These are similar thoughts to my own. It needs to be about a web of trust, and it might just work.
If more parties are able to come along and say "I trust all these authorities" when it comes to doing business with me, this is the paradigm shift. I don't believe that there is *an* independent authority, I believe we should elect to allow *multiple* authorities to rate the trustworthiness of a certificate.
At the moment, outside of high-end corporate who roll their own, it is the operating system provider making that trust decision for all of us in their selection of root authorities. Now Microsoft, Google and Apple are all on the PRISM slides, and Linux is probably compromised in its own way - not one of them do I want to be the sole gatekeeper of my trust.
So, I believe that the 1st group that should be brought into this system are the banks. This is the group that has the most to lose financially, if you're the victim of fraud. Specifically *your* SSL, should be vouched for by *your* bank - with the condition that the online fraud protection on your bank account is only effective, if you were entering your card details in an SSL session they vouched for.
Now I see a future where we all allow multiple people to vouch for the goodness of certificates and authorities (I think this extends to public keys too) - particularly our social network. Anyone we trust to vouch may approve or *disapprove* any cert. Any time we do anything requiring crypto trust, we should be able to see how all the people we trust feel about it. I have a number of friends I'd really trust to always do a secure key-exchange; I'd boost their scores. Beyond that, the wisdom of crowds is a not a bad fallback.
We have to understand that trust is on an analogue scale. For many things it's fine that we don't have close to 5x 9s of trust. But when we do need to be really certain of who's on the other end, we should be able to push into our social network and see who will vouch for the other parties public key / certificate.