According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a problem is something that needs to be addressed: “A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.” Our problem briefs are intelligence briefs that describe problems that affect the health and well-being of American society. We prepare these intelligence briefs from the best of available knowledge to give you, the citizen CEOs of our democracy, a platform for understanding the problems and making critical decisions in all parts of your lives.

Our objective in preparing and presenting these briefs is to provide a framework for focusing on and more fully understanding the issues that ebb and flow in the daily news stream. As much as possible, we attempt to identify and filter out the noise – the distractions, the disinformation, and the misdirections that are often designed by special interests and their political mouthpieces to prevent productive discussion and real problem solving. Through this framework, we seek to provide enough common ground to bridge partisan differences and build the political will to accomplish what needs to be done.

Briefs to be developed

Income & Wealth Inequality: Since 1981, there has been a significant and widening gap in income as executive compensation among the largest companies has risen much faster than that of the typical worker. The result has been a growing concentration of wealth that is counter-productive to our market-based consumer economy and also undermines the principles of American democracy.

Immigration: The increase in the number of immigrants to the US has brought renewed focus to our broken immigration system. Recent efforts to fix the system have again raised questions about the value immigrants bring to our country and who is to be held accountable for the presence of so many illegals. With climate change likely to contribute to even greater numbers of migrants and automation steadily eliminating jobs, we may need to find a new balance between the aspirations of the American melting pot and new economic and environmental realities.

Money in Politics: Wealth provides political access to the few who possess it and leaves those who lack financial resources with no voice, or a very quiet voice, in the political process. It follows that as wealth shifts to a small percent of the population, so too does political influence. While the US continues to have free elections, in many cases, and especially at the state and national levels, the wealthiest individuals contribute vast sums of money to promote the candidates and policies that they prefer.

Racism: Racism in America has many outward manifestations in the inequities of our way of life, particularly evident in the distribution of wealth, access to healthcare, and protections under the law. Rooted in our tribal instincts, racism is so baked into our culture that it often challenges our desire to exterminate it at the same time that it fuels our desire to do so. Sadly, we don’t believe that racism can be extinguished, but we do think its expression can be limited and its manifestations eliminated. We can’t change how someone’s life experience makes them feel towards others, but we can change the world around them so that diversity and social equity are the norm and resistance to them is viewed as undemocratic and unpatriotic.

Judicial inequity: Democratic society depends on the rule of law and trust in the institutions set up to enforce and improve it. For too long, the law has been unevenly applied and law breakers of different socio-economic status held to different standards of accountability and justice. At the same time, Congress, the Justice Department, and other more local institutions have given Americans many new reasons to fear that the legal system is breaking down. In the broad context of American life, it is evident that the processes designed to keep the law from becoming a tool of the rich and powerful have been subverted.