How to fix America

Not to overstate the obvious, but America is having a pretty tough go of it these days. The economy is listless, unemployment is still hovering at almost 10 percent, it turns out that we’ll be in Afghanistan until at least 2014 and no one seems to be happy with government — not the left, not the right, not the middle.

So we wanted to start a conversation about how to get America moving again.

Voices featured in the full segment, above, include author Gary Shteyngart on immigration; Professor Tricia Rose of Brown University on race relations; author, activist Anna Lappé on the environment; columnist Reihan Salam on poverty; journalist Anya Kamenetz on the transformative power of technology; doctor and author Siddartha Mukherjee on the healthcare crisis; foreign-policy expert Isobel Coleman on the importance of educating women; former Harper’s editor and author Roger Hodge on ending political corruption; and Daily Beast Editor-at-Large Randall Lane on securing jobs for unemployed Americans.

How would you fix America? Share your best ideas and let us know what you think of ours in the comments below.

 

Comments

  • Mparrnfp

    I first want to specifically stated I am a firm believer and supportive of health care for all individuals of the United States. I believe the hard working people of American who do not meet rigid qualifications to obtain health care are often those mostly left out of our current system.

    How to fix”….greatly improve the health care medicaid system of Illinois
    I believe Illinois (and possibly many other states) need to adopt regulation and limitation on the use of the Medicaid health care system…I work in health care delivery in an urgent care clinic, I see patients inappropriate and over use of the health care system. We cannot afford to have no control mechanisms in place, we need to impliment a small fee for the services, at this time Medicaid patients are to pay a $2.00 copay, this to much too small, if all patients were charged a 10.00 copay then people would maybe think about the cost of the visit before they came in unnecessarily.
    Too little is being placed on using common sense. We need to educate parents and patients about sel-help care for simple issue, colds, rash, sore throat, for example.
    Out states cannot continue to pay the high costs associated with unnecessary health care clinic visit. We must carve out a plan for regulating and limiting these services
    Thank You
    Marian Parr
    Nurse Practitioner

  • guest

    If we want to fix America, we need to start telling the truth.

  • JohnLittle1993

    I like Siddartha’s ideas on infrastructure. America’s infrastructure needs inprovement, and as another suggested, infrastructure is a great way to employ the hard-working men and women of America. But these jobs require moneys which aren’t entirely available at this time.
    The current debate in Washington over the budget deficits and spending is a real upsetting, but those who lament over the nation’s financial situations have not yet opted to address the issue of our monetary policy.
    When the federal government yielded its duties of money creation to private banks through credit expansion, it legalized the virtual counterfeiting of money that takes place through modern lending practices of spending on account-holders’ reserves.
    If the federal government would ban the private creation of money and take on that responsibility by spending money into circulation, though new and existing government operations, our government would resolve the jobs problem, the debt problem, and the fractured infrastructure problem, but since this is a systemic problem, nobody seems willing to address it.

  • Mparrfnp

    Pardon my bad grammar, should have proofed it before posting
    mp

  • Anon. thinker

    Change the way that political (election) districts are drawn. The current method involves Gerrymandering boundaries to create safe districts for political parties … which leads to polarized, entrenched viewpoints. Other important viewpoints are not be addressed. Let some neutral group draw the political boundaries. Even a randomly drawn computer map would be an improvement.

  • Bradschomburg

    1) Off the point off the writer from Fast Company, technology can/will save us. But how? One idea I have focuses on the government truly representing the people. Now, I do not believe that government truly reflects the overall desire of the majority of Americans because our elected representatives typically vote based on political ambition rather than voting in a way that accurately represents Americans. To circumvent these politicians/representatives not truly representing the needs of the majority is to cut politicians/representatives out of the government entirely. How we can achieve this is through technology. Technology enables us to conduct a form of government that truly represents the majority of its citizens. Here is my example of how my concept could work: Touch-Screen Voting Kiosks. These Voting Kiosks could be located at every corner street, in every shopping mall across America, in every bar, in every bathroom, and can capture the decisions of every American willing to use them. The Voting Kiosk would update every day and present the user with information and voting options for every issue, on every piece of legislation, on every crisis that this country faces, in real time, administered by respected and constantly revolving certified Information Services group. Once the data is captured it is analyzed as to which way the majority of users voted. Simple. Clean. Quick. Accurate. Uncorruptable.

  • Bradschomburg

    Incorruptible, I meant, sorry.

  • Stevendenyg

    We can fix America by reducing spending occupying other nations in order to pour more funds into our own country, Government and corporations should be working together strongly to keep jobs in the US because that means growth for our nation, and lastly greed has hurt nation immensely, we should make sure that we keep a close eye on owners or landlords who own real estate, or rental apartments because prices are to high in these difficult times. If we don’t fix these issues we will further sink into a deeper recession which will only create more grief for families, crime, and homelessness. The time is now for a more United America in order to become a better State.

  • Stevendenyg

    We can fix America by reducing spending occupying other nations in order to pour more funds into our own country, Government and Corporations should be working together strongly to keep jobs in the US because that means more growth for our nation, and lastly greed has hurt nation immensely, we should make sure that we keep a close eye on owners and landlords who own real estate, or rental apartments because prices are to high in these difficult times. If we don’t fix these issues we will further sink into a deeper recession which will only create more grief for families, crime, and homelessness. The time is now for a more United America in order to be in a better State.

  • Drjawn

    the issue of big money in our elections is certainly one that must be addressed if the democracy, hence the country can even survive, let alone be fixed. Addressing the costs of unfettered population increases also must be addressed as a fix. If the anti-abortionist crowd/Catholic church/ et al want to promote unrestrained births, then let them be obligated to pay for these births, or limit their ideals to the personal choice level, as for individuals, a similar restraint for those seeking multiple birth families, to have to show the ability to afford them. There isn’t a problem in the country or on the planet that can’t be solved or lessened by dealing with over population.

  • Brad Schomburg

    2) My second, and final idea for “fixing” America is again couched in technology. I want to use technology to issue a receipt every time my tax dollars are used. This concept breaks down as follows: During the actual moment when I pay my taxes, I would like a selection of how much and into which category (military, healthcare, education, social security, etc.) my tax dollars are used. Then I would like a receipt when my tax dollars are actually tapped into, so I can verify that my desire for where and how my taxes were spent was met. Conceptually, the computer interface for this process would resemble the user interface similar to my 401k distribution and overview (where I can select into which stocks my contribution goes). To be clear, I am not saying that I choose how much taxes I pay, that is really not my decision and it is something we as a country decide. Nor, do I want to create categories, as again those will be decided by the country as a whole. I simply want the option to choose into which category my taxes go. For example, I want to choose (and then get a receipt for) putting 60% of my taxes to education, while 40% goes to military, etc.

  • Tom

    Your guests’ suggestions on fixing the country were mostly self-serving. The lady who studies race relations only wanted everyone to talk about race. How would that fix America, especially the economic situation that was the “obvious” problem pointed out as the story was introduced? Educating girls worldwide isn’t going to help Americans. The environmentalist couldn’t see beyond the environment, which isn’t one of the country’s big problems. The comic wasn’t even funny and made no reasonable point. Don’t waste our time with this nonsense. Find people that have reasonable answers before putting them on the air. Try professional journalists, not just one of the millions who published a book, write to a Web site, or live down the street.

    Your first guy touched on at least one real problem that needs to be fixed: getting people employed. But you can’t just pass a law that guarantees employment. I’d argue that the country’s infrastructure is as good as any country’s. It could be improved but all that takes money too, from the govt (tax the citizens), higher utility costs, and similar perhaps-hidden ways. But the Internet built itself out largely because it was driven by businesses seeing the financial benefit of a working, open, secure, and dependable worldwide communications network and business putting the infrastructure in place – and government largely staying out of the way.

    I don’t have the real answer and will admit it, but when someone pretends to give you an answer, challenge it with “how will that put more people to work over the long haul?”

    The way to improve education, of “races”, “girls”, or the rest of us, is for parents to motivate their kids, to be very involved, and to set good examples. It doesn’t matter what the teachers or computers in the classrooms can do if the kid’s minds aren’t open to and interested in learning. If video games, football, clothes, music, booze, and what Suzy is doing right now are all that kids care about, then 12 or 16 years later they’re not going to be knowledgeable about global economics, healing people’s ailments, and earning a good living for the next 50 years.

    Tom in Austin

  • Anon thinker

    Regulate the financial markets — and the financial instruments like derivatives — which lead to the financial meltdown in the first place. Without government bailout many financial institutions wouldn’t exist today, so the government should have been able to dictate more favorable terms for the taxpayers. Bailouts — as despicable as they are morally — are capable of generating a profit for the government, and should generate a profit as a way of addressing the moral hazard issue. Big financial institutions should feel such pain as a way of making them want to avoid bailouts.

  • Perkinska

    I agree with Roger Hodge about the need for public funding of elections, so that Congress and other politicians have no choice but to act according to voters’ wishes, not their campaign contributors (since that would also be the public). It probably would take a constitutional amendment, but that could be as simple as: “Laws limiting private financing of political campaigns shall not be considered inconsistent with the Constitution or its amendments” (i.e. First amendment). Even then, it would be an uphill battle since the current system favors incumbents, who usually can raise money more effectively than challengers, and incumbents will be reluctant to change a system that works so well for them. If this can be done, though, politicians would not have to spend so much time with, and spend so much public money to curry the favor of, well-heeled donors looking for favors.

  • http://www.dadsolar.com Dadsolar

    JBurke – If we want to fix america, I think we should prepare for the self-reliant, do-it-yourself future we MAY need to be prepared for. I work with an educational, non-profit group, helping folks learn to make their own solar appliances and collectors. I like the Sedaris Craft section of the show, because it is for the poor folks, the ones who will show the way to the rest of us, handicapped, crippled by the Couch! The Gardeners and build-it-yourself, home-steaders, have the knowledge that All americans need to get it together in this New century! The coming collapse of the transportation and infrastructure, will necessitate Our involvment with Our lives and lifestyles! I believe that if We are to fix america, We will have to prepare for the masses of americans needy for the knowledge! We should have Rural Community Education Centers set up NOW, to train ourselves, our children, grand-children and neighbors! PREPARE fo4 the possibilities, OUR self-reliant lifestyles will help illuminate the way for the future generations… http://www.dadsolar.com

  • Bradschomburg

    At least they are trying to start a discussion; focus on that rather than simply criticizing. I agree with you though.

  • Johnny Rocket

    Obama vs FDR

    Just like Obama, FDR arrived
    To find that Wall Street firms’ iniquity
    Had caused a nasty crisis that deprived
    Americans of jobs and dignity.

    But Roosevelt knew what he had to do:
    He didn’t just “incentivize” and pray,
    But found the unemployed some work to do
    With CCC and WPA.

    Obama’s ressurrection plan is lame –
    Throw money at the rich, then wait and see?
    It’s irresponsible, and it’s a shame.
    If FDR could MAKE jobs, why can’t he?

    Obama hopes, as even more are fired;
    But Roosevelt created jobs: He HIRED.

    ***

    You’d think that since this is the “worst recession since the Great Depression” someone in Washington might have bothered to see how we fixed that mess.

    Remember that it was public-sector, governmont-run work programs like CCC, NYA and WPA that ended the Great Depression. The WPA alone put eight million people to work in only a few years. (That program wasn’t started until 1936.)

    But those programs didn’t just employ people. They created vital public resources that we still use today: irrigation systems; hydroelectric dams; runways and airports; public parks; schools; sewer systems and sewage treatment plants; roads and bridges; libraries; museums; theaters …. If your town existed back in 1937, you probably have at least one WPA project in your community.

    We can do the same today. We need new infrastructure, and we need to upgrade or repair existing facilities. We can simultaneously train a new generation of workers for careers in the sustainable energy industry.

    But we don’t need to limit ourselves to technological or industrial jobs. The WPA also hired writers, artists, poets, historians, and so on.

    We’ve had as mony recessions as Presidents, and the pattern is clear: Recessions don’t end until workers have money to spend. Throwing money at the rich has never helped once. Big business is sitting on a pile of cash, but won’t expand because of depressed consumer demand. Well, consumer demand will be depressed until people get back to work.

    - Johnny Rocket
    Gordon Heights, New York

  • Mmerlin

    I have never wanted to throw bricks at my TV before, I will have to control myself though because it is a fairly nice TV. Maybe if I threw a brick at my TV that would help the U.S. economy ( the money would go to China for the TV then China would have more dollars that they could lend back to us plus interest, we could call it stimulus Oh wait that is Obama’s method )
    that plan is better then the ones your activist community organizer guests had, what a joke. Couldn’t you find people who actually do something in the economy to interview or were they all to busy running their business and creating jobs and products to talk to PBS?

  • David

    One way to fix this nation is to reduce the power of the corporation. Our government leaders and representatives are caught up in the special interests of banks and corporations. A bought government is not one that serves the people of America. And it is not only our government. Multinational corporations dominate the decision-making processes of the world. So we need a leader to get tough with corporations. Threaten them if they refuse to hire, despite financial recovery via the taxpayer, or continue to ship jobs overseas. Pull the plug on their charter if they continue to show such rash disregard for Americans. The corporation must become a means to close the ever-growiing disparity between rich and poor, and not an end in itself. Civility is at risk of total collapse if we do not act.

  • Pam Storch

    To expand upon the suggestion to provide public financing for elections, I would advocate a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on both members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. Any candidate for either legislative body would be limited to a total of 6 years in office – 3 two year terms for members of the House and two 3 year terms for the US Senate. The objective of this amendment would be to greatly reduce if not eliminate, the influence of lobbies and political influence in Congressional actions. In addition, Congressional representatives would no longer have “special” healthcare and retirement programs and would have to acquire health insurance as ordinary Americans do through their employers. Finally, Congressional representatives would be provided retirement benefits via a 401K rather than a defined benefit plan and would be required to contribute and benefit from the Social Security program as is the norm for the vast majority of American workers. These changes would assure that our representatives are “of the people” and experiencing the same working and living environments as over 90% of the American public. I believe these changes will result in legislation that reflects the true voice of the people of the US and will allow us to come to grips with the great challenges facing our country today.

  • Anon thinker

    Find a way to fix the global economic imbalance. Americans tend to consume so much that we’ve become the vital endpoint for foreign-made goods. (Even as China owns so much of our debt — and undervalues their own currency — they keep selling to us more and more). Tariffs are a naughty word because other nations will simply impose their own, but perhaps a consumption tax might cause Americans to consume less and invest more. Ideally, Americans need to start selling our goods overseas more (but our legacy costs, etc. make us less competitive). But, it would be better to develop foreign markets than reduce American wages.

  • Mmerlin

    Pam, please think about what you are advocating with term limits. Your argument for them makes absolutely no sense. If they don’t have to worry about the next election for a whole 2 or 3 years do you think they will listen to the people or do things for lobbyists and get the real pay-out when they are done with their 2 or 3 year lame duck session. They will self aggandise themselves even worse than they do now. There are already term limits possible for crappy legislators, it is called intelligent and informed voters.

  • JohnLittle1993

    I should like to correct my previous post:
    I like Gary’s ideas on infrastructure. America’s infrastructure needs improvement, and as another suggested, infrastructure is a great way to employ the hard-working men and women of America. But these jobs require moneys which aren’t entirely available at this time.
    The current debate in Washington over the budget deficits and spending is a real upset, but those who lament over the nation’s financial situations have not yet opted to address the issue of our monetary policy.
    When the federal government yielded its duties of money creation to private banks through credit expansion, it legalized the virtual counterfeiting of money that takes place through modern lending practices of spending on account-holders’ reserves.
    If the federal government would ban the private creation of money and take on that responsibility by spending money into circulation, through new and existing government operations, our government would resolve the jobs problem, the debt problem, and the fractured infrastructure problem, but the systemic cause of all these problems isn’t being discussed.

  • John C

    I think too many special interests, too much influence of congress, too many handouts, the social security system is broke, too many ineffective programs. So here are my radical ideas:
    1. All citizens over 18 receive a monthly stipend of (?) $2,500. – eliminates social security, food stamps, subsidized housing, welfare, agricultural subsidies, etc. No one will get rich and no one will starve. But unless you have a job or live with several other people you won’t afford housing. Maybe an additional $100 stipend per child ? I haven’t done the math on this one yet.
    2. A national sales tax of (?) 50% – eliminates income tax, fica, its progressive as item 1 balances this for low or no earners. Imported items have an extra (?) 10% surcharge.
    3. A (?) 1% tax on all financial tranactions including banking, stock purchase, sale or transfer. Foreign transfers to be taxed at (?) 2%.
    4. An annual tax of (?) 1% on net worth in excess of (?) $100,000 until the federal defecit is eliminated. Maybe 2% until the federal defecit is eliminated and 1% thereafter?
    5. Medicare for everybody paid for by items 2 and 3. Private insurance companies are contracted to insure a population – county? zip code? using capitation methods. The focus being on preventative rather than acute care as a flat amount is contracted per person. Profits of the insurance company to be capped at (?) 10%.
    6. All citizens are entitled to 192 trimester credits of free post secondary education including books, lab fees, etc. In other words a free bachelor degree. If your state offers post secondary credits while in high school the credits can be used towards a master’s program or as the student sees fit.
    7. Reduce the departments to core functions: State, Treasury, Defense, Interior/Transportation, Technology, Justice, Security and Health and Human Services. Eliminate Housing, Labor, Agricuture etc. This will take some discussion.
    8. Eliminate or reduce all federal employee pension programs. This would have to be phased in over 30 years to be fair to existing employees.
    9. Reduce, through attrition, the size of the federal government employee base. There will be no need for these employees.
    10. Eliminate corporate subsidies – ethanol, tobacco, agriculture, etc.
    11. States are responsible for education, local highways, local highways, etc. Item 1 eliminates welfare, item 5 eliminate Medicaid or similar.

    This is just a start. Its radical and our relationship with the federal government will be completely revised as will the motive base of our leaders to us. I’ll admit I haven’t done the math yet and the numbers will have to be tweaked. Thank you for your consideration of these ideas.

  • Mmerlin

    in addition why would you want to pass a law that would term limit good legislators? You would not just term limit lousy ones. Some are actually good and do the right thing as well as honor their oath to uphold the Constitution, sure there are darn few but would you not want to hold on to them?

  • Marcus

    I concure, we need to get away from giving people money just just because they are out of work or do not have medical issurance. Instead, have the cityh, state, govt give people jobs and make them earn that money we now give them anyway, but now have them do work around the country in the area they are trained in, this keeps people up on their education while giving schools people to assist or cities extra people to clean up the streets, or brick layers putting up walls, put the people to work and not give money away just because?

  • Johnny Rocket

    Another way to fix America is to examine our tax structure. The American economy was pretty good from the 1940s to the 1960s. During that time, we had plenty of money to pay for important public services. That’s because until 1963 the top-marginal tax rate was 91 percent.

    We’ve spent the past 50 years cutting taxes on the richest people. Since the 1980s, when that tax rate was cut to 35 percent, we haven’t had money for anything. That’s not coincidence — it’s cause and effect.

    ***
    Pam, I disagree about term limits. It’s already too difficult to find good people to put into office in the first place. We always have the chance to vote people out of office. But term limits make it impossible to keep good people in.

    Consider the case of Brian X. Foley. Throughout his political career, the same word has followed him: Integrity.

    He served in the Brookhaven Town government. Although the town government was long a hotbed of corruption, he went untainted, and was broadly respected by Democrats and Republicans alike.

    Then he went to the Suffolk County Legislature, where he served until he was term-limited out of office. Most people don’t know about many of the good things he did, because he didn’t cite them at election time.

    So when ho was term-limited out, we sent him to the NYS Senate. He was voted out this year for a single issue — his opposition of a tax rebate program that was over-priced, largely worthless, and ammounted to little more than a program to provide easy votes for incumbents. He voted his conscience, and was sent packing.

    But thanks to term limits, the people who appreciate all ha has done can’t even put him back into the county legislature. Term limits don’t keey bad people out — they only get rid of good people quickly.

    - Johnny Rocket
    Gordon Heights, NY

  • Peartree4

    One way I would fix America is by exposing the foolishness and fallacy of what most conservatives spew as truth. Your guy who would fix America by giving everyone vouchers lives in a magical world where people, by default, act rationally. Any look at actual data of human behavior shows that people have a high tendency to be guided by emotion. People with vouchers will be at least as likely to use them to buy lottery tickets as they are to buy milk. Please don’t assume I think poor people are incapable of acting rationally. A look at the collapse of General Motors, for example, shows that wealthy, “smart,” people could select what data to look at in order to have the illusion that they were smart and were making smart decisions, while ignoring the herds of elephants and other large mammals that were everywhere in the room. A government that works well brings to bear our collective experience and wisdom to bear on individual actors who tend to act out of self-indulgence rather than self-interest, as the “moneytheistic” religion of our free-market advocates insist everyone behaves.

  • Ddossey

    one way I would fix the country would be to increase government regulation on the insurance companies, the cooperations that feul many of the troubles that we face. some people think we need less government I think we need more government intervention in the financial area. the right and the left continue to spew forth comments about the of the states rights, didn’t we settle that little argument during the civil war? Untill Lincoln (the first republican President) the words national and federal were not used commonly in reference to government agenceys or indpendent groups.

  • Working American

    It amazes me that we don’t have a requirement for welfare recipients to submit to drug tests like the productive members of society have to.

  • Albert S.

    I believe the one best change to make to fix America is to limit senators and congressmen to two terms, just like the limit on the presidency. This would reduce considerably the big money corporate influence on our politicians.

  • Jzeibak

    When corporations give money to politicial campaigns it causes special interest and almost always is a determent to the American citizen.

  • Houlihan3

    Do you like history?

    I grew up in Wisconsin and of course you can’t talk about Wisconsin’s History without mention of Republican Progressive Leader Senator Robert La Follette, but I later learned that there was a far more important Republican Progressive not for what I read on La Follette, but in a book on Kentucky’s Rural Electrification, Written by a local KU historian and self promoted, he in a wheelchair with his daughter pushing him. Here in a Kentucky electric book was mentioned how a Nebraskan US Senator as being key to the passage and development of TVA program and spear heading the rural electrification program. Odd?
    Did you know George Norris Republican Conservative became the greatest Republican Progressive = Pro-farmer, Reformer = small business and individual rights, that this Country has had?
    His story is a rags to representation, his father died and his older brother (Who’s letter he carried in his wallet to the end) died during the Civil War, George was just 4 years old and had to work their family farm until his teens in Ohio. Did you think he knew child labor? Became a country teacher, a small town lawyer, local prosecuting attorney then judge. George Norris as the local judge saw a growing pattern of farm foreclosures and lost homesteads and farmers and their hands forced into the cities and further unemployment. This was the time of the robber barons. Here Kentucky there was tobacco barons, which often set tobacco prices, well below the costs to grow that tobacco. This was wiping out small farmers and the barons then scooped up their farms on pennies on the dollar, same was going on all over. Judge Norris knew what hard work farming really was and soon he ran as a Republican Reformer.

    Between Norris’s 40 years as a Nebraskan US Congressman and US Senator, does that make Norris a career politician?
    You , I and George Norris, we don’t have millions of dollars to advertise to create an image and give that image name recognition. So the only way we can gain NAME RECOGNITION at the state wide level is through years of GOOD and FAIR PUBLIC SERVICE.
    What is the one thing that helps you get folks vote? Name recognitions!
    Our ARMOR is all those years of GOOD DEADS we have done and the NAME RECOGNITION for that!
    We have to do that the hard way. We get name recognition by giving years of GOOD PUBLIC SERVICE.
    That is why there are so many attack ads!
    A lifetime of GOOD PUBLIC SERVICE can be destroyed by 1 attack ad not able to answer for, is this what you intend to support?
    Do you think normal folks can weather the amount of attack ads leveled this election?
    Understand even the best financed Democratic campaigns had a $2 against to $1 for by no-names. In court you have the right to face your accuser, but many voters’s based their decisions on ads that when (factcheck.org) had no name to who paid and made them. At least you can discount an ad coming from the DNC, but how about US Chamber of Commerce or Voter’s for a Free America? But in this election there was nothing and no rules. Do you think a lame duck Congress is going to push for reform?
    Would you write your Congressman and Senator for such a reform?

    I, as a young boy, having seen the career of another fiscally conservative, Bill Proxmire Dem of Wisconsin, because my grandfather helped him get into the US Senate. Bill Proxmire was a journalist going after the graft of the 1950′s. He had failed to become Governor of Wisconsin and wanted to run again for the post. My grandfather talked him into running for the US Senate seat instead.
    Bill Proxmire’s investigations gave Bill name recognition, but his sights were too low, my grandfather raised his sights, to that of US Senator and 2 terms would have been a disservice to our country, just like 2 terms would have been a disservice to Nebraska and rural America if a man like George Norris was held to just 2 terms.
    Why don’t you read about George Norris’s Republican Progressive career?

    Just a thought.

  • bc

    1) Separate the politicians from money/power (much more important than separation of church and state). One way of doing that might be to do away with elections and make it like jury duty for a few months per year. Lets get real people in the gov. We would see some common sense – politicians sure don’t seem to have any common sense. Stop wasting money on elections. Also, set the federal and state governments on a percentage based budget – i.e. whatever money comes in is given to each dept based on a percentage of income all of the way down. They cannot spend more than comes in.
    2) Demand transparency and accountability from government.
    3) Put federal/state governments on a tax system such as the “Fair Tax” – it is way better than what we have now. Fix the percent tax at one point and leave it alone.
    4) Set our economy on a stable state system where quality is not based on quantity. Wild growth is what cancer does i.e. it essentially eats itself.
    5) Pass term limits on politicians. For a change we could give up being total idiots!
    6) Instead of all the “dealing” in Congress/Senate set it up so that the Congress/Senate hear the pros and cons of the issue and then vote. All this dealing just asks for corruption.
    7) Let’s take care of America and forget all of this foreign spending/meddling all the time. If individual Americans want to help others let them, but get the dang gov out of the foreign aid business. 8) Limit government to exact specific functions, keep it small, and leave it alone.
    9) Set up a major website that accepts and catalogs all human best practices to date. This could be accessed by anyone who needs to know the best that humans understand in all areas of interest.
    10) Let’s encourage some reasonable limits on population growth. What the heck is the big hurry to destroy everything in sight? Get a brain. Stop paving the world. This is not progress it is greed. Let’s find a way to really take care of each other locally and world wide. Systems based on chasing money and greed cannot be the best – get real. It seems that the what we call capitalism should really be called rape.
    11)There has to be a better world beyond chasing money.
    12) Let’s build everything possible on local levels so that local areas are self sufficient. This should be obvious because when the gigantic food systems that move food an average of 1500 some odd miles each collapses maybe we wouldn’t all starve to death. Plus it would save all that energy.
    13) Secure the internet and let those who don’t want a secure internet go their own way.

  • Dready

    I think one of the first things you have to look at is the constitution. It can not be static but has to be dynamics to reflect the times we live in. A good example is the preacher in Florida who treaten the security of a nation, but because of the constitution f cluases government could not have step in to stop him.

  • Alzfo

    You have a very good point, especially in regards to mental health services. So many
    receiving ssd, housing, free(very costly) medications manage to screw up everything by
    taking other illegal drugs. They end up back in the hospital at $600.00 a day. This is as
    as insane as these people we waste billions on. And everyother person you meet has
    bi-polar disorder.

  • Jo G

    No ONE thing will fix America. 1. First of all, we have become The Divided States of America. Something legal in one state is illegal in the next. Stand in line in any drugstore in America and count the bags of “legal” drugs going out the door. Then, ask the nearest pothead or meth
    head- if they have prescription insurance- they don’t. They are stuck in a vicious or deadly cycle. Ask 2. Have food stamp cards that issue only a balanced portion of each food group-not excessive candy and soda, etc.-with recipes, for the non-cooker. 3. Make it legal for a female to have a tubal ligation before age 21, if she wants it- especially if she already has a child/ren.4. Build orphanages instead of prisons. Too many people don’t really want their children after they see the work and expense involved. Good parenting is learned. Have QUALIFIED people attend to the children. If a pedophile shows up- hang him. 5. Build factories in small towns again- utilizing local talent and energies. An idle mind and an idle body are the devil’s workshop. 6.Have all school age children wear uniforms of some type ( there’s a few factories for you). And with the money mom and dad are making working- they can buy that weekend outfit- to let them and their friends go to the dance hall -(that local tax dollars help build)- to shake off some excess teenage energy. Let overweight community members use it also. 7. Have huge indoor areas to farm locally- during inclement weather. 8. Get rid of tenure for teachers. What purpose does it really serve? If they’re still good teachers, parents will beg them to stay.9. Modern day forensics have made it way easier to catch criminals. Deal with it- no lengthy trial. 10. Make Dental care available and affordable for everyone. After all- Wouldn’t we all be smiling if we got The United States of America back…one hometown at a time?

  • delchan

    America’s current problems did not occur overnight and surely will not be corrected overnight. This problem stems back for years. Years of career politicians in both houses. Politicians who were elected to represent the people of the United States, assuming their roles as representatives of the people who elected them into office only to be consumed by the corporate trappings attracted by the powers that each of our “public servants” weilds. These career politicians have turned their backs on the people they are sworn to serve and instead serve the wealthy and the big corporations who roam the halls of our legislative buildings with pockets full of money, luxury vacations and bribes to buy the votes on legislation that favors their insatiable greed.
    The current recession and record unemployment are conditions “long in the making” and our career politicians all had and continue to have a hand in these difficult times born on the backs of the working class. Our public servants have willingly given large tax breks to corporations who send American jobs overseas and have continued to provide a loophole where these same companies are allowed to funnel profits earned here in the States out of this country so it is not taxed.
    Despite the suffering by the working people of this country in the toughest times since the great depression our career politicians still thumb their noses at their consitiuents. They really don’t give a damn if the unemployment benefits run out on the three million (est.) jobless Americans as long as they continue to be loyal to the “corporate big spenders”. What difference did it seem to make to them if the tax bill ended tied up in their legislative “tug of war” antics? What did they care, really? They are elected to office and have a job with a regular paycheck coming in to keep food on their tables! Our arrogant “public servants” have actually protested the possibility of having to work overtime (through the christmas holiday) had a compromise not been made on the tax bill. To really show how sympathetic our “public servants” are to the struggles that millions are faced with on a daily basis, being true to their form, they loaded the new tax bill with earmarks for their special interests. When will we as a nation ever learn? We have been faced with a recession where unemployment hovers around the ten percent mark, millions of American workers have lost their jobs, many of which have been shipped overseas – never to return, millions of the same unemployed people have also lost their homes, the housing industry has gone “belly up”, several of the nation’s largest banks have had to be save from the brink of collapse (with the use of tax payers’ money), major automakers, the backbone of the American economy have had to be pulled from the brink of failure (again with the tax payers’ money) and our congressmen continue to operate with reckless abandon!
    We need to start with a clean slate!!! Clearly, our elected officials have been and continue to be out of touch with the reality that the rest of us must live each and every day. This is not a game as it appears to be by the actions of our legislators. The “good ol boy” way of running this nation has positioned us to settle for the dregs of nations such as China and India who were not considered to be financial world leaders twenty years ago! But because of our arrogance and complacency we are now financially indebeted to China for trillions of dollars.
    We could also use the billions of dollars spent on wars around the world. We tend to be looked upon and assume the role of the “world police”. We went into Iraq to overthrow the leader of an “oil rich nation” at the expense of the American taxpayers. After the capture of Saaddam Hussein we watched the news broadcasts of our soldiers taking possession of so much US money (stacked on shipping skids) that the soldiers had to use forklifts to load the skids onto semi trucks. We have never heard of where this money went!! We spent taxpayer money to fight this war and then to rebuild after the destruction and will eventually pay (through the nostrils) for oil from this same nation!
    Greed has consumed America! We blame it on free enterprise but only have to look at our neighbors to the north and be perplexed! Because Americans have become “free for the picking” so to speak, that corporations come to expect just that! Just look at the drug manufacturers! We have US citizens crossing the border into Canada to get more affordable drugs – not unavailable drugs. Yes, drug companies are ripping off the American people by charging them considerably more for the same drugs that are being sold across the border in Canada for substantially less!
    Americans can expect to continue to extorted, robbed and lied to as long as we keep the “carreer politicians” (crooks) in congress and allow them to operate with impunity. How long must we “stick our heads in the sand” and allow our Great Nation to be destroyed by a “select few” who have forgotten who the “majority” are and why that “majority” voted them into office!

  • Houlihan3

    We get receipts every year from the OMB.gov and CBO.gov which are published by GPO.gov. You can download these reports to your computer and not waste paper, by the ton and dollars by the millions making receipts for everything.
    I would also highly recommend that you watch CSPAN 1,2,3 live video feeds daily to your computer. Here are some links too you may find useful.
    https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USGSAOGP/subscriber/network
    http://www.usaspending.gov/search?query=&searchtype=&formFields=eyJQU0NDYXRlZ29yeUNvZGUiOlsiQSJdfQ==

  • Alzfo

    Marian, Tons of people would agree with you. Its like the problem mentioned about 70% of
    medical bills are spent in the last two months of life. Just try to use some common sense and
    change this and every nut comes out of the woodwork to protest and our incompetent politicians back off. So I guess we’ll just go bust and let the cards fall where they may.
    There are many solutions but no means to make them happen.

  • Caseyrick

    Dear NTK:

    Your program on ‘How To Fix America’ was an interesting contribution to this vitally important area of improving domestic economic policy, but, I’m afraid, falls far short of what is needed. I teach freshman environmental economics at my local community college in Ft Collins, Colorado, and feel strongly enough on this issue to comment tonight.

    I would highly recommend that this discussion include the works of David Korten and Riane Eisler into your staff’s research efforts. Their work is highly relevant to your mission, and, in fact, cries out for greater attention for their simple attesting to the truth of how we could move towards greater peace by a better understanding of our history. I hope you check out their works.

    Basically, in their wide ranging and penetrating analyses of our current economic problems, I believe you will find a lucid, consistent and logical explanation as to how things got so screwed (f*****!) up as their are.

    However, personally, since I’ve since how conservative your reporting has become, I do not hold out much hope you will use this as an idea for a future episode — despite how much I think it drive up your ratings that night…

    I’ll keep listing, none the less whether you publish my story or not…you guys kick ass!

    Sincerely,
    Rick Casey

  • Jo G

    There is a school of thought that says : These types of disorders are a reflection of improper food intake…albeit a totally insufficient intake of minerals and/ or amino acids.Makes sense. Gas- Transmission fluid- Quart low on Oil…oops (?)

  • Houlihan3

    Did you know that Richard Nixon first was election cost him $10,000 total. I remember, Bill Proxmire bragging that he spent one election $129! $100 for state application, $20 gas, $4 parking, $5.00 paper and postage letting the newspapers know he was running, do you think that Bill Proxmire could be independent? Yes! That is why he had the Golden Fleece Award! In Kentucky in my area Lexington, there was 155 hours of attack ads, but only 3.65 hours of campaign coverage total by private TV stations. 4.6 billion was spent in advertising if Kentucky is any indication of the job creating ability of Kentucky’s share of the 4.6 billion of attack ads did for Kentucky’s un-employed then show me the jobs or show me somebody’s wallets.
    Getting to the root of a political problem is controlling the attack ads and holding TV stations that run those attack ads to run right behind them ads listing their truthfulness and who paid for that ad. If there is a bunch, guess what a website could be listed in the ad in which contributors would be listed in rank, 1st to last, by amount given. We as consumers of these attack ads have the right to know both and just think of the jobs that would be created!

  • Houlihan3

    Did you know that Richard Nixon first was election cost him $10,000 total. I remember, Bill Proxmire bragging that he spent one election $129! $100 for state application, $20 gas, $4 parking, $5.00 paper and postage letting the newspapers know he was running, do you think that Bill Proxmire could be independent? Yes! That is why he had the Golden Fleece Award! In Kentucky in my area Lexington, there was 155 hours of attack ads, but only 3.65 hours of campaign coverage total by private TV stations. 4.6 billion was spent in advertising if Kentucky is any indication of the job creating ability of Kentucky’s share of the 4.6 billion of attack ads did for Kentucky’s un-employed then show me the jobs or show me somebody’s wallets.
    Getting to the root of a political problem is controlling the attack ads and holding TV stations that run those attack ads to run right behind them ads listing their truthfulness and who paid for that ad. If there is a bunch, guess what a website could be listed in the ad in which contributors would be listed in rank, 1st to last, by amount given. We as consumers of these attack ads have the right to know both and just think of the jobs that would be created!

