A fourth Penn graduate, that you probably haven’t heard of, is running for president — and he’s still hoping he has a shot, just weeks before Election Day.
1973 College graduate and economist Laurence Kotlikoff is running as a third-party candidate alongside economist Ed Leamer. His candidacy accompanies those of three other Penn graduates: 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump, 1983 College and Wharton graduate Lawrence Lessig — who has since dropped out — and 2011 Wharton MBA graduate Evan McMullin.
After attending Penn, Kotlikoff received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and is currently a professor at Boston University. He has worked at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and served on President Reagan’s council of advisors.
Kotlikoff is well-known for his interest in “generational accounting,” the idea that governments should evaluate policies based upon how they will affect the nation’s finances far into the future — not just in the next 10 or 20 years, according to FiveThirtyEight.
His platform, which emphasizes economic reform, is focused not only the current national debt, which he calls “the tip of the iceberg” on his website, but rather seeks to account for federal obligations that will be incurred far into the future from programs like Social Security, which he calls the “fiscal gap.”
He has largely moderate stances on social issues: he is pro-choice, has advocated for stricter gun regulation and has denounced the war on drugs and mass incarceration.
Though Kotlikoff is only on the ballot in Louisiana and Colorado, he is eligible to win as a write-in candidate in most other states comprising of 91 percent of the electoral college — meaning that he technically could win the election, though the chance of him doing so are bleak.
Kotlikoff, however, believes he has a shot at the presidency with his focus on economic reform, and has criticized the dearth of media coverage surrounding his campaign, which has largely flown under-the-radar.
“I’m the best-kept secret here because the press has hidden my candidacy for the past six months,” he told the Philly Voice. He later added, “Believing that nationally registered write-ins can’t win because they never have is likely forming an inference based on absolutely zero data.”
Kotliff considers himself a middle-of-the-road alternative to two undesirable candidates.
“I’m an independent,” Kotlikoff wrote on his website, “but I can be the Republican for this election.”
He criticizes 1968 Wharton graduate and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as a “narcissistic, racist, sexist, spoiled, intemperate, uninformed demagogue.”
He adds that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is “someone who treats protecting national security as optional, lies under oath, substitutes sound bites for substance, [and] is mistrusted by millions and who over half the country views unfavorably.”
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