How We Fix America: A Course and a Plan

Our friend John Woodman has just released an important new book titled How We Fix America: A Course and a Plan It is available in paperback form on Amazon. The book is styled as a course with 13 “lessons” and is over 400 pages long.

I am currently taking the course and I will have more to say when I have completed it. John, as you would expect from him, has put a lot of research and soul searching into this effort. As I have been reading this the thought that occurred to me is How did we let this happen to ourselves? John makes a strong case that America has over the last 40 years or so transformed from from The American Dream Economy that our parents enjoyed to one of Fat Cat Capitalism in which the average American family is forfeiting thousands of dollars every year to enrich a small number of billionaires even more. Mr. Woodman backs up his claims with facts and figures.

John explains how it happened, what is wrong with our politics, and why our politicians are not responsive to our needs.

The good news is that it is not too late. We can fix America. I highly encourage all of you to get you hands on a copy.

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24 Responses to How We Fix America: A Course and a Plan

  1. gsgs says:

    he has a webpage , runs for Congress, left Republican Party in 2016
    https://woodman2022.com/

    • Yes, John left the Republican party after 35 years as a member. I think them picking Donald Trump as the nominee was the final straw for him.

      • RC, thanks so much for posting this! I just noticed you had done so. 🙂

        Yes, I encourage everyone who’s willing to wade through the course. And I’m always interested in feedback.

        You raised an interesting personal question for me, which is: How much of a factor was Trump in my leaving the Republican Party?

        And I’m not entirely sure. On the one hand, the GOP’s Trumpward turn would’ve been enough reason by itself. But by the spring of 2016, I had started the long chain of research and thought that’s eventually led to the above-mentioned course. In my own mind, I look at what I learned as the bigger factor.

        In fact, when I sat down to write out my rationale for having left the Republican Party and joined the Democratic one, I really only mentioned Trump as an example. He has pushed the party to be a more extreme version of what it already was. But what it was had already become pretty bad, at least for ordinary Americans.

        I just didn’t see it for a long time. You tend not to, if you’re in the Republican bubble.

        I know there was a time — maybe during or right after the 2016 election — when I was thinking, “What could we do to reclaim the Republican Party?”

        At some point, though, I gave up.on the idea.

        And I think what I learned while working on what would become the course was a big reason for that.

        Here’s an article that I wrote giving what I at least feel were my reasons for leaving:

        https://woodman2022.com/why-i-left-the-republican-party/

        • First, you are welcome.

          I should not presume to know your reasons for leaving the Republican party. I recall some conversations we had after the 2016 election about the direction of the Republican party and the country in general. I think if you were to write a book about the Republican party of 2022 it would best be titled “Profiles in Cowardice” which of course is a take on JFK’s best selling book. Chapters would include ones on Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Barr, and others.

          Early in the 2016 election cycle most Republicans were willing to speak openly about how bad Donald Trump was and how bad a president he would be. But after it was clear Trump was going to be nominated and was taking over the party these sniveling cowards grew silent. They knew that speaking out even if it would have been better for the country was not good for their careers. Take Ted Cruz (please!). Trump called his wife ugly yet you would never know from the way Cruz supported Trump time after time including both impeachment trials. What a complete coward.

          Not all Republicans gave in to Trumpism however. Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney and a few others have shown courage. Not to forget you John. It must be tough to leave an organization after all those years.

          You are correct that in evaluating political parties or candidates the important question to ask is “what will electing this person do to make America better?” We need to all apply that question to members of both parties.

          • Profiles in Cowardice would be a good title.

            Cruz was remarkable. He was crystal clear about what Trump was.

            Rubio was also a disappointment, along with so many others.

            • Rubio and Cruz are in abusive relationships. They have been publicly humiliated by Trump multiple times but they know they need Trump voters to remain in office. So they remain silent and come back for more abuse. Republicans who speak out usually pay a price. Look at Liz Cheney. She will probably be primaried by a loyal Trump supporter for her seat in Wyoming this year.

