Monday, June 1, 2009

What prevents our government from making obvious key strategic decisions for the greater good?

The power of special interests.

Key strategic initiatives that are broadly accepted as good have been impossible to implement because of powerful interests with too much access and influence over our decision makers at all levels of government.  Some of these key strategic initiavives that come to mind are:
- Implemention of a flat income tax
- Access to universal health care
- Definition of an energy policy that reduces our oil dependency
- Implementation of the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine
- Elimination of budget deficits

At the detail level, one could define a long list of pros and cons for each of these, but at the end of the day, it is probably hard to argue against their strategic importance and overall benefits.

Is there hope?  

Well, I always thought that the nationalization of banks and car companies in financial trouble could never happen in the US....but it did.  And, I always thought that our separation of powers and its inherent "checks and balances" would prevent a single person from taking the country to war without proof (Iraq).....but it didn't.   So, I guess anything can happen when the stars align in Washington.  

So, yes, there is always hope.

1 comment:

  1. In all honesty, this is a horrible oversimplification of an issue that is necessarily very complex. The United States Government is founded on the idea that opposing belief systems can still have equal voice in the actions of governmental officials. While your personal belief might be that the issues mentioned are ones with simple answers, others obviously do not believe the same. To classify belief systems that are not your own as "special interests" carries a connotation that is not only offensive to people who only hope to express their own opinions but also hurtful to the partisan system of government that is the most effectively democratic in the world.
    I personally agree with many of your assumptions, but there are obvious issues that you are not taking into account here. When you mention specific instances, like the economic stimulus plan or the war in Iraq, you omit the consequences that the acting parties were trying to avoid. While they might not have achieve the goals that they aimed for initially, you cannot discount that the checks and balances system worked at the time that the action was being taken. Retrospectively judging difficult decisions that were made by many individuals for the benefit of the nation is both unfair and unwise. The US Government is filled with liberals AND conservatives, and acting parties are faced with decisions that could always blow up in their faces.
    Classifying motions that upset you or do not reach conclusions that most people would benefit from as "special interest" eliminates the potential "right-ness" of the opposite belief. You are putting yourself in the same boat as those you seek to condemn by so easily dismissing these past mistakes.
    -Concerned Party