Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Ten tasks to straighten out the country

Andrew Bacevich thinks we need massive change. Here are his suggestions as to what those changes should be:

  • First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
  • Second, rollback gerrymandering. Doing so will help restore competitive elections and make incumbency more tenuous.
  • Third, limit the impact of corporate money on elections at all levels, if need be by amending the Constitution.
  • Fourth, mandate a balanced federal budget, thereby demolishing the pretense that Americans need not choose between guns and butter.
  • Fifth, implement a program of national service, thereby eliminating the All-Volunteer military and restoring the tradition of the citizen-soldier. Doing so will help close the gap between the military and society and enrich the prevailing conception of citizenship. It might even encourage members of Congress to think twice before signing off on wars that the commander-in-chief wants to fight.
  • Sixth, enact tax policies that will promote greater income equality.
  • Seventh, increase public funding for public higher education, thereby ensuring that college remains an option for those who are not well-to-do.
  • Eighth, beyond mere “job” creation, attend to the growing challenges of providing meaningful work -- employment that is both rewarding and reasonably remunerative -- for those without advanced STEM degrees.
  • Ninth, end the thumb-twiddling on climate change and start treating it as the first-order national security priority that it is.
  • Tenth, absent evident progress on the above, create a new party system, breaking the current duopoly in which Republicans and Democrats tacitly collaborate to dictate the policy agenda and restrict the range of policy options deemed permissible.
What do you think? Do you like any of them? I like all but item 4. Perhaps, item 10 is the most important.

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