I have written much about what’s wrong with this nation. Now I want to offer some solutions. Think of the following as the LaMaster platform for good governance:
1 – Secure our elections while, at the same time, increasing participation. Eliminate unduly restrictive voter IDs and all forms of voter suppression. Institute same-day voter registration, expand vote-by-mail, restore the number of polling places in minority districts, stop unnecessary purges of voter rolls, restore voting rights for felons who have served their sentences, and make election day a national holiday.
2 – Reinstate some form of the Fairness Doctrine, which was repealed in 1987. Hold all mass media accountable to a standard of truth and clearly delineate opinion from news. It’s not necessary to resort to censorship. Each medium simply needs to employ editors.
3 – Make civics lessons mandatory in schools. All citizens need to understand how local, state and federal governments work.
4 – Investigate and disarm private militias, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other violent domestic terrorist groups. These groups pose a far greater threat to Americans than Islamic terrorism.
5 – Make courts less partisan. Take judicial appointments out of the hands of politicians and remove them from ballots. Have the American Bar Association provide a list of potential jurors to governments for confirmation based on performance and credentials.
6 – Restore the Article I powers of Congress giving it the exclusive power to impose taxes and tariffs, to appropriate funds for the government, to promote science, to define and punish offenses against the laws of nations, to control immigration, to enter into treaties, and to declare war.
7 – Stop the avalanche of dark money infecting our elections. Outlaw the anonymous dirty money that is funneled into election campaigns through PACs and Super PACs. Hold political advertising to the same standards of truth as that for products and services, which includes civil and criminal penalties for lying.
8 – Demand that the IRS regulate non-profits by limiting their engagement in politics and political “education” to less than 10 percent of their activities. And, to prevent charlatans from ripping off their congregations, all church properties beyond individual sanctuaries and parsonages should be taxed.
9 – Track and tax all money invested in shell corporations both on and off shore for the purposes of tax evasion. Organize the participation of all nations to create increased transparency for all international transfers of money.
10 – Expose and limit the activities of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and any similar organizations to end the practice of corporations writing “model” legislation for state legislatures. End political “think tanks.” Restore congressional budgets to permit Congress to research complex issues, instead.
11 – Demand that Congress pass legislation to overturn the SCOTUS decisions on Citizens United v FEC, which gave corporations the rights of individuals, and Valeo v Buckley, which equated money with free speech.
12 – Ban all former elected and appointed government officials from becoming lobbyists for a minimum of 5 years. Ban the families of elected officials from profiting from their relationship.
13 – Restructure the Federal Elections Commission to include an uneven number of commissioners with three members of each major party and three independents.
14 – End extreme gerrymandering. Require all 50 states to create independent redistricting commissions comprised of two Democratic members, two Republican members and two independents.
15 – Enact a small transaction tax for all securities transactions, especially high-speed micro-transactions. This will not only help level the playing field for small investors who do not have large, high-speed computers and algorithms to manipulate the stock markets. It will generate billions in tax revenue.
16 – Base taxes and minimum wages on the cost of living for the areas in which people live and work. $30,000 per year is not the same for someone living in a rural area as in a large city.
17 – Require all national and multinational corporations to include at least one member of their workforces on their boards of directors.
18 – To prevent the wealthy from escaping their fair share of taxes, make the rate of capital gains taxes the same as for earned income. To protect ordinary citizens for the one-time sale of property, pro-rate the capital gains tax over a period of at least 5 years.
19 – Institute some form of universal insurance. How it works is up to Congress, but the Canadian system would be a good model and a good place to start.
20 – Institute a national program of service that includes both domestic, foreign and military options.
21 – Clarify the Constitution’s emoluments clause to make certain that no elected official profits from their position while in office.
This is just a start. I’m certain that others can come up with more and better ideas to preserve and improve the US.