"Real change doesn't start with the introduction of legislation. Instead, it starts years earlier when a visionary group frames a problem, advances research, and formulates possible solutions -- and then keeps on pushing the issues into the public arena."
That's from Elizabeth Warren, the Chair of the TARP oversight panel. She's absolutely right. Policy development is one of the strongest tools progressives have got at our disposal -- and we don't do nearly enough of it. The only amendment I would offer to Ms. Warren's statement is that an individual can do the job as well as a group -- and a very small group of two or three people can do the job as well as a big, well-funded organization.
She goes on to say:
"Without those years of hard work from Demos, the Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights would never have been conceived, much less made into law."
The organization is Demos, a New York based think tank that I encourage all readers to join. They've got some great ideas and have done the most research on one of my favorite reforms: more inclusive voter registration!