  • Alzfo

    So how do we stop spending most of our medical funds in the last two months of life? How do we
    get past the hospitals that make a fortune off these patients? How do we get our politicians from
    backing off when the ignorant fanatics begin their howling about how we are trying to kill them?
    This is not a new idea. Its been around for decades. We seem to be entirely impotent to get
    any viable solutions to our social and economic problems solved. If I lived on another planet I might have observed that out government is halariously incompetent. The corrupt part is never funny. This is how we we all go to hell in a handbasket.

  • Houlihan3

    I guess, the banks were lending back then 2008 to 2009, NOPE the banks were foreclosing, businesses were hiring back then, NOPE they were shedding 8 million jobs, maybe we should have made traded businesses pay higher unemployment and re-training taxes, so when they merge the US taxpayer wouldn’t be stuck with the bill, or when they outsourced our jobs they would pay for our un-employment (all) and our re-education to new jobs (since the jobs are permantently gone, but that would be just like Socialist Germany! Where is the rugged individual = schmuck then.
    Obama had to try everything he could and if the mitch McConnell and Republican’s weren’t “Do Nothings” come-on tell me what did they do the last couple of years?
    Obama = Once Working Man =Unemployed, wage earners, keeping middle class taxes low so folks can recover
    Mitch McConnell for the Man = protecting the top 2% = 900 million per year added to our deficit or $337,000 per rich person, Tell me, honestly if you think that any of the Unemployed 99+dayers will get totally in un-employment benefits that much? Oh CBO like CBO.gov estimates that this 900 million will only produce 120 million in benefits. Let’s see if it took me $9 per unit to make something and I get only $1 back that this is a highly profitable venture?

    Robert Frank’s book
    In “Falling Behind:” How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class, he explores the very meaning of happiness and prosperity in America today. He examines how changes in the distributions of income and wealth have affected consumer spending patterns and suggests policy reforms to mitigate the harm caused to middle-income families by rising inequality.

    Promoting Heterolskedastic growth out of the recession would lower consumption and GDP growth outward from the recession. I reference Korea after 1998. This would lead to a longer slower recovery the middle-class is consumption and protecting the middle-class should be the goal of our government. We have for too long sacrificed the middleclass and protected the wealthy.

    Sorry if I met sarcasm with Sarcasm, but Obama is trying his best.

  • http://24Ahead.com 24AheadDotCom

    No one at PBS probably has any clue about how much like the blind men (and women) and the elephant this segment was like. Each of them with their own limited visions with only a few offering suggestions that would have a major impact. And, their already limited visions were reduced even further because all are from the “Northeast establishment”.

    Something that would have a very healthy impact on the U.S., that would reduce unemployment, and that would keep the corrupt elites in check would be to try to reduce illegal/mass immigration. That would free up jobs for Americans, make foreign countries take care of their own people instead of sending them to the U.S., and it would fight against massive public and private corruption. For an example of the latter, some politicians look the other way on illegal immigration because they want votes, others look the other way because they receive donations from companies and banks that profit from illegal immigration. Fighting against that would reduce corruption and make government more accountable to the vast majority of Americans rather than small special interests.

    The problem, of course, is that PBS is itself too corrupt to have an honest debate about that issue or to hold politicians accountable.

    So, that means that you have to take action. And, the way to do that is outlined here:

    24ahead.com/s/question-authority

    If you want to oppose massive public and private corruption and help free up jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, help promote that plan.

  • smlong

    I would ask all employers to create a schedule for their full time employees to volunteer in public schools 4 hours per month. So many parents have to work 40+ hours per week and cannot volunteer in their child’s classroom, much less give them the time that is needed to improve their education at home. So many children are failing and need that one-one attention that teachers are unable to give during the school day. I have been amazed at what the presence of a parent evokes in my daughters classmates. We need more involved parents and citizens! This is my “just one thing”, but it would certainly make my local school and community better!

  • Herrenhaus

    Fixing America means more than just blindly fixing unemployment. It means making all workers more competitive in those industries in which America already has or can easily develop significant comparative advantages in the Global Economy.

    What I propose instead of the guarantee of “dead-end” minimum-wage employment for all is the guarantee of access to state-of-the-art higher education, instruction, career guidance, and entrepreneurial stewardship for all in an “Open-University”, 24-hr per day online format. If you want to bone up on new skills in your industry, or in some other industry that you are passionate about entering, you should be able to access a national Open University, Login, and start taking high quality first-rate classes in any subject of your choice for free!

    Why do I think that this would fix America?……The main reason that so many formerly well-paid, middle-class people, or younger inexperienced people are currently out of work is that their skills, and conceptual worldview are either completely out of date, or not well developed. And in order to get properly re-trained in something else, or in the new “in” technology that has taken over their industry, they would have to borrow tens of thousands of dollars in student loans for new “brick-and-mortar” or expensive “for-profit” internet college-level courses that would then devour 30 to 50 percent of their future income (in student loan payments) after completing the courses. So the average formerly well-paid or younger uneducated worker, who is low on funds, just sits at home and continues to send out resumes to the “black-hole” of advertised jobs, rarely getting any response from recruiters who prefer new hires who are “up” on all the latest technical skills. My Open University concept would allow the increasingly vast “army” of the Unemployables to have a shot at reinventing themselves without incurring new debts.

    The focus of Open University courses would be on subjects that would equip students to start export-oriented entrepreneurial businesses; businesses that would export new, innovative products, services and systems to the huge new countries overseas with increasingly affluent middle-class consumers: China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia, etc. who may be hungry for novel, “cool” American products, ideas, services, etc. In order for this Open University concept to Fix America’s employment economy, and create rapid, high-end economic growth, enrollment in Open University’s free training programs would have to be free only to American Residents and Citizens committed to:

    1) Becoming first of all, absolutely lucid, fluent and educated in the English Language and English, or English Diaspora Literature, Business Writing, Marketing Communications, Spelling, English Grammar, etc.

    2) Becoming workably fluent in at least one, or preferably two “KEY” major “hard” foreign languages besides “Spanish, French, Italian and German”, such as Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Hindi, Japanese, Arabic, etc…, which could be learnt in one of the free open university online courses and could facilitate future export-driven businesses.

    3) Actively pursuing overseas job searches in other countries, especially in those countries with significant American overseas corporate investments in capital and labor.

    4) Actively using their new language and international marketing skills to start-up their own export-driven businesses-on-a-shoe-string here in America, if new jobs are still hard to find.

    One of the perks of successfully earning qualifications and certificates in this free, Open University system, would be the right to declare small-business bankruptcy, should things not work out, and then get a new, unfettered, “fresh” start on another new, export-driven, innovative business idea, after each original business failure is wiped off one’s records!!

    How would this program be funded, and where would the high-quality professors come from?….America’s real comparative advantage lies in its innovative knowledge base locked in the minds of the incredibly talented, innovative professors at our major and smaller Universities. Maybe governments or private foundations would have to form an “Edu-Corp-Administration”, or ECA (A 21st century version of the WPA, but for mass re-education instead of for “jobs” as it was in the 1930s) program in which the best “Bricks and Mortar” professors could reap income tax breaks if they regularly donate pro-bono time as online course instructors that would be broadcast on the Internet to anyone who chooses to enroll. Also, maybe major textbook companies could earn corporate tax discounts if they allowed all their state-of-the art texts to be made available free online to Open-University students. Furthermore, maybe Computer software companies would allow Open University students to down-load and use training versions of their software which would expire in say a year, so that lots of new people could very quickly acquire state-of the art technical and programming skills. The software companies would gain legions of new software users and future customers, and may also save on taxes?

    How could students earn credentials, and standards be enforced?…..Maybe there could be national exam centers in each city or state that could allow anyone to pay a nominal exam fee and sit for a proctored exam, and eventually earn a certificate or maybe even a degree!

    The funds for administration of the computer servers for this open university as well as the advisors could all be from Corporate donors, based on the model used by public television stations, or could use pop-up commercial ads as they do on Face Book, Google and Yahoo?. Corporations would have to publicly “put their money where their mouths are”, re the readiness of American workers….This may be naive, but shirking their corporate responsibility to provide free instruction, equipment and entrepreneurial business guidance would result in massive new corporate tax liabilities imposed at either the State or Federal levels! “Voluntary” contributions by corporate entities would yield significant corporate tax savings……..

    What I have just described is just the beginning “blue-print” for a competitive, high-growth knowledge based, business and employment incubation system that would enable, stimulate, and prod masses of Americans to freely seek new proprietary wealth-building knowledge, enabling them to learn how to create lots of new innovative products and services for export and consumption overseas. I believe that too many of us in the public have been too quick to ignore the obvious potential benefits of open markets in a competitive global economy, and this would allow us to embrace the new 21st Century Global competitive reality as a major game-player, instead continuing to behave as cry-babies resting on American post-Second World War Laurels from the 1950’s and 1960’s. This blueprint would also return some measure of economic justice to the system of wealth creation that used to be available to Middle class Americans.

  • Bruce Cass

    In order to end America’s dependency on foreign oil, while attacking our deficit, and financing construction of a more energy-efficient electrical grid ~ we need to gradually increase our Federal gasoline tax. Increasing that tax $0.15 each quarter over a five year period would still leave the price of gasoline in America at about 60% of the price Europeans or Japanese pay (i.e. $6.00 per gallon as opposed to over $9.00). Certainty about the future price of gasoline would allow Americans to make judicious choices when buying automobiles. Our Trade imbalance would improve, and regimes such as Iran, Venezuela, and Russia would lose much of their economic clout.
    Then we can talk about a tax on sugar…

  • inflate-us-out

    It’s easy. Print lots of money! Pay off our debts with that money so we don’t have to pay any more interest on those debts. Of course, no one will loan us any more money, which is good because our government will be forced to live within its means. It will be forced to spend only what it receives in taxes. Imports will be very expensive which will force us all to buy local products. And that’s very good. Local manufacturers will be able to afford to hire people at the minimum wage, which by then would be worth the equivalent of 50 cents an hour by today’s dollars. This will make our exports very competitive.

  • Herrenhaus

    America’s comparative advantage is not in low-end, run-of-the-mill products. SE Asian and Haitian workers crank out widgets for pennies an hour. This policy would be the road to 100 years of subservience to China.

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    How to fix America? STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING by feeding the IDEA beast unless you are actually going to do something with them. What good are a bunch of ideas unless they are developed, organized and used to form some sort of structure that empowers people. This is sort of like masturbation, yeah maybe it feels good for a while but it doesn’t produce anything.

  • Herrenhaus

    Good Ideas lead to path-breaking new industries like the ones that were created in the 1980s bt Steve Jobs and Buill Gates. Most people don’t blossom as spectacularly, but in order to incubate the diamonds, you have to be prepared to give everyone a chance!

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    I wish I had your faith in the majority. I’m afraid we have too many manipulated thinkers and not enough critical thinkers to make the right decisions. Look at the election and how many people voted against their own self interests.

  • Herrenhaus

    The best real-life example of a country that squandered its opportunities, that just printed money to produce widgets is Argentina after the first world war. Argentina was a wealthy country almost equal in GDP to the USA in 1918. But then Argentina refused to invest a dime in national brainpower or infrastructure, and is still relegated to its fourth-class status as a commodities and local widgets producer….only slightly better off today than the average present-day lesser developed Central American country!

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    I agree with you on the power of ideas but we won’t get these from our leaders since it takes a risk to present a new idea and they don’t take risks. It’s up to us to put good ideas into a form we can all stand behind so somebody running for office can use these ideas as a platform.

  • Herrenhaus

    I agree with you…and that’s what the authors of this website are trying to do!

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    But won’t they just move on to the next thing and all the good ideas will just float into the stratosphere? I wish it wasn’t so but they need to keep feeding us fresh content.

  • Herrenhaus

    Well, hopefully someone influential, wealthy, and very powerful, somewhere in our vast country will read some of these posts and use some of them positively……The authors of this website appear to be genuinely interested in improving America. Shouldn’t we at least try to give them the benefit of the doubt?…….You never know who will see these ideas!

  • Athuz

    Forcing everyone to have insurance will just cause more of the same problems that we are all familiar with. I for one would like to see medical cost come down. Why not pass a law that prevents anyone from having insurance. Costs and the structure of the medical establishment would change overnight. I think you would quickly begin to see competitive subscription based medicine and we would all benefit if we could suffer the transition.

  • Jculbertsonv

    Interestingly enough no one talked about the military, yet the 2 most costly and least effective government funded operations of the decade have been the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is widely accepted that both wars are over Oil (Iraq) and Minerals (estimated 1 trillion in Afghanistan), rather than the stabilization of the world. There are so many atrocities committed by us because of our military attachment to the colonial industrialization of the third world. We need to shutdown and remove all foreign military operations. All foreign bases, all american troops returned back to their own soil. Maybe then we can truly our example of freedom being a good thing, and maybe then we can fix these domestic problems-i.e. infrastructure, inferior education system, sluggish economy, and overzealous corporate campaign contributors.

  • Linknlaw

    I should watch this program more than one time, but I can’t put myself through that pseudo intellectual exercise without becoming extremely ill. The question you posed is ‘what would you do to fix America?’ The not so subtle message being something is wrong with America. Without a single exception, all of the selected experts opined without hesitation a remedy for which they neither acknowledged nor explained the source of the malady for which their specific brand of remedy was a sure fired cure. With all somberness and sincerity, each proffered a cure-all guaranteed to prevent and/or cure every scourge known to mankind. And yet, with all of their collective knowledge and expertise, not one of them paid any attention to, let alone explained how, or to what extent the Constitution relates to the very issues they rise to address. It never ceases to amaze me how thoughtless the majority of people in this country have become. Their memories are short-lived, and their ability to remain focused on the principles upon which this nation was founded is virtually non-existent. The real malady America faces is the failure of its people to believe that the true source of their strength, protection, and prosperity resides in the very document that binds us all to each other. The only reason my speech is protected is because your speech is protected. The logic of these fundamental principles enshrined in the Constitution is unassailable. The moment we deny anyone the same rights and protections we all believe in, that is the moment we all become slaves to oppression. You want to fix America? Then start believing in, and adhering to the very same ideas and principles the Founding Fathers created and intended to pass on to each and every succeeding generation of Americans.

  • Nancy in Puyallup

    Why don’t we find a smart, creative entrepreneur to create the next mega hit I-phone app to allow people to experiment with running America. What we could all use more of is appreciation for what we get from the taxes we pay and empathy for those folks who step up to represent us. It’s a tough job. Maybe if we spent some time in their shoes, we’d be more discerning about the talking heads on the TV or the internet and take a broader view educated by experiencing the possible consequences of thinking only of ourselves.

  • Jculbertsonv

    The I-Phone comment sounds glib. Maybe we could use less misinformation from both the government and the media and stop looking at these problems as being too complicated or too deeply rooted to be changed. If that is your feeling, and you do work in government, then maybe it is time for you to look for work in the private sector, because the critics are only going to get worse.

  • Tim Kincaid

    The best way to fix America is to create an enviorment in which the middle class can flourish. Instead of living an illusion of family values, lets return to “economic family values” in the USA . This can be done by returning to the “fair share” tax rates from 1933 to 1981 from the “trickle down” tax rates we have now. Even President Reagon’s creator of trickle down economics (Stockman) has now denounced it as a failure.
    During the 1950′s and most of the 1960′s the USA got some thing wrong for sure, racial segregation, McCarthyism and the blacklists;however, the one thing that America got right was the tax rate that was set along the lines of “pay your fair share”. The tax rate was never below 60% for the very highest income.
    Americans have been so blinded by the boom of the nineties, and the longing of the days of yesterday year, that they won’t look at the economic facts of how a very small group of the very rich are swindling the Americans and driving them into economic instability through these outrageously low tax rates for the wealthest Americans. They’ve heard remarks from the politicians such as,”Stop your whining!!”,when there is a complaint made about these inequities.
    Most Americans are too young to remember the rates of old, and therefore don’t realize this gross inequity.

    If we returned to any of federal income tax rates between 1933 and 1981 we could put an end to the deficit, balance out Social Security and create a more stable political enviorment for the USA by creating a more robust middle class.

    A second idea that goes hand in hand with a return to earlier tax rates is to return to credit card interest deductions on federal income tax. Paid out interest should not be counted as part of of one’s annual income; taxing interest is an extra tax placed on the middle class. Rich people don’t carry credit card debt from month to month. The people that do are mostly struggling middle class families.
    The maximum credit card rate should be only 15% APR. Let’s make usury illegal again.

    If we embraced these three simple rule of “economic family values” I think we’ll be on the right road to fixing America.

  • Radropkick

    We need a commission to investigate and prosecute white collar crime. The lying cheating and stealing has to stop. The laws of the land are not being enforced or punished. Put the offenders in jail. Sit back and watch the US flourish. Until then, more of the same. RD

  • http://twitter.com/me1an1e Melanie

    I would start by renewing the fairness doctrine. Since the loss of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, our nation has descended to near civil war. We have corporations like Fox News who benefit from strife and that strife is killing us. We solve nothing but fight everything. As opposed to discussing the validity of going to war under the Bush Doctrine, we discussed who loved america and who didn’t. As opposed to discussing the issues of Health Care Reform, we discussed death panels, and not the ones in the insurance companies.

    The Fairness Doctrine should be expanded to include cable television, a requirement that one station cannot perpetuate one idea only, no matter how false, won’t stop them from expressing their views but it will enable the viewers to have to hear a larger percentage of opposing ideas. That is beneficial for everyone. If you can only believe your idea when it is in the dark, it’s not much of an idea. Also, if tv has to give equal time, then corporations are not encouraged to buy up big blocks of our politicians because all ideas have to get out anyhow.

  • amendforasafeuscom

    Well said, Linknlaw, there is more reality in your one paragraph than in the last year of PBS Newshour, Washington Week, Need to Know, PBS Ombudsman and the major network Sunday morning roundtable discussions, combined, especially when the U.S. had a $38.7 billion trade deficit in October, official unemployment statistics show nearly 10% of the workforce jobless and merry holiday shoppers are spending like there’s no tomorrow.

    We were told just last night how Congress and the President did transfer more water from leaky barrel ‘D’ to leaky barrel ‘R,’ while sipping from the ladle in both directions. Perhaps it’s about time PBS and the admittedly corporate networks inform the rest of America there is no tomorrow, if we don’t return to explicit constitutionality, a.s.a.p.

  • Fang

    We need to embrace HARM REDUCTION. It’s a simple concept. We need to adopt policies and attitudes that minimize harm to people and to the environment.

    Here’s a specific example: legalize marijuana. Currently public policy attempts to harm people who possess and use marijuana. Billions of dollars are spent on police and courts while billions more fund an uncontrolled underground economy which is currently killing tens of thousands of people, many near the US-Mexico boarder. With a simple change of attitude marijuana can be controlled similar to alcohol and cigarettes. Substantial tax income can be used to fund education and treatment programs to help minimize the social costs.

    Some people would like to see everyone who receives public assistance be tested for drugs. The subtext is that we need to weed out the drug users. It’s a form of enforcement. If we adopt harm reduction as our primary goal all drug use is considered a medical issue. No one gets incarcerated for using drugs. With a simple attitude change we separate the drugs from the guns. Drugs are not the problem. People hurting themselves and others is the problem. People need help with their problems, not threats.

    The US spends way too much money on the military. If our primary goal is harm reduction world wide then the use of force is the last option. Trillions of dollars can be saved world wide with much of it coming directly from US tax payers. For every dollar we spend on the military we need to spend a dollar on aid which directly helps people.

    Real benefit to all people (and the environment) comes from simply endorsing harm reduction. Think about it.

  • denise

    everybody needs to serve this country 2yrs min ( kinda like the mormons) team usa initiate a domestic peace corps &or military-contract pick up a book,broom,gun everybody dont care if ur a senator’s son or gov’s daughter the rewards are bragging rights i love this here country of mine and i did my part if we dont invest in this country”s future citizens the next generation owes us nothing i’m glad i’m 57 cuz i think america has peaked and instead of trouble-shooting the powers in place are strangulating the essence of what once made us great

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/wsNNy4tuk84m2j5P8D_JFuSLPtep#5cf3e Ray Moore

    Why doesn’t anyone ever mention political reform?If the American people were truly represented by our elected officials,most of these problems would be handled in a way we could all accept.The Estonian people have a good mode of government,and they’re political interest are served.The American political process is out-dated and ineffective.It leaves the American people unrepresented and at the mercy of whoever has the most money to throw around.

  • GK Mandigo

    Since the challenge makes me omnipotent and I can now do things that are not actually possible, I would enact a constitutional amendment that is elegantly simple but would completely change how we govern ourselves and the effectiveness of that governance:
    “For the purpose of the campaigning for and election of government officials, money is not considered speech.”
    Every citizen has a voice, but rich citizens, corporations and organizations have more money than the average citizen so if money is considered speech then people or groups with more money have more “speech” than those that have less. That can not be allowed to continue if we really expect our republic to work. A poor person has one voice. A rich person has one voice. A group of people have a voice for each member. Let their voices be heard and not just their dollars.

  • Becktel

    We must reinstill a sense of belonging and personal investment in the United States of America by eliminating the Us/Them mentality. Needed is a Mandatory program of national service with both civilian and military (read draft) options – choice left to the citizen. Paid service periods of four or five years upon completion of which the person will have earned four years of fully funded education or equivilent training (think GI Bill/vocational rehabilitation). Not to get too Big-Brother-scary, but the Rights of Citizenship (eligibility to vote, to qualify as a candidate for government office, social security, healthcare, loans/financing, employment, etc) would be determined by participation in the national service program. Civic action begins at home. But first, we need to stop killing people in foreign lands and bring ALL the troops home. How many foreign countries have military installations within the US? This from a 70ish former anti-draft Army lifer. Take care.

  • Raymond Tarpley

    It is critical to get at root causes in any attempt to fix America. These are best encapsulated in our wholesale loss of EQUALITY and TRUST. We are among the most unequal of all industrialized nations with regard to the ever-growing gap between rich and poor. Such rampant inequality eventually destroys trust since inherent in such a scheme is the assumption that everyone is out to take advantage of everyone else. We are a society that incentivizes greed as the ultimate good and bestows upon its practitioners the power of governance through disproportionate influence over our nation’s laws and politicians. Substandard distribution of health care, our broken economic system, our relegation of ethical principles to the shadows and other quality of life indices can be traced to rewarding the greedy among us (that is, rewarding inequality and distrust. Corporations dominate and rule without any other motive than short-term profit maximization, rendering any consideration of the higher values of human social life anathema to their ruthless modus operandi. As long as this paradigm is encouraged to continue, there will be an exponential destruction of equality and trust in our society – not a winning strategy for U.S. sustainability. All the spinoffs we’re now seeing through domination of the upper 1-2%, such as lagging in addressing climate change, lagging in the development of green technologies, lagging in equitable health care, etc. are all manifestations of a deterioration of the core principles required for maintenance of a healthy and balanced society that respects all its citizens – i.e., trust and equality.

  • judi romaine

    ‘Fixing’ can never work (change causes persistence) and fixing comes from ‘something is wrong.’ What is needed is as paradigm shift and the best examples of causing those shifts are people like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, who did not set out to ‘fix’ the world but created a stand for a new future. What will our new future be? How about “We, the people of America, declare that all peoples, wherever and whatever their circumstances, will have lives that they love, ones that make a contribution to humankind?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/authorlynnromaine Judi Romaine

    ‘Fixing’ can never work (change causes persistence) and fixing comes from ‘something is wrong.’ What is needed is as paradigm shift and the best examples of causing those shifts are people like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, who did not set out to ‘fix’ the world but created a stand for a new future. What will our new future be? How about “We, the people of America, declare that all peoples, wherever and whatever their circumstances, will have lives that they love, ones that make a contribution to humankind?”

  • Steveknauer

    ONE OF THE MOST PROFOUND PROBLEMS IN AMERICA TODAY IS THAT ALMOST EVERY- ONE LIES…Our political leaders on all levels, do it: our religious leaders do it; corporations do it; almost every person with any degree of power/responsibility does it…the only thing i can think of to stop most of the lying is to pass very strict lible laws…laws which hold each and every one of us to tell the truth…if it can be proven that you lied, you’ll have to pay a big price…lying and greed are at the heart of most of our problems…i don’t know what to do about greed…

  • Gtucker

    Suggestion to improve our country: Reinstate the military draft. That would increase employment. It would also lead to such a public uproar against the wars in Irag and Afghanistan that the USA would be forced to withdraw from two essentially unwinnable wars that are wasting peoples’ lives and vast amounts of money that could better be used at home. Gordon J. Tucker

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    That may be the paradox that the influential, wealthy and powerful don’t want to “fix” anything. To them it’s not broken. It will take a large group of citizens to formulate a doctrine of principles and agree to only vote for those candidates that agree to follow those specific principles. Like no money from lobbyists, no negative campaign ads, limit to your own wealth used to campaign, every bill introduced will have a one-pager on why it’s proposed and who suggested it. In other words transparency and integrity. It’s a challenge.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6FBYHGSGRWNMW26JQQOF7277I4 O

    I would love to have sidewalks everywhere wihtin every city/town limits.
    I live about 5 minutes driving to work, and I could probably make it to work in 15-20 minutes walking, but I can’t! There is not even a decent shoulder when getting out of my neighborhood. Some people still walk/run/ride bicycles on that particular stretch of the road, expecially kids. It is not safe. The more we drive – the less we wal – the more health problems we have.
    So my 2 cents in: More sidewalks and bike lanes!

  • Guest585

    I would encourage the men to all take responsibility. We have traded our power over government for being governed by bankers and politicians. We have that great “fight for your country” spirit for our troops, but when it comes to the citizens here at home, I don’t see anyone standing up and taking responsibility, and speaking out, and fighting for the liberties and foundations our country was built on. The only stand anyone seems to take is special interest, rather than the interest of everyone. Democracy has allowed majority groups power over individuals, and we need to hold liberty as our highest priority as our founding fathers did.

  • Ivan_l_torres

    Interesting comment, regardless of degree or positional power, are you ready to pay that price? EVERYONE lies, everyone has some sort of conviction that they are accountable for – a pen from work; a ‘no they’re not here right now” comment to a telemarketer; “no, my child didn’t hear that from me, he/she must have heard that from school.” Is it only people of people of “democracy” who should be held accountable? No, you and I alike should live up to our values alike.

  • MRK

    I don’t think the critics could get much work. As someone who works in federal government, I know well that the only way to fix it is to work in or on it, and I invite others who have nothing but complaints to roll up their sleeves as well. It’s tough work, but incredibly gratifying to serve your country.

  • Chris LaFleur

    Very well put Judi. I am reposting to my facebook account. Thank you.

  • ChicoJas

    I think the huge realization we need to make here in the US is that we must change our business model from expansion to sustainability. The growth we’ve displayed (and consumption) seems like a teenagers last prom-night stunt before growing up; finding a job; living within a budget; understanding his place on the planet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725743168 Katy Sharpe

    I think education is our biggest priority. Not just for children, but for illiterate and undereducated adults, possibly classes in Life Skills-the practicalities of life.

    Lower the costs of higher education (since the colleges and universities are 90% funded by taxes already, and bring back apprenticeships. Educate people that without a viable middle class, there WILL BE a feudal type of society – a plutocracy – just what we are seeing now.

    If we can get the ‘elite’ to recognize that if everybody wins, they win, too, then we have a workable society.

  • Deborah

    This is a Great Idea!

  • Anonymous

    I would fix American by instilling greater compassion and empathy in our children. We are a “me first” society where everyone strives to be a “winner” and those who are labeled “losers” disappear and remain invisible. We need to inculcate in our children a greater sense of social responsibility with the idea that every person’s loss diminishes each of us. Hopefully those children will grow into adults who will demand a government that meets the basic needs of its people (health care, jobs, education) and does not cater to the whims of powerful corporations and wealthy individuals. I believe we will have to wait for future generations to carry out this mission since we who are currently adult citizens seem powerless or, worse, unwilling to do so.

  • Danastmary

    I say make service obligatory to citizenship. And leaders are chosen by a study of their achievements and merits, and if chosen to office have it be mandatory. Those that wish to be in politics should definitely be excluded. Political office as punishment for preemminence of personhood. Finally, end earmarks and balanced budgets mandatory. Oh and also control the wide open borders. End all affirmative action and other separatist paradigmns. Wipe clean the tax laws and start from scratch.

  • Deborah

    I like some of your ideas!

  • Chris Champagne

    Tax breaks should be created for businesses that manufacture renewable energy components domestically. To be effective, they should be in place for 2-3 years, followed by a gradual phase-out, over several years.

  • Sherry-hughes

    I would educate parents on how to raise children with integrity so that they have the best opportunity to be a happy and productive citizen of the world.

  • Jagoneely

    I would fix America by fixing our education system. Where is science and art in grammar school? It went with the budget-cuts. Legal bribes (lobbying) should cease immediately. Raising money for Congressional re-elections has to cease being a 24-hour job. Elite means smart. There’s nothing wrong with that. Intellegence is good. Debate is good. Listening is good. Governments must govern, not obstruct. America could be so much better.

  • Dale

    If I could do one thing to fix America, I would change our constitution so that only individual people could contribute to the campaigns of elected officials, that they could only contribute small amounts, and that they could only contribute to candidates for whom they are eligible to vote. Until we get control of Congress back from big money, nothing else is going to get fixed.

  • Agc413

    The first step we should take is to stop blaming the govt. for our problems. Americans made their own decisions to go into debt, spend wildly, and put their own financial future at risk by purchasing homes, cars, and other things. The government didn’t mandate consumer spending. Seconly, we need to recalibrate. We need to cut defense spending and space exploration and put those dollars back into infrastructure, education, and technology. This will spur jobs. Finally, we need to find a way to bring back compassion and civility.

  • JBrenna

    “economic family values” what is that?
    Interesting idea to return to before what many cpa’s referred to as “the tax accountant employment act”

  • Discountbrains

    I feel like I alone know what the solution to our economic problems are although Donald Trump touched on it recently on a TV show. He said we ought to tax China heavily or put tariffs on imported goods from China. This will not be a complete solution. Our problem is that American corporations and banks have sold our country out: if we restrict imports from China American companies will simply set up production in another low wage country. We need to severely restrict the production of goods overseas for sale in the US!! Our problem is we have no competent central control of our economy; rather, we have this doctrinaire blind faith in the haphazard free market system which is also responsible for the wild cyclic swings of bubbles and busts. Clearly brokers and investment bankers love and promote this system. They need not trade in the market themselves since market euphoria and later panics generate lots of transactions and commissions which they thrive on. This Adam Smith notion that everyone benefits society by pursuing their own self interests is nonsense. What I said above will require government action (which the republicans loath) because American businesses created this situation and therefore certainly they are not going to reverse it; they have every interest in continuing it.

    I can’t wait until the republicans are the majority in Congress. Then we will see that at best nothing will improve. In fact, things will most likely get worse. I didn’t vote for Obama. I felt he would not address the fundamental problem and all the democrats have been doing is mask the problems by putting bandaids on them. Listen to me: the US will languish and be an international joke for many years because no one has a clue. 85% OF THE PEOPLE SIMPLY CAN’T THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
    I thought those on your show gave good suggestions though. I especially liked the one that said all campaigns should be prohibited from being financed by special interests. Somehow it seems to be human nature to be focused on one’s own little world and ignore the big picture of what’s the best solution for the most people. I’ve thought for many years about how our gov’t and economy SHOULD be structured. We need centralized planning but with a quasi market approach for all workers whether in gov’t or not with positive and negative rewards depending on performance (I may write a book with a full description of how this would be and anticipated problems). I say the free market system, as expected, has reached the end of the road and our economy will languish for many, many years because people will not accept that our path is flawed. I have little hope for the USA. We eventually will have a revolution or a civil war. Bernanke with degrees from Harvard and MIT was only capable of stating the problem of the unemployed-that they didn’t have enough education. what does he think with maybe 2 or 3 kids they are going to somehow find the time and thousands of $ to return to school? And, we all know from high school many people will not do well in college. Yeah, we need thousands more with masters degrees all out looking for a job and with $50K+ debt. I want to do a study to see if we have more people employed in this country trying to sell to us or market to us then we actually have making things which we really don’t have money to buy. We have had a false economy since the tech bubble which in about the time it burst Greenspan replaced it by a housing bubble by dropping interest rates.

    What Obama, Bernanke, and later the republicans will do is just perpetuate the illusion which is in reality an economic failure. I don’t have to mention that there once was a time when if we bought roller skates or a can opener or plumbing fixtures they were made in the USA by Americans. The corporate elite serving their own self interests took away millions of jobs from Americans and put them on the street. And to think I once envisioned the day when the employee would be asked for their input into how their job was done and even on some of the design of the product. I thought some of the drudgery of these jobs would be alleviated in this way. That didn’t happen; corporations moved their production offshore where they can treat employees anyway they want. So now we also have astounding trade deficits as a consequence!

  • Godreich Thermidor

    This question is incomplete; we are addressing *how* we would fix America, but not *why*. Many people have enumerated how they would incite change, but we need to address the reasons behind the changes as well.

    For example: progressive taxing (that is, taxing the wealthy more than the poor). Not only is this a good monetary policy in general, but it is good on moral grounds as well. Disproportionate distribution of wealth is naturally divisive, as Aristotle and many other political philosophers have stated through-out history. Therefore it is socially advantages to limit distribution of wealth to more moderate fluctuations. A progressive tax does this rather well, as the more you earn, the more you pay out in taxes, respectively.

  • Jculbertsonv

    MRK-As technology continues to progress the only logical path is for the government to become more and more transparent. I believe this invariably leads to increased criticism. You need a thick skin to work in the public eye. If you are in public service for public gratification and satisfaction you are in the wrong place. If you are in it because you believe in your work and you are getting the satisfaction you need, then you are the right person for the job and I wish we had more like you.

  • Mbdlfrbt

    Rarely do I hear about over-population being behind many of today’s woes in this country(and the world).. Resources are being gobbled up at an ever-expanding rate! Is the subject taboo to all the news agencies of the world? This was a big subject when I was younger(the 60′s & ’70′s) but it seems to have been swept under the rug.
    As predicted by many writers of that era, the problem is compounded by the poor out-breeding those that produce the excess that feeds them. That we have allowed millions more poor, unchecked breeders into the country is beyond belief.
    China has already initiated measures to keep their resources at home. I love the intelligence shown by their government, is it because they only answer to to their future generations? They CARE about what their children will have to deal with and act accordingly. The US will soon be overtaken by China as the leader of the world for the simple reason that their government deals in reality and thinks further ahead than the next election.
    As proof of the validity of my assertion that the US is doomed to fall, I offer one piece of evidence: I don’t DARE write what I’d like to here in fear of what my OWN country might do to me. I’m glad I have no surviving children…

  • Mcsteel

    My plan to fix America is simply: restore Liberty to this Land.
    Too many times those countless Americans who have workable ideas to do great things find that they must first get permission from government. Whether it’s Federal, state, or local, government now decides what gets done and what thousands of other things do not. Even those good ideas that have some beneficial impact on our society have to first wait months or years before being allowed to move forward. In the meantime, all Americans wait for good solutions that do not come. This has got to be reversed. Government must realize that it is up to the American People to decide, to act, to do, and to solve. Government’s role is not to decide for us, but to assist us in our pursuit of solutions to our problems; and sometimes the best assistance is to get out of the way and watch the amazing things that we can do. If you restore Liberty, then the nine people shown in the video above can immediately begin to implement their plans. With the current mindset we have, too much precious time will be spent by those nine trying to first convince government that their ways are worthwhile. How long will this take? How many generations must wait for government forces to shift momentum in the direction that these voices are advocating? If government steps down from its decision-making post and the mass of American individuals step up into that spot–AKA: Restore Liberty–then we ALL are free to act to fix America, e.g., become racially literate, pursue increased education for women, practice saving the environment, utilize technology to open up information for all, etc. But as long as we Americans think that we must wait for government to come up with solutions before any action can be taken, we will find ourselves waiting too long. By restoring Liberty, those many good things that millions of people DO can be seen and copied by others who also want and need solutions, while those bad things that some people try can be identified as futile and discarded by millions without hesitation.
    So my message to Government is: I am a good man who can do good things. There are millions of others like me. Stop trying to convince me with all of your new rules and regulations that I need permission from you to do these things. Give me restored freedom so I can be free to do my part to fix America. If I’m right, others will join me and we can solve problems faster than you, the government, can. If I’m wrong then I will be ignored by others who will find better solutions much faster than you, the government, can find it for them. And one last thing, government: If I and millions of others who do great things do find ourselves needing your help, we will tell you what to do. Get ready to do as you’re told, and if you don’t hear from us any time soon, then problems are being fixed.