              • johnmwoodman says:

                I think they place far too much value on remaining in office.

              • Power is intoxicating so they have a strong incentive to prostrate themselves before Trump.

              • There seems to be a paradox in here.

                You want power, so you grovel to Trump? That doesn’t sound like power to me.

                It sounds more like protecting a position in which there are a bunch of people who treat you as important. Oh, Senator Bloggs, we’re honored to have you here today.

                But even a Senator is only one of 100 in the Senate.

                Of course, Cruz and Rubio have both run for President.

                Personally, I don’t think either one of them is deserving of the position.

              • Yes, it is somewhat of a paradox. Also, repudiating Trump would not necessarily guarantee they would lose. It would just increase the chances they might face a primary challenge.

                I think if you look at political jobs at the state level being senator ranks with being governor. There are only two senate positions. If they are from a small state they have a disproportionate say in passing or blocking federal legislation and confirming judges and other federal appointees. If you ask me if I would rather be governor of West Virginia or Wyoming or one of their senators I would choose the latter.

                In the end people like Cruz agree politically with Trump on a lot of issues so it’s easier for them to hold their noses and not call him out for what he is.

        • gsgs says:

          things have changed a lot in the last 100 years.
          IMO it’s time for new parties in USA.

          And America is OK, needn’t be fixed or made great (again).
          I know, it’s unpopular , won’t get you into Congress , but lets be content how it is ,
          preserve it and prepare for the challenges and threats.

          things have changed a lot in the last 100 years.
          IMO it’s time for new parties in USA.

          And America is OK, needn’t be fixed or made great (again).
          I know, it’s unpopular , won’t get you into Congress , but lets be content how it is ,
          preserve it and prepare for the challenges and threats.

          • America is not OK.

            America is FAR from OK.

            Just because it’s not as bad Afghanistan or Russia doesn’t mean it’s “OK.”

          • If I recall right, gsgs, you live in Germany. Correct?

            I live here in the US. I can tell you:

            It’s not OK.

            • gsgs, Germany says:

              America is not OK.
              America is FAR from OK.
              Just because it’s not as bad Afghanistan or Russia doesn’t mean it’s “OK.”

              see all the wiki-indices, international statistics. It’s not just Afghanistan and Russia.
              USA is among the top-countries in economy, finance, military, health, quality of life.
              See what your presidents said in the yearly SOTUAs.
              Life expectancy went from 40 to 77 since 1880, asymptotic now, not much more increase
              is possible due to biological reasons.
              Population went from 50M to 333M in that time, from 4M in 1792.
              Real GDP per capita increased 10 fold in that period.
              All 3 indicators were smoothly and continually increasing in 140 years.
              Credit default swaps are at 16 , it was 69 in early 2009.
              Wikipedia calculates a financial surplus of $120T or $300K per capita.

              Time to secure the gains and prepare against risks rather than speculating on
              further growth.
              TThreatening is.
              debt-default
              (nuclear) war
              pandemics (human made pathogens)
              climate change and other natural disasters

              And “inequality” is no problem, as long as the total position
              is good. I do not envy those who are better, as long as I’m good and
              the total value is still invested towards benefit of the society in the long run.
              That’s the American “caitalism” philosophy as opposed to socialism and communism,
              whose failure we saw in Germany in 1989 mainly because of financial reasons.

              • johnmwoodman says:

                Most Americans can’t come up with $1000 for an emergency. This is in spite of the fact that we work longer hours than the people of just about any European country.

                Many Americans have student loan debts that can be $100,000 or more. They can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. We have a friend who has thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt, she’s had the debts for 30 years, and will probably go to her grave in debt.

                When you look at how much wealth we’re producing per capita, it’s about twice as much as we were producing a generation ago. But 95% of Americans aren’t getting their share of that. Why? Because our increase in wealth production is going to those at the very top.

