By Julie Margetta Morgan & Ganesh Sitaraman
Earlier this week, we launched the Great Democracy Initiative, a project aimed at producing bold, progressive solutions to the biggest problems facing our country.
Since the 2016 election, America has faced a torrent of tweet-storms and scandals that dominate the news cycle, while masking the implementation of a destructive policy agenda. These near-daily fire alarms can make it difficult to focus on the fact that progressives still lack comprehensive policy solutions that target the greatest threats to our democracy: corruption in government, unaccountable policymakers, an economy captured by powerful corporations, wealth inequality, and divisiveness in our communities.
Teddy Roosevelt once said that, “A great democracy has got to be progressive, or else it will soon cease to be either great or a democracy.” Inspired by Roosevelt’s words, as well as his legacy, the Great Democracy Initiative will release detailed policy proposals that offer progressive solutions to the biggest problems of our time.
As a first step, we released two new papers this week that offer solutions to key problems that are plaguing our society and our policymakers. First, we tackled the dominance of platforms like Facebook and Google in Regulating Tech Platforms: A Blueprint for Reform. Political leaders and even technology industry executives have acknowledged the need for federal regulation of technology platforms, but they have not offered reforms to target the issues that tech platforms present: inhibition of competition, restraint on innovation, and exploitation of individuals’ privacy. Our report provides an aggressive framework for regulating tech platforms, calling for restrictions on these companies’ ability to develop integrated business lines that compete on their platforms, comprehensive data privacy and data use protections, and reinvigorated antitrust enforcement.
Second, we released Unstacking the Deck: A New Agenda to Tame Corruption in Washington. Though government corruption continues to top rankings of Americans’ biggest concerns about our government and policymakers often rail against the influence of lobbyists and big money in Washington, we do not have a comprehensive plan for weeding out the influence of money in policymaking. This report proposes a new federal agency that consolidates the patchwork of ethics and integrity offices in the federal government, as well as a plan to slow the revolving door from industry to top government positions. The report also outlines proposals that would give the public more insight into government decision-making and more power to challenge the corruption they see.
In the coming weeks and months, we will build on this foundation by partnering with progressive thinkers to produce policy blueprints aimed at reforming our broken government, breaking the stranglehold that big corporations have on our economy, protecting our democracy from global threats, and building a prosperous, safe, and healthy society for all Americans.