  • Godreich Thermidor

    Now for my contribution to the discussion.

    What concerns me more than economic disaster is the people who are letting it happen: namely us, the voters, and our representative bodies. The fact of the matter is that we are not being well represented, and that fact reflects poorly on two things: the first being the voters, and the system as a whole being second.
    The vote is, in essence, a peaceful revolutionary mechanism. Every election is a chance for us to put a new regime into power, literally. The unfortunate truth is that Americans today are not well educated in matters of government, which is why we are engaged in wars across the globe, our economy is on the verge of collapse, and our lives are being destroyed by the very people we put into power to better them.
    The first ‘fix’ is education. If people knew half of what their representatives and their respective parties did behind closed doors, there would be a revolution in the morning… that is, if they knew who their rep’s were at all.

    Beyond civic literacy there is also a need for drastic political reform. As I said before, our government does not function in our best interest as it should. This is do in part to our voting tendencies and the rep’s themselves. Voting today is little more than a popularity contest, and the candidates we chose are often not up to the Herculean task of governing or representing. So, that being said, the first part of my second fix is readdressing the requirements to hold a position as important and enabling as a senior political officer.
    In Plato’s Republic, the state’s leaders where not allowed to own property of any kind. This was for two reasons, the first was because he believed that the leaders, or the ‘Gold,’ would have no reason to have material possessions as they should not be attached to material possessions in the first place.
    Second, if you allowed leaders to own property, there comes the temptation to use their influence to better their own standings… as is often the case in contemporary politics. So, with that being said, I would likely implement a similar rule. Any political officer would be obligated to relinquish any and all assets to the state. Such is the cost of leading, which is a great honor and privilege that needs no monetary compensation (or temptation). This removes the corporate and private influence that strangles today’s elections on the personal level. Of course, this would require the government to provide equal campaign allowances to all candidates, but I’ll not get into that at this time.
    The second part of my fix is means testing. Means testing is a test designed to test eligibility, in this case of both voters and candidates. Today, medical and bar tests that doctors and lawyers must pass in order to practice their trade could be considered means tests. That being said, voters and political officers would be similarly tested: voters in general knowledge of proceedings and the like, and politicians in more advanced practices, as any professional should be knowledgeable and competent in their field of study. To exemplify why I would suggest such a ‘draconian’ policy, take into account that when ever you vote, you are taking a scalpel to the body-politic. You, the voter, are the doctor, and the legislation you pass and the people you bring to power are the tools and the treatments used on the system. Would you rather have a professional doctor, with years of rigorous training and innumerable hours of practice do brain surgery on you? Or would you rather have average Joe do it? Please, consider this closely, as today neither the voters (the doctors) nor the political officers (the instruments) are up to par to perform ‘surgery’ (political procedures).
    These, although rather drastic and extreme by most peoples standards, are a few very viable solutions to a very specific problem. Do bear in mind that I am addressing the human portion of the equation, and only a very small portion of it. Nevertheless, these are important points to ponder…

    As far as corrective mechanisms for our current monetary woes, there was a rather nice submission by John-C towards the top that can give you a good idea of what can be done there.

    Respectfully;
    -Godreich Thermidor

  • Erica Sefton

    One thing I would suggest for a way to “fix” America is to ask the young people what they want, and actually listen.

    That might not seem like a real solution, but I think that because our problems are not simple or singular, it would be a start. The idea of this segment was to start a conversation about possibilities, but I noticed that all the contributors were early thirties and older. What about the young people? I’m twenty-four, and I can say that I, as much as the next person, care about the country and it’s future. We, the twenty-somethings, are effected by the decisions made by our government and other controlling entities, but we are underrepresented. Sure, we have the right to vote, but outside of that does anybody really care what we have to say? I started working at sixteen, started paying taxes at sixteen, but does anyone really want to know what I think our tax money should be spent on? Not as far as I can tell. It’s one thing to say we have a voice, but it’s another thing entirely to actually listen to it.

    I think the problem is that the decision makers often don’t think our opinions are valid. What do we know anyway? After all, we’ve all heard of the “dumbing down of America.” I’ll tell you, we know a lot more than we’re given credit for.

    We’re part of the American people too, but more often than not we’re part of the silent majority. We should be included in the discussion, but too many young people with valid ideas to contribute don’t speak up because we don’t want to waste our breath. On top of that, even when we do offer suggestions, they are not properly considered. We may not have the answers, but as far as I can tell nobody else does either. If people worked with us to develop ideas rather than shooting them down because they’re to vague or don’t consider all variables, more ideas would be offered up.

    I know the problems of this country are complex, and I don’t presume to have all, or any, of the answers. But I do know that no matter what the American people decide to do, it will take time. In fact, much more time than people like or want to admit. That being the case, shouldn’t young people have the opportunity to weigh in? We will be effected as much, if not more, by the decisions that are being made today, so shouldn’t we be included in the discussion about them?

    We, the people, cannot come up with real, viable solutions for the future without considering what the youth of today wants and needs for their future. And we cannot possibly know what that is unless somebody asks, and does so with the intent to actually listen to and consider the answers.

  • Guest 5.

    Americans must come to terms with the following
    1) Paying for Past Profligacy ( PPP)
    2) Stop the Over zealous Patriotism, requiring US to be the worlds Policeman/Patroller. the ZEUS PPP.
    3) Change the Political Environment to Policies for the People not IdeologieS a lot of PEPPIS needed.
    Every Empire, Colonial Power, has failed for the same reasons. Eventually you can’t afford the taxes for the wars and defense that are needed and the people get fed up of fighting.
    QED,
    1) Taxes have to go up to PPP.
    2) Patriotism is no excuse for war and ZEUS PPP has to be abandoned
    3) Get back to basics Filibusters are a democratic nonsense, PEPPI talk and debate is democracy.
    From the Roman to British Empires all failed, aswill America’s desire to be the global leader in the 21st century especially if it is pursued by Military power alone, and that very stupidly clearly aimed at Islam almost without exception.
    Have your faith and laws by all means but respect thier faith and Sharia laws.
    Regards,
    Guest 5.

  • Thatsillygirlrobyn

    Education has always been the key, but our education system is failing our children. And it’s not the teachers, or even the school districts. It is the strange thinking that every child will benefit from this one-size fits all education. It is this thinking that every child will and should go on to college. It is this thinking that anything less than being a lawyer, doctor, politician, engineer, or teacher is somehow less than significant. Educators make kids feel that unless they have aspirations of going on to college, they will be nothing. In the meantime, we still need people to work in the service sector, we still need mechanics, hairstylists, grocery checkers and stockers, and if someone hadn’t thought it a great idea to send all our manufacturing jobs overseas, we would still need people to work in the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector is gone, there are only so many service jobs and only so many jobs requiring a higher education. What is to become of all these people with degrees that mean nothing? And in the meantime, we’re paying tax dollars towards helping more people get pell grants and help to go to college, for them to not be able to find a job. It is all absurd, really. And the biggest thing is that not everyone wants to go on to college. There are plenty of people who will probably not cut it in college. And then we make them feel bad or less than because they can’t or don’t. We all contribute to the function of this country.
    Fix this and I think we could actually begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Cal

    “Fixing” the country would require “fixing” the people. Must Americans are unrepentantly uneducated, ill informed and unmotivated. Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) wrote in 1811: “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle merite.” (“Every nation has the government it deserves.”) which, by the way, is frequently associated with everyone from Alexis de Tocqueville to Hunter Thompson. And most of everything else that de Maistre has to say seems like utter rubbish to me. But, I believe this basic statement is true: We have the government which we collectively deserve. If we want to change things, we as a people have to start participating positively in our improvement instead of just standing around throwing tomatoes at whomever is currently in power.

  • Iron_Yeti

    My suggestions are:

    1. Allow Gay marriages, it is a religious right as much as a constitutional right.
    2. Offer jobs to the unemployed to repair and rebuild our collapsing infrastructure. Maybe bring back the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), they did a wonderful job building our infrastructure, why not let them repair it.
    3. Legalize Cannabis. It was bigotry and racial injustice that made it illegal, and now organized crime is running rampant like with prohibition. If it is regulated and taxed the prospective revenue is in the billions for each state.
    4. Update the Building codes. Make it mandatory to install solar shingles, attach small wind generators to houses. There has got to be a way to make a window generate power with all the light that goes through it.
    5.Bring in a third political party, Too long has the left and the right bickered back and forth, It’s time for a third, maybe a forth, major political party to snap the other two back into place.

    These are not all the answers but I believe they are a great start.

  • Nacrandell

    What does America need? – Accountability

    Americans, through newspaper, online and TV, are told to be moral by editorials and opinion columnist/hosts. However, the preachers of morality are not always following the same rules and those rules are not always applied evenly.

    New York Yankee Derek Jeter asked what did he do when he feigned injury to advance to first base

    Congressional candidates promise cutting cost and then when elected propose new spending bills

    Wallstreet helped to create a paperwork mess, that was profitable for a while, requested and received a government bailout and then denies extending bailouts to their customers while handing out raises.

    A woman extolling abstinence and success as a single mother at 15k a speaking engagement, while American single teen-age mothers are seeking welfare.

    Ministers, actual preachers, are advising their congregation on faithful marriages and then cheating on their own spouses.

    And if someone mentions regulations, the answer is that any regulation would hurt the small business and the government should have no part.

    We’re told we need to be good parents, but the headlines are undercutting our message to our children.

  • guinstone1

    I think that with both parents working in many families, it would be a good idea to extend the school day and year, BUT only if a LONG siesta was provided after lunch. This could be a time for rest, socializing, outdoor activities, creating, contemplating, engaging the community and/or pursuing individual interests with only gentle guidance. The people in this country seem to be in such a rush to go nowhere.

  • guinstone1

    I think that with both parents working in many families, it would be a good idea to extend the school day and year, BUT only if a LONG siesta was provided after lunch. This could be a time for rest, socializing, outdoor activities, creating, contemplating, engaging the community and/or pursuing individual interests with only gentle guidance. The people in this country seem to be in such a rush to go nowhere.

  • guinstone1

    If only our citizens were responsible enough to check the facts on PolitiFact.com and other truth telling sites.

  • Al

    One way I would fix the country is…

    …help the working and under-classes improve our self-image by adopting a voluntary code of ethics. It should address common daily problems like how to handle a diminishing workload, why stealing is wrong even if it goes unnoticed, and how we can support each other to improve our lot.

    …prioritize health care favoring the sick rather than for the wealthy.

    …match workers with work rather than praying to the free market.

    …engage workers and those with disability giving us reason to care, not just about immediate satisfaction, but about ourselves collectively. We need to learn how and why to help each other. We need representation, not just leadership.

    …help the working class understand that in a democracy, we have political power if we take it. Our lot should not be a compromise made between the middle class and the wealthy.

    …show us other values beside money: honesty, self-respect, mutual respect, family, neighborhoods, community service, productive work, health, education, etc.

    …make health care more efficient. Prioritize diagnosis and treatment of underlying causes over treatment of symptoms. Detect and treat diseases early; prevent them whenever possible. Prioritize mental and physical health first, Viagra and boob jobs later. Like water and air, declare health care a human right that should be available to all.

    …keep asking “How would you fix the country?”

  • Xxxbadluck13xxx

    There are many problems in this country and it seems as if now we are in a critical decade where the choices made now will effect the nation, this world and humankind. These are quick solitions to our many problems, by no means guarenteed and not described in depth, but, here they are; pass fair elections act and/or require limits and transparency on campaign funding, tax churches and become tougher on the seperation of church and state. Churches are a cancer and a huge source of tax revenue. Next, get serious about electric cars and real alternative energy; natural gas is not clean, we are being lied to. We need to break down the military industrial complex- stop waging corporate wars, and end the drug war. There is no hope for any of these happening, really, and I admit that. We are run by a two party corporate oligopoly and money talks and ruins us all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oldParasiteSingle Clint David Samuel

    I completely agree with Hodge and Lane about the most important 2 issues: FAIR and a new employment entitlement. Incidentally the UN declaration on Human Rights includes provisions on fair elections, management of poverty with government, and a right to employment. The conservative oligarchy controlling the US now just prefers to prescribe Victorian morals and a 17th century labor model instead of trusting the advice of their own ivy league professional classes. IMAO US-style “free market republican” policy doesn’t work with big infrastructure and energy planning. That’s why a limited cap & trade on the key utilities combined with a new infrastructure bank would have worked beautifully to fix things on the environmental side. Just as a public option combined with economist Dean Baker’s international Medicare vouchers would’ve capped US health care inflation. All phony market tax & military expenditures should stop until an independent third party immune from Congressional soft money can regulate them, including the employer-provided insurance deduction & home mortgage tax credit. I would immediately broaden the powers of CFPA to tax Wall Street-style financial transactions and bonuses. The FBI and DOJ needs to amend their missions to prosecute corruption and crony capitalism instead of scapegoating poor kids over failed drug, terrorism, and immigration laws. We need hard whistleblower protections. Free Bradley Manning!

  • Frankfulton

    Thank you for allowing us to have a voice. I am so proud of you this morning for giving us a chance. I knew there were more folks out here ready to move for the right reasons and I believe that this forum will be bigger than you could have imagined it to be. We all have answers to problems and many of us have fixed our American Dream within our personal circles. Maybe we will have the chance to share without the media drama so we can really impact the world.

  • K Harwood

    We need to re-build our infrastructure, absolutely right. I thought that’s one of those things we were “working” on? I’ve heard it murmured here and there but don’t think we actually are, have to give myself an out ;) . We need to re-build like we did in the 1940′s! Our bridges are old and falling down, we don’t even inspect them anymore. It would give us jobs.
    Also I think one of the best things we could do is to find a way to stop the people in Washington who can vote and approve their own annual raise from doing so!! I’d like to see some numbers on how much money that would save! Can we put that on hiatus like everything else for the next 5-10 yrs? Exponentially, how much would we save and free up of our tax dollars?

  • TiredOfTheBS

    This country has adopted the band-aid approach to fixing our problems.
    We need to start with getting rid of the IRS and enacting a flat sales tax.
    The war on drugs is lost and can’t be won. Legalize drugs, the crimes committed by drug dealers and users will go away. (example, the Netherlands)
    Reform of our education system is paramount. Public school is a disgrace.
    No band-aids here.

  • RUVAINT

    absolutely fascinating. i think by far the most important thing we can do is get out of afghanistan at the earliest convenient moment and cut back on what terrorism-security measures we can because we cant have guns and butter at the same time.
    other than that, except for vouchers all the ideas are excellent. i think jobs program is most essential, possibly via the fed buying up municipal bonds so the states can hire workers. that way the congress wouldnt have to approve it. a close second are fair elections now and the race dicussion (and dont forget the american indian).

  • Kirk MacKenzie

    The first thing we must do before we can achieve all the good things mentioned in the video and in these comments is to force politicians to represent the will of their constituents. How can a politician represent their constituents if THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT WE WANT? We need a system for collecting and publishing constituent preferences on an issue-by-issue basis. We have the technology. We can do it without the “help” of politicians; I prefer the non-partisan non-profit co-op model similar to the League of Women Voters. Until we take this first step, politicians will continue to say anything needed to get elected, then turn around and vote for what their parties, donors, and lobbyists want. A representative’s track record of representation should be the primary metric voters consider when making our decisions. Until we have that crucial piece of information, money and power — the two most corrupting forces known to man — will be the deciding factor for who runs and who gets elected. Until we have that information, Representative Democracy will remain a sham.

    Some country will figure out how to achieve this in the near future. Once it happens somewhere, it will sweep the democratic world.

  • Puzzled

    I feel that a few of the wealthiest Americans should cease and desist in making their tax deductible contributions to various entities and GIVE a portion of their gazillions to bail out this wonderful country.

  • Dksk8r

    Wow well its a big question to answer quickly. But in my opinion most of those so call experts failed to answer the question. With the exception of the woman who talked about technology helping us was heading in the right direction. I as a regular member of the workforce in this state think that one of our countries biggest problems is illegal immigrants. The U.S has a employment problem less illegal immigrants in the U.S means more jobs for citizens. Now I am not against anyone who comes to the country the legal way. Also I do not think that illegal immigrants are the only problem or are biggest but if we are in a bad place we can’t just give away good jobs away or tax payers money.

  • Bob B – Weaverville, NC

    Following up on “ending political corruption” (Roger Hodge), I would have the FCC institute a requirement for renewal of TV licenses: stations must run political advertising free of charge for all congressional and presidential candidates for a period of 90 days before election days, for all candidates whose party previously achieved 5% of votes in a district, up to the 2008 (for presidential) and 2010 (for congressional) amounts. Taxpayers own the airwaves, and this contribution to the working of our democracy is the cost for the media business to make their profits, by sacrificing this airtime. This ‘sacrifice’ would be for political ads for 90 days, and only every other year. The need for political fundraising and contributions would be greatly reduced, as the most money raised and spent is overwhelmingly for tv ads.

  • Bc

    If nothing else reduce equally the US budget across the board until we are out of debt.

  • Product Manager

    Re-vitalizing the economy and job growth starts at the bottom, then works its way up the food chain from an employee perspective. America has a global competitive labor cost disadvantage according to experts. America also has a disproportionate prison population in need of skills and jobs. My proposal would be to train and hire Americas cheapest captive labor force which is non-violent fellons in prison. Imagine America’s global competitiveness if state and federal prisoners were making solar panels, wind turbines and smart grid technology for $3.00/hour. America would not only leed the global economy in inexpensive alternative power, we would also be replacing unskilled no chance fellons and adding new ready to work employees to the labor market. America would also benefit from having increased energy independence products, research and development test beds for new technology and innovation. Prisons could become energy independent profit centers instead of operational cost money loosing requirements. Instead of warehousing citizens we would spur job growth and wealth among the poor and middle-class. Because all those product made in prisons would be sold, installed and utilized around the globe.

  • Faye

    There are hundreds of ways to ‘fix America’ and most of them are equally important. If I could focus on one area, it would be character education for our children and parenting classes for older children and adults. Instilling values such as respect, responitizenship would go a long way in enablings, and citizenship would go a long way in enabling the upcoming generations to create a better world and fix the problems that will still be around. Teaching and enabling parents to demonstrate, teach, reinforce and foster these same values ultimately could make significant positive changes in our world. There are no current problems in our world that would not benefit if we as individuals and as a whole used the above values to guide every aspect of our lives and decisions.

  • John Blackburn

    I should much like to see what would happen if America were to restructure its government. I think that America might hmake better policies if our elections were taken in a more representative fashion. I would like to see town councils and county commissions electing State Representatives, and to see the State Legislatures electing Federal Representatives. The hierarchy should be better able to respond to the will of the people than it would if flooded with proposals.

  • RJB

    Jobs will return when the cost of production in the US (plus shipping and handling) becomes equal to that cost in the foreign countries where the jobs went. Reducing taxes might enable us to buy more stuff, — most of which will still be made in : ___ — until : see sentence #1.

  • Product Manager

    I believe another key to fixing America is preparing the future generations for real world life in the global economy. America is no longer a farming nation, so first off get rid of the farm calendar school year and make school year round with a 1 month break every 4 months to refresh young minds. Next our children will not make money as adults learning American history, we need the cirriculum to reflect real world skills, including for example:

    - Personal finance and credit

    - Personal time management

    - Project Management

    - Trouble-shooting and port mortem analysis

    - Mandatory 2 foreign languages

    - Reading and writing for business

    - Science

    - Math

    - Information Technology & security

    - Government and voting

    - First Aide and basic fire-fighting

    - Personal health and Hygene

    - Resumes and interviewing techniques

    I also believe in pracxtical lab experience goes hand in hand with book learning. Therefore our children should do practical things like manage the classroom budget, mentor younger children, manage their learning experience, manage their finances, inter-act with companies who product they buy and use, etc, etc.

    Currently we in America are sending our children out into the adult would completely unprepared to compete with seasoned adults and/or be prepared for college life as independent young adults.

    A little known fact: High School children in Europe are learning at our freshman and sophmore America college level students today.

    High schoolers should be in uniforms and stay at school to do their home work until their parents are home to feed them dinner in my opinion.

  • Herrenhaus

    This policy would incite a vicious trade war that would shut down international trade and dramatically reduce both GDP and the per capita income in the continental USA.

    Yes it would provide a few extra jobs to some of the older, smaller, rust-belt towns, but may lead to even higher unemployment nationwide! It may even lead to greater income disparity amongst the economic and social classes (because national prices for consumer goods would inflate), and may cause the smart minds that helped us develop new, path-breaking industries and technologies in the past to just stay home……for good!

  • Daveapl

    The absolute first thing that must be done in order to restore our country to a democratic republic is to limit the influence of powerful corporate special interests to the ‘so-called’ free market.

    “Governments are instituted among Men (people), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”

    Corporations are NOT people … and it’s no secret how they feel about being ‘governed’.

    How to fix America? Expand the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to separate commerce, just like religion, from the State … and take our country back from the brink of plutocratic oligarchy.

    A country of the people, by the people, and for the people.

  • Lgrunzweig

    I disagree with Reihan Salam. Though some poor families make wise decisions with money, not all will. I work at a supermarket, and seeing some of the people coming in on public assistance, and what they buy, they don’t make wise decisions with the food they buy. So in my opinion giving cash vouchers to poor families would be much worse, will they go to mcdonalds and buy their foods, then spend the rest on clothes?
    It is a good idea, but there would have to be some sort of structure to it.

  • http://twitter.com/inertius c p

    #fixamerica … good idea, Daveapl. Gotta clean up the politicians’ legalized and institutionalized influence peddling first, though. Just put a low cap on what they can spend on campaigns, require full disclosure and prohibit lobbyists from contributing money and writing our laws (as they have done most of the last 20 years). And oh yeah, pass the Fair Tax, too which would get our economy moving again!

  • G Newsom

    Big money corrupts the election process. Big money is used to buy TV ads which distort the opponent’s record and take things out of context. I’d love to see an impartial group quickly review each TV ad before it’s broadcast and rate it as a) accurate, b) has minor inaccuracies, c) misleading, or d) highly misleading. I think candidates would be very reluctant to say he or she approves of a message that would be immediately followed by the impartial rating of “highly misleading.”

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    Erica, your involvement is the MOST important. Our generation (60′s) started out with some good ideals but somehow lost them along the way. The problems are more complex and no one person has the answers. It will be up to you and your generation to seek the truth and reality. The media is way too powerful and will never support campaign finance reform and they’ll call any equality “class warfare” but the reality is that while billionaires are making more and more you’re stuck with the tab. Over the past 30 years the Forbes 400 net worth went up by 600%. If the minimum wage matched that it would be over $20 an hour and the average US family would be making $108,000 a year. There would be no foreclosures. Please speak the truth and we will listen.

  • MARLIN

    really like to know pbs are you really trying to help–contest with poor people-top 100 winners with jobs-we the people must fix this without goverment help–you can write all the long answers you want but until you face poor people put them on front street-you will never solve are promblem-67% all humans are doing great-this majority talks about all this help–we are equal with different struggles-NO HUMAN LEFT BEHIND is the answer-now who really wants the correct answer–now is the time for the new commitee to help are goverment–WE THE PEOPLE have the power-not goverment

  • marlin

    THATS THAT–never will happen with goverment-WE THE PEOPLE CAN FORM ARE OWN COMMITEES-and provide are own service–NO HUMAN LEFT BEHIND-YES WE CAN

  • Tim Kincaid

    The reality of American life is that you have to have be at certain income level in order to have a healthy family enviorment; this amount varies on whether you live in NYC, Indianapolis, or Lafayette. This economic reality was understood and applied to the tax code between 1933 up until 1981 when personal greed displaced the greater good of the country.
    The gov’t needs revenue to operate; and it should raise this revenue in a way that causes the least amount of stress for all American familys. It is in the interest of the gov’t to do so. Stable familiies make a more stable America.
    Large segments of society, with both parents working, should not have to struggle from paycheck to paycheck. There is something basically wrong with the system, if this occurring.
    This what I mean by “Economic family values”, I hope I’ve clarified myself.

  • Jonathan

    Lets stop being the world police and start focusing on the problems we faced at home. Why does USA always have to take the lead in problems going on elsewhere around world? Lets step back and let the United Nation and other first world countries be the leader. Spend the resources and effort to fix the poverty and infrastructure in this country. I am afraid that this country is going downhill and the rest of the world is improving with leaps and bound.

  • Shelley Lewis

    Wow, we are blown away by the outpouring of thoughtful, heartfelt and creative responses here and on other pages on this site. We will be spending some time figuring out how we can incorporate your voices directly into our future efforts with this project. This is not a one-shot segment on the show, it’s part of a new commitment from us and as soon as we can bring your ideas directly to the people who should be able to make changes for the better, we will, and we’ll bring you the results, on the air and here on the website. And yes, we will get some regular working folks, maybe some of you commenters, into the next round of thinkers.

    I’m especially gratified that we don’t have a lot of left-right fingerpointing.

    Stay tuned, thanks for your thoughts, and keep ‘em coming.

    –Shelley Lewis
    Executive Producer

  • Natalina monteiro

    How we can fix the economy?
    1. cut military spending to half or more.
    2. have a real progressive corporate tax rate
    3. close tax loop holes and stop tax breaks for the rich.
    Job creation:
    1) invest in education (China and Germany are beginning to kick our ___ because they are investing in the future of their countries. We are not),
    2) Invest in cutting edge green technology (solar & wind).
    3. Stop being slaves of the OPEC.
    Many thanks
    Natalina Monteiro
    Los Angeles, California

  • JL

    I think dogs are very under-utilized in our society. If we rescued dogs from animal shelters and trained them to detect chemicals used in bomb making, etc, we could use them at airport security checkpoints. We could also expand their use in early detection of cancer; alerting for seizures or diabetic highs and lows; and as service dogs for people with special needs.
    The economic, social and health benefits are there for the taking. With proper training and testing, dogs could be a great resource. It seems a huge waste to euthanize so many of them when they have such potential.

  • Mark Etchieson

    OK, you want to fix America? Lets do it for real. I have a TOP 5 list for starters.

    1. Cut all tax rates to 4% and put the remainder we would have paid from payroll directly into the S.S. and Medicare system to shore them up fast. It’s our money not the Governments!

    2. With a 4% federal tax rate, this would apply to all, including big corporations. With this in mind watch how fast many move back to do business in the US and suddenly there is a need for adding (wait for it, wait for it, wait for it), YES – American workers!

    2. With a federal tax rate of 4% it would require the closing of nearly every government agency that isn’t called the US Postal Service, Border Patrol, National Park Service, Forest Service, or US MIlitary. Lean government. This shuts down the IRS.

    3. Congress must not pass any laws that are greater then 2 pages long and must be written in plain english, to be understood by anyone without a law degree. Simple laws automatically remove the loopholes.

    4. For every 1 law passed, 15 laws must be removed from the books by those who wrote the new law. It’s their choice on what laws get dropped. Makes congress think twice before passing a new law against the people’s will

    5. All laws must have a 100 year expiration date. A law will automatically expire and must be rewritten from scratch and passed all over again if it is to be active once again. This cleans up the current legal mess.

  • Waterchime

    How I would fix America is very obvious , the government in a “Free Market” attitude would move America into the next generation of “Global Greening”. Jobs will be created to transition society from the industrial age to the next age of Greening. This will provide new jobs, will improve the climate, rid pollution, save the planet, etc.. Using the natural elements of wind and solar power.

  • Kurten33

    thats the same mentality slave owners had. If that happened, we would have more people going to jail.

  • Bob

    I believe the most serious issue is to control health care costs. Directly or indirectly those costs affect nearly everyone in the US and drive many economic decisions. I would like to see an effort to take the profit out of health care and move it to a solutions based environment. The government could work with other nations to develop a drug industry that was funded by them and focused on making effective drugs with carefully defined performance measures and paid as a proportion of the patients who improved or extended life as a result of those drugs. No advertizing of any kind, rely on recognized health care journals for information distribution. Without drug representatives and insurance procedures taking much of a doctor’s time, they would have more opportunity to seek information or network on solutions. Also, remove the use of malpractice law – if a patient is unhappy or believes there was harm, use a adjucitation panel of doctors and citizens to resolve the issue with real punishment for doctors who are not careful or give misleading diagnosis.
    For the hospitals, the issue is how to fund them to stay in business without duplication of services in dense metropolitan areas. Have each hospital provide adequate emergency service, then if necessary, a patient could be transported to a nearby hospital that specialized in that particular condition. Each hospital could focus on a particular specialty or issue and for those rural hospitals where another facility was not within reasonable transportation (25 miles?), they would be able to provide more care. Likewise, doctors could be employed by hospitals which needed their service or specialty – continue to use federal money to support doctors in rural areas, perhaps by paying down university loans or provide additional educational opportunities. I really support universal care with everyone required to contribute – perhaps a sliding scale based on income reported on the 1040. I do believe small copays are necessary to discourage abuse, but encourage people to use doctors for preventative care rather than the hospital emergency room. For the truly poor, a voucher or ID card to get services might be a solution. People do have to participate by good living standards and risk management.

    Reducing medical costs would help business and people across the board. It would also give business a much better expectation of future costs and not affect a hiring decision for people with disabilities. It would relieve many people of unknown future medical costs and allow retirement savings to be much better utilized.

  • Crbkof

    #fixamerica
    The fixes need to come from within us through character building. Start by having all our school children taking a day in the fall and a day in the spring to go out into our community and clean up the litter. Perhaps children will learn at a young age that there are no servants, no entitlements, and that we are all responsible for the well being of our country. Start by keeping a clean house.

    Second (and I am not anti-war nor am I anti-military) we need to bring our military home and all the equipment. We need to engage many people in fixing all the roads, bridges and environment. Perhaps the military could work 2 weeks on military necessities then 2 weeks on learning the skills to keep America going by learning to fix the physical things and doing the fixes.

    These two steps I would hope would put people to work and hopefully cause more to have pride in all things American.

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    It might help to Look at How Ben Franklin ran his Junto and was able to develop ideas into plans of action. He had two requirements 1) Anonymous and 2) No negative comments allowed. He believed ideas were like small plants and must be nurtured and developed or they would be destroyed before they had a chance to grow.

  • Amosqueda1

    Tell congress to stop blocking clean energy alternatives.Treat all animals we eat humanly including proper organic natural diets and inviroments.Moniter sweat shops that make our clothes. Since we are the melting pot, put our heads together to make an all around better world.

  • MiaKye

    I would fix America by:

    1. Ensuring that all illegals of any country who want to go to school or work in the U.S. must become legal within a year of coming here.
    2. Do not let the illegals put there children in the U.S. school system before every member of that family is legal.
    3. Do not give out any kind of welfare unless the entire family in the U.S. is legal and has run into hard times.
    4. Make the minimum wage across the board a flat $12.50 p/h, and you must be legal to receive that.
    5. If you are working in the U.S. fields and are illegal, you receive $5.00 p/h until you become legal, then you receive minimum wage. You must pay taxes to our government at any rate of pay.
    6. School children of any age should be legal and should receive breakfast and lunch free.
    7. An incentive program should be set up for parents who have school age children so that you receive money if your child is in school for the entire school day. If the child is not in school, the family gets a deduction in the incentive pay for the next month.
    8. Every legal child who has kept up his/her GPA for the four years of high school, goes to college free with breakfast and lunch provided free. That includes books, etc.
    9. Every child who does not want to go to college must take a year in the Peace Corp. or go in the service for America.
    10. All teachers across the board receive a major raise, (I am not a teacher), gets incentives for teaching the “right” curriculum, competes with the global classrooms, never pays for school supplies out of pocket, unless they want to.
    11. All illegals in our prison system are to return to their native countries to finish their incarceration at the expense of that country.
    12. Keep the borders closed until everyone in the other countries are on board with economic development, instead of drugs and alcohol freeways.
    13. Take a step back in the military. Put our diplomatic foot out first. Promote education and peace.
    14. Get rid of private campaign financing.
    15. Get rid of career politicians.
    16. Private political campaigning goes out the window. (Then…so will the lobbyists)!
    17. Promote green jobs and give the job to legal Americans first. There is every opportunity to become an American citizen if a person wants, and then you too can help pay the taxes.
    18. Every adult should only carry one credit card, for emergencies only, and that does not include Christmas spending.
    19. The credit card should have a limit based on the family’s gross earnings for that year.
    20. The credit card company’s have to have a reasonable interest rate, (should be indexed to some standard approved by the people by vote)!
    21. Term limits on all federal and state offices, with the ability for voters to impeach those who want to engage in illegal activities…immediate termination!!!
    22. And…if you want me to enforce these “new laws”, it will take Bill and Melinda Gates money to do it. How about it???

  • Shirley Nelson

    The United States must pull back from trying to control the world, economically and, especially, militarily. It is not possible to “bring Democracy” to countries which have never experienced it and don’t know how to operate in a Democratic system. Bring the troops home and then, over time, systematically close our military bases overseas. Spend the money we save in employing those who are still able to function in a civilian society in jobs such as rebuilding infrastructure (roads, bridges, aging water systems in towns which cannot afford to do it themselves, etc. Employ people in helping professions: health care aides, teacher aides in public schools, etc. Yes, the government should pay for these positions, initially. We need to spend time, money, and people power to make our country strong again for its own sake, for the lives of the people who live here and are hurting. Then we can address some of our other huge problems: influence of money in elections, lobbying legislators, need for energy conservation, etc.

  • kett

    i believe the only way to “fix america” is to stop thinking in nationalistic terms. this is an interdependent world. we all share in the same problems. and there IS a very viable solution (based on the scientific method) – please read on:

    when it’s boiled down, we see that the center of all our problems (world wide) is the use of a monetary system. as long as that is in place, all other “fixes” will only temporarily treat the symptoms (war, crime, famine, poverty, pollution, etc). so we need a cure for the disease. one that will allow everyone to have whatever they need to survive and prosper.
    this IS possible.
    the monetary system can only exist when there is scarcity. scarcity creates haves and have nots – it creates unrest. abundance is the enemy of money. ownership gives control over production and/or availability and thus profit (they burn diamonds to keep the cost high). and we all know that the profit motive has no conscience (especially on wall street).
    so we have a choice:
    we can continue with the current economic structure and allow the profit motive to slowly replace our jobs with technology (and helplessly watch as cyclical consumption dries up and causes society to crumble further), or we can choose to use technology wisely and replace the monetary paradigm with a resource based economy. for (much) more information on what a resource based economy is, go to: the venus project dot com. and pass the word. i believe world wide grass roots education regarding this is our only hope.

  • joyce murray

    Healthcare Crisis with uncontrollable Medicare fraud and runaway spending could be curbed if Medicare was much more careful about regulating “for profit” nursing homes. I am an occupational therapist who provides Medicare-funded care to elders. There are many conditions that can be treated and alleviated with theraputic intervention, such as stroke, surgical recovery rehabilitation, and physical and mental disability.

    But in the case of incurable, progressive disease such as Alzheimers, there comes a point when therapy is no longer helpful, such as when the person can no longer speak their needs, remember anything that they learn from the therapist to help themselves, or even participate in theraputic activities. These people need palliative care that can be provided by caregivers, but providing therapy is a waste of time and money. Keep then clean, comfortable and safe, but don’t throw away expensive theraputic intervention that can better serve others in need.

    Most therapists understand this and, on evaluation of the patient, do not recommend therapy for them. But then the ADMINISTRATOR of the nursing home will send the evaluation back to the therapy department and DEMAND that the patient in question be provided with therapy. Why? Because Medicare pays big bucks for the intervention, which could go on for weeks or even months, and the nursing home reaps big profits.

    Putting an end to this practise by for profit nursing homes could save Medicare, and the tax payers, alot of money, and help Medicare last long enough to help those who can truly benefit for professional theraputic intervention for their recovery.

  • Test

    Our constitution has proved not to be robust enough to protect the citizenry from an outlaw president or a supreme court on a mission. Therefore I would propose a convention to revise the constitution. No current politicians invited.