                Our political system no longer serves the best interest of the people. It’s proven fact that although there are some Representatives who care about representing the people, as a whole, Congress does not care in the slightest what the American people want or need. They only care about fulfilling the wishes of the biggest political donors, who give vast sums of money to their political campaigns and who provide them with lucrative jobs after they leave office.

                This makes it impossible to solve a lot of problems, because solving the problem is not in the interest of the people who are funding the politicians.

                The rigged economy alone is costing the typical American family between $24,000 and $31,000 a year, every single year.

                In spite of the vast amounts of money that we spent on health Care — and we spend twice as much as the people of any other country on Earth — we have millions of people who still don’t really have access to decent healthcare. We are the only developed country on Earth that does not provide healthcare for all of its citizens.

                No, there’s plenty wrong in the United States of America.

          • America changed fundamentally beginning in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan. Politicians, especially Republicans, began pushing the lie that Trickle Down Economics, aka Reaganomics, aka, supply side economics would make life better for the average American. Instead it has caused trillions of dollars to be appropriated from the lower and middle class to a very few wealthy and powerful people.

            For example:

            Between 1979 and 2019, net productivity grew 59.7% while a typical (median) worker’s compensation grew by 15.8%, a 43.9 percentage point divergence driven by inequality. The effects have been felt broadly: During this period, 90% of U.S. workers experienced wage growth (26%) far slower than the economywide average, while workers in the top 1% (mostly highly credentialed professionals and corporate managers) saw 160% wage growth (Mishel and Kandra 2020) and owners of capital reaped large rewards made possible only by this anemic wage growth for the bottom 90%.

            Growing inequalities, reflecting growing employer power, have generated a productivity–pay gap since 1979

            • johnmwoodman says:

              There are a couple of ways of measuring our increase in productivity. If I recall correctly, EPI is using the consumer price index to account for inflation. I use the personal consumption expenditures index, which the Fed says is more accurate.

              That estimate also goes to 2019, and we are in 2022.

              I generally try to say that “we are producing about twice as much wealth as we were a generation ago,” or “we’re producing close to twice as much wealth as we were a generation ago.”

              Some folks have tracked the beginning of the changes to the business cycle during the Carter administration, just before Reagan– not that President Carter was responsible. But there were others who set things in motion that would be taken up with enthusiasm by Reagan and those around him.

              “Trickle Down Economics” is at the heart of much of this.

    • And yes, I’m running for the United States Congress!

      The course was really written from as much as a nonpartisan point of view as possible.

      But I’m running for Congress as a Democrat.

      Why as a Democrat? Because having identified what I’m confident are our greatest, most crucial issues, I see hope for those to be addressed through the Democratic Party — but I do not at this time see any real hope for those to be addressed through the Republican one.

      In fact, in many instances, Republicans seem to be perpetuating or driving those same critical problems.

      The odd thing is that the foundation for this was laid long ago.

      The Republican Party, of course, was founded as America’s abolition-of-slavery party. It now annoys me that today’s Republican Party claims heritage from men such as John Charles Fremont and Abraham Lincoln. Organizationally, the lineage has been continuous, but over time they have turned their backs on those spiritual roots. The biggest turn of course seems to have come during the Civil Rights Era.

      Also, from 1901 to 1909, Teddy Roosevelt set the Republican Party up to become America’s champion for ordinary Americans — and then tore it all down.

      He left the Presidency to his great friend and Vice President, William Howard Taft, but then was unhappy with what Taft was doing.

      So he came back, decided to take the Presidency from his (now pretty much former) friend, and tried to wrest back control of the Party.

      It was too late, and he failed.

      At that point, he founded the Bull Moose Party, split the vote, and put Woodrow Wilson into the White House.

      Wilson adopted the Progressive mantle. His successor, Republican Warren Harding, seems to have been more concerned with meeting his lover in the White House coat closet and with the disastrous scandals caused by his corrupt friends and appointees than he was about progressivism. His successor, Republican Calvin Coolidge, did not take up the progressive mantle, and his successor, Herbert Hoover, clearly did not as well.

