You’d have to be a hopeless optimist to bet that real change will be effected, and if anything does, it will take years. The calcification of the political system is too complete.

But if there’s a piece of journalism that could force it to happen, it’s this one.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.