    First though, to prevent the people from being shouted down by the rich or by large corporations, I would nullify the notions of “money equals speech” (see above posts) and “corporate personhood”. Both of these concepts could immediately be nullified by acts of congress but should be followed up by constitutional amendments to insulate them from the supreme court. Executive orders might get the ball rolling.

  • Xfusionj

    The Preamble of Self Assembly is a Laity Language which i call MIRE and this language is our own message to First Class deflection…I love our expostulation no matter its Topological Fixation…Greedy Winds remain straited and no matter how we become past resistant to its frequency its observation remains a natural boundary of evocation…We lnow it is here to stay and our segregation only makes it admire its on making…1Selection and Luminance

  • Vcarow

    I am not a software wizard, so I have been struggling. The data needed for redistricting has to be extracted from the giant files the Census Bureau furnishes for the gerrymanderers. Funding for the big GIS companies to do gerrymandering is no problem, there’s plenty of loose money from the politicians. I believe a computer could do the job of redistricting, but using a borrowed old computer and my spare time probably isn’t enough to create such software. I’ll try anyway. http://www.sandboxwalls.wordpress.com

  • Jerry Goodstein

    We need a new political party that brings together the best ideas and people who are willing to meet in the middle, share their views, listen to others, and forge reasonable and forward-looking compromises that reflect the best interests of the nation. Call it the “United Party.” I have at least two friends who are ready to join.

    Jerry Goodstein
    Camas, Washington
    jmawmail@aol.com

  • Julie Kinnear

    I don’t even know where to begin, as I am literally bursting with ideas about how to fix America. Stop the waste. ie., building jets the military doesn’t want or need. Term limits. Campaign reform. Stop punishing the middle class by trying to end pensions, make them pay more in taxes. Work on the infrastructure. Stop cutting education k-12 and start cutting the budget of the milatary. Tax the rich. No more PAC’s. All campaign’s receive a flat rate of money to campaign, not funded by corporations, and when that money is gone, it is gone. Term limits. Congress and senators each get 6 years. Over. No lobbyists that were once in the government. Transparency. I want to know what my government is up to. Most countries have governments that are afraid of the people. We have people who are afraid of the government! We will be a 3rd world country soon.

  • Matt

    How would you fix America?

    I think the generality of the question means to kill as many birds with the least amount of stone . . . so take the method of jury duty selection and apply it to all public official positions held; local, state and federal.

    Make it simple, prerequisite and term limited. The specifics can be debated but important details are . . .

    Take the career out of politics.
    Take the private interest out of politics.
    Real people without money will participate and make powerful decisions.

    The best solutions come from the people experiencing those problems and that is not happening now.

    Thanks for this show!
    Matt
    Unemployed

    p.s. Amy Sedaris is hilarious!

  • K Y Futch

    One thing that I would love to see happen is to break up Washington D.C. and bring every Senator and Representative to their home State. In this way it would limit the lobbyist stronghold and force
    them to open their offices to their constituents for face to face conversations. Meetings, if at all necessary, could take place in Washington one or two times a year. With communication the way it is now, voting would not be a problem. Not only would this cut an enormous amount of spending to keep them there but in my opinion, would breed a much healthier environment for this Country.

  • Randall

    Immediately I would go through the 9th Amendment in the Constitution which where there is a part the rich wish would just go away and use this to buy all the electric companies in America and give the income to the Social Security Trust Fund and then have free health care for Americans (all) and lend money to the federal government in place of China!!! BUT WHAT I AM REALLY GONNA DUE IS BUY THE BOOK “FACTION FREE DEMOCRACY” BY JERRY HAMRICK COMING TO AMAZON IN MARCH and pray that millions of others will to so we can have a 21st century technilogical constitution that would suit George Washington and the founding fathers… it is FACTION FREE DEMOCRACY by Jerry Hamrick this March…

  • out of work

    How to fix America…We have to go back to what made us a prosperous nation in the first place. We have to start making things here again. We were a industrial superpower at one time and that helped to create the middle class in the first place. We have outsourced millions of jobs and some 20,000 manufacturing plants have closed since 2003. Having all of our consumer products imported makes for lots of corporate and stock profits but does nothing for creating jobs in America. Look at China, hugely growing economy from making all the stuff we used to and selling it back to us. Everybody states that it is our declining education that is some of the problem but think about it, some smart person comes up with some new revolutionary idea, what is going to happen? It will be sent to another country to be produced and sold back to us. Just like all the “green” jobs that were going to save us and guess what…most of the solar panels are imported. We need to let our politicians know that we need to have some tariffs on imports like other countries have on our products.

  • Charles Robertson

    There are many reforms that need to be made to “Fix America”: Outlaw lobbying – Congress can get information by holding hearings at which corporations and the public can be heard. Public financing of elections – We now have the best government Corporate Money can buy – nuff said. Beat our swords into plowshares – our foreign aid is primarily military – we get rid of old planes, ships and tanks and thereby create a need for ‘modern’ replacements to protect us from those weapons we have given as foreign aid. We need to export tractors, miniature power stations capable of powering a small village on solar and wind, well drilling equipment for clean water and sanitation – community baths and toilets capable of recycling effluent into fertilizer and water for crops.
    A world of happy, healthy, well fed, educated and employed people will not be looking to bomb America.
    To our immediate needs we should:
    1) require all mortgages issued from Jan 1 2006 to date to be renegotiated to todays values – roughly a 25% loss to the banks. A hard hit, but then they caused this mess, plus it eliminates the uncertainty in the housing market – resulting in stability.
    2) Pass a tax credit for the purchase and installation of solar or wind power by tax payers – perhaps $10,000/purchase $5,000/install. Once the housing market is stabilized, and only then, will people invest in their houses. With a buy-back clause for excess production, this will encourage the green industry by spurring consumer demand.
    3) Give a loan/grant to the long term unemployed Americans of $50,000 thusly:
    year 1 – $20,000, year 2 – $15,000, years 3-4-5 $5,000 each.
    The loan reverts to a grant if the new business survives for 5 years, $10,000 of the loan forgiven for each full time job 1/2 for each part time job created that last a year. Two or more persons may combine their loan/grant to incorporate a new company. This will invest in the growth of businesses to support the green economy encouraged through the tax credits. Out of 25,000,000 un- and underemployed Americans out there, there is surely enough experience and knowledge to succeed in creating a whole new industry, fueled by American ingenuity.
    The oil industry currently gets $35B in tax credits a year, for that money over 5 years
    ($175,000,000,000) we could create 3,500,000 new businesses @ $50,000 per business. Each of those businesses would represent at least one new job.
    This could even be done by next summer – if only we could get Congress to act – please write again and again! Three simple steps to a new future.

  • Product Manager

    This is part and parcel of the misconception of the “for profit” prison system in America. Currently felons that do work make between $0.65 and $1.56/hour making license plates and other low tech comodities. There are no job opportunities for a career in license plate manufacturing apon leaving prison. Further the families of prisoners suffer from low wage poverty with out a future from the working prisoner.

    In my proposal the prisoner gets not only a higher wage which can be increased based on productivity and profit, but, the prisoner has a future in the next economy bubble which is green technology. Plus the extra money made by the prisoner can significantly help families of prisoners as well.

    So, I completely disagree with you assessment.

  • Carmel6237

    Health care is consuming more than 17 % of GDP and the proportion is growing. There will be 25 million new Americans with access to health care soon and nobody has a practical plan for how to contain costs. The real issue is giving the consumer and society get the most effective care for the fewest dollars. Much of the health care dollar is wasted on interventions that are not proven to work.

    There is a need for a national center for evidence-based medicine that can operate independently fo political influence, similar to the federal reserve. Current medical practices, medication use, and surgical procedures would be reviewed by a panel of experts and only proven interventions would be approved for reimbursement. Patients could elect to use their own resources for unproven interventions. Members of the panel would be forbidden from any association now and in the future with any entity that could benefit from the decisions made by the panel. The panel would also be able to suggest important clinical trials to that are unlikely to be funded by the NIH or industry but are important to determine the comparative effectiveness or necessity of specific therapeutic interventions or diagnostic tests.

    The goal is to give all Amercians the best care for the dollar and to avoid perverse incentives that encourage unnecessarily expensive or unproven interventions as a substitute for simple and effective answers.

    John Engstrom, MD
    Professor of Neurology
    University of California, San Francisco

  • Marty

    The fix:
    Balance the budget and pay down the debt. Here is how:
    1. Have countries such as S. Korea, Japan, England, Germany, etc…either pay the costs for American military presence or pull out. Also, minimize or stop foreign military aid.
    2. Continue the war against Al Queda through drones and Special Forces units as needed. That was Vice President Biden’s suggestion.
    3. Do not extend unemployment benefits. If you can’t find a good job after the initial 6 months, take anything you can get.
    4. Eliminate the income tax and replace it with a sales tax; have rebates for the poor.
    A) Include a high sales tax for gas and oil. This will encourage people to use public transportation and insulate their homes; and it will increase demand for alternative fuel cars.
    5) Stop the drug war, decriminalize drugs. For the first 4 years, use money formerly for the drug war for rehab.
    6) Airport Security: Use detection dogs rather than scanners. Dogs cost $5,000 versus a scanner at $190,000; the same agent being used now can be trained as a dog handler in a month; fewer agents are needed because dogs are quicker and more effective. Maintenance for a dog is much less expensive than for a scanner. And you don’t need additional agents in a scanning room. Those allergic or afraid of dogs can still get a pat down or use existing scanner. The only reason why we have the scanners is because the former director of TSA under George Bush, Michael Chertoff, received kickbacks from Rapiscan, the primary scanner used by airports.
    7) Social Security: You only get out what you put in plus nominal interest.
    8) Medicare: At the very least, it should be subject to a means test.

  • Jasmine Dawson

    Dear Dr. Engstrom, I think I like and agree with your suggestions. I’m not quite sure of the thrust of some of your terminology. If you are saying that it is beneficial to take the profit out of procedures that are not proven to be effective and are recommended only because some corporation or Pharma Co gives incentives ($) to recommend these unnecessary procedures and medicines/tests etc., then I agree with you.
    I think, as a lay person, with some better knowledge of these issues, that as long as there is ‘stock market profit’ allowed in Health Care there can never be “the best medical care for the dollar.”
    I would be very interested to hear what your further thoughts are on this subject. And I would like to know if I have completely mis-understood what you are suggesting.
    Jasmine Dawson
    Willits, CA

  • Owens07

    Many of the above comments are very good! If i had to add to this it would be food, i am 140lb’s only and i need at least to spend $200 a month for me alone, so its just unbeliveable to me to think how much us americans are paying for what we have to have to stay alive! We give millions to people who hit balls, throw balls, catch balls, kick balls, and chase balls, and many more that give you nothing after you pay them but a memory! Why can’t we put up green house’s with solar energy? We need to get our prioritys stright on where our money should be going.

  • Anonymous

    We need the forbes and gateses to outfit an army of briefcase carrying suits to go around the country and set up shop in job source offices or any location and give spot loans to anyone with a good business plan our economic problems are locked in the bailed out banks that wont for what ever reason support startups or expansions. I have been giving to kiva .org for years which has blossomed commerce around the world with 25.00 group loans we need it here heck with banks an make mony off of million dollar companies we need the log mony jam broken so mony can flow.

  • Quantum_Noetics

    UNfortunately the new immigrants do alot of the work that many who live here do not want to do.l believe that idea of them joining the military or going to college in order to stay here is a good idea.There are a billion muslims and Al Qeida(unkonwn to the masses) is very much a part of that religion.We will need the extra man power sooner or later and if we as a nation is stupid enough to get into a conflict wiith China I believe they have a huge military maybe in the hundreds of millions.l dont believe illegals qualify for public housing or anything like welfare already and rightly so,but to truly SOLVE the economic problems within this country it would of been more wise for Obama to understand that we tried Bush tax cuts and all it delivered to us is this persistant recession.Wasn’t it Einstein that stated insanity is to do the same thing and expect a different result? Tax cuts should be abundant to creative entrepeneurs who deduct all costs of opening up new business’s especially in distressed areas and additional huge tax breaks for business’s that hire employees so that hiring new employees would be top priority for ALL business.We ALL NEED TO DISSEMINATE THIS INFORMATION because Obama and his associates are missing the very basic fundamentals in viable logic.We have to reward productivity through the creation of jobs and tax break priviledges should be ONLY an extension of the creation of jobs,business and its cost.I repeat,doing what has been done after we know it didn’t work might qualify as an insanity!PLEASE SPREAD THIS MESSAGE!

  • Tomas no mas

    These are all some very good ideas. But for starters we need to eliminate the greed driven lobbyists employed by the corporations that are only interested in profits for themselves and their shareholders. These entity’s have no business in our political process.
    I would think allowing people a vote only after passing a test would be helpful also. People seem to follow rhetoric blindly rather than researching the issues. This is prevalent mainly because of shear laziness it seems. Shouldn’t we want to fully understand who or what we are about to vote for rather than be subjected to only the negatives of a particular person or idea?
    And shouldn’t we look back in history before we go off in battle? That’s why we study history to hopefully not make the same mistakes again over and over. What happened to common sense?
    How about legalizing drugs but taxing the hell out of them? If a person wants to ruin his life with drugs so be it but charge him.
    Charging a country to go in and eliminate their insurgents than leave.
    I have many friends who became legal citizens the proper way. Aren’t we disrespecting them by allowing illegals to stay with no consequence?
    I could go on and on because like the rest of us making these comments we care about this country.

  • Nope

    1) I would reconfigure NASA as an alternative energy research institute.
    2) I would acquire particle accelerators considered obsolete and bring them to the US.
    3) I would use the particle accelerators to build fusion power plants as argued by Charles Helsley. This would provide about 30 million people with low cost drinking water and electricity for the life of each plant.
    http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/indico/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=134
    4) I would implement the ammonia cycle to replace the dependence on foreign oil. As ammonia can be made with electricity, atmosphere and sea water we should be able to produce it with the new power sources. The ammonia cycle also stops greenhouse gas production and conversion to this power source seems possible with most engines.
    http://www.ammoniafuelnetwork.org/why.html
    The combination of these three things should make the US energy independent and eliminate greenhouse gas production in a couple decades. I assume the expansion of new technologies in these fields will be made by American engineering firms and should give the US a monopoly in this area if we start now. That’s what I would do. It’s not going to happen, but that’s what I would do.

  • Just A Guess

    THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION TO FIXING AMERICA… “LOWER THE GAS PRICES!” or COME UP WITH ALTERNATIVE METHODS FOR HIGH GAS PRICES. Because of $$$ gas prices, people move less. Moving less means seeing less. See less means buying less. Buying less, means CUTTING Back on inventory AND EMPLOYMENT, CUTTING back on Inventory & EMPLOYMENT means, (NO MONEY). Goto http://www.doodalie.com Make it your homepage. I think that they are going to single handedly change this economy.

  • Bob Voter

    Why is it legal for any organization (corporate, religious, charitable, etc.) to be allowed to donate to polititians or even have access to them? This should be outlawed and only private U.S. citizens who are registered to vote should be allowed to donate to individual politicians or political parties. I thought we are supposed to have a government of, by and for the PEOPLE. I am also against the government (taxpayers) paying for campaigns. If a politician cannot raise enough interest from the PEOPLE to support a campaign, he/she doesn’t deserve to be in the race. Outlawing donations from organizations would also level the playing field for fresh faces trying to be heard.

  • Bbw

    Why election is so expensive in US? What is difference between marketing an inferior drug and leadership?

    US had many good ideas that have been scraped:

    1. Lunar program
    2. Glass Steagall Act
    3. High speed transit

    Bring them back as the Asians are going to the moon in their 500 km trains

  • Mope420

    hmm, to fix America. Look at reasons people are losing their jobs. for example; how can you embrace technology but be so illogical as to to fire someone for using it. so many people these days at work need a calculator, and they think logically to open their phones to access a calculator that is closest to them, then they end up getting fired for using their cell phones. here we are at home watching commercials of phones constantly but employers are illogical stuck in the past. work places do not embrace logical, smart thinkers, yet they look for any reason to fire someone at all during slow times to save money by not having to pay out holiday bonus checks, or raised wages. if you fire someone before they get their bonus that they’d be owed in less than 2-3 months in a slow time where they’ve worked at this place for longer than a year where as they’ve gotten raises owed to them. it’d be smart as the company to fire them, so they can hire a new person for a lower base wage. This country needs to start making laws for employers to not be able to fire people for lame, unwarranted crap.

    it’s getting to the point where they’d almost rather pay someone not to work than to work.
    it’s funny and sad.

    another thing is that all employers need PAPER PROOF that you can do SIMPLE task. most people that go to college don’t remember all the stuff they learn, they just go to get a paper that says they knew it at one time.

    unless that education is used it will be forgotten.

    too many people require experience in anything. rather than just giving the time of day.
    it’s a joke that so many fairly easy jobs that you could learn how to do with in a week or 2 if given the opportunity to learn.

    but it isn’t!

    I’ve had to go to interviews for jobs LOADING TRUCKS, and before the interview was long test and all kinds of questions. really how retarded to they think people are?

    while I had a job at a company working machines I tried my best to get promoted to a LITHOGRAPH machine and the boss said it’s not as easy as it looks. well I never thought it looked easy but I’m sure if I did it everyday it’d catch on. besides things that are hard for 50 year old’s today are easy for young people in their 20′s we’re the multitasking generation and we’re treated like morons. I fix my parents computer all the time and usually it’s stuff that comes EASY to me. yet for any computer job I must go to a trade school and sit through the boring first crap they teach that you already know from YEARS of using computers.

    My driving record has a lot of speeding tickets but I’ve never been in a wreck that’s my fault and I know how to drive well. and if I had a job where I was driving I don’t think I’d be breaking traffic laws. it’s a little different when you’re driving your OWN vehicle. yet I can’t get a driver job since my private driving record is screwed. and then you’re paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to pay for tickets and to double the ticket to keep it off your record.

    I agree with the guy who talked about corporations and lobbyist paying for who’s going to be president. he’s the only one with any sense.

    as to the WAR, I’ve heard talks of burning opium fields in Afghanistan, and then the farmers go to the Taliban and pay them for protection. well I don’t know what drugs have to do with September 11th, but think about paying the farmers for the opium instead of burning it. then derive morphine from it and give to hostpitals. make them partners instead of enemys. stop policing the world. pay 600 dollars to fill a abrams tank so it can drive around in circles till someone blows it up and then have marines chasing arabs with cell phones.

    if theirs a serial killer in Texas you don’t bomb Texas. the people who commited September 11th are DEAD. we should of had the balls to just not let it phase us. then that would have made them think. one missle cost near 100,000 dollars. I think it’d be wiser to just build them a freakin house than to blow them up. maybe open up diplomatic talks or whatever but. It’s kinda hard to hate someone who goes out of their way to help you out.

    it’s true there are psycho religious extremist that don’t care and they just hate many things that make no sense but the only way to stop that is to just let them die out. Afghanistan is a fatherless country. they have no good ROLL MODELS, they watch videos of their parents doing suicide bombings, “this is the part where daddy is no more” quoted one child.

    I’m not saying it will STOP terrorist, but YOU have to start somewhere. making sure the children of that country are taken care of should be the high priority because they are the next generation of terrorist if they arn’t. you must show them hope in life and future. not bullet riddled citys and half destroyed communities where the jobs available are law enforcment types because they die constantly.

    one last thing. stop telling people how to live their lives. like you all know what happens when you die. everyone is so worried about longevity of life that they never think about quality of life. seems like so many people are killing them selves already with cigaretts. who cares? not me. you think they really don’t know? it’s wrote all over the box. they do it cause they want to do it.

    just like me. I’d like to smoke a joint once in a while. I KNOW it won’t be physically healthy, but I believe that it is MENTALLY healthy for me. sometimes you just need something that will let you let go. release your worries and problems. STRESS will kill you. and I believe that MARIJUANA MAKES my stress go AWAY! untill I’m being arrested and paying fines and being put on probation and pissing in cups. and having people cut of locks of my hair and testing it and looking at my urine through microscopes.

    and it doesn’t even matter if I smoke it or not. I could be clean as the day I was born. and they’d still want to examine my piss.

    going to a job fair? ANYONE? don’t forget your gallon of URINE!

  • marlin

    new reality show-FROM POOR–TO MIDDLE CLASS

  • MARLIN THOMPSON

    is there a way you can see my business plan-NO HUMAN LEFT BEHIND–and i wouldlove to get my new cd to you–NEW GOVERMENT MUSIC

  • john allendorfer

    Create a public works project that connects all the state capitals with a high speed monorail that doubled as an electrical power grid. Since power lines leek power, use that power to run the monorail. Unemployment is addressed in every state. It is as good an idea as the interstate was last century.

  • Ehcaldie

    Okay …here’s a rather bizarre idea that addresses much more than the focused topics that most of your respondents offer:

    I propose the establishment of a brutally strict enforcement of our existing traffic laws. This single change could dramatically alter the destiny of America and even offer a significant global impact. Exceeding the speed limit (even by one mile per hour) – Failure to use a turn signal (even while changing lanes) – Burnt out headlight or tail light … all examples of violations that would culminate in the loss of driving privileges FOREVER!

    People would likely alter their driving behaviors overnight. The immediate result would be a drastic reduction in traffic fatalities and injuries, which alone might have an enormous impact on our economy …even addressing many of the health-care issues facing us today. And the eventual effect would likely (and hopefully) result in a significant reduction in the number of drivers, which would also impact our economy …but not all negatively.

    *Say goodbye to a great many jobs in the auto industry – say hello to walking and bikiing and a healthier and leaner population.
    *Say goodbye to crowded and noisy streets – say hello to cleaner air and monies redirected to create a mass transit infrastructure.
    *Say goodbye to our dependence on foreign oil – say hello to less potential for foreign conflict.
    *Say goodbye to malls and megastores – say hello to neighborhood commerce, new jobs, and communal connection.
    *Say goodbye to ‘upward mobility’ – say hello to roots and interpersonal accountability.
    *Say goodbye to the gas station that sits at busy intersections – say hello to smaller schools staffed with teachers that live right next door.
    *Say goodbye to drive-by shootings – say hello to the 500 square foot hobby shop that used to be your garage.

    Oh, there’s many more benefits to getting drivers to relinquish their cars …and admittedly more concessions to be considered. However, I don’t know of any better single solution that could offer a brighter prospect for the future – and it’s all done without requiring any ‘new’ laws, just the strict enforcement of existing ones.

  • Dupuisspring

    As far as the comments made on the video, I did not hear any real solutions – want to fix the economy? My solution is simple: the income of all politicians’ from local to the president’s should be fixed to the people the ‘serve’. in other words, if we do well they do well, and if we don’t… any civil servant would make a percentage wage slightly higher than the public. boy would they fight over companies opening here instead of other countries, and wouldn’t they battle to get employers to pay better wadges and benifits. In our culture of greed, hitting our ‘leaders’ in the pocket is the only way to fix the most important issue we face today. it would also give them the funds to repair other problems because income tax would increase greatly.

  • Sandy

    How to fix ….We have perhaps the largest pool of unemployed, skilled construction workers collecting unemployment then ever before: painters, drywallers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, equipment operators, landscapers, etc. It’s been widely reported that our country’s urban schools are in “third world”/ decaying condition. Government should organize these skilled workers to repair/remodel these schools (for starters) . Government is already paying them unemployment. Up the payout and get something tangible in return. Other unemployed people could become apprentices to these skilled workers while making needed improvements. (Maybe government could partner with an experienced organization like Habitat for Humanity to organize this workforce). American made products should be used for these improvements.
    To say funds aren’t available to put people to work is an excuse. Government needs to re-set its priorities. Does the average American even care if there is life on other planets? Government should tend to the life on this planet.

  • Jimbo39

    Require all lobbyists to make their case in public, i.e. in front of the House or Senate while being televised. And make it illegal for lobbyists to argue or otherwise present their case in private to any member of government (Senators, Representatives, Secretary of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and so on, even the President, department heads, undersecretaries, even clerks or delivery boys). That way, the public has a way of knowing what lobbyists are saying, and the goal of transparency is better met. Penalties should work both ways: fines and possible imprisonment or public service for both lobbyists and public servants, e.g. a Senator who knowlingly allows a lobbyist to try to sell him on his special interest group’s position might face a fine or some form of impeachment. A government employee might face job loss for interfacing with lobbyists.

  • Jimbo39

    Your idea, with some tweaking, I believe has merit. Why not simply let every citizen use his or her own computer, smart phone, or whatever, to register their vote. In a sense that is what you and I and the rest of the folks are doing now on this How to Fix America subsite of Need to Know are doing. Surely, a system could be designed in a sufficiently secure manner (knock on wood) that might allow U.S. voters to vote in municipal and national elections simply from their desktop computer (and eliminate all thos hole punch issues in Florida?). And wouldn’t my Senator or Representative benefit from emailing me and asking how I (and the other millions of voters in our State) would vote on the START Treaty before he got up to make his speech in front of C-Span and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Admittedly I could spend more time talking about this, but you get the idea, and thanks to you for getting this idea out to the rest of us.

  • Gabriel M Robles

    First off let me say this, in the south there is a phrase; “dance with the one what brung ya!” GOD and His Son and the Holy Spirit was the foundation of the U.S and for 85+% of us it still is. Our knowledge of current events relies on a media that is monopolized by Israeli- Americans (many illegal aliens) or better known as Jews and deny the Son of Man. Our mid-east policy should not be biased as it is now and our Children should not be taught that abominations in the Bible are Ok in our society today. GOD is now and real time and those opposed to His commandments and words are leading to the destruction of our America. GOD Bless us all!

  • Anonymous

                Congressional Reform Act of 2010

    1. Term Limits.
       12 years only, one of the possible options below..

    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

           
    2. No Tenure / No Pension. 

    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.  

       
    3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. 

       
    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

       
    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

       
    6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

      
    8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.  

    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work. 

  • Gabriel M Robles

    “Major funding for Need to Know…” Need I say more? prophet4real.

  • Lonnie Wiens

    Bob, such a valid point. Gotta remember we supposedly dwell in a capitalistic society. Money talks, poop walks. Very difficult to walk the talk, or talk the walk, you might say. Whether individuals actually vote, or their votes are literally bought by companies, and or corporations, some corporations just bypass that middle ground and buy politicians, before, during, and or after they are elected. Similar to an advanced state of stuffing the ballot box. Our American voting systems history is full of such actions. And unfortunately it is other than just the big corporations etc. conducting said violations of the ideals of the right to vote. We American citizens violate our rights to vote from every angle imaginable as individuals, why is it other than okay for companies, and or corporations to do so?. I know U.N. International members that conduct legal voting in such actions as Serievo (not sure of the spelling) after that disgusting ordeal took place, and they go into other nations to allow free democratic elections to take place for a first time too. They travel in caravans of military escorts, knowing their respective lives are on the line the whole time. During the initial Bush’s election process, just for starters and counting the computer cards stubs, they were laughing in the isle’s, tears running down their faces, at the Americans ability to abuse Free Democratic Elections in what is supposed to be an established, above board voting process the whole time. I agree, what a joke!

    Our Judicial system is supposed to be free from outside influences. It is obvious the base of our very voting ideals are and have been compromised from the top down and down up. I am thinking the root of the corruption of our voting system is also affected by the fact the majority of eligible voters avoid even voting. Also the number of people in this country that even vote is a disgrace. Me thinks the American People forget what the alternative to voting really is. The grand experiment may have gone awry, past any form of productive correction. When we avoid respecting our own systems, why should any one of us, or any one else respect them or us.

    Point being we Americans have our heads and our hearts in some most misguided frames of references currently and historically. As strong as we Americans pretend to be, we are as frail as any other countries peoples on the face of this earth. On another hand we may be so powerful we avoid knowing what to do with that power. And when we do elect from what ever venue we pretend to be a way, we are so frustrated with the out comes, we just give up voting altogether.

    In a way we are leaving our selves in a position similar to how our next choice is to take to the streets. Gotta remember the whole corporation phenomena is based on individuals being legally allowed to avoid taking responsibility for their actions/choices why shouldn’t the rest of us act the same irresponsible way. People can invest in some adventure or another and if it kills a few thousand or more persons or ten times worse, it’s the corporation that takes the hit which is passed on to us whom voted/invested or not, not those whom chose to support that catastrophic events original causes respectfully. And similar to how Religious Theocratic Monopolistic organizations/corporations for example can avoid paying taxes in a Democratic Country the investors of corporations can recoup their losses just before the corporation fails, or they can extend the profits via selling at a loss, but also generating more gains even then than they had to begin with and or by the corporations taking legal actions into infinity via the legal system which is also based on violations of our otherwise well meaning, but misguided free enterprise system/s by buying out the judges and the lawyers. And when in doubt they can just hire someone to out right shoot or kill any opposition, what’s the difference?

    Obviously freedom to abuse voting is as available as the freedom the use voting wisely. Our ability to choose wisely is a most apparent companion in the voting process. Is this working any better than the well established hierarchies of ol’?? Me thinks that is the real question?

    Then there is voting in candidates with hidden agendas, like the president that came into office to divide the U.S. into North and South, the North to be Free States, and the Southern States to be slave states. To this day we glorify the Alamo, when 40K+ Americans showed up to take revenge on the Alamo and there were other than enough guns, tents and ammunition to even go around forgetting the whole time, we invaded their territory not the other way around. And how long did that story take to find out the truth about, and it to enter into our history lessons? Not until that view of the story sold more newspapers than the original story. All because of the vote, and some good newspaper selling and we needed land to overpopulate into and to stimulate our own holly capitalistic economy. But, that’s okay, it was the way of the times, and every one else was doing it, so it’s okay. So, maybe, it’s better if we avoid voting on an occasion, but then the minority rules as compared to the majority right, cause the majority is never wrong.

    Yes, it is a tangled web we have created via our abuse and use of our countries freedoms to vote. But, as free as our countries people claim to be; Freedom is a very scary formula for the majority of people. When you look at one of our founding fathers history, he was a guy basically straight off the street. He helped win our independence from England. And whats the first thing we had to do, was set him up with the illusion of monies from an arranged marriage, dress him up, and then make him presentable to the Hierarchy of the English Noblemen’s arena. We were still in a position of kissing the England’s King’s and Queen’s disrespectful ass’s as it was before the revolution. They avoided even acknowledging his position for quite a while, till they figured out a way to usurp off the very revolutionaries that had kicked them out of this country. Who knows that may have been the plan all along.

    We may have won the battle, but we lost the War before it even began.Worked in many of the other lands England invaded, why should we be any the wiser. That and the blood lines that have emerged since that time, wreaks of asking the question, do we ever really elect as a President, or are we given choices of candidates that are still to this day nothing more than inbred relatives of a king, and or queen, that we only call a President bottom line.

    Did we ever really escape the tyranny of the Aristocracies we so wanted to escape from, be they political, religious and or economic?

    If you review the the most recent executive orders now in place via the Home Land Security allowances, one wonders how this is any different than setting the stage for another Mc Arthie era, and that attempt to purge socialism and free speech from this land. Are those executive orders designed to protect our homeland or enslave anyone, at anytime, that may be influencing our elected leaders from outside this country or inside this country with non-capitalistic notions that reward already existing abusive economic monopolistic systems excuses?

    One may want to remember this is a “Capitalistic” country, and as such, every inch of it is up for sale, 24/7, including we as citizen’s at the same time why not our votes? Any one at any time can purchase our homes, our State Parks and anything else they want, if they have enough capital to pull it off. Yeah, that’s free economic enterprise at its best. These new executive orders may be just another way of saying to willing buyers, the cost has gone up, but we will provide you with the funding and credit when you are ready to buy. The secret to a successful economy is letting and keeping the money flowing, what does it matter what is being purchased and or sold in the process.

    Many people I have spoken with can’t wait to literally sell their homes hoping some how it will be for enough money to”keep movin’ on up”.. or so the song goes…

    Do we elect a King and or a Queen, or do we elect a President, and what is that difference. If like the Monarchies or Theocracies of the past and the Democracies that have evolved since that time, ours inclusive, have produced nothing different, then what’s the point of voting? I get it.

    Or are we so inbred of a political system, that we are more like a huge family of inbred idiots, and couldn’t avoid electing a relative via someones tree or another, out of country inclusive, if we tried. What’s interesting is that recently it has come to surface the inbreeding of “idiots” is just as common or even more so in non-interrelated families as inbreeding ever produced?? Pretty scary.

    And then there is the Military Industrial Complex, thank you Eisenhower for reminding us of that Stimulus Package. And that age ol’ complex of how does a country pretend a real stable economy other than bottom line printing more money than money is worth, thank you the all mighty printing press, credit cards and buying on line. Economic structures are as vulnerable as most of us avoid realizing for the most part. Many countries have failed over and over not cause they avoided respecting the ability to vote, but their respective economy failed. So, one may ask how might the vote then affect a nations economy in a positive and sustaining economic way?

    The alternative to an absence of money is pure unadulterated slavery, and every one wants to go there, as often as practical, right? I am being facetious. But, bottom line isn’t it all about who takes out the trash.

    And yet, Bob Voter, you are correct in asking how do we stop the madness. Is there a way to avoid creating a bigger working poor class? Is there a way to vote that out of existence?

    The U.N. many years ago asked the several nations in membership to submit their respective answers to solving the same questions. Out of all the countries that replied only one offered a viable frame of reference to pretend a solution.

    When you break down the social stratum locally or internationally you come up with a pyramid of affect. It has 6 layers, and bottom line you have those at the top whom hopefully have the abilities to literally run a country, and those at the bottom and middle that are literally less any more capacity of surviving on the face of this earth, but to follow the guide lines of those at the top.

    Voting someone at the bottom layers into a highest position can be a most hazardous occurrence, therein the concept of figure heads. Freedom happens, so does poop. Its not Bob Voters imagination, we do have a way to guard against those occurrences. Really getting annoying though, have to admit.

    Those at the bottom layer of the 6 are the babies, and the elderly and those physically and mentally challenged via accidents, illnesses etc. that are literally unable to take care of them selves and are totally dependent on others. Big, bottom layer, whether we like it or not. And regardless of where we start in the pyramid, we will all be at the bottom, one way or another. They did forget about those whom go to the sub-sixth layer, the grave.

    The next level are those whom are able to take care of themselves, but that’s about all.

    The next level up are people that can take care of themselves, and maybe one or two others maybe a family, and that’s helpful, but again that’s about it..

    The next level are those whom are capable of taking and directing small groups of people, and the fifth level are people that have the ability to coordinate large to larger groups of groups of people sometimes called communities.

    On the sixth level are people that have the where with all to be able to direct the ambitions and needs of many large groups of people approaching the responsibility of the guiding of the whole pyramid simultaneously.

    Thank goodness there are more than one pyramid and its those leaders in each pyramid then that take on the job of keeping all the pyramids cooperating in their respective agendas both collective and singular illusions of purpose and directives. A U.N. perspective to say the least. In a way they would be the/a 7th layer. And even they think they will live forever?

    Yeah such a recognition of the condition of the peoples of the world sucks, but from such a pragmatic description of the families that inhabit the earths surface, one may pretend a better picture of what the difficulties are that voting may be all about.

    Is voting really all as impressive of a social option as it is cooked up to be?

    One may first ask oneself, where do I fit into that pyramid schema, if that has any valid frame of reference to it? The importance of education within a nations culture shows its important contribution here. Is education a matter of discovery or simple wrote and memory or the combination of a balance of both. Sorry got into White Head once.

    And one has to ask, where does voting fit into such a paradigmatic schema?

    How many people are really able to make a Democratic choice in a voting process, and are there really any choices to be made. How many people are really capable/qualified of voting in any pyramid? Probably why so many people vote from the grave, literally. No ballot box stuffing there to be sure.

    When you get into politics, Representatives, Senators, Congressional members, Mayors, and Governors and Presidents, Kings and Queens for the most part are all show, and really retain and or achieve no financial security before, during and after holding a position. Therein the impetus to beg for someone to buy them out. It’s far more often the citizens that approach politicians for special favors, etc. than the other way around. After all there are more citizen’s than politicians, you do the counting. And how is this any different from the aristocracies of ol’. Not much, except these are elected officials as compared to appointed officials by their supposed higher up’s connections to imaginary God’s. Therein their right to rule.

