FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It’s Easier Than You Think

by RALPH NADER

It’s easier than you think.  That’s the way I start discussions and interviews about my new book titled, “Seventeen Solutions.”

The “solutions” were selected for their long-overdue practicality, fairness, efficiency, safety, employment potential and respect for future generations.  A majority of the people, sometimes a large majority, support such redirections. The effects of many of the “solutions” start being seen immediately.

Don’t most Americans believe and want strong law enforcement against corporate crime and fraud and abuses against consumers, taxpayers, the environment and workers?  The first step is telling your member of Congress to toughen the weak laws and beef up the law enforcement budgets which will pay for themselves many, many times over in deterrence, damage prevention to innocent people, and fines.

It has been taken off the table by both Democrats and Republicans, but a majority of people (including physicians and nurses) want full Medicare for all with free choice of doctor and hospital.  Better outcomes, simpler to use, far less expensive per capita, timely diagnoses and treatment, and tens of thousands of American lives saved a year, are the fruits.

Who in your communities doesn’t want public facilities (public works) repaired and expanded to meet needs?  Ending the vast disrepair in our water and sewage systems, schools, clinics, libraries, public transit, highways and bridges creates well-paying jobs that cannot be exported to China.

Reducing the well-documented, bloated military budget, can release monies for repairing America.  Demilitarizing our foreign policy will save the horrendous costs and after costs of these boomeranging wars of aggressive choice.

Get Congress to have “skin in the game,” such as no health and other benefits for them, unless all people have them.  There would be no taking our country into war without all able-bodied and age-qualified children of the Senators and Representatives being drafted into the armed forces. This duty will encourage Congress to attend to its deliberative, constitutional obligations and not heave them over to a lawless, out-of-control presidency.

Build family and community resistance and engage in alternatives to the commercial exploitation of children by non-stop big corporate marketers. These tricksters undermine and bypass parental authority to sell children junk food, violent programming and other things corrosive of their minds and bodies.  Want to poll parent’s reactions to those tricks among beleaguered parents who have lost much control of their children to corporatism?

Getting corporations off welfare, making them pay their fair share of taxes (GE is a profitable tax escapee that even gets checks from the Treasury Department due to the rigged tax code), taxing dividends and capital gains the same as ordinary income of working people, and imposing a tiny sales tax on massive Wall Street speculation are changes an overwhelming number of people support.

These advances, along with restoring our civil liberties, using regular government purchasing specifications for better goods and services to stimulate innovation and safety with our tax dollars, are easier than you think.  The engine for these changes is organizing Congressional watchdog groups in every Congressional District around these and other solutions.  Taking democratic control of the 535 members of Congress, with its ample constitutional authorities, is a lot easier than you think.

Moving our consumer dollars away from global corporations to local community banks, credit unions, farmer markets, renewable energy, and community health clinics, with emphasis on prevention, is a lot easier than you think.  Stronger local economies are more self-reliant, they won’t be shut down and shipped away or abroad by absentee owners making life-altering unaccountable decisions in their skyscrapers.

Local democracy is, like most ventures in life, a learning process of civic skills and experience.  Starting in elementary and high schools, youngsters can shed their apathy or despair by working on real problems in the communities as part of their school-to-community courses.  Look at all those high school physics, biology, and chemistry labs that, for example, can be testing air, water, soil samples and electromagnetic levels, and reporting the results to their community.

Studying books such as the newly released Slow Democracy (Chelsea Press, 2012) will give you many examples and tools to demonstrate that it’s easier than you think.

Last September, prominent Cornell Economics Professor, Robert Frank wrote a column for The New York Times with the headline “Nation’s Choices Needn’t Be Painful.”  He wrote of infrastructure capital improvement programs, new tax policies, reducing highway congestion, curbing carbon emissions and other remedial actions that pay off.

Professor Frank, who told me he’s going to write “a small book” on his assertions, says “the endless hand-wringing about painful economic choices is misguided.  With a few simple policy changes, we could restore full employment, rebuild crumbling infrastructure and pay down the national debt without requiring real sacrifices from anyone.”

Making all this and more happen needs some three million Americans (the other one percent) organized and focused on Congress and state legislatures in ways that reflect the “public sentiment.” We have to stop being so discouraged and solution-averse, especially since we have so many solutions already on the shelf, but not on the ground, because we’ve let the few make so many centralized, top-down decisions for us – “we the people.”

No one can stop us from taking these initiatives, except, that is, ourselves. To send us your “solutions” and to order an autographed copy of Seventeen Solutions, visit:http://www.seventeensolutions.com/

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 31, 2016
NEVE GORDON - NICOLA PERUGINI
Human Shields as Preemptive Legal Defense for Killing Civilians
Jim Kavanagh
Turkey Invades Syria, America Spins The Bottle
Dave Lindorff
Ukraine and the Dumbed-Down New York Times Columnist
Pepe Escobar
Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, a Woman of Honor, Confronts Senate of Scoundrels
Jeff Mackler
Playing the Lesser Evil Game to the Hilt
Steve Horn
Dakota Access Pipeline Tribal Liaison Formerly Worked For Agency Issuing Permit
Patrick Cockburn
Has Turkey Overplayed Its Hand in Syria?
John Chuckman
Why Hillary is the Perfect Person to Secure Obama’s Legacy
Manuel E. Yepe
The New Cold War Between the US and China
Stephen Cooper
Ending California’s Machinery of Death
Stacy Keltner - Ashley McFarland
Women, Party Politics, and the Power of the Naked Body
Hiroyuki Hamada - Ikuko Isa
A Letter from Takae, Okinawa
Aidan O'Brien
How Did Syria and the Rest Do in the Olympics?
David Swanson
Arms Dealing Is Subject of Hollywood Comedy
Jesse Jackson
The Politics of Bigotry: Trump and the Black Voter
August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Sam Husseini
Why We Should All Remain Seated: the Anti-Muslim Origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
Dmitry Kovalevich
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus as Fear and Loathing Grip Europe
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
Paul Messersmith-Glavin
100 in Anarchist Years
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail