All in Business

So we are left with a vivid understanding: Multinational oil corporations cannot be properly held accountable, and, if left unchecked, they are capable of strongly influencing United States foreign policy and policies on energy and climate change in ways that are inconsistent with government’s ultimate goal of promoting the well-being of the American people.

If the system is broken, then it must be fixed. The question, of course, is how. It might be helpful to first look toward public policy elsewhere that has succeeded in reducing inequality and involving citizens more in governmental deliberations. In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, a municipal policy called participatory budgeting (PB), which has democratized the process of city budgeting, has succeeded in accomplishing just that.

The United States’ national deficit exceeds $13 trillion—over $42,000 per US resident. With U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) at $14 trillion in 2009, our debt-to-GDP ratio is 93 percent and growing. Japan enjoyed 90 percent debt-to-GDP levels in 1995. Following two decades of stagnant growth, Japan now risks exceeding 190 percent. 15 years from now, America’s Debt-to-GDP ratio may double as well.

The Internet’s capacity for making information seamlessly accessible is even more impressive given its largely unregulated and decentralized nature. This freedom from regulation has allowed superior technologies like Google to quickly make themselves the standard. Yet although the protocols and codes for the Internet belong to the private sector, important components of the Internet rest within the grasp of a single power: the United States government.

The nuclear industry, despite a rough patch in the past few decades, may be poised for a major renaissance. As the prices of conventional fuels such as coal and natural gas skyrocket, nuclear power has become increasingly attractive to utilities looking for stable operating costs, environmentally friendly sources of energy, and insurance against geopolitical threats to energy security. Finally, in an era of rising concern over energy security, the nuclear industry is being promoted as a domestic solution to the nation’s demand for imported energy.

President Bush is leading a major tax code overhaul. For more than two decades, a growing number of free-market economists and conservative politicians have been planning to overthrow the entire federal taxation system. If successful, these radical reformers would effectively shift the burden of taxation from wealth onto wages and therefore onto lowerincome Americans. This idea is known as the consumption tax.