    The people that run a city, county, state, and or Nation, are the managers and support people that help them to appear to be making those decisions. The figure heads that we elect really are just the figure heads, people we feel comfortable with, and would like to see as our leaders and may represent some hope for a better future than being currently experienced by a voting public and when they make the decisions, they avoid taking the blame as they pass the buck to those whom were and are their respective supporters. So, when we vote we may want to consider the elected officials supporting advocates as much or more so than the figure heads, pursue’.

    So, you have people at the top appearing to be making decisions, that may be being made even by the 5th or even 4th level persons, the proverbial scape goats. The voters, whom put them into office in the first place then are kept in the dark, as we often avoid knowing whom is really making any decisions until it is often to late to correct the damages. Thank goodness for term limits. Shortening the terms and upping the number of optional terms may be the next option. I think even England finally approached that option.

    But, like voting the pyramid is at least a mental frame of reference only to start with.

    You’ve probably seen where a popular candidate gets elected versus someone that is actually capable enough to hold and perform the duties the elected position is all about. Voting is sometimes a chancy proposition. And you thought propositioning someone was illegal….

    The emergence of the Tea Party, no fears there. One or the other of the two party system or both will assimilate them into their respective conflicting systems/interests, and we will be back to same-o, same-o in short order. The Borg, rule, rules…

    Basically Bob Voter, you have to realize, the U.N. like the U.S. is a great idea, but when you have small third world nations telling what ever numbered Nation we view ourselves to be a part of, what to do, then we have to draw the line. Third world nations have no more voting power than an individual in a Free Democracy is supposed to have. Why do you think the U.S. avoided being a part of or paying our respective dues for so many years in the first place. Voting is only good for the goose, not the gander, and the U.S. knows that best from experience. Begs the ol’ question, Spock always asks about, the difference between the whole and the part of the whole. Which really has precedence.

    Does your vote count, only if you exercise that right, every single chance you get. And with that in mind vote as often as your ballot box allows.

    Last little story. I am an Artist and head of the Art Committee where I work. I thought once it would be cool to hold an Art Contest for the children of our fellow co-workers. We announced the contest, and I secured a few thousand dollars of worthy prizes from the local community. No cash prizes mind you, just gift certificates of value to children. A few years later it became the law that we could only entertain gifts of 50$ or less. No one said how many $50 dollar gifts were allowed, but I am thinking they will get to that. Good advertisement opportunities for local businesses, you get the picture. The children brought in their Art for a period of three weeks and we posted their Art in plain view of everyone to see and then we began the voting process.

    I will avoid ever holding another contest, I think as long as I live. The voting began reflecting who’s parents knew the most relatives and other employees than the quality or real Art being produced by a given child. There were only 10 people on the Art Committee and we’d envisioned a fair and impartial judging being made based on the Work of Art, as compared to the number of votes a child’s family and friends could muster. It was all about the children, who knew. It literally became a mad house, and parents went crazy, going about getting votes for this or that child as compared to the actual Work of Art a given child produced. And yeah, there were several phony names submitted. Surprise, surprise.

    But, then I work in a Public Sector – Government run facility, so that may have contributed to what occurred, who knows. And maybe the value of some actual prizes, the economic attribute may have contributed to the results, greed being the birth child of insecurity that it is, but bottom line even weighting the committee members votes seemed more unfair than intended, and I was at a loss to how to really even hold a simple Art Contest with out invoking several levels of abuse.

    Needless to say, some of the poorest works of Art won out. We did have to stay true to the eventual vote count, and we couldn’t change the rules at a last minute, the only thing we could do was to avoid ever doing that again. And we have.

    We have been successful in holding monthly Art shows now for over 20 years, but as I have also come to realize is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Often the successful results of a given election/voting process is in the eyes of those whom won the election. I have seen Works of Art sell for more money than equally and even more valuable products on the same walls of Art Work sell for, more because of the price tag than any real Art Value. But, in the Art World we see that every day, Elephant Art give it a rest. But then there is some other pretty crappy Art Work out there, and everyone thinks valuable Art Work comes easy. What a slime game/scam that has come to be, in so many ways, and in so little time. But, our respective work environment benefits from the free Art Shows and our respective offices and cubicles reflects our real values of our Government related jobs accordingly.

    That was the purpose of the original intent of the Art Committee, to enhance our working environment. Some months are much better than others. But, it makes our days take on a different point of view, and I have the opportunity to get reflections on what does appeal to the audiences tastes, and that may be about what voting is really all about.

    Voting is a way of expression after all. We might lose a given election, but the issues that present themselves often reflect what is on the minds and hearts of the people. And often those ideas may be different from even an elected officials wildest thoughts, and I have seen them then turn in that direction, cause if the alternative view may have more value it may be valuable enough to be taken into account by the succeeding entity. I think that is called flopping or pan-caking. If it wasn’t for the free election and voting process those alternate options of value may have been unintentionally suppressed, oppressed and repressed, and that is what most often comes out of people freely allowing new ideas to come to share, and be discussed, and taken action on those ideas first via voting.

    It’s like a football game. Some team introduces a new play and it works, and the other opposing teams take up that successful play even though for all intent and purposes they are enemies of a sort, and everyone now is playing on a new even leveler playing field than before, till someone else comes up with another great idea.

    Anyway, not a simple question, nor any real simple answer.

    And hopefully some of that made sense.

    Lonnie Wiens
    Peace 2010

  • Sol

    Please move to Cuba!

  • Bob

    Establish a tax rate of 100% on all income over 10 times the minimum wage. The major beneficiaries of this would be the rich, who could stop obsessing over having more money than the next guy, and start spending time with their grandchildren and otherwise enjoying life.

  • Giuseppe Saitta

    A Desirable World

    A manifesto for a New Empathic Civilization

    by Giuseppe Saitta, 6 December 2009, Boise, Idaho; Fourth Draft 5 December 2010

    The system for living I propose here will ennoble and sustain humanity for millennia. What I propose in this paper is mostly common sense. It will directly threaten some very wealthy people who, for the most part will recognize here progressive ideas that will directly dismantle their selfish self perpetuating system designed to maintain themselves in the luxurious lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. . . at the expense of the rest of humanity.

    The United States of America, some time ago, was beginning to lead the world toward true liberty. But in these last few decades we seem to have lost our way. Now we are fast approaching a parting of the way, a decision point, where we as a nation must decide between the path of liberty and the path of tyranny. Our choice is between courage and pleasure, as one way of life or fear and pain as the other. I do not think we can long endure more centuries of tyranny. Yet we can thrive indefinitely on the path of liberty. Let us take this voyage together.

    The plan in outline form: Observations and suggestions.

    1. Health

    a. We now live in a global environment in which it is nearly impossible to be born, live a normal healthy life and die of natural causes.

    b. The modern allopathic medical/pharmaceutical industrial system is based and depends on people being sick rather than on people being healthy. This system is self perpetuating and serves the industry above the people. Healing would become the responsibility of all people trained and skilled in both the physical and metaphysical healing arts, not just doctors and nurses.

    c. The entire planet seems to have become an environmental Superfund Site. Toxic industrial waste now continually circulates around the globe, in our oceans and our atmosphere. We cannot have healthy people without a healthy environment.

    d. Our world needs a new bill of health. We must immediately introduce a new medical paradigm designed to maintain optimum health by preventing disease through the elimination of toxic sources of all environmental pollution. The waste disposal industry and the medical profession are intimately entwined.

    e. Any and all systems for healing and disease prevention must be held in common trust and freely distributed to all of humanity, immediately and equally.

    f. All profit gained through health care would be declared criminal activity.

    g. All healing centers would be transformed and operated as not-for-profit institutions for health education and maintenance. This doesn’t mean that people working in private or public health care cannot make a fair salary from working in a not-for-profit health industry.

    2. Food

    a. Too much of the food being produced throughout most of the world is nutritionally inadequate and often contaminated with pesticides, toxins and other environmental insults like potentially dangerous artificial genetic manipulation.

    b. Inadequately nutritious food is being shipped all over the world at great expense and waste of natural resources.

    c. Local markets would take control of community food production, packaging, distribution and marketing. Immediate action would be taken to create local automated industry to produce, package and distribute locally generated nutritious food at a fair market price. Naturally organic food would become the standard of the food production industry not an expensive choice.

    d. Free stocks of natural, non-genetically modified seeds and livestock would be distributed globally, immediately.

    e. Because food is a human right, necessary for our survival as much as the air we must breathe and the water we must drink, all food and/or seed patents would be voluntarily relinquished.
    f. Gourmet food is a privilege. Food sufficient to prevent disease and death through starvation is a right.

    g. A minimum standard of nutritionally adequate food would be distributed to anyone who is in need of it. This must be recognized as a natural birthright, not a privilege.

    h. For the bon vivant amongst us let us welcome sufficient gourmet food and drink to keep us happy; when we are also happy to pay the price. Some of the profits from private gourmet food production and some of the taxes from fine food consumption may be used to subsidize food for the less privileged.

    3. Shelter

    a. Basic clothing and basic housing is a birthright for all human beings. Luxury clothing and housing is a privilege that may be earned, but not through the exploitation of the vast majority of the world population by a very few powerful and clever people.

    b. There are enough resources on present day earth to create sufficient clothing and housing for all of the people of the world, now and for the many more millions to come.

    c. Robotics and Local Automated Industry would be created and distributed worldwide to continuously manufacture minimum standard clothing and minimum standard housing for anyone who is in need of it.

    d. Much of the Federal Budget now allocated to the military industrial complex would be diverted toward the creation of a Global Shelter Institute to fund and manage this production.

    e. This new Global Shelter Institute would convert a substantial section of industrial military suppliers toward robotics and localized automated industries on a global scale to manufacture and distribute minimum standard clothing and minimum standard housing to any one in need of these.

    f. Those who are disadvantaged but still able to pay may pay an honest and fair, small percentage of their earnings for locally produced basic clothing and shelter.

    4. Education

    a. The human brain is characterized by thousands of trillions of bytes of information. The human mind appears to reach beyond even the complexity of the human brain. What we refer to as consciousness seems to be self organizing harmonic living systems of coherent energy; exquisite systems of energies arranged in intentionality fields.

    b. The best way to ensure continued positive cultural evolution is to nurture, train, expand and enlighten human minds. This is the process we have called education, but it is not what we are now doing in The United States of America with the current educational system.

    c. The current educational model for America is one of conformity, rote memorization, and statistical performance. It fosters the “group think” of collectivism.

    d. True brilliance of mind is characterized by non-conformity, relational analysis and synthesis, and unique performance… individuation.

    e. What we need is an Education Revolution. Education would be seen as a continuous process of not only permission, but encouragement of exploration in an infinite field of all possibilities. Wisdom must guide this exploration by emphasizing our highest value of human life.

    f. Above all, as in the medical profession, the educator must do no harm. A teacher’s highest responsibility is to enrich, ennoble and expand the mind and heart of the student, and to remove any and all impediments which may restrict a student’s natural abilities and highest sense of self esteem.

    g. As a nation of free and sovereign people we would re-invent our entire educational system. We need to put the power of education back in the hands of parents and their personal relationship with devoted and highly qualified teachers. Bureaucrats do not know how to educate. The critical quality of a highly qualified teacher is the will to share the power of knowledge and wisdom, and to exponentially increase this power in others. That is the opposite of what bureaucrats do.

    h. If we are truly interested in America’s leadership of free people in a free and prosperous world then we will begin to invest as much or more resources in education as we now invest in the military industrial complex.

    5. Energy

    a. Living is an energy dependent process. No energy, no life. To control, monopolize and sell at high profit any form of energy upon which life depends would be criminalized.

    b. There is such an abundance of energy available in perpetuity on this planet that owning and selling energy would be recognized to be as ludicrous as owning and selling water or air.

    c. A Super Manhattan Energy Project would begin immediately to discover, invent and create life sustaining energy harvesting and/or energy production and distribution systems. These systems would not pollute our environment.

    d. Energy production and distribution for fair and reasonable profit may proceed, but under very strict regulation such that profits may only go into fair living wages for those harvesting or creating and distributing energy and toward research and development of environmentally clean and renewably sustainable forms of energy.

    e. A minimum standard of life sustaining energy would be distributed to all human beings via not-for-profit energy distribution systems. If we do not share energy equitably we kill people… children, women, men. A civilized society may not ignore this reality.

    6. Resources

    a. Anything that is necessary or useful to do anything is a resource. Everything on earth and in the heavens is a resource. Humans transform resources into the infrastructure of modern civilization. It is time to begin to do so wisely not like a bunch of profligate idiots.

    b. The growth of civilization must henceforth proceed in a benevolent way toward all of us, our progeny and our environment.

    c. Any resource harvested from any environment belongs in common to the sovereign citizens of that environment. This means that resources are owned in common by all the people in the community where the resources are found. If this is too difficult to understand we can talk about it, but basically removing resources from any community without appropriate compensation to the citizens of that community is not unlike some one stealing vegetables, lambs or chickens out of your back yard.

    d. The people who do the work of harvesting a given resource may profit from the work they do through free market distribution of that resource. But they may not benefit from obscene windfall profits through monopolized illegal “ownership” of the harvested resource.

    e. Any resource may be purchased by anyone through a fair free market system.

    f. Through entrepreneurial genius and vision any resource may be refined and transformed into any product to be distributed for reasonable profit, in a fair free market system, provided such products do no harm to life or environment.

    7. Violence

    a. Throughout the long era of human evolution, the worth of any individual or of any segment of society has been measured by assessing their accumulation of wealth and social status. This era is beginning to draw to a close. A new measure of individual worth is beginning to emerge. The new measure of personal worth would be the amount of individual personal growth.

    b. We would measure net worth by assessing the level of personal growth one achieves rather than the financial wealth one accumulates. Then we can focus more on an economy of ideas and wise solutions, implemented to resolve critical problems that threaten the continued existence of our world.

    c. We are rapidly approaching the real possibility of severely compromising or even destroying some of the basic planet-wide systems that have, so far, kept us alive.

    d. The socio-economic pressures on modern humanity, living in a paradigm of financially defined wealth, are unbearable at best and ultimately unsustainable in the final years of this era. In a closed loop system like planet earth, certain aspects of geographical growth are finite. Only metaphysical growth is infinite.

    e. Government can print money forever but the stuff we make, move around and accumulate to circulate the money we print will eventually choke planet earth. We will have to begin to make wise choices about what we create and why.

    f. Violence is the inevitable result of inflamed competitive attitude. Violent behavior is necessary and even desirable for evolution in primates and other animals and some plants. But it is a useless appendage for an evolved and civilized society.

    g. When violence emerges but remains under control such as in a sporting event, then such violent or aggressive behavior may be excused, as long as such behavior does not lead to excessive suffering or death.

    h. Any violence resulting in excessive suffering or death is criminal and, like war, it is a form of insanity.

    i. Yet violence is everywhere in society; however modern or traditional. Some leaders in society may begin to discover that in the end, it is futile to attempt to defeat or extinguish violence with more violence.

    j. Violent behavior as a way of interacting and controlling our environment tends to perpetuate itself. We must wake up and see that resolution of conflict through violence is impossible.
    k. Violence would be seen as a primitive way of resolving problems.

    l. A violent system would be recognized almost always as dynamically unstable until it runs out of fuel.

    m. The violence of war is usually fueled by desire to conquer and control people, territory and resources in order to expand and control empire. Expansion of empire subjugates, enslaves and kills people.

    n. A global network of locally established Irenology Institutes would be launched immediately to study ways of discouraging violence and minimizing its effect.

    o. It would serve us best if we were to transform the Pentagon into the International Institute of Irenology. Irenology, by the way, is the study of peace.

    p. As long as violence, (be it psychological, physical or sexual; within a family or a community; belligerent economic international black mail; or open warfare amongst nations) is the way we choose to “resolve” conflict, we are doomed to endless cycles of disasters.

    q. We will have cycles of violent natural disasters in increasing quantities in the coming years. With wisdom we can at least reduce a lot of human violence. Then in peace we can join together to help bring the earth back into balance, and begin to create a prosperous non violent world of peaceful and sustainable abundance.

    8. Security

    a. Security has a lot to do with violence. We must realize that security can never be achieved through violent force or even threat of violence.

    b. Violence generates the need for security; it cannot create or guarantee security.

    c. Only empathy, communication, understanding, tolerance, cooperation, reciprocity, integrity, fair play, friendship and yes, even love, can create and guarantee security.

    d. If we were to try putting the CIA, the NSA, the CFR, the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and women and men in uniform everywhere in charge of doing all of the above, the speed at which global security and peace would be created may astonish you.

    9. Transportation

    a. Just because we are able to build something is never a good reason to build any enterprise we may want to create. What we would ask is should we build something and why? What we would ask is what are the long term benefits and/or consequences of what we wish to build? These are questions which are not often asked.

    b. In a world ruled, or better, guided by wise people, the most important question would always be: Should we build it? What is the long term effect of this we wish to create?

    c. The systems and infrastructure we build to move people, things and information around the globe would be completely reconsidered.

    d. From La Grange Point space elevators to laser or microwave transmission of data/energy through the atmosphere, we would take a very close look at all possible systems and infrastructure we may wish to build. We would evaluate each idea to discover which ones best serve humanity. Global rail and tube systems, on the ground, above ground, underground, under water, in the air… all possibilities.

    e. Wire, wireless, quantum-simultaneity, optic-fiber, telepathy-web, carrier pigeon, quantum teleportation, flying car, personal levitation device, VLTA, (very large lighter than air aircraft). Everything is on the table as long as we continue to ask: Should we build it? What are the long term consequences on all systems?

    10. Interracial Relations

    a. Racial division of humanity as a social construct has no viable currency in scientific taxonomic circles.

    b. The idea of different and competing races is a tragic mistake. We are not different races on this planet. Humanity consists of different varieties within One Race. Whether we have black, brown, yellow, red, blue, pink, or white skin is the result of varietal differences in genetic information; simple chance evolutionary results from the geographic location of our progenitors.
    c. For purposes of peaceful coexistence, we may all consider ourselves and each other the race of Homo Sapiens-Sapiens, evolved from the species Homo Sapiens, expressing in great and wonderful multitude of variety.

    d. Get over it. . . Love one other anyway.

    11. Foreign Aid

    a. Foreign aid is an illusion created and perpetuated by failure to implement any of the above.

    b. A vast amount of even the best intended “foreign aid” unfortunately ends up either being wasted or embezzled and inevitably in secret Swiss bank accounts of very wealthy and unscrupulous so called leaders of society.

    c. By implementing all of the above we will be living in a world where nowhere is “foreign” and no one needs aid because the focus of all carefully thought out social financial investment programs will be scrupulously and honestly managed to insure the well being of all individuals in all societies who are genuinely in need of such programs.

    12. Foreign Relations

    a. War on terror is a ridiculous oxymoron. War is terror. It is like saying war on war. The only thing you can do about war and terror is to stop planning, supporting and making war and stop terrorizing. And the only way to end both is to make both terror and war unprofitable and unsatisfying for anyone.

    b. At the top of the agenda would be an International Apology and Restitution Conference on the simple idea that often all it takes to prevent hostile action is to pick up a phone and apologize for our mistakes and begin exploring ways for restitution.

    c. We would begin immediately to put into motion a National Class Action Letter of Apology from the People of America to the People of Iraq.

    d. We would then invite the people of Iraq to reciprocate so that when Americans and Iraqis meet, our bows will be the same height and our handshake or embrace will be genuine.

    e. A national letter of apology to the people of Iraq, followed by swift and friendly withdrawal of government military forces and civilian militant forces, while simultaneously initiating a Marshal Plan sized reconstruction of Iraq, can be the beginning of a Global Year of Reconciliation.
    f. We would pick at random 2000 women and 2000 men from every country in the world through a global Internet lottery. These four thousand people from each country in the world would become charter members of a Global Council of Peace and Reconciliation. They would preside over an International Hall of Apology and Restitution.

    g. Americans and indeed world citizens would begin now to implement the items in b, c, and f above (International Apology and Restitution Conference, National Class Action Letter of Apology, Global Council of Peace and Reconciliation, International Hall of Apology and Restitution) with or without government participation or interference.

    h. The critical thing for American citizens to understand and practice now is the Constitutional principle of self government. The government is not only the people we elect. The government is us. We would begin to practice good government; first here at home and then globally.

    i. The people we elect are our servants. They are pledged to honor, serve and protect We the People; The Nation, for which stands The U.S. Constitution. Too many of the people we elect do not, honor, serve and protect the people of The United States of America. They serve the “system”, which only serves the powerful few.

    13. Trade

    a. We all have the inalienable right to invent and create anything. And with our goods and services voluntarily participate in a fair and free global market system, provided life and environment is never harmed and resources are not wasted. We would communicate globally. We would create and consume locally.

    b. We enrich human life everywhere when we discover, invent and create anything that ennobles and enhances the human experience.

    c. Fair and free trade in the ideas and wonder of humanity would free humanity.

    14. Immigration

    a. Immigration would eventually be the word we use to describe the free and voluntary travel by any citizen from any nation to any other nation, for whatever purpose and for whatever period of time they choose, provided they cause no harm.

    b. As we address and implement much of the content of this paper the pressure to emigrate from places of diminishing opportunities to places of greater opportunity will be greatly reduced. We will begin to take the walls down all over the world because geographical differences in economic opportunities would diminish.

    c. As we cherish the romance of sovereign nations, even as we thrill to the adventure of travel abroad, we would never forget the sovereignty of the people we meet.

    d. When we are peacefully spreading our wings throughout the galaxy why would we worry about visas and “illegal” immigration from one sovereign nation to another sovereign nation on earth?
    e. This is One World. We are One People. This is One wonderful, delicately balanced and interdependent ecosystem.

    15. Military

    a. We would begin to realize that acts of war, declarations of war and participation in war are forms of insanity. They are life-defeating.

    b. War craft would be recognized, classified and treated as mental illness. War craft would be recognized as pathological sociopathic behavior. War threatens the extermination of humanity as much as any global disease or pandemic.

    c. We would immediately launch a publically funded global medical research enterprise to discover (and swiftly implement) psychological, biological and philosophical cures for war.

    d. Having served ten years in the United States Air Force and the United States Navy with honor I can personally attest that military service can be invaluable experience for young women and men to develop strong character and (great) life skills. I think the same values would be instilled in our youth through committed service to humanity by participating in non military organizations such as the Peace Corp.

    e. From time immemorial the primary purpose of military institutions has been to break things and kill people. (Let’s stop breaking things and killing people.) We are what we think, and we become what we do.

    To create the impossible you must see the invisible.

    If everyone gives more than they receive, everyone receives more than they give.

    If you find any of these observations, ideas, possibilities and suggestions of interest we may have a chance to evolve toward what I outline above. If you were to become interested in assisting me in implementing any of the above I would be absolutely ecstatic!

    Thank you for your attention.

    With much respect, admiration and affection.

    Sincerely Yours
    Giuseppe Saitta

    No rights reserved. Not copyrighted. To be freely distributed to anyone by anyone who believes in the future of humanity as a free and sovereign people.

  • Kens555

    I have some simple ideas that would help…To start with I think the politicians in this country should stop talking about “The American People” this and “The American People” that, like they are from some other planet. They are so completely disconnected from the populations wants and needs….need I go on. 2nd, I would suggest that the county organize the government from Local, State & Fed and come up with some “Goals” , remember Kennedy, 1960, put a man on the moon before the end of the decade…Well, if you do not define where you going its impossible to get there.3rd, enough about jobs, jobs for what, for who, why, what is the end purpose of all this work, where are we going, where have we been…see 2nd suggestion.

  • Saga3

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat:

    A Bi-Partisan Initiative For America

    We should have let all the Bush tax cuts expire. Why? This would have produced $4 trillion over 10 years. Summary: Take $2 trillion to pay down the debt and provide an alternate middle class tax cut by eliminating all Schedule A tax expenditures, standard and personal deductions, etc. BUT then instituting a $20,000 Tax Credit for every taxpayer. Eliminate the double taxation Federal corporate tax to encourage job growth. Invest another $1 trillion in infrastructure, R & D and education. Combine Unemployment, most Welfare and Faith-based initiative payments and use it to pay non-profits (no overhead this way!) to hire at least 10 million unemployed at $20,000/yr (workers experience volunteering and preserve mortgage and food while learning a new skill). Completely remove the cap on Social Security and Medicare for all Earned AND Unearned income so everybody contributes. Then lower overall rate and provide increase to seniors.

    • Pay down the Federal Debt in the amount of $2 trillion over ten years (Republican talking point).
    Reassure the world that we will get the economy under control: Doing this pays off about 1/6 of the Federal debt and eventually saves up to $130 billion per year in interest charges. If the entire Bush tax cut were to be directed to pay down the deficit, it would pay down about 1/3 of the debt, undercutting the claim that everyone’s grandchildren will be paying for it forever. Increasing marginal income tax rates by another 2% would produce an additional $4 trillion dollars, thereby paying off nearly ½ of the debt in the same 10-year period.

    In any case, investing in the following items will be likely to create enough taxes from the economy itself that the balance of the $13 trillion debt can be rapidly paid off and at the same time eliminate about $800 billion in annual interest charges:

    • Direct $300 billion toward creating 8,000,000 jobs in the Not-for-Profit sector (should be a Bi-partisan talking point).
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The selling point of creating jobs in the non-profit arena is that these will not be ‘government’ jobs, nor are they part of the fantasy that the private sector will be able to create new jobs when consumer demand is so slack. In doing this there will be no need to pay for indirect (overhead) costs, as the non-profits (which must have been in existence for at least 5 years) already have management in place. Jobs would be offered on a non-discriminatory, first-come, first served basis at a rate of $10 per hour ($20,000/year) for a period of 3 years. Non-profits will pay employees only for work done (tasks thus need not be ‘shovel-ready,’ which is what has held up much of the stimulus money): planning for, along with delivery of, services can become immediate tasks. Non-profits can ‘top-up’ salaries with no penalty.
    Though such jobs will be low-paying they offer five advantages:
    o out-of-work citizens will be able, at the least, to continue to pay their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.
    o workers will in fact enjoy the satisfaction of ‘volunteering,’ and will be trained for free in some entirely new and exciting discipline;
    o the tasks of non-profits are never done and the employment of 8 million workers will help them enormously.
    o the program can be partially or wholly paid for by all applying state and Federal unemployment funds, a large portion of state and Federal welfare funds, Food Stamp funds, Youth Employment funds, Job Corps funds, Manpower Development and Training funds, Vocational Educational funds and President Bush’s Faith-based Initiative funding, etc.
    o at the same time, as the unemployment rate rapidly approaches zero, workers will be being automatically retrained for new jobs. This proposal will thus replace much of unemployment funds, welfare payments and earned income tax credits, thereby saving huge amounts of tax money which otherwise achieve little or no return for the economy.
    o this program should be established as a continuing program with the aim of never allowing unemployment to rise over 1% as every unemployed worker will always have the likelihood of securing a job based on his or her abilities while acquiring new skills at no additional cost to the government.

    • Eliminate all Tax Expenditures such as the Standard Deduction, Personal Deductions and all Schedule A and related deductions. Replace these with a Flat $20,000 Credit for all taxpayers (Flat-tax is a Republican talking point).
    Alternate Middle and Lower Class Tax Cut: Doing this would provide tax relief for low-income earners who would be required to file Informational Returns only. These taxpayers will spend their savings immediately as payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare taxes would not be included) will be greatly reduced for this group, thereby immediately stimulating the economy. It will also fulfill at least part (but perhaps not all) of the President’s campaign pledge to reduce taxes for the lower and middle classes, even if he cannot get there by other means.

    • Eliminate the Federal corporate tax but only for Domestic Production (Republican talking point).
    Bring All the Jobs Back from Overseas: Doing this would cost about $300 billion but would encourage corporations to return all their Foreign Operations and Accompanying Jobs back to the United States. There would thus be no advantage to business in shipping jobs overseas, and business would rapidly begin to bring jobs (especially manufacturing jobs) back to the domestic economy. This would eliminate any credit for foreign taxes paid and eliminate all corporate taxes for domestic production and services, all capital gains, estate taxes and related taxes which, after eliminating the double taxation of corporate profits, would become subject to ordinary income tax rates. Many corporations don’t pay much of this tax anyway, and ending it puts the United States in a super-competitive position in the global economy while ending global corporations’ temptation to cheat by moving monies overseas and creating fake post office box addresses in foreign tax havens.

    • Invest in infrastructure in the amount of $1 trillion over ten years (should be a Bipartisan talking point).
    Invest for the Long-Term and Produce Lots of Jobs: Doing this includes 80% for building local and cross-country high speed rail networks, repairing bridges, subways, bus transportation, highways, airports, and energy refurbishing of government structures (and perhaps tax credits for energy-saving home devices); the other 20% for passenger vehicles: Lots of jobs.

    • Eliminate the cap on the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes on ALL income, Earned and Unearned, beyond $106,800 in order to make both programs solvent (Flat-tax argument is a Republican talking point).
    It’s Only Fair to put these two Programs on a Stable Footing: A family of 4 earning $50,000 per year pays income and payroll taxes, real estate and sales taxes in amount of approximately 39% while the same family earning $1 million pays only 33% (not counting capital gains taxes which lower the tax rate even more). Removing the cap brings the two into approximate parity. Keep in mind, these two programs are like Insurance Policies (which you don’t always collect on) and not like Bank Accounts (which you do). Doing this would secure both Social Security and Medicare funds in perpetuity and there would thus be no need to increase the age of retirement, to reduce any benefits or in any other way cut back on the delivery of services to the working and middle classes. At the same time, pressure can continue to be put on reducing the cost of insurance and medical expenses for all citizens.

    • Level the Playing Field by Equalizing Import Tariffs which would be good for Domestic Business and Domestic Job Creation (Should be a Bipartisan talking point).
    Why should we put up with Tariffs from our Trading Partners, and not collect more cash to pay down the Federal Debt? Doing this would eliminate the advantage that business enjoys in exporting jobs and producing products in foreign countries. For example, if it costs $10 to make a product in China and $30 to make it in the United States, a tariff of slightly under $20 would be charged to the importer (not to any foreign country, so as to avoid any international conflict), thereby equalizing the cost worldwide. Since costs will be nearly equal, jobs will return to the United States, if only to save importers on transportation costs. All of these new funds (less the costs of a Tariff Stabilization Agency) must be directed toward the further reduction of the Federal Debt. Not a high fence or wall, but locks in which the water level is equalized. If doing this means abandoning the World Trade Organization, so be it, but it would be better to enact a rule which allows for the equalizing of import prices with domestic production costs among all nations.

    • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be directed to prevent home foreclosures (Should be a Democratic talking point and most Homeowners agree).
    Stop the Home Foreclosures in their Tracks. These two entities may be merged if desirable, but in addition to operating in the secondary housing market they should be prevented from dealing in derivatives and similar products, and (requiring the banks to do the paperwork in return for getting rid of the bad assets) will be able to prevent most home foreclosures as follows: If
    o Mortgage payment (principal and interest) does not exceed 30% of homeowner’s annual income from all sources, when the
    o Term of payment does not exceed 50 years, and the
    o Interest rate does not exceed 5% annually. (Note that the Federal Reserve is lending money to banks at close to zero per cent interest, so a 5% rate charged to homeowners will clearly represent a profit to the government.)
    Allowing this will cost the homeowner much more in interest charges, but this will be offset by his being able to remain in his home. At the same time, the current mortgage holders will be paid off, thereby supplying the banks with huge liquidity, Housing Values will end their precipitous decline, and Freddie and Fannie will earn profits (though over a longer time frame). Stopping housing defaults will stabilize all retail home values (and their accompanying real estate taxes) in the Main Street economy, so that the values of surrounding homes will not drop in tandem with defaults. Accepting this arrangement would bind the homeowner to his payment as he will not be able to escape the mortgage payment in any way, including bankruptcy, as collections would be made by the IRS in the usual way in case of any homeowner default.

    • Authorize A Guest Worker Program to Regularize Illegal Aliens who wish only to work, as many such people do not desire citizenship, but only need employment, which is of course in scarce supply at the moment (Used to be a Republican talking point).
    The Illegal Immigration Problem. Doing this will stop the downward pressure on wages caused by too many workers looking for too few jobs.
    o Illegals will have 6 months to come forth and identify themselves. Failure to come forth will eliminate forever any opportunity to work legitimately in the country or to become citizens.
    o Those who desire to work will be allowed to remain in the country as long as an employer agrees to sponsor them, with all that doing so entails. Upon any loss of employment, unemployment benefits but no other entitlements will be available, and another job must be secured within six months or the non-citizen must leave the country or will be deported to country of origin. Failure to leave will cause loss of Guest Worker status and/or application for citizenship.
    o Those who wish to become citizens must pay a reasonable fine, learn English and apply for citizenship according to the existing rules, with preference given to those persons who are highly qualified, rather than to those who are related to current citizens.

    • Enact a Differential Wage Law (Should be a Democratic talking point and every low and middle wage worker ought to agree).
    Unions can Relax and just Deal with what is Best for both Workers and the Company. Just as we have a Minimum Wage, a Differential Wage law would prohibit any business from paying its highest paid worker (including both employees and independent contractors) more than 50 times the rate of the lowest paid worker. This would put the brakes on CEO’s who earn 200 or 300 times what their workers earn, and secure reasonable rates of return for stockholders who now have no control over exorbitant pay packages and ‘golden parachutes,’ monies which should rightfully belong to the stockholders themselves. All ‘boats’ would have to rise together. Doing this does NOT place any cap on the earnings of the highest paid workers (they can earn as much as they want) but it does require that all workers throughout the entire business must rise together. The differential wage would apply to both earned and unearned income, as well as to unjustified reimbursement expenses. There would, however, be an exemption for those entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, who are Original Founders (rather than later-stage managers).

    • Reinstate a Two-Year Draft for all persons, male and female, between 18 and 26 years of age (Should be a Bipartisan talking point).
    Everyone ought to have ‘skin in the game.’ This is true whether the country is sending troops to fight in a war or dealing with financial and other domestic difficulties, including natural catastrophes. However, the choices for young people must include not only the four branches of the military, but also such organizations as the Peace Corps, The Teacher Corps, local hospitals, soup kitchens and similar groups. In this way, not only will the country be more cautious about entering into war (or peace), but also more invested once the country has decided to go war (or peace) and more supportive once a conflict or program has continued over time. Not only that, but every social and economic class will share in the burden. In addition, it will be possible to easily reduce the military budget since not nearly as many incentives will have to be offered to convince young people to serve, the military will never again be nearly ‘broken’ by forcing multiple tours of duty, and most of the tremendously expensive Independent Contractors can be quickly eliminated and replaced.

    • Relieve regressive Local Real Estate Taxes in the amount of at least $2,500 per year for every recipient of Social Security in order to prevent seniors from being thrown out of their homes because of rising real estate taxes (Should be a Democratic talking point and retirees all agree).
    Protect Seniors from the Bad Choice between Mortgage Payments, and Food and Medicine. Though, because of the housing melt-down, the average National inflation rate may not have increased, the inflation rate in various parts of the country and for most low and middle income individuals has increased at approximately 12-15% per year! After deducting from approved real estate taxes apply the funds directly to reduce local educational expenditures.

    • Require Full Disclosure of All Political Contributions (Should be a Bi-partisan talking point, and most citizens will strongly approve).
    Let the People Decide. Doing this will provide the voters with the critical information they need when trying to understand which candidates will support their interests. Disclosures need to extend back to the level of the Highest Contribution, and not simply to the immediate contributor. This will disclose the origin of the bulk of the contributions. So, for example, whether the Chinese government, Goldman Sachs or a labor union makes a contribution, the people will know and be able to make informed voting decisions.

    • Require the Television and Cable Companies (in abiding by their original pledge of public obligation which was that in return for their benefit from the use of the public airwaves and/or the trust given to cable and satellite companies to inform the public) to perform Public Service by offering a reasonable amount of FREE political advertising to every political candidate (Most citizens will agree).
    Decrease Political Begging and the Influence of Political Contributions. Doing this will free up politicians from much of their endless fund-raising to the exclusion of performing their actual law-making tasks and will tend to break the grip of big lobbyists who funnel money to their campaigns and hold the politicians hostage to special interest contributors.

    • Allow all businesses to off-load health insurance expenses to the new Health Care plan for any employee whose gross earnings are under $50,000 per year in accordance with new government regulations concerning health insurance (Should be a Bi-partisan talking point).
    Level the Playing Field. Doing this will provide a tremendous boost by saving businesses from paying the huge and rapidly rising costs of health care for many employees, thereby freeing up funds for new hiring and new investments. Though this move will cost some public money, it will powerfully free up business to do what it does best: make things and provide services, both for domestic use and for export, and it will place all businesses on an even playing field, whether they currently offer health insurance or not. In addition, health care for every worker will become portable, without any complex paperwork.

