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.” The intelligence briefs listed below describe problems that affect the health and well-being of American society.

Our objective in presenting these briefs is to provide a framework for focusing on and understanding the issues described as problems in need of solutions. 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.

Big Government: The federal government is a hodgepodge of agencies and subagencies, albeit a mostly effective one, created by congressional legislation at various times in our nation’s history (see Growth of Government Services Timeline). It has grown organically in response to changing priorities and problems confronted by the nation. Today, it is estimated that there are more than 400 federal agencies, sub-agencies, and departments – exact numbers, however, are hard to come by as sources vary in their estimates.

Climate Change: Our best available science tells us that current changes occurring to the earth’s climate are likely to create widespread shortages of food and drinkable water, submerge thousands of coastal cities and smaller communities, and increase the spread and virulence of infectious diseases. As vast regions of the planet are affected by climate change, the Department of Defense, industry leaders, and numerous city and county governments are among those who are preparing climate change action plans to ready themselves for the anticipated impacts.

Income & Wealth Inequality: Since 1980, 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 that undermines the principles of American democracy.

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.

What are your priorities?

Use the text box below to let us know which problems you would like us to cover next – or suggest a problem that is not yet on the list. Your voice matters.