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News and stories from the campaign to reclaim individual responsibility and liberate Americans from bureaucracy and legal fear.

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Health Courts offer common ground between former rivals

In an era of divisive politics, it’s critical that leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize those areas where progress can be made independently of party lines and political interests. As President Obama and Governor Romney meet for lunch today at the White House, one such issue where common ground may be found is health courts.

Both candidates—in addition to numerous members of Congress—have expressed support for the health courts model of medical malpractice reform, which would decrease costs, increase reliability and improve access for patients.

Now is a good time for these two leaders to join together in pushing health courts as a bipartisan step forward for American healthcare.

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Defining “Big Change”

Common Good Chair Philip K. Howard, in a new article for The Huffington Post, outlines a bold platform of eight structural reforms to address the unsustainable waste and inefficiency that plague government. "These changes would balance the budget, end government paralysis, and begin to transform America's public culture," he writes. "Americans know we need it. Are any leaders bold enough to say it?"

Howard’s proposed reforms include radically simplifying regulation, freeing schools from crushing bureaucracy, cleaning out obsolete laws and programs, and ending tax subsidies for the rich. Read the rest of his proposals here.

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Rules Can’t Think: Why Government Needs Radical Simplification

Six months ago, Common Good and The Atlantic teamed up to create an online forum series, America the Fixable, about common sense answers for America’s pressing challenges. Now, to conclude the series, Common Good Chair Philip K. Howard has written a final essay on the urgency of big change. “Today,” he writes, “government is too dense for anyone to act sensibly, much less make a difference. Leadership is impossible, and often illegal. Accountability is nonexistent.”

Serious change isn’t a choice anymore, Philip writes—it’s a necessity. “Nothing much about government works sensibly today. The public spigot is wide open, wasting almost as much as it is helping. America can't afford it. Everyone knows the structure must be rebuilt—that's what this series reveals.”

Read the rest of Philip Howard’s essay here, and see the full America the Fixable series here.

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Poll: Voters Say Complicated Regulations Hurt Job Creation

A new survey conducted for Common Good by Clarus Research Group reveals that 64% of U.S. voters nationwide believe "complicated" rules and regulations are "major impediments" to job creation.

According to the survey:

  • 87% of voters believe "there is a need for Congress to go through old laws, regulations and programs on a regular basis to eliminate those that are no longer needed or that may not work as originally intended."
  • 57% of support the idea of a "one-stop shop" for small business approvals and permitting.
  • 59% think "Congress should create an infrastructure super-authority to reduce permitting and regulatory delays so that new transportation, energy, and environmental projects could be approved within one year of application."

Read our press release for more survey results.

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69% Of Small Business Owners Say Complicated Government Regulations Impede Job Creation

Common Good recently commissioned a nationwide poll of 500 small business owners and managers that looks at the effects of government regulation on job creation. The results were striking:

  • 86 percent said regulations would be more effective in protecting public health and safety if they gave business "clear, certain goals" as well as "more freedom to use common sense in making daily decisions."
  • 68 percent said more businesses are investing in new technology rather than new employees "to avoid complications created by federal employment laws, mandates and regulations.”
  • 89 percent said most government bureaucrats make decisions "based on rules and not on common sense."

For more results from the small business survey, see Common Good’s press release.

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5 Non-Partisan Job Creation Ideas That Could Actually Work

With a stubbornly high unemployment rate and tepid economic growth, paving the way for new jobs has never been more important. Ross DeVol of the Milken Institute, in an essay for America the Fixable, explains how a few simple reforms could make a big difference—and gain bipartisan support.

DeVol’s suggestions include an improved visa system to attract creative talent and skilled workers from abroad, increased tax incentives for research and development, and a streamlined corporate tax system that would encourage domestic investment.

Read about DeVol’s ideas here, and visit America the Fixable to find more ideas for job creation.

"America the Fixable" is an online magazine collaboration between The Atlantic and Common Good. It provides a bipartisan forum for the presentation of bold, new ideas to reform America's governmental and legal system—ideas that need to be part of the 2012 debate and beyond.