    • Add an additional amount of money per student not to state governments but directly to local school districts such that all school districts (controlled for local costs of living) receive at least $15,000 per student per year (Should be a Democratic talking point).
    Education is the Foundation of any Civilization and the Source of Business and Government Innovation. Doing this will prevent the loss of teachers’ salaries and provide needed supplies, but will primarily eliminate the inequality caused by varying local real estate valuations and tax rates which have in any case been declining. Each student will then have an excellent chance of receiving an equally excellent education, no matter where the students live.

    • Eliminate Personhood status for corporations (Should be a Democratic talking point and the General Public all agree).
    Citizens in a Democracy should not be Competing Head to Head with Massive Corporate Contributions. It makes little sense that corporations, unions, and other organizations should be treated as Persons under the law. Only living human citizens are Persons; other entities should not be permitted to be Persons, and should be granted no rights of Free Speech for themselves. This should end the corrosive effect of the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision concerning undisclosed and virtually unlimited political contributions by such entities, by wealthy individuals and possibly by some foreign governments.

    How to Pay for All These Changes? Allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse. This will produce $4 trillion over 10 years in tax revenues and cost individual taxpayers very, very little in increased marginal tax rates as can easily be seen from comparing the Clinton era tax rates against the current tax rates. For example, even under President Obama’s proposed $250,000 cap, a person earning an additional $100,000 would be paying less than $4,000 in additional taxes for the privilege, an amount hardly worth arguing about compared to the $100,000 in extra earnings. Finally, both the domestic economy and our foreign bankers in China and the rest of the world will respond positively to our stabilizing our economy by paying down a large portion of the National debt.

    This entire set of proposals can be designed to be Deficit Neutral by adjusting, as necessary, the estimated amounts noted in the above proposals.

  • Barb

    How I would fix America
    I would have the national debt declared a charity. People could contribute to it just like they contribute to the Red Cross etc. I am retired and on a fixed income but I would give $10 or more a month if I knew it went directly on the debt’s principal. It would take a while but……

  • Chasmull

    There are very few things to choose from when fixing an entire country. Here are two that have worked before. Infrastructure and education. If you build it they will come and if we are smart enough we will know what to do when they get here.
    Chas

  • injuredone

    How about a little love?

  • Mope420

    you’re insane.

    *welcome back the old man saying “back when I was your age we had to walk through 3 miles of snow to work/school every day.”

    *why don’t we just build igloos and T-pees and chase after buffalo too.

    *anyone who steals gets hand cut off, if you rape you get your genitals cut off.

    *say goodbye to America? say hello to CZECHEN

  • Don M. PDXOR

    A Declaration of Sustainability by Paul Hawken / circa 1993

    Throw out and replace the entire tax system. The present tax system sends the wrong messages to virtually everyone, it encourages waste, it discourages conservation, and it rewards consumption. It taxes what we want to encourage – jobs, creativity, payrolls, and real income – and ignores the things we want to discourage – degradation, pollution, and depletion.

    The present U. S. tax system costs citizens $500 billion a year in record-keeping, filling, administrative, legal, and government costs – more than the actual amount we pay in personal income taxes.

    The entire tax system needs to be incrementally replaced over a 20-30 year period by “Green Fees”. These would be added to existing products, energy, services, and materials so that prices in the marketplace more closely approximate true costs. They must be absolutely revenue neutral so that people in the lower and middle classes experience no real change of income, only a shift in expenditures. Eventually, the cost of non-renewable resources, extractive energy, and industrial modes of production will be more expensive than renewable resources, such as solar energy, sustainable forestry, and biological methods of agriculture.

    Under a Green Fee system the incentives to save on taxes will create positive, constructive acts that are affordable for everyone. As energy prices go up to three to four times their existing levels (with commensurate tax reductions to offset the increase, the natural inclination to save money will result in carpooling, bicycling, telecommuting, public transport, and more efficient houses. As taxes on artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and fuel go up, again with offsetting reductions in income and payroll taxes, organic farmers will find that their produce and methods are the cheapest means of production (because they truly are), and customers will find that organically grown food is less expensive than its commercial cousin.

    Eventually we will find ourselves in a position where we pay no taxes, but spend our money with a practiced and constructive discernment. Under an enlightened and redesigned tax system, the cheapest product in the marketplace would be best for the customer, the worker, the environment, and the company. That is rarely the case today.

    This and other related topics are spelled out in detail in Paul Hawken’s book “The Ecology of Commerce” 1993

  • Mope420

    UH OH, JESUS FREAK^^

    another solution put all the religious freaks from all religions on a rocket and send them all to their makers.

    that way we can all enjoy heaven on earth and they can enjoy Disneyland heaven in the sky

  • Mope420

    yeah, and stop paying PAST presidents 200,000 dollars every year for the rest of their lives. I don’t know about many people but if I got 200,000 one year only, I’d be VERY successful, EVEN if only 50,000. WHO needs 200,000 a year for the rest of their lives?

    It’s ridiculous

    does the president even do much besides take the blame for CONGRESS doing nothing?

  • Ron on Cape Cod

    As long as unemployment stays above seven percent, require that there either be no overtime or that overtime compensation be triple-time. Congress should also examine the standard workweek, now at forty hours. Why not like German industrial standards: thirty-two hours? The blessings of automation have been taken at the corporate level with higher productivity. Why no share those blessings with the worker, who need not spend as much time on the job thanks to automation?

  • http://twitter.com/stevedenning stevedenning

    What the initial “voices” and most of the commentators miss is that America is in an *economic* decline, as a result of the antiquated and anachronistic way in which the Fortune 500 is *managed*. Most of these firms are still being run in the way they were a hundred years ago, but the economic context is radically different. As a result, economic decline. I have spelled out in detail why this is so, as well as pointing to the way forward here:
    http://stevedenning.typepad.com/steve_denning/2010/12/the-chinese-wikileaker-and-the-real-headlines-what-tom-friedman-doesnt-see.html

  • Herrenhaus

    Having just perused your book on radical management on Amazon, all I can add to your well argued thesis is that the best way to have “self-organizing” work teams is to break-up the Fortune 500 companies into more manageable sized units, just as Teddy Roosevelt did over a century ago with the oil and Gas industry.

    I believe that Monopoly Capitalism is one of America’s greatest problems. If we just limited the size that companies could grow to, then more opportunities would be available to creative entrepreneurs in a more perfectly competitive environment. Our problem in America is that the major corporations control too large a percentage of our nation’s resources and output, or “lack-of-output”. Abolish the fortune 500, make them into the “Fortune One Million”, and productivity plus happy employees will emerge as a new economic Phoenix that must rise from its formerly “viscous” corporate soup!

  • KellyFromAustin

    Reihan Salem is showing how disconnected from real life when he says that poor people can make the best decisions about what is good for them and their families. He is also not being honest as to his reasons for why he thinks that cash vouchers are the solution to “fixing Amerca”.

    The reason government stopped giving out cash is that 1 of the main causes for habitual poverty are drug and alcohol abuse. These people to not make good decision with their money becuase they are wracked with addiction. They spend money on drugs and alcohol (or swaps) instead of buying food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their children. For that reason, they are not given cash. They are given goods and services that are almsot guaranteed to be passed on to the children instead of being used for alcohol or tobacco, etc.

    This brings me to the real reason that Reihan believes that we should be giving poor people cash vouchers. His real impetus for this idea is that conservatives believe that government employees are bad, period. They often belong to unions and typically lean left, hence government employees give money to Democrats. The argument of “less government” is quite often code for get rid of public employees. They are indiviuals that more likely than not, give money to our enemies. So get rid of them even when what they do is mitigate fraud against the government. Their ultimate goal is to defund the Left.

  • Jo Ann M.

    Here’s an email that has been recently circulating – this would be a good start:

    1. Term Limits.

    12 years only, one of the possible options below..

    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

    2. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    I had just about given up any hope of fixing America until I bumped into this program and read so many excellent ideas. You can tell that many people have put much thought and study into their comments but to turn this into something tangible I believe we must go back to our Founding Fathers, especially Ben Franklin, and the use of his Junto groups. If I may suggest the following:
    1. The goal should be to create a PLATFORM of ideas, not a new political party. Franklin believed political parties would eventually gravitate towards their own self interest rather than that of the people. Any candidate could use our platform provided they contractually agreed to abide by our principles.
    2. A Junto should be started by 13 individuals from different walks of life to begin to develop these ideas into a platform for discussion. The Junto should follow the same rules as Franklin:
    a. Anonymity – Everyone remains nameless and no one person is allowed to take credit for any idea or acknowledge that they are in the Junto.
    b. Only acceptance of an idea or a suggestion on how to improve an idea is allowed. No negative comments about an idea. Franklin believed ideas were like small plants and needed to be nurtured in the beginning so they could grow – or not.
    3. This should be a completely independent group with no affiliation to anything but developing these ideas into a platform. It is terrific that these producers developed this show and asked the question but unfortunately any affiliation with PBC will be vulnerable to attack as having an agenda or as a promotional tool to attract more viewers. Again, independence and anonymity is crucial to avoiding the divisiveness and personal attacks that have prevented good ideas from progressing.
    4. The Junto should go through these ideas, and many others that will appear, and formulate them into a manageable website that clarifies and improves the ideas. Many, such as campaign finance reform and transparency in government will have broad acceptance. Others such as tax policy and healthcare will require more discussion and formulation to gain acceptance.
    5. Once the ideas are formulated into principles then these principles will be voted on by all participants to create a platform that candidates could adopt by contractually agreeing to follow these principles or resign as a candidate or from office if elected.
    6. Every effort should be made to use the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as a guide. This should not be a manifesto or an attack on any group or individuals but a true meeting of the minds to try and expand the power of ideas the same way Franklin and the Founders of our country did.
    These are my thoughts on one way to put these valuable ideas into action. If anyone agrees please comment.

  • http://www.mckaywatches.com Benefrank6

    Sorry, I meant PBS and I am a supporter.

  • Shana

    One way to help fix out problems is to stop talking about ‘socialized health care’. What we need is ‘socially responsible health care’. Few would argue against that.

    The simplest, most cost effective, and quickest way to increase access to health care for the majority of people is to do the following:

    Replace student loans with student grants for qualified, committed students beginning at graduation from high school, to increase the ratio of doctors, nurses and dentists to patients.

    Require at least 8 years of community service for these students (while providing a stipend for basic needs) in a government owned neighborhood office which charges only a small token fee for office visits that cover basic health needs and medicines. Think of this as joining the Army without getting shot at as much. (We taxpayers are already footing the bill on this.)

    Changing to this approach will do a number of positive things: It will increase the number of general practitioners and dentists; Make it more likely that people will seek help before a problem becomes an emergency room visit; Increase the likelihood that people will seek preventative care; Bring costs down across the board by increasing competition with private practice doctors and dentists and the insurance industry that drives their high costs.

    In the interim, a neighborhood health care shop can be set up using the skills of nurses and EMTs who have been displaced by cost cutting of “for profit” hospitals and ambulance businesses. These are the people who are usually responsible for saving lives and providing care while doctors get most of the credit.

    You may find insurance companies and attorneys resistant to this approach. If out-of-pocket fees are affordable, expensive health policies are necessary only for catastrophic accidents or disease. If a medical or dental facility is part of the federal system, it is unlikely to be sued by anyone hoping for a windfall settlement.

  • Monte

    I am partly in agreement with Ron on Cape Cod. I don’t agree with the current work rules for business’. These rules really tie the hands of creative employers. Employers should be able to create any schedule they desire if it promotes education, family, and wealth for individuals. If the gov believes that a set work week must be mandated, I would go with something similar to Germany, say, 4 nine hour days, and credits to employers that promote these progressive, people friendly schedules. Just some ideas. New small business startups would thrive in this environment.

  • Monte

    I agree with Bob Voter. The Supreme Court definitely moved the Country back into the stoneage by giving a corporation the same rights as a citizen. That, technically gives those individuals in power more than one vote. Propoganda is the most lethal weapon known to man, and they have handed it over to the powerful. We should have a very strict system of one person, one vote, and campaign contributions should be from individuals only, and very limited to something like 100.00 max. to any campaign. The idea of supporting the entertainment industry by paying with these funds is obscene. Eliminate all tax deductions for campaign ads, and no support should allowed for parties. All contributions must be for individual candidates only, and everyone at the polls must register as an independent.

  • Gailw

    Many good ideas have already been offered for short- and long-term fixes. I have a simple, two-pronged suggestion for immediate relief of unemployment. First, pay people over 60 to retire so that younger people can be moved into their jobs. This could be done via changes in social security, employer incentives or some similar mechanism. It is contrary to current practice where many retirement-age people need to continue to work well into their 70′s. Those jobs could go to younger workers with families if elders didn’t need to work to survive. Second, enact a 2-year universal service (military, community, CCC-style) for young people between 18 and 24. This would help them learn self-reliance and job skills and help them as they “graduate” and look for jobs or get additional education that enables them to achieve their goals. I realize there would be opposition to changes like these, but I believe they would make a positive difference.

  • Rich Conway

    The only true way to fix America is to provide jobs for the unemployed. And the only real way to make this happen is to declare a sales tax moratorium on American made products. I believe my idea can easily be implemented by adding an extra line to the UPC code on items made with American hands in this country.
    Imagine purchasing that new cars and not paying the additional $2000 in taxes when registering the vehicle. And wouldn’t it be nice to purchase an American-made washer and dryer without the added 8% sales tax. Buy a pair of $75 made in Missouri and pay……………..$75.
    Any loss in revenue that normally would have been generated through sales tax on such items would be offset by the income taxes paid by Americans returning to work. It’s worth a try.
    Richard J. Conway III
    Wentzville, Mo. 63385

  • Rich Conway

    Sorry……….
    RE my earlier posting: Buy a pair of $75 shoes made in Missouri and pay…………….$75.

  • Monte

    I agree with your perspective. As far as the question; how to fix health care? I have read, and agree with the “Physicians Health Care for America”. I worked-up my own simple plan, read all the other ideas that were being put forward, and really felt that they addressed all of my concerns. I was very optimistic, I knew that a plan that would be the envy of the world was just around the corner, and at a savings of 300 billion annually, WoW! Then the President appeared in a photo-op with the insurance execs. I was jolted, does this mean what I think it means? Then the testimonies at the congress barring the drs. from speaking, and all of this happening when they had a majority?? Reason seems to be gone..

  • Anon.thinker

    It seems to me that consumers could form a stronger political and lobbying group than they currently do — and this would inject a third viewpoint into the traditional standoff between labor and capital … the de facto basis of our two-party system. Consider that Consumer Reports magazine commands a hefty subscription fee to test products each year. Why not have a consumer group which collects an annual fee with the intent of aggressively tackling consumer-related political issues through lobbying? And if the lobbying doesn’t get the job done, then straight-out boycotts should. Company X charging too many hidden fees for service? Send out an Email advocating a boycott. Company Y not providing health care coverage? Boycott. Boycott as often as needed to put the power back in the hands of the consumer. Maybe this sort of power already exists and all that is really needed is high-profile leadership. But since everyone is a consumer, this group could potentially be large enough to form a third political party … focused solely on economic issues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terrence-Lee-Reed/655419389 Terrence Lee Reed

    Terrence Reed’s 2012 Presidential Platform for genuine change:
    (excludes any congressional support)

    1) No Inaugural Celebration party.

    2) Refuse the Nobel Prize if offered to me (or give to Julian Assange).

    3) Retire Air Force One ($181,000+ per hour) and pay off the mortgage on the home of an unemployed worker every hour instead.

    4) Take no vacations, I will not leave Washington D.C. for the four years I am in office.

    5) I will disband the Secret Service, I will give the local police jurisdiction over the White House and over the protection of former presidents, just like every other American. (The barricades in front of the White House will likewise disappear)

    6) Promise open pardon for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I will pardon all soldiers who refused to serve overseas, anyone imprisoned for or convicted of terrorism or any form of protest, as well as anyone who refuses to leave their home when it is foreclosed upon or workplace when they are laid off.

    7) Refuse pardon for any former President of the United States, or cabinet member thereof, and will not retain any cabinet members from prior administrations.
    8) Fire every General in The Pentagon without benefits.

    9) Open all military and government documents to the public.

    10) Open the US military, National Guard, and Peace Corps to every American citizen, with the guarantee of a minimum $30,000/year, room and board, with the goal of supporting local business, farms and infrastructure in every community in the USA.

    11) Close all military bases outside of the USA: GITMO, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Okinawa, Germany, and hundreds more.

    12) Order all vessels in the US Navy to return to port in the USA.

    13) Ban all sales of armaments outside of the United States, especially to Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, India, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    14) Disband the Republican and Democratic parties (the true opiate of masses).

    15) Ban the “Two Minutes’ Hate” on all public airwaves (see Orwell’s 1984).

    16) Disband the TSA, let airports take care of their own security.

    17) Disband the NSA/CSS and publish all prior actions online.

    18) Disband the CIA and publish all prior actions online.

    19) Disband Homeland Security and publish all prior actions online.

    20) Nulify the Patriot Act.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/2012-Presidential-Platform-for-Genuine-Change/98452504453?v=wall

  • Mr. Scott

    Start using television in a more informative way immediately. Replace the repeditive ‘cop shows’, ‘hospital shows’, etc, etc. with a C-Span type format that shows what is ACTUALLY GOING ON IN REALITY!
    Show what is being decided in Congress and how everyone voted. It would show how bills with deceptive names like ‘No Child Left Behind’ actually are labelled so as to conceal the fact that they are meant to do the opposite of their title. The ‘Clean Air Act’ comes to mind—what a joke!
    People don’t have the time to do the research necessary to stay informed as they need to because they have to work so many hours if they have a job just to survive.
    I would start with INFORMATION TO THE MASSES to begin change asap. Have you noticed that when you speak with someone who is obviously mis-informed on a topic (something verified by snopes for example) that they seem interested when you tell them what ACTUALLY IS KNOWN FACT they go, “Huh! I didn’t know that. Wow. Really?” And then you can actually get along even if you have differences politically at least we can be on the same page of REALITY OF AMERICA. That would be a huge start—–Stop living in a fantasy world America!

  • Dutchvreeland

    I’ve been working on a macro-economic system since 1984 that addresses these problems. It is on ‘ explode.freeshell.org/econ.html ‘ & explode.freeshell.org is my site. It scares me & feels ‘arrogant’ to claim that my reforms will solve many of these problems & I’m terrified to make even more claims. However, prove me wrong so that I’ll stop my (futile) efforts.

    Simply, a job is adequate barter for all fruits of the economy. I address many of the elements of a whole macro-economy, however, if others have better ideas to smooth out the ‘bumps’, let me know. A system without money and issue an employee ID card is the idea. Need or want something, go to retailer and swipe the card and it is yours.

    Dutch
    Columbus, OH
    dutchvreeland@y
    explode@freeshell.org

  • Dutchvreeland

    Saga3:

    I’ll respond as a keynesian, republican friendly libertarian.
    POINT:
    1. I agree. If we are going to have a market economy, do it and the economy’d be better.
    2. No. the economy is C + G + I = Y. This’d severely hurt Y from wiping out G. The biggest Corps don’t pay off debt & neither should the gov’t. Y = M * V. M & V’d be wiped out, too.

    The next several points, I agree since we are in a market economy.

    Imports: From a market economy standpoint, eliminate all tarriffs! ANY tariffs, or quotas hurt the economy. The gov’t just past $0.54 tariffs on imported (Brazilian) ethanol & subsidizes domestic production. Fuel would be cheaper if removed. Any ‘dumping’ hurts the originating country. In 1993, Russia dumped Aluminum on the market. The counter strategy of likes of Alcoa & Alcan was to grab it and alloy it (added value) or even be a marketer of the aluminum….

    Mortgage rate limit: Impossible. Interest rates are by econ. condition that the Fed. uses to stabilize the econ.

    Many points I further agree with. I go farther to eliminate the minimum wage.

    More comments later

  • Margowaring

    Looking for the one action which will lead to needed changes across issues such as health care, climate change, politics, etc? Here it is: corporations should have no rights under the first amendment. This will remove corporate money in many decision making arenas and bring us closer to “we the people” democracy.

  • Rrobinson46

    Instead of trying to teach most students advanced math, focus on teaching practical “finance”; example- the difference between a student loan @ 8% versus 26% over the life of the loan.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Change advertising from “consume all you can” basis to a more value basis by forming an organization that runs parodies of the most blatant values lacking adds. Change American culture by changing advertising.

  • Fred Hewitt

    There can be no real representation of citizens under the organization of our present Constitution. Our constitution effective blocks transparent communication between politicians and the public. We need to replace the Constitution in order to have true representation of the public, their concerns, and ideas. One such constitution can be found at my website http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred Hewitt

  • Fred Hewitt

    Amen, amen, amen, amen, I say again amen.

    Fred Hewitt

  • Fred Hewitt

    For an example of a constitution that would distribute power directly and equally to all citizens see my new constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred Hewitt

  • Fred Hewitt

    Special interest groups and lobbying can not be eliminated by passing laws. Our present constitution provides a power structure that can be used to frustrate these kinds of laws. A constituion that will make special interest politics improbable can be found at my website http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

  • Fred Hewitt

    The biggest problem with government is lack of transparency, the lack honesty and integrity in the current state of affairs. Of all mankind’s noble activities, the art of government is by far the one most tainted by deception. However, it can not be stopped by strict lible laws. Power will always trump these efforts. The best way is to structure a constitution so that power is distributed directly and equally to all citizens. An example of a constitution that would do this can be found at my website http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

  • Fred Hewitt

    Our present system of elections almost assures that few, if any, citizens are represented in the government. For a constitution that allows each citizen a very high probability to have a representative of their own choice see my constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org. This will also encourage a very, very high voter turnout.

    Fred Hewitt

  • Fred Hewitt

    Why not let all American citizens really run the country? For a constitution that would give power back to all and every citizen see my new constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred Hewitt

  • Fred Hewitt

    I have been working on a structure that empowers people, all the people, all the people equally. See my new constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

  • Fred Hewitt

    One way I would fix the country is to replace the present Constitution. The United States of America, is plagued by a wide range of political problems: foreign wars, financial catastrophes, ecological disasters, earmark spending, negative campaigning, political instability, and a population very dissatisfied with the present political state of affairs. Our present political institutions and Constitution are not adequate to handle these problems. Indeed, the present Constitution promotes and exacerbates these problems.

    The foremost of these problems is the lack honesty and integrity in the current state of affairs. Of all mankind’s noble activities, the art of government is by far the one most tainted by deception. The structure of the U.S. Constitution encourages citizens to form gangs (political parties). Then the two largest gangs wage war for the power to impose the winner’s will on its enemies (the other gangs), and on the rest of the population, even on those who are members of no gang. Cooperation is not encouraged, but rather suppressed.

    Another serious structural problem is the unequal influence and power of individual citizens. Most citizen have little or no political power, while a some have enormous power which shifts over time among various elites. Political power should be much more evenly distributed among all citizens and be stable over time.

    A third serious problem is that the U. S. Constitution is severely lacking in meaning. Not even a Justice of the Supreme Court knows the meaning of the U. S. Constitution until the Justices take a vote. The meaning of the Constitution should be easily and readily understood by the overwhelming part of the citizenry. The citizens should inform the government of the meaning of the Constitution and not the other way around.

    Can a constitution be drafted that will solve these problems? Serious efforts might uncover several solutions. One possible constitution can be found at my web site http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred G. Hewitt
    Eagan, Minnesota

  • mdsix0

    Tax dollars are often used in the building of sports arenas and the government has no say on the running of these franchises why not then have government land and tax dollars go towards the building of generic factories outfitted with new green technology to power them then offer these buildings tax free to corporations to use as long as they continually employ an agreed upon amount of American citizens if they move or relocate outside the country then they pay taxes retroactive from year one of them occupying the building the longer they occupy the building the higher the retro tax would be untill the company is forced to remain here in this country out of cost necessity. The company that chooses a tax free base benefits, employed factory workers benefit, construction workers benefit, the enviroment benefits and we as nation would benefit with more tax dollars raised without raisng taxes by people on a grand scale being employed and paying taxes.

  • Mark Seidler

    Tariffs! Tariffs! Tariffs!

    Ross Perot warned us back in 1992 that if we eliminate tariffs via NAFTA, there would be a giant sucking sound of jobs going to Mexico. Ross Perot could not imagine in 1992 that the communist People’s Republic of China would become the capitalist People’s Republic of China with a billion desperate Chinese peasants willing to work for a dollar an hour.

    The countries with the fastest growing economies (China, India, South Korea, etc.) use Tariffs and other protections to create jobs and prosperity for their citizens. The “free trade” policies of the USA hemorrhage jobs and create obscene prosperity only for CEOs and the investment elite.

    Prof. Ha-Joon Chang of Cambridge University, author of, “Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism,” has extensively documented the history of trade policy, revealing the utter failure of “free trade” and the success of prudent protectionism.

    Prof. Ha-Joon Chang would be a great interview on “Need to Know.” Whatever happened to Ross Perot anyway?

  • Fred Hewitt

    Although everyone is a consumer, they have divergent wants and needs and are therefore not a group that can easily organized into an interest group. Interests groups work best when they are special interests which can more easily organize. However, everyone is also a citizen and if all citizens were given equal power they could thwart special interests. This could be achieved with a new constitution found on my website – http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    Indeeed, the politicians in this country are completely disconnected from the population. But how can the American People be organized, not only to come up with a list of common “Goals,” but to actually execute those goals. The problem is that our present Constitution is an impediment to accomplishing this. This problem might be solved by a new constitution found on my website – http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    It is obvious from Bob Voter’s comment and the responces from Monte, Lonnie Wiens, and Bbw that our voting system is a serious problem. The nature of the problem is that the present voting system, and many other voting systems, is subject to gaming so that the desires of the public are twarted. My proposed new constitution, which can be found at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org, has a voting system which will distribute political power equally to all citizens, dramatically reduce the effectiveness of special interest lobbying, promote transparency, award almost all citizens with a representative of their own choice, and result in a very high voter turnout. Sounds impossible?

    Fred Hewitt

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    Although our Constitution makes no mention of political parties, it is structured so that the two largest political parties battle it out for the power to rule the country. Most people do not favor either of these two major parties and are stuck with voting for the lesser of two evils. Under our Constitution it can be no other way. If a new political party manages to come to power, it will become one of the lessr of two evil. The system must be changed to eliminate this problem so that the American people can gain control of their government. One way could be a new constitution which can be found at my website http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    With my new constitution, at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org, the citizens (all of the citizen) would have the power (all of the power) to protect themselves from corporations, institutions, organizations, and special interst groups.

    Fred Hewitt

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    What is an impartial group and how is it selected? I suspect that my impartial group could be quite different from your impartial group.

    Fred Hewitt

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    These goals and ideas might be realized with my new constitution. Check http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred Hewitt

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    See my new constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org for a voting structure that will give equal representation and political power to all the citizens, and only the citizens, of the country.

    Fred Hewitt

  • kett

    giuseppe-
    check out: ” the venus project dot com ”
    i think you’ll be VERY interested in what it has to offer…

  • kett

    shelly-

    please check out thevenusproject.com.

    please.

  • C J Young

    We own the airwaves, political candidates should have free access. Elections should be on weekends.

  • A Palmer

    Take away the power of corporations. Today, corporations have many of the rights of an individual, but not the responsibilities. Most importantly, corporations should not be allowed to influence elections. Corporations have proven over and over again that they are motivated primarily by greed (aka the bottom line). Things like concern for the environment and the welfare of the people are only grudgingly attended to after laws are passed to require it.

    Limit advertising expenditures. We are surrounded by advertising – which drugs we should take, food we should eat, etc. We need to eliminate much of this noise. Prescription drugs should NOT be advertised – except to health professionals who are the ones who can prescribe them. Perhaps a system of limits on total air time or dollars spent on advertising would be good. Unfortunately, advertising pays for a lot of things (eg. newspapers). But an economy based on advertising is inherently unhealthy – inflation is caused by the ever increasing amount of advertising trying to get our attention (and increasingly less effective because we aren’t paying attention anymore).

  • E.S. Baker

    OUR POOR ECONOMY
    -
    Although many economists warn import tariffs may have backlash effects, current and proposed policies for free trade agreements and favored trading partners have already proven detrimental to this country’s economy. We have no better way to level the competitive playing field with other countries–that is unless we could immediately and simultaneously lower the cost of goods, services, and wages in this country, so that the relative cost of imports can no longer undermine the domestic markets.
    -
    Regardless of the parent company’s home, goods and services of foreign origin must be treated as imports. And when it is no longer profitable for domestic companies to promote foreign-based factories or out-source services, then there will again be jobs for the unemployed, who will again be able to afford quality, American products.
    -
    America is its own most-favored economic partner. We, the people of this United States, are our most important customers–not foreign markets. Once again we must become the primary provider of our own goods and services. While we may desire imports and exports, we generally don’t need them. Isolationism is not so bad; it breeds self-sufficiency!
    -
    We once learned about tariffs early in school; we need to remember those principles today. The United States Tariff Act of 1789, signed specifically on July 4, was called the “Second Declaration of Independence” by newspapers because it was intended to be the economic means to achieve the political goal of a sovereign and independent United States. [Ref: Thomas Jefferson - under George Washington by America's History]
    -

  • Roger

    Your plan does not address the basic problem..Political apathy.. most people think the election process is skewed toward the rich..so I propose a simplified system where 10 people are selected at random. A pre-election pubic television hosted national holiday event is hosted where the candidates could debate the issues of the day. The following election day would also be a holiday where all people would be required to vote to maintain their citizenship. No candidate would be elected, no issue would be decided unless more than 50% of the registered voters approved.

  • HypocrisyPosse

    A conscriptive tax (90%+) on energy windfall profits.

    Since they had the benefit of demand predictions, we have all been shortchanged by a dearth of conservation, renewable alternatives and production.

    And escalating energy prices continue to damage and depress an already struggling economy.

    Most of these revenues could be earmarked to meaningful projects directed
    at effective conservation and renewable alternatives.

    Assuming major energy producers actually have viable R&D in these areas,
    they could receive a portion of those monies back in the form of grants (tied
    to proximate, real-world viability)

  • HypocrisePosse

    A few “modest proposals” in no particular order:

    Outline each of America’s most pressing challenges and actively engage
    Americans in crafting optimal solutions (ala Deepwater Horizon gusher)

    A Department of Justice whose highest objective is real justice – not the pursuit of law, with justice as an occasional by-product

    A straightforward, fair, progressive and comprehensible tax structure

    restore truly functional democracy – including functional campaign finance reform (publicly financed federal elections)

    Tort reform: all punitive (not damage) awards go into a fund to finance
    clearly justified suits in the public interest

    Truly functional whistleblower protection/reward programs

    Mandate declaration by agency heads of “non-duplication” among their respective agencies

    Criminalize intentional over-classification of documents just because they contain “inconvenient truths” or are embarrassing

    Cultivate a public acceptance of corollary to “Robert’s Rules of Order”:
    ” any criticism without a constructive component is a waste of everyone’s time/attention”

    Hold officials (gov’t. & corporate) responsible for their inaction as well as actions/speech regarding
    Global climate change; Expedite extradition for trial by ICC in the event that resultant injury/damage/deaths worldwide justifies charges of “crimes against humanity”

    Criminalize elected officials lying to American people, as with lying to Congress
    Contempt for and willfully misleading the American people should carry higher penalty than lying to Congress

    Annual, independent performance reviews of all committees of Congress, with
    meaningful consequences for unacceptable performance (ala No Child Left Behind [sic])

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    Would you like to be assured that the person of your choice will represent you in the National Legislature?
    Would you like to see special interest lobbying eliminated? Special interest lobbying can not be eliminated by passing laws against it.
    Would you like to have a more representative cross section of the population in the National Legislature? By gender, ethnicity, national origin, income, profession, life style? Do you think that it would be good if more citizens were interested in government and more citizens voted?
    Would you like more honesty, more real cooperation, and less negative campaigning? Lying and deception are dominant political characteristics under the present U. S. Constitution.
    Would you like to see government put in the hands of its citizens, all of the citizens? Where all citizens share power equally?
    Would it be a valuable idea to have a New Constitution which every citizen could understand so that there is no need for mysterious and controversial interpretations by the Supreme Court?
    Would you prefer to have a government which is open and honest? Which operates without secrecy and manipulation of the public?
    Would you like to have laws which are widely accepted by the public? Laws for which there is very high consensus and little opposition?
    Do you want a New Constitution which assures that the Executive (President) can not start a war without the approval of the Legislature (Congress)?
    Would you rather have voters select candidates or continue to have political candidates select the voters?
    Check out this new Constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred Hewitt

  • Richard

    It’s nice to see serious, considered ideas, civil discussion is required for meaningful communication. I don’t have a complete set of answers, maybe some of these ideas can steer us in a good direction though:

    -Elected leaders must LEAD, that means long term thinking, and system thinking. Most of us are busy with our families, as is normal human nature. We elect representatives as a mechanism to address some (not all) of our societal needs, that’s the point of having them.
    -To think and plan and act long term, short term influences (gaming a system for quick profit) and other distortions (influence for narrow benefits) must be reduced, they’ll never be eliminated.
    -Thus I conclude we need public funded elections, elimination of lobbying, transparency in contract awards, clear overall summary of results of policies.
    - A few easy to understand slides about our national financial state be provided at EVERY state of the union address.
    -Long term also means effective, useful education. Let’s stop criticizing parents/teachers/students/officials, and come up with and implement ideas. Good results will make themselves known. And there’s usually more that one way to succeed.
    -Sustainable practices for farming/mining/resource/water/land use. Sustainable isn’t a code word or political view, it’s a concept, and means you can keep something going. What do we want to sustain? Personally I like clean water, clean air, and minimal epidemic infection. So we are doing a lot well right now, and we can do better tomorrow.
    -Long term also means investment, in infrastructure, in our people, in actions and concepts that improve our country, and leading by example will improve the world too long term.
    -Be honest and open about our relationships with other countries. China is happy to sell to us but enacts excessive regulations to restrict what sell to them, and isn’t floating their currency after 10 years in WTO. We need to require fair and responsible trade, it would be best for all peoples, long term.
    -Reduce our military bases around the world, and use that money for good old basic research. Basic research is the seed corn of future prosperity. After maximizing structural and human capital, technology and science are the basis of continued quality of life improvements. After basic freedoms, that is.

    Here’s an open secret: We as a people actually do love this country and it’s freedoms, and do understand this on a deep level, even though the general media images that come to us speak harshly about it. I’m sure many other people have many other well considered ideas, which I find inspiring and hopeful. Let’s give them a fair listening to also….

  • Thomas Wong

    Dear Need to Know:

    I recall a program a few months ago in which you examined the plight of average unemployed Americans. You focused on a couple who earned, as I recall, $10,000 per month for a decade, or so. Yet when the “music” stopped they had just two months of savings, and were reduced to selling at great discount their many expensive keepsakes in a final garage sale.

    Personal responsibility is so important, as are financial smarts. Obviously in our present economic downturn there were many factors over which we have no control, but nowhere in your program was the slightest mention of personal financial failing. Your expert economic panel that included Robert Reich excluded this important factor.

    For decades so many Americans have spent beyond their means, and worse, beyond their needs. They saved at record low levels, and bought all sorts of useless nonsense fit only for a garage sale. Years ago when I heard one could borrow money from a bank for a vacation, I knew America was headed for trouble. Once, a financial advisor suggested that I borrow on the value of my home just to have some “fun and enjoy life.” That shocked me. I almost wanted to ask him, “And you’ll give me how much a night for my sister?” One does not take large risks for a “good time.” Life is not a TV reality show, but rather a serious proposition, requiring constant attention.

    Americans must learn to handle their money wisely. Obviously, you cannot rely on the government or our financial institutions to do so.

  • e148

    I have often wondered why the US did not follow the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights as it is based on ours. The dictionary defines right as a guarantee, implied absolute. If we have the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (property), then for the latter, that would need to be a job. Therefore everyone has a right to a job– livable wage.I have already said how to solve this problem now and in the future, here and abroad.