      Hoover was followed by Teddy’s Democratic cousin, Franklin, and if the pattern of future history had not become set in stone by that time, it was now.

      So if you want to know why I’m a Democrat today and not a Republican, it ultimately has something to do with the fact that Teddy Roosevelt, who was otherwise a great man and a great President, couldn’t leave well enough alone.

  2. One good step towards fixing America was electing Joe Biden to be President. His leadership during the Ukraine crisis has been nothing short of remarkable. Trump (aka the former guy) had done everything he could to destroy NATO and our special relationship with the EU.

    President Biden began undoing the damage Trump had done on day 1 of his presidency. I think honest people are realizing what a great leader he has been.

    • I consider Biden a step in the right direction, and have enormous respect for the positive things that he’s done and achieved.

      But in order to do what really must be done, we will ultimately need leadership beyond President Biden’s.

      In order to really set America back on the right track, we will need:

      A much greater consensus on our greatest needs and priorities. We will need to break through both the disinformation that you and I have been fighting for the past 11 years, and through the noise about issues that may be important but are not the most important, such as immigration, arguments over LGBTQ issues, and so forth.

      Comprehensive, thorough, no-holds-barred anti-corruption reform. This will pave the way to rebuild government that serves the best interest of the People. (Or, to quote Lincoln, “government of the People, BY the People, FOR the People.”)

      A focus on fully restoring American Dream Capitalism — an economic system in which the economy grows faster, and everyone get better off — but the middle class and working class get better off the fastest.

      President Biden has outperformed my expectations for a leader who came up through and was therefore molded by the system. Such leaders are normally a good bet during any era in which the system is basically working well and great change is not needed, as they normally exhibit solid performance along conventional lines.

      When great change is needed, the only real option is to roll the dice on leadership that comes from outside of the system. Two of our highest-ranked Presidents, for example — Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln — were outsiders with a “thin political resume.” They were unshaped by the system. Instead, they reshaped it.

      The American People instinctively understood this in 2016. The problem is that when complete outsiders enter the Presidency, they tend to be either among the best, or among the worst.

      Trump did his best to reshape the system, but not in service of the American People — instead, he has tried (and is still trying!) to reshape America entirely to his own selfish benefit, with zero actual concern for the welfare of the nation.

      If you know what to look for, all of the warning signs — such as a previous life of massive, unearned privilege — were there.

      The leadership that we actually, deeply need — at all levels from local government, through state government, on through to Congress and the Presidency — will be committed to the three priorities above.

      Those are the priorities that actually serve the People.

  3. A slight update: Some useful things are becoming more clear.

    I now have an approach to abortion that is (measurably) more than five times as “pro-life” as what we’ve been sold by the politicians on the right.

    Why more than five times? Because that’s how much more effective it is in actually reducing abortion than attempts to legally prohibit it.

    I also consider it to be more Christian, because it’s based on service, not domination (Mark 20:25-28).

    It’s also more in harmony with our fundamental American values of liberty and democracy.

    And it doesn’t require making abortion illegal or unavailable. On the contrary, my approach calls for us to expand abortion availability.

    Yes, that’s correct. We make abortion more available, AND have much less of it — along with other positive ripple effects throughout our society.

    I’m also trying to put the finishing touches on an updated approach to deal with mass shootings. We know what causes them. We know how to stop them.

    My approach on dealing with mass shootings will involve some “gun control” measures, but not any that would more than slightly inconvenience the typical gun own. I’m a gun owner. There’s not a single thing in there that I would flinch at.

    There are solutions to the problems we face.

    • John, thank you for the update. Where will the details be available?

      • Some things I am releasing online, potentially on Facebook and on my campaign website, JohnMWoodman.com.

        I am working on a book on a genuinely Christian response to our abortion politics. As far as I can tell, I think I’ve pretty well mined the major ideas, but any manuscript is a complete mess right now. I have no idea when I will be able to finish it. I am thinking of aiming for a traditional publisher with this one. Again, I have no idea when it might be available, but it’s in the works.

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