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Want More Jobs? Clean Up Our Messy Regulatory System

How can we create more private sector jobs? Philip K. Howard, Chair of Common Good, proposes four new ideas in the latest article for America the Fixable. “Stimulating immediate job growth,” he writes, “requires creating conditions that encourage human initiative. This requires toppling the sacred legal cows that make it costly and time-consuming to pursue almost any new project, public or private.”

Howard’s plan includes radically simplifying regulation, a "one-stop shop" for small business approvals,  an infrastructure super-authority to quickly approve certain public projects and minimizing the legal risk of hiring new employees.

Read about these reform proposals and more at America the Fixable.

"America the Fixable" is an online magazine collaboration between The Atlantic and Common Good. It provides a bipartisan forum for the presentation of bold, new ideas to reform America's governmental and legal system—ideas that need to be part of the 2012 debate.

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Will More Immigrants Improve the Economy?

America the Fixable, Common Good's online forum with The Atlantic, has begun a new series of essays on job creation and the economy. Kicking off the series is a piece by Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, co-founder of America Online, and member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Case argues that by inviting more immigrants who are skilled workers and entrepreneurs, we can create more jobs and improve the economy: "For a country trying to recover from the deepest recession in generations, we're undermining our economic competitiveness when we make it harder, not easier, for talented immigrants to stay here and contribute to our economy. This has to change."

Check out Case's article here, and keep up with America the Fixable--in the coming weeks we'll feature pieces by Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress, Lenny Mendonca of McKinsey & Company, Enrico Moretti of Berkeley, Philip K. Howard, and many others.

The series will also include results from a new, Common Good-sponsored poll of small business people on job creation.

"America the Fixable" is an online magazine collaboration between The Atlantic and Common Good. It provides a bipartisan forum for the presentation of bold, new ideas to reform America's governmental and legal system—ideas that need to be part of the 2012 debate.

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Reforming Outdated Regulation Gains Political Momentum

Reviewing obsolete regulations, an issue championed by Common Good, is now gaining political steam as both parties write their platforms. It's a rare instance of bipartisan agreement this election cycle--the Obama administration and the Republican platform are both calling for reform of outmoded regulations that cost time and money without delivering intended benefits. The Republican platform proposes "a sunset requirement to force reconsideration of out-of-date regulations," while President Obama issued an executive order earlier this year "requiring federal agencies to continue to scrutinize rules on the books to see if they really make sense."

Common Good has long maintained that obsolete law and regulation impose major economic costs and prevent government from addressing today's problems. Read our Issue Brief on obsolete law and bureaucracy for a closer look at how to address the challenge of, as Philip K. Howard has put it, "democracy by dead people."

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The Only Way to Fix Campaign-Finance Regulation Is to Destroy It

In an article for America the Fixable at The Atlantic, Ron Faucheux, Senior Consultant for Common Good and President of the Clarus Research Group, observes, “Insanity is doing something over and over, but expecting a different result. That pretty well describes campaign finance reform in America. The worse the system gets, the more we regulate it. The more we regulate it, the worse it gets.”

Faucheux says, “Over the last four decades, the campaign finance system has become a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption of complex, senseless, and indecipherable regulations.” To fix it, he proposes eliminating campaign contribution caps.

Caps on campaign donations were intended to “keep wealthy individuals... from dropping millions into campaign treasuries” but with billionaires contributing millions into Super PACs, these limits have not succeeded, argues Faucheux. “Contribution caps have given birth to a lot of the things today's editorial writers and good-government types detest, including super PACs and, of course, the new whipping boy of campaign finance--the misunderstood Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.”

In addition to eliminating contribution caps, Faucheux also proposes full disclosure of all political donations and expenditures and reinstituting the $50 campaign-contribution income-tax credit that existed between 1972 and 1986.

Read the rest of Faucheux’s proposal here.

"America the Fixable" is an online magazine collaboration between The Atlantic and Common Good. It provides a bipartisan forum for the presentation of bold, new ideas to reform America's governmental and legal system—ideas that need to be part of the 2012 debate.

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