  • guest

    Corporations own our government. We have to take it back (assuming we ever truly owned it in the first place). Publicly financed elections will go a long way towards this. Corporations won’t let our government do what is necessary to save the country because there’s less profit in doing so.
    For example, despite the burst housing bubble, we’re still building houses, and they’re still the same overlarge, energy inefficient houses they’ve been for the last decade or more. Why aren’t more of our new houses like Amory Lovins’? Fossil fuel companies don’t want America to to invest more heavily in energy effiency and alternative energy because they would lose customers and subsidies. These companies could invest heavily in these areas, but they don’t because it’s cheaper for them to pay for the campaigns.
    We also have to revoke all corporations’ status as legal persons. It’s not fair for the rest of us. A corporation is not a person; it has no soul, no conscience, and it never dies (it just changes names).

  • Danny

    Advertizing in US is direct conseqence of it’s ill developed culture.

  • http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org Fred Hewitt

    The comments for “How to Fix America” list a wide range of problems with a multitude of suggested solutions. Many of these solutions conflict or contradict other suggested solutions. Is it at possible that some kind of consensus can be found to address all of these problems or are we doomed to continued political warfare? Why have we not been able to solve many of these problems? Could it be that our Constitution prevents the citizens of our country from organizing in a manner that promotes cooperation instead of conflict? Maybe we need a new constitution. If so, you can find my proposed constitution at http://www.thegoodgovernmentproject.org.

    Fred Hewitt
    Eagan, Minnesota

  • Guest

    We need to build a large system of desalination plants and water pumping networks. This massive complex needs to be powered by clean energy. The removed salt needs to be disposed and dispersed in an environment sound way. The water can be used to irrigate vast areas of land for use in food and fuel production. The water can be stored in higher elevated reservoirs to be released to turn turbines for off hour power generation. Using these massive water resources, the US could produce all their liquid fuel needs using algae farms or a more advanced solar-powered nanotech materials. With the develop of a smart grid, power from wind turbines built in high wind areas could be used to input into the system. The result would be massive increase in jobs, massive increase in food/fuel/power/water, lower atmospheric CO2 levels, better US trade balance and a stronger US dollar. The US could export these proven technologies to the rest of the world. This would lower the chance for conflict in water poor regions like the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

  • kett

    thevenusproject.com

  • The Ultimate Philosopher
  • steve hanrahan

    Instead of making a policy of derailing all efforts of the current administration just to prevent it from being successful in any way, shape or form, the congress should quit acting like children and go back to working together on legislating for the purpose of running this country for the benefit of all.

  • Jwrooze

    In reviewing all those postings (yes, I admit I am a late comer in this), I cannot escape the feeling that most people are only interested in the issues that they themselves consider important. Unfortunately for them, and us, it is the government’s role, not ours, to do something about this. What seems the problem is that the concept “Government by the people, for the people” is not really followed in our modern and yes, complex society. Hence we should strive to alter the SYSTEM to accomplish this concept. Right now our elected officials are mostly driven by the reward of re-election and if this can be realized by glossy pamphlets paid for by “Political Action Committees” (or lobbyists), so be it. What should be the goal is that we the people determine what issues should be addressed and that we rate the elected officials (and re-elect them) on how well they did this.
    One (small?) step would be to have the local parties, papers, TV stations, etc. publish what the officials did in direct relationship to our concerns. Continuous public opinion surveys should play a role in this and we should develop means to effectively follow and rate each priority issue. While I have some (lengthy) ideas about this it should maybe the subject of a next installment: I was always told to make new ideas short and simple.

  • guest

    I liked the idea that our Congressional leaders pay would be tied to how Americans are doing. What if we pay them the median annual household income (currently around $50,233 — 2006), and then subtract the unemployment rate from that. So 9.4% unemployment would make their income about $45,511. (Even if we tripled that amount to make it more similar to their current pay, I think this is a great concept!)

    I like the idea that congress purchases their own retirement plan, too. But rather than forcing Congress to participate in the same health care that the American public has, I’d like to see the American public having the right to the current plan Congress has.

    Having paid for health insurance for the last 33 years, and used up my Cobra, I’m dumbfounded that I can no longer find ANY health insurance (other than the outrageously expensive high risk plan in Texas — $1077/month). I’m currently waiting 6 months to get on the new Federal plan ($688/month). As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t have the right to purchase health insurance, Congress shouldn’t have that right either.

  • Guest 5

    Gosh so many complicated solutions which are too long winded and have no chance of becoming effective and in most cases do not address the international problem or rather global problem.
    An international religious based war is being fought labelled the war against “terrorism” or “Al qaeda etc”
    Answer one get out of Iraq and Afhanistan now not in years.
    Stop believing as 70+% Ameicans do ( per gallup polls ) that America has the best government system and constitution in the world and be proud of that. I see several of the so called seven deadly sins in that idea. i.e stop being American style Empire builders or Colonialists, i.e establishing US style in essence democracy globally by force.
    Then things Like TSA, Homeland security would not be necessary Huge NSA and CIA organisations Patriot acts etc etc Guantanomo Bays could save Billions and fix the national debt PDQ.
    Work on theabove 2 and the rest follow easily.
    Regards,
    Guest 5

  • Luke

    Lower taxes on the rich, but only for money actually invested in American businesses. Maybe trickle down can work if we direct the flow.

  • Kole Odutola

    Is it possible to take one issue and follow it to its conclusion. For example the question asked about monorail linking all American cities and the response by the Executive Director of America 2050, should be taken to policy makers, and then finally to designers who can put a cost to the idea and then to the presidency where all the facts can be tabled. Is that possible?
    Dr Kole Odutola
    Gainesville, Florida

  • Ajlewis0711

    I’m coming into this a bit late. And this certainly won’t be long winded. But I think, in principle, we should serious, comprehensive cut back on overseas activities and installations; including Afghanistan and Iraq. Then we would need to really get serious about real vulnerabilities; food producers, cyber security, power grid, energy refineries, large ports of entry; these are all potential targets. If any of those go down we’re in big trouble. We should be paying more attention to how vulnerable we are in areas besides air ports..

  • You_dont_need_to

    government paid medical scholarships. drive down the cost of medical care with medical doctors with NO debt. increase the supply of doctors who have NO debt and do not have to charge $300/hr and see 50 patients/day

  • Thebeatmaster89

    Everyone here has great points!

    I stumbled upon this blog when I was searching for a book my friend suggested.
    It is entitled, “How To Fix America”.

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    GREAT BOOK! Let me know what you think.

  • Hammer

    #1 Gas set at $2 bucks a gallon….no higer.

    #2 Health care…pay only for the service not the facilty. Health care plans…sum them up in one page not 1,000. Don’t make us like a rat in a maze after a crum. We can can smeel as good as them and we will get lost…there banking on it so they won’t have to pay.

    #3 Same goes for car & home insurance.

    #4 Keep a close eye & a iron fist on the oil, insurance & pharmaceutical companies. This must & will be affordable for all.

    #5 The 10 commandments must be respected and on display in our public & goverment buildings & the ones who don’t like this are free to move to another country. This country was founded by christan settlers & is a christan nation.

    #6 The death penalty shall be in all 50 states & inforced in all clear cases.

    #7 If Rep & Dems can’t work together we will as another writer said disband them and have a party or two and common sense will be a must to join.

    Now the 1st three will get things falling into place and the rest will help keep it there as well as numorus more common sense changes. These are not ideals some like but to keep order and a good nation for decent people to live in.

  • Jack75cassell

    I could not possibly give you superb ideas how to fix America since the video is not closed captions. Sorry about that. Please include closed captions. Who knows that my answer would solve once for all? That would be a shame.

  • Advocate

    Stop watching television and listening to radio. The media is almost all corporate and all sources lie constantly. The reason the country is rotting is because no one knows what they are supposed to do. Most have false ideas in their heads (like everything Obama does is wrong; I agree with the sentiment, but not with the actual statement). Follow your instincts. Don’t believe the hype. Be skeptical. Only believe what can be absolutely demonstrated to you. Don’t take the word of some “pundit” clown who’s really just making everything up.

    Poor and middle class people KNOW that health insurance companies screw you (they are the ones getting screwed).

    Poor and middle class people KNOW that better education leads to better abilities to contribute to society. Education cuts are bad.

    Poor and middle class people KNOW that war is the last resort. Why fight and waste precious American lives and precious American dollars when you can avoid it?

    Poor and middle class people KNOW that their politicians will tend to be corrupt. Simply because they make a lot more money than them. :P But seriously, they are in a position to abuse their obvious power and control over everyone’s daily lives. We are only human. Not necessarily evil, just susceptible.

    Poor and middle class people KNOW which causes actually benefit them and which ones don’t. Getting more oil doesn’t (oil companies are owned by a tiny group of ridiculously rich people). Giving rights to corporations doesn’t. Setting up ground rules for extremely powerful corporations so they can’t abuse their wealth does.

    I know I’m only addressing the poor and middle class, but the upper class has enough of a voice. The only thing the poor and middle classes have is numbers numbers numbers. But like sheep they are being sheared. And I believe the cause is the corporate media. Stop listening to them and follow your gut. And the advice or your compatriots. The poor/middle class ones. NOT the ones with huge television shows/networks and huge paychecks to go with them. They are LYING. MISLEADING. DISTRACTING.

    Whether you accept it or not, class warfare is real and is as serious in its consequences and casualties as visceral WAR. Start fighting. Stop laying down in the streets to be executed. You can easily make this an even fight instantaneously.

  • Hoppinjupiter

    I like this idea you have but i think it should be extended a bit by relating to all public offices and such, like if you are a shop owner and become mayor of a town then you should get paid the max yearly income from your office that you would make from the store income and this should be placed for all public offices. Then with the additional excess moneis from this can be applied to education, public works, and infrastucture in general. Also while all of this is going on recind most of the laws allowing the corporations to do whatever they want and focus more on allowing small business to gain more standing in the community.
    Also out law hmo’s and healthinsurance and set up a universal health care system more like france’s which will allow more people to get medical aid when it will be most beneficial instead of a last resort. In turn this will allow more spending on commodities and luxuries that will continue to bolster the economy

  • Guest

    why #6 instead try upgrading ours to match theirs and then both groups have the same health care

  • Quinsee001

    I’m late, but I had to type my agreement for this. We don’t need sex education in kindergarten, we need personal finance at every grade level, not just a semester in high school.

  • Aprilheather911

    what time is the show on tonight Friday??

  • Brianna – Need to Know

    You can check your local listings here! http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/schedule/

  • Safiris397

    listen, I am of a similar fate. but being that this country was founded by christians let not forget that they were also well endowed with land and money. Your comment to simply tell all those who dont like the 10 commandments posted in public and on goverment buildings to get out is a bit of a close minded view. I understand you have your view of what America should be, but right now I think people in your frame of mind need to understand what america has to be. We keep relying on the upper class to take care of solutions and fix problems. has it not embedded into Americas mind that we can not rely on these people. We the people need to take actions into our own hands. I am not talking about a revolution I am talking about a solution that would empower the American people to fend for themselves and keep this country where it should always be an that is on top.

  • J7771

      Teamwork, family, impathy, consideration, love,unselfeshness, humbleness, did I mention love for our fellow man. Lots of money is not the answer. Lots of America is not the answer. We are all equil .LOVE one another, and we could fix it all.

  • http://bravetruth.blogtownhall.com/Default.aspx bravetruth

    Searching for some honest ‘somebody’ out there who was saying what the majority thought, I googled ‘how to fix america’ and when the first hit turned out to be pbs I had to throw my head back with a good laugh. Google and PBS are near the top of what is wrong with America in that they are both run by that tiny, liberal, 2% of our wonderful ethnic melting pot who just happen to be sitting at the top of that pot. Schiller, who happens to be one of them, just had to step down at PBS and kind of says it all about the liberal contempt for the majority who built this country and now have a choice of the MSM, PBS, or the Neocons at FoxNews. Where is OUR media? Oh, you must be an Antisemite. And YOU must be totally brainwashed by their ‘programming’ for the last few decades. Remember when the media kinda represented what you thought? Now it’s ‘Politically Correct’ which somehow they co-opted, so now their radical Democrat vote-buying schemes we think of as ‘correct’. Wake up, it’s really past ‘too late’.

  • Mouldingthefuture

    Good start.  Now it is time to stop buying from corporations and invest in the goods your own neighborhoods can offer.  Break the country up into millions of localities capable of sustaining themselves.  And by the way, stop using chemicals!  We need the bees back.

  • smarter than you all!

    One thing is all we need to do: Marijuana Cash Crop!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jvansic

    Congratulations on your segment on Greenville. They had absolutely the right idea, because alternitive energy is the only rational path to a livable planet. But if China and other controlled economies continue to dump products like solar panels on the world market, using government subsidies and very low pay scales, we’re cooked.
    Or can we vote the rascals in congress out, and get some people in who will have a grasp of the 21st century?
    If we can invest trillions of bucks in Iraq and Afganistan, why can’t we help our home grown solar, wind, and other alternative energy industries through start up and marketing costs? Let’s stop subsidising Big Oil and the military industrial complex (as Republican President Eisenhower cautioned us to do) and put our money where it belongs!

  • http://twitter.com/cityguyusa Todd Clay

    This is so easy it’s beyond me why the public, politicians and the media fail to get it.

    The government needs to increase the welfare payments and increase the SS payments for a period of maybe 3-4 years.  These people will take this money and spend it immediately for items that they’ve had to forgo because of lack of money.  Replacing windows, tires, washers, furnaces, etc because they’ve been so underfunded for so many years they’ve got serious pent up demand.

    Demand is what creates jobs and also creates confidence in the business community.  As the business community see their inventories beginning to fall they will begin production and begin hiring.  Once that hiring begins and those workers are able to begin to fill their pent up demand the economy will grow again and eventually the confidence will spread all over the country.

    Personally I wouldn’t cut the welfare payments and the SS payments these people have suffered with very little choice because what was paid in the 60′s had substantially more buying power than the payouts do today.

    To insure continuing growth and return of our manufacturing you have two choices.  You change the so-called free trade agreements so it doesn’t encourage employers to run to low cost labor countries or you put tariffs on American made merchandise that is manufactured abroad.  Additionally you change the tax code to stop giving businesses credit for taxes paid in foreign countries.

    I could list several more significant changes that would turn this country around but you’ll have to elect me president.

  • Victorbenabraham

    Problem with the us is the liberal elite running the media, hollywood and wall street and who also write fantastically persuasive books “showing” since the 60s America was an unworthy country run by uptight, moronic, dumb anglo europeans.

    The effectiveness of the attacks and the pervasive mentality of enjoy now, make money now because America is an unworthy country and there is no tomorrow here.

    The result is truly amazing, they have convinced the population of what was one of the best countries of the World that in fact is one of the worse.

    Let us face it the liberal elite, mostly Jewish, but others too, just do not know how to run countries. It is not enough to be bright, you need the right temperament to lead, liberals can not have it.

    The neocons are the same, basically do not beljeve in America they just believe in America to support Isra.

    Solution to avoid catastrophe, quotas. Just like we say we must hhave so many blacks and women here and there, we must bring rules; no representation beyond their numbers for any ethnic group in media, academia, business leadership, etc.

    If we do not catastrophe await liberals, jews and the rest of us.

  • Anthony

    I totally agree. Jews are dangerously overrepresented in this country.

  • Henry

    this is the dumbest post in this entire thread. congrats.

  • njwilliam

    The DNA of the problem with our government is campaign finance.  The main factor within that realm is that our government (as illustrated in the “Citizens United vs the FEC” Supreme Court ruling) considers corporations people.  I personally do not agree with this notion.  However, we are, for whatever reason stuck with it.  Stuck with it until we amend our constitution to explicitly deny “personhood” to corporations.  Even the most feeble of corporation has far more financial wherewithal to wield on campaign financing donations than an upper-middle class household.  And corporations, for all intents and purposes, are immortal.  Persons are not.  Corporations simply should not be allowed to engage financially in politics at all period.  No campaign donations.  No 527′s.  Lobbying, as done by the denizens of K Street, is another huge factor in the power of money in our political area, and it should be outlawed – by the same constitutional amendment, if necessary.  One other thing:  wealthy people should not be allowed to use their own wealth to finance even their own political campaigns.  That should do it. 

  • http://www.bobvanoosterhout.com Bob Van Oosterhout

    The Clean Politics Act: A Draft Ballot Proposal for States

     

    Introduction:

    The
    political atmosphere in the United States has become so polluted that it is
    beginning to choke and stifle our democracy. Political pundits routinely evaluate
    the prospects of candidates, not according to their qualifications or
    experience, but on their ability to raise money and smear their opponents.
    Achieving high political office has become less a matter of cream rising to the
    top than how deep into the mud one is willing to sink.

     

    In
    virtually every employment situation except politics, candidates are required
    to present a clear, factual, and verifiable accounting of qualifications and
    experiences. A responsible employer carefully screens and evaluates applicants
    according to their potential to effectively carry out the duties and
    responsibilities of the position. No one who applies for a job is able to
    design his or her own selection process, and anyone who presents misleading
    information is eliminated from consideration.

     

    Hundreds
    of millions of dollars are spent on political campaigns but very little of the
    efforts funded with those vast sums actually helps the average voter make clear
    and intelligent decisions about who is most qualified to best represent their
    interests. The stated purpose of political commercials is to form attitudes
    about candidates that are immune to discussion and debate. Psychological
    research shows that negative attitudes are more resistant to change than
    positive ones. Manipulation, distortion, and diversion have become the most
    effective campaign tactics. Candidates who are most divisive have been more
    likely to succeed than those who have a passion to unite and inspire our
    citizens. It is any wonder why Congress cannot legislate effectively?

     

    People
    who are most likely to be elected to political office are those who have or can
    raise significant amounts of money and are most effective in their efforts to
    make their opponents look bad. Those who retain office are often those who are
    most effective at pleasing special interest lobbyists who provide significant
    funding for political campaigns. These abilities have absolutely no
    relationship to qualities of leadership, debate, planning, or problem solving
    required to manage government. Our election process simply makes no sense in
    terms of selecting the wisest and most qualified leaders. It is a house of
    cards built with thousand-dollar bills.

     

    The
    Clean Politics Act brings to politics the same procedures and accountability
    that exist for employees in successful enterprises. Politicians say they work
    for the people. It’s time that we become more effective in hiring and
    supervising our employees.

    The Clean Politics Act

    Draft Ballot Proposal for States

     

    The
    purpose of this act is restore fairness, honesty, and accountability to elected
    government and to insure that decisions made by public officials elected in the
    State of _____ represent careful consideration of the needs and concerns of all
    citizens.

     

    Article
    I

    Every
    candidate listed on an electoral ballot in the State of _____ must take an oath
    to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in all matters
    related to politics and governing, from the moment they file to be listed on
    the ballot until they complete their term of office. This oath requires that no
    candidate or office holder either make, approve, or endorse statements or
    advertisements that mislead or misrepresent what is known to be true, factual,
    and verifiable. Candidates who are convicted of violating this oath shall be
    considered guilty of perjury and will become ineligible for elected office in
    or from the State of _____. Office-holders who are convicted of violating this
    oath shall be considered guilty of perjury and will be required to immediately
    resign from the office to which they have been elected.

     

    Article
    II

    A
    non-partisan/bi-partisan Fair Elections Board will be appointed by a bipartisan
    committee of the Legislature composed of an equal number of the members of each
    party who have demonstrated bi-partisan cooperation. The Fair Elections Board
    will create and implement an interview process for all candidates for State and
    national office listed on the ballot in the State of _____. All candidates will
    be required to participate in every aspect of the interview process and must
    provide all documentation and records requested in order to have their name
    validated for the final ballot. Every aspect of the interview process will be
    made available to the public as soon as possible after each step is complete.

     

    The
    interview process shall include but will not be limited to:

    -A
    complete resume including employment history, work record, accomplishments and
    volunteer and charitable activity as well as documentation of any significant
    ethical or legal lapses in the candidates work or financial history.

    -A
    written description of the political philosophy and management style of the
    candidate along with an outline of the basic values and priorities that may
    affect decision-making. This must include an evaluation of the extent to which
    past political decisions made by the candidate are consistent with the stated
    values, priorities, and principles.

    -Complete
    tax records for seven years prior to the election date.

    -An
    assessment of personal traits and professional experience which would play a
    role in carrying out public duties along with an assessment of the
    decision-making, communication, planning, and problem-solving skills,
    approaches, and management style of the candidate.

    -Standardized
    multiple choice and essay examinations along with personal interviews to assess
    the candidates understanding of:

    —-The
    structure and operations of national, State, and local government.

    —-Basic
    economic theory including factors that influence State and national economic
    issues.

    —-Current
    and anticipated State, national, and international political issues including
    the relevant history of these issues and who is affected by them.

    —-Basic
    theory of debate and argumentation including the ability to recognize and
    identify strategies and techniques that can be used to mislead or avoid the
    truth and those that stimulate honest debate which leads to increased
    understanding and awareness of relevant issues.

    —-Effective
    approaches to decision-making and problem solving including strategic and
    tactical planning.

    —-The
    candidates must prepare all written statements without outside assistance. All
    assessments will be recorded under supervision in a secure area. Notes and
    outside contact during assessments are prohibited.

     

    -Non-partisan/bi-partisan
    teams who have significant documented expertise in each of the respective areas
    will conduct interviews and assessments.

    -Interviews
    will also be conducted by groups of stakeholders who have significant interests
    in issues that could be affected by the officeholder.

    -Candidates
    are required to respond completely to all questions in every aspect of the
    interview process, including follow-up questions.

    -Candidates
    will be assessed and evaluated by interviewers according to their ability to
    honestly and accurately respond to all questions. These assessments will be
    make public.

    -Candidates
    will have no input or influence regarding how the interview process is carried
    out.

     

    Article
    III

    All
    advertising which may affect the outcome of election of candidates for
    political office from the State of _____ must present clear, factual, and
    easily verifiable information that is not misleading or taken out of context.
    Information that is controversial or not easily verifiable must be clearly
    stated as such. All political advertising must be designed to assist the voter
    in making informed, balanced decisions regarding candidates who best represent
    their interests.

     

    All
    advertisement containing material related to political candidates or issues
    shall be screened and evaluated by a non-partisan fact-checking organization
    and rated accordingly before it is aired or distributed. A statement of the
    evaluation will appear in a highly visible manner (if the advertisement is
    visual) and be clearly stated so that anyone viewing or hearing the ad will be
    informed of the accuracy and fairness of its contents. All costs of this
    evaluation process shall be paid by the advertiser.

     

    One
    of the two following statements will appear and or be clearly stated with each
    advertisement: (1) “This advertisement presents an accurate portrayal of the
    issues” or (2) This advertisement interferes with making a balanced and
    informed decision because it (a) presents an unbalanced and biased presentation
    of the issues and/or (b) is misleading and/or (c) contains false or
    unverifiable information. If any part of an advertisement contains content that
    fits the description for 2 a, b, and/or c as described above, those statements
    must appear or be aired with the advertisement and the advertiser must provide
    information where viewers can access a more balanced view of the issue or
    candidate supported.

     

    Article
    IV

     

    A
    professional lobbyist is defined as anyone who earns more than $5000 per year
    for activity that could influence political decisions. All professional
    lobbyists must register with the State and provide information regarding their
    income and a detailed description of the interests they serve. Any contact
    between a professional lobbyist and an officeholder elected in the State of
    _____ must be recorded and made available to the public.

     

    Professional
    lobbyists must provide a public outline of their argument to influence the
    decision of an officeholder elected in the State of _____ for every contact
    with that officeholder or their representatives. This outline will be made
    available to the public within 24 hours of all contact between an officeholder
    or his or her representatives and professional lobbyist.

     

    All
    officeholders elected in the State of _____ must publicly announce all contacts
    with professional lobbyists and set aside equal time to that spent with
    professional lobbyists to obtain information from individuals or groups who may
    oppose the position of those professional lobbyists. These times must be
    announced to the public and coincide closely with the time allotted for meeting
    with professional lobbyists.

     

    Professional
    lobbyists must provide a true and accurate accounting of all expenses related
    to their effort to influence the decisions of an officeholder elected in the
    State of _____.

     

    Professional
    lobbyists who fail to meet the requirements of this section will be fined an
    amount equal to their annual income from all lobbying efforts for the previous
    five years and will be barred from future paid lobbying activity.

     

    No
    former officeholder who was been elected in the State of _____ or staff member
    employed by an officeholder elected in the State of _____ may receive income,
    financial or otherwise, to lobby or influence the votes of members of a
    legislative body to which they were elected or appointed.

     

    Article
    V

     

    All
    officeholders elected in the State of _____ shall provide a written summary
    documenting their vote on each piece of legislation that comes to a vote in the
    body to which they have been elected. This summary shall include a description
    of their reasons for supporting or opposing the legislation, how this
    legislation might serve the common good, an outline of the values and
    priorities upon which their vote was based, anticipated short and long-term
    effects of the legislation, and a list of stakeholders who may be affected
    positively and negatively by the legislation. These summaries shall be made
    available to the public within 48 hours of the vote.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYL7CYABMFAEQ7JBZH4XV7GR2A Kim Brady

    One huge problem is centralization into larger entities.  A large federal government attempting to consolidate the control of EVERYTHING.  Creating a LARGE solution for Large problems (the healthcare legislation) is UNMANAGEABLE!  Large can not effectively or efficiently manage anything for long.  Large corporations are another example of centralization.  Corporations are a tax entity, the bottom line for these entities is how to maximize profits which also means how to minimize costs.  So if it’s cheaper to build factories in other countries and cause widespread unemployment in the US, it does not matter becasue the name of the game is minimizing cost and maximizing profits.  The LARGE corporations have such dilution of ownership interests that essentially NO ONE owns them or has oversight.  So the folks working there are not accountable to anyone.  At the CEO level, this individuals largest motivation is how to increase the share prices because the most significant part of their compensation comes from the stock they can obtain at a discounted price (stock options) which they turn around and sell for a PROFIT.  Is there any wonder why there is an overwhelming incentive to manipulate the stock price? Who would purposefully set up the FOX to guard the HEN House?  And if one  thinks there are oversight entities which our government keeps creating to protect us, such as the SEC, one only has to look at the Bernie Maydoph phenonomenum.  It was an obvious fraud which any first year accounting or finance student could comprehend.  Yet the entire SEC just down the street did not know?  WRONG – again large entities help hide corruption and influence.  Everyone knows it’s going on but everyone is apparently powerless to do anything about it.

    Large corporations centralizing destroyed the small farms and small towns.  Our food industry is centralized and dangerous.  Large confined animal breeding produces disease and overuse of antibiotics dealing with that has created super germs for which we have scant means to combat.  Large centralized food processing plants create food born contamination the effects large areas of the country.  A lot of our industrial processed food is NOT NUTRITIOUS.

    It’s the same with our politicians.  They have access to LARGE sums of money via the revenue generated through the collection of taxes.  Why would anyone purposefully create a situation where these same folks get to make the decisions regarding their own pay, benefits and retirement, with virtually NO approving body.  They voted themselves lifetime benefits and exemption from social security.  Now why would they do that?  Apparently they can see what is OBVIOUS, it’s a faulty system.  What incentives do those same politicians who do not pay into social security have to fix the social security issues or to not raid that HUGE pot of money which they have control over?  There is a reason why being a politician is BIG BUSINESS.  And why people spend obscene amounts of money in order to run for office.  They sure are not spending HUGE amounts of money in order to gain a meager salary.  The stated salaries for the positions are a pitance of what they have access to and eventually gain.  They have influence to sell to the highest bidders.  Big corporation have big money to spend on influence.  It’s a poor recipe.  Power corrupts, absolute powerr corrupts absolutely.

    And secondly, while our politicians want to regulate nearly everything, NOTE that they do not ever seem to want to regulate the legal profession or legal system.  Most of our politicians are attorneys.  It’s time to turn the microscope around and examine the legal profession and the flaws in our legal system.  If we got that fixed, it might fix a lot of the high costs of all the other areas which appear to need REGULATING since the costs are so high.  Why are the costs high?  Insurance to cover the cost of litigation/law suits/settlements.  Who gains the most in all of those transactions?  Attorneys!  Who gains by writing HUGE ‘comprehensive’ legislation aimed at solving HUGE problems?  Attorneys!  Deep Pockets = Large corporations = Large funds = Large pay offs for who?  Attorneys! 

    Keep it simpe stupid.  Small government, smaller taxes, smaller companies, smaller money spent on political campaigns.  Regulate the legal profession, regulate the legal system, reform the tax code.  Reduce the size of the buracracy by eliminating jobs and reducing pay.  Get away from professional politicians.  Enact a part time legislature with citizen legislators and term limits.  Those folks need to spend more of their time in their own states and less time in Washington D.C.  Telecommuting is a good idea for our elected officials!
     

  • Marshall N Brown

    The best thing that could be done — but won’t because of the self-interest/service of Congressmen — would be to amend the Constitution to publicly fund elections, and only public funding, to return the government BY, OF ad FOR the people to the PEOPLE.  An Amendment is needed so the now political Supreme Court can’t mess with it. 

  • Tom In San Diego

    We need to get back to the one-man-one-vote principle. Our current campaign financing scheme makes a mockery of one man, one vote.  The ability to make a massive campaign contribution multiplies one citizen’s influence tremendously over that of other men and women. That is a basic inequity. We should all pay equally for the election process and not let the wealthy buy it away from us.
     
    According to those in the Occupy Movement, politicians receive most of their campaign funding from the 1% wealthiest Americans. So, they take their orders from the 1% and can ignore the 99%.  I think they’re probably right.
     
    SOLUTION: Change the economic equation. If every American paid equally for the political election process the majority could not be usurped by the 1%. 
     
    HOW: If fifty cents from every monthly cell phone bill went into an Elections Communications Fund, to pay only for candidate advertising expenses, politicians would not have to beg from the 1% and would cease to be under their control. They would only serve the people.
     
    FACTS: A 2005 FCC report says 93 percent of Americans have cell phones. According to the last census, there were over 159 million cell phone users in 2003. We know the number is higher now, so let’s round up that up to 160 Million.
     
    MATH: 160 Million cell phones x 12 months x $0.50 = $960 Million per year. With our 2-4-6 year election cycle there would be plenty of money to “buy back” our political process. Government corruption begins with the election process.  Fight it there.  How could politicians justify taking potentially corruptible private funds if they had all they needed from the people?
     
    COST CONTROL: To keep costs down, we could first hold unfunded open primaries, followed by run-off elections. In the run-off, the two newly elected run-off candidates could become temporary employees until Election Day when one wins office and the loser gets laid off.  As sworn-in temporary employees the candidates would get a reasonable budget to hire a staff and pay for advertising.
     
    As temporary employees the candidates would be required to stick to a budget.  This would also help reign in out-of-control campaign spending.  Out-of-control spending is one of government’s the biggest problems and it seems to start with the election process. Why not ask candidates to demonstrate their fiscal responsibility by sticking to a fixed budget? Shouldn’t fiscal responsibility be one of those important Family Values politicians are always going on about?
     
    Would this be easy? No. In fact, It would probably require a constitutional amendment, but it would be better than the shame of a system we have now.

  • Jeannine Menger San Francisco

    I see the way we take back the money and power as people and how would I run ‘the government’ is to have a once every 10 years, 3 month meeting where we collect all budgets and programs of all governments from cities to Federal and all in between, then we feed that model with these programs and budgets, we place a weight and a relative cost on them and get a weighted value. Then you take 3 months and decide on THREE models. After 3 months this is put to a simple majority vote of by and for the 310+ million American citizen people and a simple 50.0001% or greater majority decide how all government runs at all levels for the next 10 years. This eliminates Congress and lobbyists as having any influence except as they can attempt to sway things for those 3 months. In the end it is government by and for the people and it is enough government and no more and no less. This takes the money people and places them where they can go do what they do best – make money. People and businesses can plan for 10 years – you can make life decisions and you know your schools will be funded, your roads repaired, you will have health care, and you will not have the game changed on you based on influences that mean you no good.

    THIS system will work – and oh BTW YES – TSA, CIA, DIA and all of Homeland Security will be funded at a proper level and not be some black box. DoD and security are way way way way way way overfunded. This is an example of what needs this system.

  • Tom In San Diego

    Trickle down economics has been tried many times and has failed every time. It is a failed idea promoted by greedy people who are already wealthy, but still are not satisfied. Taxing the wealthy makes sense for three reasons: First, they can afford it. Second, when you get done taxing them they will still be rich. Third, they were able to get rich thanks to the safe marketplace and excellent economic opportunities the United States provides. To sum it up simply, they have benefited more than most so they should pay more than most.

  • http://twitter.com/yakyaker John McFall

    Hooray! Demand-side economics lives in Todd Clay. When will we wise up? http://to.pbs.org/h3mKdK

  • http://twitter.com/yakyaker John McFall

    There are 20000 things to correct but Marshall N Brown has hit on the primary one. To date 200000 have gone to http://bit.ly/njXXxr to agree that the other stuff can’t be fixed until this is.
    http://to.pbs.org/h3mKdK

  • http://twitter.com/yakyaker John McFall

    Yes, ( to.pbs.org/h3mKdK ) Advocate, but first you have to get money out of politics bit.ly/njXXxr

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you on the principle of one man one vote, but I’d do it differently. First, I’d have publicly financed elections. Just add $1 to every voter’s tax return. Period.
    In 1948, when Harry Truman won the election, there was no such thing as PACS, TV ads, etc. The candidates had to make their appeals directly to the citizens. They took trains from one place to another. Maybe they flew, too. I dunno. But the were no monied ad blitzes, no sound bites, etc. There were 48 contiguous states, elections were held, there were winners, and it was democratic. What more do we need? And, of course, corporations weren’t people and had no free speech.

  • Tony

    How do we
    save our country…  here are my first thoughts…   

    Sorry for
    the grammar spelling and fragmented though process…  had to be quick

     

    First we have
    to start making long term plans for where we want our country and culture
    should go and then let the long term plans that we aim for. 

    First thing
    we need to do as a country is set new laws to remove our countries debt.  we need short term goals and long term goals
    that are all encompassing and simple.

    My thought
    is we move to a tax structure incorporated by our founding for fathers for a
    short term ( 10 years).

    Long term:

    ·       
    Federal
    Taxes:  Corporations and business pay
    taxes (which fund the base government)

    ·       
    USA
    Citizens: Do not Pay taxes. Unless they want to and they get to decide where it
    is spent.  ( this will allow everyone
    business to pay less for work and allow the working citizen to keep more of their
    own money.

    This will
    create more jobs for there will be more money people are spending. Corporations
    do not create jobs the citizens do by buying services and goods. Our country is
    about the citizens not the corporations.

    Short term:

    1.     Pay off the deficit. Most
    important… ( we have to keep the value of the dollar up and desirable)

    Tax everyone
    with the equal % no matter how you make the money. no short cuts. Taxes are
    directly written from each working citizens instead of the taxes being directly
    out of their pay check. the citizens need to be aware of writing there tax
    checks.  If the wealthy or others want to
    add more payment to the deficit then they can do it voluntarily. (paying of the
    deficit is good for everyone and it increases the value of our market) ( initially
    50% of all citizens taxes goes to the deficit then 100% until it is paid off)

    Corporations
    and business responsibilities,

    1)    First Charge the key banks and financial
    institutions and individual responsible for some part of the mob mentality that
    put us into this  financial Bull shit we
    are in.   ( 50% of the debit )   Banks and these financial companies need to
    be charged a fee a large fee and then broken up so that they cannot threaten
    then financial stability of the US Dollar.

     

    2)    Banks cannot charge fee’s to steal the
    people’s money.  A cash card is used to
    replace debit cards. ( this will put 2 to 5% back into the public circulation
    and increase the value of the dollar)

    3)    visa MasterCard and the others need
    to have simple fair charges. ( this will put 2 to 5% back into the public circulation
    and increase the value of the dollar)

    4)    Banks and financial institution
    cannot solicit the government for favorable laws at the expense of the citizens.
    ( Then we need to make simple fair laws to make sure the financial institution
    cannot take over the government ever again)

    5)    Hedge funds need to be removed. (illegal
    monopoly) makes food cost more than it should and other commotities

    6)    Oil companies and other companies need
    to pay all of the royalties the country is owed and those need to go to paying
    of the debit.

     

    Government
    corrections….

    Most
    important remove all corruptions and the lure of future corruptions. this is to
    be a job of honor not a basically a lottery where pubic officials (pubic servants)
    are now called officials, are voting them self crazy pay like how the congress
    gets paid for every year in the future until there death.  way too much money is in the way.  

