There’s no shortage of common-sense proposals to do that. Start by restricting the “revolving door” between the government and the private sector—politicians expect to cash in on their time in government, and scholarly research has shown that they bend public policies to the interests of their prospective employers. Create similar standards for high-level congressional staffers, on committees such as Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce. We also need to pay such staffers a salary that is commensurate with what their skills and knowledge could acquire in the private sector, so that they are not looking for opportunities to cash in.

While we are at it, we should massively expand the number of congressional staffers. Amazingly, the legislative branch has about as many employees as the Department of Agriculture, and many congressional staffers are in local offices dealing with constituent concerns. This means that members of Congress often go to interest groups to acquire information on policy implications. If you have ever wondered why special interests actually write sections of the law, that is your answer. Congress does not have the policy expertise to do it itself.

But we should think bigger, too. Campaign finance looms large, and neither the right nor the left has dealt with it in a realistic way.