abolish all rent control and other price caps/floors/supports at all levels (federal state and local). This should include the entire "Farm Bill". It should also include such corner cases as "anti-gouging" laws that enable hoarding and dissuade profit-seeking opportunists from freighting desperately needed materials and equipment into disaster zones. PS: If farmers complain, then ask them what should have been cut elsewhere in the federal budget/register before the Farm Bill, and then cut that too (but still kill the Farm Bill).

Private Property at Sea

In a classic case of "tragedy of the commons", modern industrial fishing fleets are outstripping the ocean's ability to repopulate. Worse, the fish we eat are being supplanted by things like jellyfish.

Past government response has been predictably uneconomical: Set quotas, limit fishing seasons to a few weeks per year etc. What's really needed is twofold:

  1. Find a commercial use for those awful jellyfish so somebody will remove them.
  2. The thornier proposition is to create private property at sea. It may not be practical in all ocean areas, and multilateral treaties may be needed to govern deep-ocean areas, but where it is possible, fishing rights within parcels of ocean should be auctioned off as private property (real estate). Commercial entities would then be motivated to conserve and even nurture fish populations (dropping artificial reefs and removing more jellies). Transport lanes would need to be respected (easements). A good place to start would be inshore, restoring the shellfish in Chesapeake Bay. Grab Maryland's jackasses by the lapels and point out how much the water quality would improve (and jobs would be created) by commercial aquaculture restoring the shellfish.

Tort Reform

America has too many lawyers and too progressive of a civil litigation system. It's bad for business when it's cheaper to pay off frivolous lawsuit extortionists rather than fight them.

Please work with Congress to establish some legal rights for defendants and consequences for parasitic plaintiff's attorneys who don't just lose, but are demonstrably irresponsible. I think America needs a workable standard, which when violated, would invoke some form of "loser pays".

It shouldn't be open-ended expenses, but it needs to be enough of a statutory penalty to dissuade speculative litigation; let's try 10% of the claim. If you want a million, then you should risk $100k, and if a lawyer works on contingency, then the lawyer should bear the risk of loss. Don't worry about plaintiff's attorneys, they all voted against you and probably funded your opponent anyway, so screw'em.

National Right-to-Work

When a union says that I must join or pay dues in order to hold a job, that union is claiming both ownership of the job and ownership of my labor. In my opinion, the job belongs to the employer, and my labor is an unalienable right. No law (federal or state) should be able to take my right away and give it to the modern-day equivalent of a medieval guild.

Please work with Congress to declare that every state is a "right to work" state, and by the power of the 13th amendment, abolish all state and federal laws to the contrary.

Freedom of Information

Declassify as many old sealed documents as possible. Don't spare past presidents (even living ones) from embarrassment. Except for genuine secrets protecting existing spy resources etc, publish everything. Expose the duplicity, expose the corruption, expose the crimes, expose the inefficiency, and even expose the mundane to debunk conspiracy theorists. Obama promised to provide the most transparent administration in history. I think you should help him keep his promise.

National Reciprocity

If I have a driver's license in my home state, then I am permitted to drive in all 50 states (and additional territories). If I am married in one state, then my marriage is recognized in all others. However, if I have a concealed carry permit in my home state, it may not be recognized in other states. That's just not right. By the same mechanism that driver's and marriage licenses are honored nationally, so too should gun permits be nationally accepted. Please work with Congress to finally pass and sign the national CCW reciprocity law.

Administrative Courts are Improper

For many regulatory agencies, disputes are adjudicated in administrative "courts" run by the agencies themselves. Thus one agency may be righting rules, enforcing rules, and judging appeals. In addition to this unconstitutional mixing of legislative, executive and judicial powers, agency rules usually require their victims to pay fines up front and then try to get the money back. This turns "innocent until proven guilty" on its head. Please abolish all such courts, commissions etc (or have them moved out of the executive branch and made part of the judicial branch of the federal government).

Move the Capital

The residents of DC are again begging for representation in Congress. They think they should get 2 senators and a House rep. I have a better idea: Move our nation's capitol and return all of DC to the state of Maryland to use as a tourist destination.

You could gain multiple benefits:

Learning the lesson from DC, no private residences (no permanent residents) would be allowed in the new federal district. All employees, lobbyists, lawyers and population to support them would live outside the department ring so they'd be citizens of surrounding states. Instead of DC's miserable commute traffic, the new capitol might be designed with adequate highways, good interstate access, airport, commuter and distance rail connections etc etc.

Combat Global Warming

We need to rethink the way we research "Global Warming" (climate change). With all of the trillions of dollars at stake, and with so many political axes to grind, there's no way that a collegial system of peer-review can function correctly.

The unwashed masses may find it hard to believe, but scientists are actually human, which means that they are as flawed as anyone else and therefore subject to political and economic forces, not to mention such weaknesses as echo-chambers, group-think, peer-pressure and confirmation bias (in both funding and publication). Such political and monetary influences have completely overwhelmed trust in climate science, and probably the science itself. So I have this proposal:

For climate science, replace the peer-review system with an adversarial system (what lawyers use in court). Each side has a no-pretenses partisan advocate backed up by staff doing research. All sides meet periodically in a battle royale (preceded by a discovery phase in which each side publishes its claims, its data, its methods, its model's source code etc). In the adversarial confrontation, each side presents a case. All sides cross-examine each "witness". Evidence is savaged.

At the end, the battered sides retreat to their respective labs to lick their wounds, improve their models and methods, and prep for the next meeting. If my strategy is sound, then each cycle of research and confrontation will force the sides to converge on something approaching "Truth". In addition, all of us on the sidelines can gain confidence that what we eventually get is in fact truth and not somebody's dogmatic propaganda.

PS: Because the rest of the world is committed to climate-alarm orthodoxy, the US need only fund other points of view and challenge the world to give us our day in court. Even if the truth is close to the orthodox view, America's challenge will keep them honest (no exaggerating any more) and restore confidence. So -- eliminate all funding for any and all orthodox-view climate scare-mongering and give all of that money to iconoclasts and skeptics.

Copyright 2003-2016 by Jeffry R. Fisher: Permission is granted to reproduce this article in whole, but only in combination with attribution, the original title, the original URL, and this copyright notice.
Jeffry R. Fisher is the founder and president of Propagate Ltd, which is liberating digital content as