Thursday, November 03, 2011

A message from Paul Thacker


It’s been a great year, and now I’m moving on. I’ve accepted a position as Chief of Investigations at United Republic, a new nonprofit coming online soon. I'm starting December 1st. We should be up and running by the beginning of the new year. In this new position I’m going to expand into areas beyond science, medicine, and the environment. I’ve spent almost a decade on these topics, and it’s going to be hard to leave it behind.

I want to thank everyone who helped me over the last ten years.

I’ve also found a foundation that will fund the research for my first book, which is going to be on Congress. More on that next year, when the project is further along.

What are we going to do at United Republic? Well, in the last several weeks citizens in more than 100 cities across the nation began protesting against the excesses of America’s richest one percent. United Republic is about those citizens – all of us who feel that corporations and institutions have taken over our lives. We may not support equality of outcome in the United States, but we do demand equality of opportunity.

The idea of equal opportunity underlies our Constitution, and we’re organizing around the idea that it needs to make a comeback.

Why are we worried?

The Congressional Budget Office recently found that the richest one percent of Americans tripled their wealth from 1979 to 2007. The rest of us weren’t as fortunate. At the same time, the best predictor of acceptance to elite colleges – the springboards to higher income – is not your I.Q., grades, or SAT score. It’s how much your parents make. Finally, research shows that the best way to determine someone’s future earnings is look at their parents’ paychecks.

It’s very hard to climb up the economic ladder, and just as difficult to fall down it. Class exists in America, and there is little social mobility. This is untenable. Un-American.

United Republic exists to shine a light one how political and economic forces have created the haves and the have nots.


Steve Jobs dropped out of college because he couldn’t afford it and then went on to become the world’s 39th wealthiest man. People mourn his death because he was a genius whose products changed the way we work, play, and experience life. You don’t begrudge him his $7 billion, because he earned it.

Not Wall Street. They ripped us off, rode into Washington to run the government, and then handed out our money to former colleagues to keep big banks solvent. Crime was committed, but nobody went to jail until ordinary Americans were cited for protesting this crime.

A few short weeks ago, Scott Olsen fell into a coma after he was attacked by police for protesting in Oakland. How can you accuse someone like Olsen of being jealous, or lazy, or entitled? He’s a 24-year-old war veteran who is pissed off about the growing economic divide in this country. There’s something very wrong when people in his position stop believing their country has their best interests at heart. Especially if others insinuate that he is a communist or socialist for stating this belief.

United Republic grew out of an effort started by Lawrence Lessig, and is now run by Nick Penniman and Josh Silver. I’m excited at the chance to broaden my own horizons and do investigations that will challenge me as much as the status quo. We have developed a broad strategy, but we are still working out details. I don’t know how successful we’ll be, but along with the rest of my new team, I’m glad to get started.

This must be done.

Thanks for all the help, especially the reporters and advocates who helped push through reforms when I worked for Senator Grassley, and most importantly the sources who remain hidden in various agencies and institutions.

 Thanks again.

1 comment:

Altostrata said...

Correction: Steve Jobs dropped out of college because he was bored. His parents sacrificed to send them, and he didn't want them to waste their money.