    1) Air waves
    can only owned by the citizens and only leased to companies with strict rules
    that if violated the lease is returned to the people to be license to another
    group of citizens. the air waves need to be accurately passing good correct information
    to the citizens.

    Congress:

                Politicians cannot use the air waves
    to knowingly and intentionally lying and or spread false propaganda (jail and
    fees)

    2.     Term limits for every position in the
    congress every person need to cycle thru in 8 years. 

    3.     fewer state representatives ( 50%
    less maybe easier to compromise with good ideas.)

    4.     set an amount a citizen running for
    office can spend. ( I want to know who has the best ideas not who can raise he
    most money. Raising money gets in the way of doing their job and allows for corruption.

    5.     get rid of the parties ( republicans
    and democrats together repo the crap out of the citizens damn repo-crates) they
    interest is protecting their party and not being servants to the citizens whom
    I think are referred to as constituents

    6.     Remove NSA it is a violation and can
    be used to hurt the citizens by corrupt citizens

     

    Judicial
    system need to start following the constitution

    Legal system
    is so fucked up it need to be completely erased and started over. It leads to allowing
    the corruption to exist.  basically it
    does not work as a check and balance. It is used and violated by those who have
    more money.  Today more money means you
    are innocent, or you can make laws so you have an unfavorable advantage over
    other citizens.

     

    1.     Laws have to be clearly know and
    simple, citizens need to be able to check the laws from the government for
    free.. ( now a citizen need to hire a lawyer whom charges a crazy fee to give
    you an interpitation of the law. and still it is just an interptation and no
    one really knows what the law is.

    2.     Money need to be removed from the
    legal system, lawyers need to be paid less than  teachers?

     

    3.     The legal system need to get involved
    in making the law prior to it becoming a law so that it is not an illegal
    law…  to many laws are illegal to the constitution
    and now the citizen has to fight the law all the way to the supreme court to
    tell the judges that the law is illegal and then they decide if it is illegal
    or not…  how stupid is that…  if they were doing their job they would decide
    before the law can be implemented and then everyone can know exactly what the
    law is.  ( the money saved from BS legal
    fees would put more money into the citizens economic growth opportunities)

    4.     Judges need to have term limits.

     

     

    Medical….

    Citizens all get basic medical expenses
    with a focus on prevention

    Medical ( group up
    medicar and remove the ones on social security, government medical all into one
    medical system worked to give the best medical service at the lowest cost)    

    Remove insurance and
    legal industry out of the medical industry ( this will make medical efficient
    and cost affordable).

     

  • Tom In San Diego

    I can certainly get behind your method of funding. No argument from me, except that every time anyone mentions an increase to the income tax to pay for anything people freak out. Here’s the logic behind the cell phone funding. The airwaves belong to the people, so we are entitled to charge a toll for their use. The FCC charges license fees all the time, but they keep them low because the FCC was created to benefit the broadcast industry. The use of cell phones is voluntary; therefore collection of the fee is conditional upon airwave use. The broadcast industry still gets paid, so they are not likely to fight it, as they do suggestions of free campaign advertising. So, it’s getting airwave use to pay for airwave advertising. At one time owning a cell phone was very expensive. But with the overall price dropping every year the fee would really not be felt or noticed. My example also serves to illustrate just how little money per person it would take to resolve this ongoing issue. Millions and even Billions sound like a lot of money until you divide by the population and get a per person figure. Then it becomes the kind of chump change we throw into parking meters without giving it a second thought.  I’m just trying to offer a creative solution to what is really a funding problem in the guise of a political problem.  Tom in San Diego.

  • Azzxxxc

    Actually, this country was founded on **freedom of religion**.  Not just *your* religion. 

  • Peeka

    To fix America, we need to know why we are in the condition we are in today.  America has lost its vibrant employed middle class.  America’s middle class provided the tax base that fueled local governments (schools, fire, police, roads, infra-structure, etc) and federal governments (military, social programs, science, Soc Sec, etc).  A large portion of America’s middle class produced products and services that were bought and sold in the USA and around the world.  These workers, in turn, fueled the small businesses, like restaurants, plumbers, repair shops, stores, etc and their employees of which “all” paid taxes.  Not everyone needed a college education and not every job required a college degree.

    In order to increase their profits and survivability, businesses moved their manufacturing overseas where the work could be done cheaper.  The result is that middle class workers were laid off and had a direct affect on the tax base that is larger than one expects since local small businesses were also negatively impacted.. The business owners, high level management, and shareholders enjoyed the increase in profits and thus their net worth increased; i.e., the rich became richer.  In turn, the laid off employees took lower paying jobs (if they could find them) and used their savings to survive; i.e., the poor became poorer.

    Meanwhile, the foreign countries saw their wealth increase as their citizens were now employed and paid by these American companies to make goods that would be sold in America. In addition, these American  companies also provided the technology and science to do the work.  Since the foreign countries also taxed their working citizens, they had the money to build their infra-structure, subsidize industries that they wanted to dominate (steel, solar, electronics, etc) and to loan money to the USA.

    The fix is that American has to start manufacturing products again.  America now has to:
     – pick what products America wants to make,
     – put a high import tax on those imported products to discourage buying those imports
     – subsidize the development and manufacture of those products to ensure that they beat the foreign competition.  This will be a price war, but America can win it.
     – teach politicians the importance of a working middle class tax base
     – teach businesses their responsibility to American and their American workers.

  • Anonymous

    America is where it is because of two supreme court decisions.  The first is Marbury v. Madison, where the court gave itself the implied power of judicial review, thus making itself a legislative branch of government.  Worse than that came Mc Culloch v. Maryland shortly thereafter.  This is where the court threw out the constitution,  replacing Constitutional Law with British Common Law, denied the states their sovereignty, said that the people should never be consulted (through the amendment process) on the overhaul of government of this magnitude, said that the 10th amendment that was meant to put severe limits on the federal government means that government has unlimited power.  The power that once flowed to the people was sent it flowing to the Robber Barons who were all too happy to have it.  It is from this framework that we became unwitting slaves to a corrupt system where we think that the issues mentioned above are problems rather than symptoms.  We can fix it, but it will require a lot of people, including those above, to be better educated about American History.  Some of the worst criminals are thought of as American heroes.  We’ll never fix it for as long as this remains the case. We can’t fix anything if we refuse to understand how we arrived in our current condition and then walk backwards to untie the knot.

  • Anonymous

    It has been shown time and time again that trickle down economics do not work. It just makes the rich richer.  It would be more effective to pump money into the lowest income earners who will spend that money, and in that way make the rich richer while investing in America.  But I stand for getting government out of subsidies altogether.

  • Jasonwalkerband

    I have found a way to fix unemployment and do it without going to get an approval from congress. Id like to share my idea with people that can actually make it happen. I’m Jason walker the next American visionary. Contact jasonwalkerband@yahoo.com for more details

  • Zderiter

     The simplest way to help this country is to raise taxes on imports, provide higher tax breaks for American companies operating solely in America, overhaul the welfare system, testing and screening those on aid with those able to work doing community service of some type.
    The prison system needs to be overhauled, if someone proves to be a repeat offender after a point, extermination should be used. An all out war should declared on illegal drugs with extermination being used when rehabilitation fails.

  • Anonymous

    This is in response to Herrenhaus’s reply about “inciting a vicious trade war”.  There already is a vicious trade war!  The current US trade deficit is 47.7 Billion USD.  Foreign countries subsidize their manufacturing plants; eg., China wants world wide control of solar panel production and will subsidize their industries to undercut any foreign development.  The USA should put tariffs on foreign goods that could/should be made in the US for use in the US.  The foreign country’s response could not be restrictions on our exports to their country …. they already have these restrictions… see the trade deficits.  What the foreign countries will do is lower the prices for their goods … with the objective to prevent US companies from making these goods.  Japan did this when the US put restrictions on Japanese cars that were competing with American cars…but the US car industry still did not make a car that could compete with the Japanese cars.   What the US should do is to keep increasing the tariffs until those foreign countries cannot compete with local US companies for goods sold in the US.  At the same time, the US government must make sure the US companies make make a competitive product that is better than the foreign products.

  • Howard Hanson Hopkins MN

    Right on Gail. The “elite”, their corporations, law firms, lobbyists, “political” tax exempt foundations and the politicians they put in office are firmly in control. They are getting richer by the minute while we citizens get dumped with the resulting budget deficits. They also control all the media so the important issues never get discussed. You can’t fix our country unless you deal with the fact that “they” are using the Indian people to steal all our land and resources. They also control Wall Street and our money markets.And they control the Tribal Casino’,s. My theresourcesentinel.com website will educate you about how big the problem is. And, my political party theresourceparty.org has the beginning of a great platform to fix the mess. Also read Jack Abramoff’s book Capitol Punishment and Susan Bradford’s book Lynched and the books at the end of my four page fact sheet about Tribal gambling on my Sentinel website. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GF2LPOUFUAIZ4OISUGHENDTRQQ Jack Goldman

    End the Fed. Enforce affirmative action for Hebrews who are 30% of Supreme Court, 30% of Harvard students, 10% of US Senate, 100% Fed Governors since 1986, 50% of US foreign aid, and take vastly more then their 2% justifies. Whites have been affirmative actioned, now it’s Hebrews turn. Vouchers. Choices that matter. End currency debasement. Trouble is in American communism everyone has two choices and they always lead to the same outcome, more currency debasement, more income taxes, more public debt, more welfare for fat ass Israeli Zionists. I doubt if things can be turned around. A collapse is more likely with marshall law so elites can pillage America. Sad. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GF2LPOUFUAIZ4OISUGHENDTRQQ Jack Goldman

    Cut government by 50%. All government employees are thieves and waste 80% of assets. Stop ethnic cleansing white guys who create wealth. Stop subsidizing minorities and women who have wealth killing wealth destroying jobs like African studies. What the hell? There is also Jewish studies? No white male studies? Why this racism? Why African history month and no white male history month? Why hate speech like “minorities and women” clearly designed to ethnically cleanse only one group, white males. Why is racism and ethnic cleansing legal in America after electing an affirmative action president? How long will we do what does not work and expect good results? War? Ethnic cleansing of white males to promote Hebrews, Africans, Women, Gay homosexuals, Immigrants, and Minorities by quota? Where are the goal posts? How many Hebrews are too many? How about 10% since they are only 2% of the population. Whites are being killed by design. I don’t recognize this chicken shit, racist, terrorist nation with forced race mixing. Enforce Hebrew affirmative action by military force also. Force Hebrews to integrate. America is a bully and a terrorist, along with the axis of evil, the British, who had to be bailed out twice, and the Israelis who are hopeless. I give us a 60/40 chance of not making it by design. I was a mistake to promote pillaging of service sector dead beat women and minority jobs that require subsidies. End the Fed or the Fed ends the US. Why have Hebrews been 70% of Democratic Supreme Court nominees for the past forty years and they are only 2% of the population? This is part of the take over and death of the US. Enforce affirmative action for Hebrews. Hebrews are pillaging America and destroying the nation. 

  • Anonymous

     I’ve been reading these posts and many of them, deservedly, criticize business money and politics.  The goal seems to be to make money at the expense of anyone anywhere. What is crazy is that the primary market place is the USA, not China, not India, nor the far east for the goods being made in those countries. The result of moving the manufacturing of USA goods to foreign countries destroys the buying power of the USA middle class … who the goods are destined for … what were they thinking?  A little profit now … and world economic problems later?  Any good business men/women knows that you do not destroy your consumer base that buys your products if you want to stay in business.

    The way out of this mess and fix the USA is a good dose of American Nationalism.  Increase tariffs on foreign goods and provide subsidies for businesses (manufacturing and services) to make it profitable to make the goods in the USA by employing US citizens and emphasize buy “Made in America”.

    Schooling should also be changed and based on bell shaped curves.  Everyone’s skills are different. Not everyone can be or should be a singer or musician.  The same is true for all parts of higher education.  The USA has more need for electricians, mechanics, and real workers than for any more lawyers and MBAs.  Back in the 1950′s thru 1960, schools graded on the curve and students were placed in classes according to their place on the curve. My high school had everything from college prep to machine shops, foundry, welding, green house, electrical, radio, arts & crafts, auto, and aircraft engines.  There were job fairs at graduation and many students were hired directly into paying positions.  The students themselves knew who was smarter and studied harder to stay out of the classes at the bottom of the curve. The ones who complained were the parents of “little Johnnie” who wasn’t as smart as his fellow students. By doing away with grading on the curve and allowing “little Johnnie” to attend the “smarter” classes just slowed down the other students and had a very negative affect on “little Johnnies” self esteem; ie., its no fun to realize that you are the stupidest one in class and you don’t understand what the other kids are learning and doing.  These kids are the ones that developed repressed anger and struck out against others.

    Its the US generation from the 1950s and early 1960s that went to the moon, developed the internet, and did the innovation for today’s world.  Most of the work done in the rest of the world was copying and improving copies of things developed here in the US.  Its time we brought back the foundation for doing innovation … because it sure is not being done overseas … except for improved copies.

  • Buy_Local

    The answer is so simple that everyone has missed it. The problem is the corporations. The answer is to simply stop taking the cheapest way out of every situation.
    Don’t simply pay the lowest price. Wal-Mart is using China to manufacture goods and products for pennies less than American competitors, and costing Americans jobs. The same is true across the board,
    Buy local!
     You support your friends and neighbors and and at the same time get a better product.

  • Adams3rd

    Fix America?  In Pa. you have 5 mil working and 2 mil on some form of the dole,public schools and broken families produce a brood of barely literate whiners, politicians are so out of touch its laughable, the feds produce absurd regulation to address non existant problems, ie boss got fined for me not wearing hard hat … on the roof of a twenty story building( that bird poop is a real killer). You want to fix America? If you work for a living, pick a day, everybody sit down, don’t produce or consume for one day and point out that this could go on for weeks unless A. those that dont/wont , work are off the dole NOW. B  Every politician from Mayor to Senator is limited to one term starting NOW( institutional memory … Ain’t that the problem?) C A constitutional convention is,called into session within 6 months at which no current or past elected official is permitted,whose makeup is arranged along geographical and economic lines, . Oh my how radical! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Ask yourself, looking at our cities, our schools , our rural areas, is anything other than radical action of an immediate nature required?

  • Benfschowe

    you could create a shitoload of jobs by closed captioning the programming so the deaf and other people who used captions could enjoy it too.

  • Witchhunt

    How about

     A) People with money
    to invest move it back to our communities? Buy back homes for people who lost
    them and let the old owners move in? Many people have their homes up for sale
    for less than they owed and just cannot buy them back, even blackballed from purchase
    of their old homes!

     B) Start an online
    game such as “Farmville” linked to everyone that is based on real
    events, places, and people? Morph the game with mapping program, yellow pages,
    and neighbors helping neighbors game! The game would keep all info yet there
    would be real life help for one another example: plumber helps with your
    bathroom so you give game credits, real items, or services. Gamers would keep
    updates and post feedback (I would think require positive and negative feedback
    on each game play so there is a balance of information) Think of all the income
    deprived people that are capable. All people can benefit and also add to our
    nation in a time of suffering and not be a drain- this helps all. With this
    even those with limitations can play and gain help or knowledge?

     C) Start a chain of
    medical help such as “Habitat for Humanity does for housing”- There
    can be 2nd hand stores for medical needs (splints, tanks, beds, braces,
    crutches, etc…) Use proceeds to run clinic, gain testing equipment, maintain
    medical providers. – opt out on INS/ paperwork/ etc…. Down to real HELP and a
    show of APPRECIATION via. Donations of real help to the community and people.

     We can act as if
    there is no government and fix our own problems! We are not a nation of imbecilic
    people we are a nation of people not taught how to solve their own problems!

  • Rdrahovzal

    Revamp the IRS, to big and expensive with no return. Flat tax for EVERYONE with no deductions.
     Let the majority rule again, that’s what our country “was” based on, not special interest groups and not lobbyists only interested in big corporations.  Stop making the election process only available to the super rich.  When corporations get involved then only their interests are served. 

  • JARED

    I HAVE A WAY TO HAVE ALL AMERICAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT BEING AN AMERICAN. I VERY SIMPLE SO HEY WANT TO KNOW MORE CALL ME AT 727-599-6606 I AM JARED MOSES

  • http://www.facebook.com/PoorManSurvival Bruce David

    There is an old adage in sales that sometimes it is necessary to start over again with the basics.  That may be the remedy for our country as political leaders from each party have squandered our resources, denigrated our rights and more.  They’ve lost their way and too many Americans have not paid attention. 
    We need to scrap a lot of what emanates from Washington, our ludicrous income tax system, how politicians are elected and how long they can ‘serve’ the people (without becoming so self-serving).  In short, we don’t need another election, we need another revolution (of sorts) and it’s up to the electorate to realize this…perhaps if No One voted in the next election, do you think anyone would notice?

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeekaJim Peeka Lum

    “A Financial Transaction Tax of 0.5% (one half of one percent) on Wall Street trading could generate billions in revenue to help our ailing economy, stimulate job growth, re-fund essential services, and discourage the reckless, high-volume/short-term profit computer-driven Wall Street gambling that lead to our current economic crisis. It could raise more than $350 billion annually, enough to close the funding gaps in every US state now facing deep cuts, with billions left to invest in job creation each year.” quote from 
    http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/pages/financial-transaction-tax 
    This sounds like an excellent idea!  A 0.5% tax is nothing.  It is only 50 cents on every $100 of Wall Street trading.  Why isn’t it in the news? or talk shows? or touted by the candidates?  Checkout this one page summary of its talking points:  http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/page/-/files/pdf/main-street/0811_ftt_talkingpoints.pdf  

    For Pros, see: http://www.cepr.net/documents/ftt-support.pdf and for Cons, see: http://financialtransactiontaxes.com/ftt-robinhoodtax/#comment-46  There must be something about the FTT because the “Cons” use use scare tactics and implied threats in their web page and use a lot of red color to emphasize their points.  

  • Davegruenwald

    Why flash??? I cannot use with Apple products and they are the most used now!!

  • Davegruenwald

    Why flash??? I cannot use with Apple products and they are the most used now!!

  • Alistir

    LOL put the bong down. Most used? LOL

  • iamthewriter

    Well, i don’t think there is a way left to fix what we have done to ourselves. First off we spearated church and school, then we turned around and took ‘to serve and protect’ away from the law, then started shutting down our main building operations ie Steel Mill’s, started creating free printable money. We started allowing congress to access control to all the laws, then allowed them as well to be bought off and sold to by the highest bidder… Then we started understanding that ‘lies’ by everyone from the everyday man straight up to the presidency was just another reason to look the other way. Then ‘money’ paid for lies… till the banks went broke. Automobile companies making record stock dividents had cried wolf saying they were going belly up… Realistate men offered houses to people that could never afford them, till they hand got cought in the cookie jar. We began sending ‘all’ our work over seas (and guess what, soon they’ll be getting higher wages then we were asking) [oh well (right)]… Getting closer to this time line 2012… A president canidate can slander anyone on the ticket, offer the best sounding idea to americans and not have to follow through a single line of it after getting elected… Yet, there’s no impeachment clause for lying to americians.
    Nixon said it best… (i can not tell a lie…) and yet, the whole time he lied… We americans, have no rights to hold ANYONE accountable, P.S. they already stripped that avenue from us. Now… guess what americans… Our land… the physical land… is being sold straight from underneath or feet. I’m telling you, Freedom was shipped out to no-mans land years ago We just never knew that the people with money had did it… If you beleave crime don’t pay…. try hiring a laywer some time…

    Oh, and PS, to the watchtowers who will monitor this, remind yourself before acting on this, I (an Americian) one of the last few left… can still speak the truth as I see it.       

  • courtney

    When I watched this video I was surprised at some of the ideas that were stated on how to fix America. I had no idea that some of the things that were mentioned were even related to America being fixed. Such as racism and life care, you would think racism would still be embolished in America. Another factor is life care. You would think that if scientist found a cure for sickness such as cancer or luchemia that the expenses of life care would decrease rather than increase.

  • Cheryl Shannon47

    If we take the recommendation of all the people that spoke we could probably begin to prepare America.

  • Monalinda.

    Oabama is destroying America. He is “giving” money to people who are depending on handouts. Obama has keept the 47% DEPENDEDNT ON HANDOUTS all throughout his first four years to “buy” votes., which he succesfully did at any cost. Even at the cost of our country’s economic downfall.Obama is not responsible. Obama is spending and has not care about the nation’s INCOME.

    I think Obama has a chip on his shoulder and will stop at nothing as he put it for “REVENGE” . Obama needs to accept who he is first…..He is a black man with a past. I would love to see his his report card from Middle and High School. He has used his personal experience and perhaps his discrimination experience to get back at whites. Obama now seems to be motivating the BLACKS TO DISCRIMATE WHITES. i am a white color hsi[anic female and blacks have deiscrimated against me, even at grocery stores. Obama has and is ALWAYS PUTING GROUPS AGAINS EACH OTHER. A PRESIDENT SHOULD NEVER DO THAT. INSTEAD OF BLAMING EVERYTHING ON EVERYONE ELSE. EX: Obama IS ALWAYS blaming CONGRESS. Obama should take responsability for deceiving people and for laying. OBAMA NEEDS TO STOP SPENDING! PLEASE CONGRESS….ASK FOR OBAMA’S BUDGET FIRST.

    He as a supposed leader needs to show what the word “working together” means. He is the one that needs to give the nation and the world the example.

    Sincerely,

    A Female Hispanic who VOTED FOR ROMNEY

    OBAMA HAS MISLEAD THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY. UNFORTUNATELY MOST HISPANICS ARE UNEDUCATED AND DO NOT FOLLOW POLICTICS. HISPANICS ONLY LISTED WHEN IT COMES TO IMMIGRATION AND HANDOUTS. HISPANICS WHO ARE DONT EDUCATED NEVER STOP TO THINK WHERE WHAT THEY ARE GETTING FOR FREE COMES FROM. WE SHOULD START EDUCATING HISPANICS ON THE TRUTH ABOUT DEMOCRATS. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE USED HISPANICS BY GIVING THEM HANDOUTS IN EXHANGE OF VOTES.

    HISPANICS: KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR LOCA NEWS. DEMOCRATS HAVE DONE SO MUCH GOOD FOR MINORITIES THAT DELINQUENTS AND PEOPLE COMMITING ALL KIDS OF ROBERIES AND HOMICIDES, BREAK INS INTO
    PERSONAL PROPERTY HAS BEEN COMMITED BY MINORITY GROUPS. GIVING THE HANDOUTS PROVIDES THEM WITH MORE FREE TIME TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO BUT COMMITING CRIMES.

    WAKE UP!!!!!!

    Sincerely,
    Monalinda

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/7M5Vk4chgZogvhtL3Qac1ns1aJKI#85945 rone

    THERE ARE 2 WAYS TO FIX AMERICA
    1 ALL REGISTERED DEMOCRATS MUST HAVE A 85% TAX ON THEIR GROSS INCOME
    OR
    2 KILL ALL DEMOCRATS

  • Harley Borgais

    THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ARTICLE I HAVE EVER TYPED….

    I heard your argument, and understood it:
    The concept of a world with
    no government, and privately owned security forces (police, and
    presumably courts/prosecution/litigation systems as well)….and I am
    saying that IS what we have now. The end effect of that
    is: there will be no way to protect or enforce any poor persons rights
    or freedoms, and everyone will work in sweat shops, just like in
    NewCastle, South Africa right now!

    THAT is the end result of private security and justice systems, BECAUSE…
    Oaths!
    The “Oaths” of the U.S. Constitution ARE THE ONLY SOLUTION TO AMERICANS TROUBLES!
    And enforcing the Constitution, oaths to support it, and courts ARE THE ONLY WAY TO FIX THE PROBLEMS WE ACTUALLY HAVE!

    I stated that your proposed system would end up with a few
    people working together to control all people, just like what we have
    right now!
    You said that would not happen?
    Why not?

    You seem to figure that ‘COMPETITION’ and ‘FREE MARKET’ would fix the problems we have, THEY WOULD NOT!

    OATHS are the only thing that will fix the current corruption…and ONLY
    those made BY and FOR the people governed by them (like the U.S.
    Constitution)!

    gov·ern·ment: [guhv-ern-muh nt, ‐er-muh nt]

    noun: 1. the political direction and control exercised over the
    actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities,
    societies, and states; direction of the affairs of a state, community,
    etc.; political administration: Government is necessary to the existence of civilized society.

    2. the form or system of rule by which a state, community, etc., is governed: monarchical government; episcopal government.
    3.
    the governing body of persons in a state, community, etc.;
    administration. [3. is Not valid because it uses the word in the
    definition]

    4. a branch or service of the supreme authority of a state or nation,
    taken as representing the whole: a dam built by the government.
    5. a. the particular group of persons forming the cabinet at any given time: The Prime Minister has formed a new government.

    b. the parliament along with the cabinet: The government has fallen.

    In
    your theoretical reality: “Government” would STILL exist, but it would
    be OWNED by the few with the most money (like it actually is now in REALITY)!

    Those people eventually learn to swear oaths to each other, and NOT
    in the best interests of the majority (like the oaths I have attached).

    The system we are currently controlled by, IS privately owned, JUST like what you are suggesting….

    WE ARE LIVING IN YOUR HYPOTHETICAL REALITY RIGHT NOW…
    And the Dunn and Bradstreet registry IS THE PROOF!

    Once that happens, there are only two options….

    ONE: IF we do NOT have a ‘law of the land’ like the
    Constitution (which requires oaths that ARE NOT secret, and require
    them to obey the ‘Laws’ ‘deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed’)….
    [WHICH IS THE CASE IN AFRICA]

    OR…

    TWO: IF we have the Constitution (law of the land, made by and for the people it governs), then we can enforce that, through the court system which ONLY The U.S. Constitution
    provides, and punish all those who have harmed us (all 78 senators, all
    of the white house as far as I know, all the Judges who will not ‘repent’ so to
    speak and obey the Constitution, and all Police who also will not obey
    their oaths to the Constitution, must be punished legally, through the
    courts, removed from office, and replaced-see Titles of Nobility clause
    and amendment)…

    THEN, there is only one remaining solution….(What Americans did in the 1770s), Revolutionary war!

    SUMMARY: IN REALITY,
    we DO have a system of ‘Privately Owned’ police and courts (See Dunn
    and Bradstreets registry, then Wikipedia what Dunn and Bradstreets
    records ARE)…

    Privately owned police and courts will always end up
    controlled by a few people who work together to own everything and
    everyone, and take as much as possible, without giving any back to those
    who actually produce everything, except what is the bare minimum to
    keep them producing..

    (like it IS right now in New Castle South Africa)…

    AND…

    The
    ONLY solution to fix that is either a Revolutionary war to ‘throw off
    such Government’ that ‘evinces a design to reduce them under absolute
    Despotism’…

    And to ‘provide new Guards for their future security’. (Which we did in
    the 1770s, it DID work, it WILL work, WE just have to MAKE it work,
    through the courts of ‘Law’…and ‘Law’ means the Constitutional ‘law of the land’).

    THE SOLUTION: To the problem of corruption in
    Human society is to enforce the Above clause, amendment, and the 78 or
    so Supreme Laws (in the citations, in the references file attached).
    THERE IS NOT ANY OTHER SOLUTION!

    ALL OTHER AVENUES LEAD TO WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AFRICA AND AMERICA RIGHT NOW!

    If you are not convinced, than ask me to prove each point, ONE AT A TIME, and I will, WITH FACTS, NOT THEORIES!
    If you have ANY legal problems which do not involve you causing harm to anyone, I can and will help you fix them.

    QUOTES:

    “…Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,
    it is
    their right, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such
    Government — and to provide new Guards for their future security”
    (Declaration of Independence)

    TITLES OF NOBILITY CLAUSE:
    “No Title of Nobility shall be granted
    by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under
    them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind
    whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

    TITLES OF NOBILITY AMENDMENT:
    “If any
    citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any
    title of nobility or honour, or
    shall, without the consent of Congress accept
    and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind
    whatever, from
    any emperor, king, prince or foreign power,
    such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States and shall
    be incapable
    of holding any office of trust or profit
    under them, or either of them.”


    Sincerely,
    Harley Davidson Borgais
    harleyborgais@gmail.com
    facebook.com/harleyborgais

  • shattered

    Fix trade/end free trade, less government red tape (and prune the 23 million government employees), less tort, no TPP/NWO/UN/WTO, end illegal immigration and chain migration, what Dale said, etc…

    Unfortunately, our government is doing exactly the opposite of what we have to do to fix the country.

  • Bqueen

    In order to fix America, I would remind our country of its heritage. America was founded upon the Judeo-Christian Values, hence the statement in both our constitution and money “In God We Trust.” God was the foundation of America, and He was put first in all situations. This is the only reason America has existed for so long and progressed to point of becoming the “wealthiest country.” Over the years, however, our country has slowly fallen away from its foundation, and the means of its success causing it to ‘crumble.’ Without a
    foundation, it is impossible for a building to stand.Same for a country!!

  • Roady

    First, America has to ask itself one question with the knowledge of this simple economic fact. In order for there to be a rich country like ours, other countries must remain poor. There is no way around it! We can protect American jobs and make the rest of the world hate us or we can continues to lose our wealth. In 1949, 50% of the world’s wealth was in America, at the end of WW2 we had most of the world’s industrail capacity. China, Japan, Europe, etc were all in ruins and very little little challenge to American industry. Today, America is still the richest country, BUT, we only hold 25% of the world’s wealth. We are in decline, are we brave enough to be greedy and tell other countries too bad…. start trade wars and maybe a few combatitive wars to end up on to p again? Or are we going to roll over and die and be too polically currect to survive? Its your choice…
    The facts, not fiction!

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeekaJim Peeka Lum

    I disagree with “In order for there to be a rich country like ours, other countries must remain poor.” Instead, I believe that there should be a balance. The vast amount of products made by foreign countries are destined for the American middle class. As the American middle class lose jobs, they can no longer afford to buy those foreign goods regardless of how low the price becomes due to cheap foreign labor. The goal of any tariffs should be to get the American middle class working again so that they can afford to buy those foreign goods. If the tariffs are too high, they may cause trade wars which will not solve the problem.

  • I wonder…

    Are you trying to say that America requires a deity to worship in order to make themselves a better country ( because of the deity’s superiority), or are you just saying we need to learn as a country to motivate ourselves better?

  • I wonder…

    I agree with you, on basically everything you say. The major problem here is there are many people who, for some reason, refuse to accept this information because they only believe in people with good typing and language skills. I don’t know how well you speak any language, but I can say many won’t take your comment seriously because they will base your intelligence level on your typing skills more likely than anything.

  • I wonder…

    This would be perfect, if all democrats were rich and well informed and willing to accept all truth. Also, I have to ask, are you a republican? because it really seems like it. but I can’t assume, because that would make an ASS out of U and ME.

  • I wonder…

    B would be great, except for the fact that there are still rapists in the U.S.

  • Taravan

    I would get rid of the teacher’s union in America.
    I know this sounds harsh, but this system is crippling our education system by making it very difficult to reward worthy teachers, and to fire unworthy ones.
    Thoughts?…

  • Tara

    It isn’t necessary to keep other countries down. I believe that this world is moving in the direction of oneness. Keeping other countries down is the way of the past, and this fear of there not being enough for us all to get a piece of the pie is what got us into this mess in the first place….
    In order for America to move forward, we need to embrace change. We need to first fix ourselves, and embrace the diversities that we have within our borders. Once we get ourselves back in order, then we will truly be a leader in the world once again.

  • Tara

    I don’t think that we have to be necessarily Christian, but I do agree that we need to go back to the spirit that this country was built on – the idea of religious freedom. In God We Trust is a very powerful statement. I don’t believe that we should discourage prayer in any way! People, should be encouraged to pray in whatever peaceful way they see fit.

  • Tara

    I agree…We really need to start over. Now, how the hell do we do that?

  • Anonymous

    The only tool that the American middle class may have is to submit a petition to be voted on by the general public. Any alternative that advocates any kind of violence or mass dissension will fail; i.e., the powers-that-be invokes police/military to suppress any demonstrations or actions: Occupy Wall street, marches, etc do not make the changes that are really needed.

    So, what is the reason for America’s problems? Well, the old adage of “Follow the money” is true and shows both why America is in trouble and also shows the way out. The politicians are the ones that make the laws … and “those” that want more money hire lobbyists that guide the politicians to make the laws that benefit “them”. Money is then “donated” to the politicians war chests so that they can get elected again. The politicians almost have to make decisions (laws) that do not really benefit the general American public but instead help ensure that they get re-elected.

    Well, whatever happens, politicians will still be in charge of making laws. So, the well-being of a politician’s voting district should be tied to the politician’s pay … which includes their war chest. A government study has shown that, in a vibrant community, money will pass thru the hands of five people before leaving the community. Assuming a tax rate of 20%, a saving rate of 10%, 56% of the money earned by a company worker is collected in taxes … and over 30% of the money earned is saved in banks that can use the money for loans. The reason for this is because the company worker spends his/her money locally (restaurants, mechanics, plumbers, lawyers, etc) who also save and pay taxes. Thus, if a company lays off 1000 workers, it is the same as laying off 5000 more tax paying people with the resulting loss of taxes needed for schools, roads, teachers, etc.

    Politicians should have a base salary and then a portion of the tax money from their voting district. The better their voting district does, then the more pay they receive for living expenses and their war chest for the next election.

    I believe that a petition that will set a politicians pay on a base amount plus a percentage collected from their voting district will cause the politician to have a vested interest in how well their district does economically. This may be naive on my part but money has always been the way that people in power grade themselves in comparison to others.

  • Anonymous

    Jason,
    You should provide some clues and hints …. otherwise most readers will just skip on to the next comment.

  • Anonymous

    I have to make a comment about the government’s stimulus program.

    Arrgh!!!
    It goes like this.
    - The USA does not have the money for a stimulus program so the USA has to borrow the money from …. China, and/or India, and/or …

    - The American people is given the money to spend and get the US economy going. Americans now are able to buy goods that they need in addition to starting local businesses.
    - Most, if not all, of the goods that Americans buy are foreign goods made in China, or India, or…. So China, India,… now gets a boost to its economy.
    - On top of this, the USA also has to pay interest on the money it borrowed for the stimulus program.
    -Stupid!

    Arrgh!!

  • It’s Joe

    This goes back to my new reality tv show. Just saying PBS maybe we on to something. I know how to fix America. Just don’t spam my email with questions. If someone can post about killin democrats tho better stay up on the news feed.

  • harlem_rocker

    How to fix America: 1. Enact a Tobin tax on stock transactions this should rake in 100 billion dollars a year… 2. repudiate most current debts as being ‘odious’ 3. enforce current immigration laws- this means the border is patrolled, employers who hire illegals are punished, sanctuary cities are banned (it is unlawful to aid and abet illegals) etc. 4. Give legal teeth to citizen grand juries, to go after the REAL 9-11 criminals, and to go after the banksters etc., we need to do this since Congress is incapable of policing itself… 5. begin mass planting of industrial Hemp and algae to use for biofuel etc. 6. end the lobbying revolving door. get rid of most lobbyist functions and money transfers to politicians 7. shut down MSNBC, most of Fox news, purge the boards of PBS NPR New York TImes , make them sign loyalty oaths to the Constitution….8. end all aid to Israel

  • Roneen Henn

    get rid of corporations that hide graft, greed and foster unaccountably.

  • Roneen Henn

    Tax people who send money oversees to banks.

  • Roneen Henn

    I bet if we did a war bond on home Infrastructure improvements for our nation we would pay the American non working people wages, owe Americans instead of China, at a lower interest rate and create a pool to borrow from for jobs creation bill in the future. Just saying we are not getting any benefit out of paying another country money that would recirculate in ours. No tax payment, like a street bond and you will have little ole people saving again. We know how to give up to get something. Schools used to promote these through the homes of the children. they could receive a small amount for selling. Any one an accountant out there?

  • Roneen Henn

    Stop blaming the President for a tea party event of vacation vacation, vacation. Just saying all were hired to do their jobs and the congress has not done what has been requested of them. Lay the blame on the third power in our country, congress and you might have a reason to complain about not getting any bills passed. We have three equal acting powers in this country. the Supreme court, the Congress and the President. Wake up you deep thinkers and quit blaming one branch and allowing the millionaires club to rule us.