Friday, August 29, 2014

The Decay Of American Politics

Economists often get involved in politics because many of the decisions that need to be made are about the economy.  They realize that our political system has become polarized and dysfunctional, but they are not well schooled in political science.   This article was written by a political scientist.  It provides an excellent description of the origins and the evolution of the US political system.  It was designed to counter the abuse of authority that was characteristic of monarchies in Europe.  Checks and balances were built into the system that limited the power of the executive to manage the system.  Moreover,  there is not a clear delineation of authority between state, local and federal government agencies on numerous matters.  To make matters worse, disagreements within the legislature are often transformed into legal issues that delegate political matters to the judicial system.  In a polarized society, such as we have today,  almost any political decision is subject to judicial review. 

We would be in a better position to fix our dysfunctional political system if more of us had a detailed understanding of how the system has broken down.  Public contempt for government has never been higher but it is incapable of fixing itself.  The many actors in the system have adapted to the ways in which the system has evolved.  It works just fine for those who have the understanding and the means to engineer the system on their behalf.  It does a poor job of representing the interests and  concerns of the public at large.

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