I finished reading Ralph Nader’s The Good Fight last week. It is a pretty decent book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Ralph Nader. The book is basically Ralph’s list of things that are wrong in the US today. Basically, most of it comes down to one root cause: campaign finance.
When I was an undergraduate I did research on campaign finance for one of my courses. The supreme court decided that monetary contributions to political candidates was equivalent to free speech. The problem with that decision is that more money = more speech (influence) and the majority of people are largely denied access.
The cost of publicly financed campaigns is trivial when compared to other US budgetary numbers. When spread across all of the voters it is a very small charge. Publicly financed campaigns would probably not be a complete solution, but would undoubtedly be an improvement. Groups like Common Cause are working toward this goal. More information is available at their website.