Independence, or… privatization?


Best idea I’ve heard all day, from the Washington Post:

Some say the president should set aside, or scrap, his Social Security plan and dedicate his second term instead to dramatically restructuring the way Americans power their businesses, homes and cars. They cite the confluence of three events as reason to act immediately: the steep rise in oil and gas prices, increased U.S. dependency on the oil-rich Middle East and skyrocketing demand for oil in China and India.

Note that the “some say” in the first sentence include several key Republican luminaries, including “Frank J. Gaffney Jr., a Reagan administration defense official, R. James Woolsey, a former director of central intelligence, and Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, a Christian group.” None of these folks are laboring under the delusion that the energy bill now circulating through Congress, mostly just stuffed to the gills with handouts for GOP donors, is at all a serious step forward.

The sad part is, George W. Bush is the one person who could really lead the charge on promoting energy independence. With has vast array of business connections, he more than anyone else could pull a “Nixon goes to China”: pressure automakers into supporting higher fuel efficiency standards, crack down on CO2 emissions, invest in R&D for alternative energy sources, perhaps even levy a gas tax that would make those fuel-inefficient behemoths on the road a little less palatable to the average car-buyer. The U.S. could hop out in front on developing the leading energy technology of the 21st century. Bush could make this happen in a way that no Democratic president ever could—if only because of the oh-so-predictable antipathy from Big Oil and Big Auto and Big whatever else. Yes, Bush could do all this, and leave a lasting and positive mark on this country, permanently improving our economic and national security.

But no, instead he’s spending all his time shuffling around the country, lying through his teeth about Social Security, and sleazily touting a program that would slash benefits, force the U.S. to borrow trillions from China, and expose ordinary Americans to risk, hassle, and uncertainty.

Lame.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.