My remarks when receiving the Ridenhour Courage Award were written in Union Station on my way to the event. But my concluding comment — that we are near a point when the American people should contemplate a centrist third party — was not an idle spur-of-the-moment reflection.
I was in government 40 years, long enough to understand how aging organizations can evolve into self-licking ice cream cones1, organizations whose main purpose becomes self-perpetuation rather than accomplishment of their supposed objectives. The public can see this tendency in our politicians, our Congress, and our major political parties.
Our government has failed to address climate, energy, and economic challenges. These challenges, addressed together, actually can be a great opportunity. Our democracy and economic system still have great potential for innovation and rapid adoption of improved technologies, if the government provides the right conditions and gets out of the way.
The Solution is Not Rocket Science
Conservatives and liberals alike can recognize the merit of honest pricing of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels today receive subsidies and do not pay their costs to society. Human health costs of pollution from fossil fuel burning and fossil fuel mining are borne by the public. Climate disruption costs are borne by the victims and all taxpayers.
This market distortion makes our economy less efficient and less competitive. Fixing this problem is not rocket science. The solution can be simple and transparent.