With the Obama administration, with America ready or even thirsting for change, the question emerges - will this administration, this 8 years, simply patch up things a bit, or truly bring about some change? Few would argue that with a crisis of this size, Obama has some latitude he otherwise wouldn't. What is your wishlist?
My two wishes below the fold . . . let's just say its to do with MEDIA and ELECTION FINANCING RULES . . .
My two new years wishes - MEDIA REFORM/REGULATION and ELECTION REFORM. Without these changes, the circus of current politics won't change. But here's some simple things we can do.
1) MEDIA REFORM/REGULATION: Restore real competition. Break up the mega-monopolies that make it so that massive corporations like Viacom and Clear Channel control nearly all the media outlets in the country. And have a massive refunding of PBS. The Bush administration did its best to gut PBS from within. But what if we came up with an American version of the BBC that could rival CNN or MSNBC, and didn't have to think about ratings? I dream of a 24 hour news channel that ACTUALLY GAVE US NEWS, and isn't beholden to advertising dollars. And which could provide quite a few jobs for journalists currently getting canned.
2) ELECTION REFORM: One simple thing can fix MOST of the problems - PUBLICLY FUND ELECTIONS. Make it mandatory, and then ban ALL political fundraising. Raise the pay of all congresspeople, then ban anyone giving ANY gift to the immediate family while that person is in congress. Once you cut the link between money and politics like that (so simple, who would've thought?), watch the world change. Lobbyists out of a job, no more 'quid pro quo' favors to help raise money for the next election cycle! And lots of free debates on PBS to make sure we have an informed public (see #1 above). And how to pay for it? It actually doesn't cost all that much - just fund PBS the way it was before it got cut under the Reagan years, and you've already got most of the cost covered. The rest, well, a little deficit spending in a recession is how you get out of one anyone, but rather than send it to Clear Channel and their buddies for advertising dollars, residual costs would now be on things that actually stimulate the economy (like campaign buses, fliers, you know, businesses!).
Those are my two new year's wishes. Pipe Dreams, but maybe not if we spread the memes. So, what's yours wishlist?