message from Changegov founder
Over the last few years as I listened to the experts describe the dysfunctional Washington I felt that I was watching a great country slowly sink. A government running trillion dollar deficits that will crush the next generation, a structural inability and apparent unwillingness to address major problems. Gridlock while the ship is sinking. Is democracy over?
I wanted to understand what happened and why Washington had gotten to the point of dysfunction. So I started reading books by past members of Congress such as Lee Hamilton, Bill Bradley, Olympia Snowe, Don Reigle, as well as congressional historians, Mann, Orenstein among others. I wanted to understand why.
I learned that the answer is complex, but at the core the fundamental “business model” is flawed. The system is structured in a way that policy is driven not by the general interest, but the special interests. The rise of an elite political class supported by Wall Street, big business and the K Street lobbyists keep the elite in power at the expense of the public. It is a fundamentally corrupt system which is why 3 of 4 Americans have lost faith in their Government.
My conclusion was that until the financial connection between the special interests and policy is severed government will remain broken. The populace will continue to lose faith in its government. Democracy itself is at risk.
There are initiatives that can address this, but the divergence of interests between the public and those they elect makes progress nearly impossible.
The problem is that the people who would make these decisions are conflicted. Although dysfunctional, the status quo is actually working well on personal basis for those on the inside. It is notable that the wealthiest zip codes in America are now around Washington DC.
This problem requires a dramatic change and can best be addressed by rotation (term limits), which was the intention of the founders. It is the first critical step to a reset and this is our focus.
We are all in this together. Without a function US Congress, this ship will sink. We are taking on water. The time to act is now.
Brett R. Johnson is the founder of Main Street Policy Group, a 501 c 4 he formed in 2013 to begin research solutions to stagnant growth and the role of public policy. The organization tag line “Those that make America run need to start running America” reflects his view that public policy related to job creation is best done by those who create the jobs in America: its entrepreneurs and small business owners. This is a group he feels largely disengaged from politics and that if organized could become a powerful force for change and growth.
Mr. Johnson has a long background as an entrepreneur having started 9 companies both successful and unsuccessful over his career. His background as an entrepreneur includes founding the Minnesota Collaborative and was founder and editor of Minnesota Ventures magazine and of Law & Politics magazine, now a Thomson Reuters publication called SuperLawyers. He founded Cornerdrugstore.com an online network of 2,000 local drugstores throughout the U.S. His non-profit background includes founding the Environmental Initiative in 1990. The organization has become a model for other regional environmental initiatives.
More recently he is founder and CEO of OneMedMarket, a New York based research and media company focused on finding the most promising investment opportunities in emerging growth companies in healthcare and life sciences globally. He founded the OneMedForum a prominent growth company investment conference which has been held in San Francisco since 2008 that helps promising ventures access capital and resources. He currently works with a select group of companies with breakthroughs in such areas as Obesity, Parkinson’s Disease, Stoke, Addiction.
In addition to his healthcare expertise he has focus on capital formation and has run panels and at his conferences and written on the JOBS Act (Crowdfunding) and its impact on capital formation. He wrote a Guide Regulation A+ for Growth Companies and is currently producing an educational portal on Regulation A+. His view is that the lack of liquidity for private companies is a deterrent to capital formation and working to foster the development of a secondary marketplace for trading shares of privately held healthcare and life science companies. He received his degree in economics from Harvard University.
ORIGINS / MGMT
Main Street Policy Group