USA: Dysfunctional Polarization

Interesting take from our friends North of the Border:

There is no Tea Party in Canada, and likely never will be. One reason is that so many Canadians still trust their government. In fact, we’re always calling on the government to fix something or other. Do we face an epidemic of Alzheimer’s? We need a national strategy! Is there a rash of youthful suicides in the Far North? The government must do something! We retain a touching faith that there’s nothing governments can’t do if only they set their minds to it.”

That is a fascinating take on how some nations see themselves — after all, a democracy means the government is us.

How is the USA different from Canada? Consider:

“The Founding Fathers were highly suspicious of a too-powerful central government. After all, they’d fought a revolution to free themselves from one. So they devised all kinds of checks and balances that make it difficult to get things done. It’s hard enough when a president has both the House and Senate on his side. When they’re split, it’s harder. And in an age of brokerage politics, when nearly all major legislation requires payoffs to powerful companies and industries, the only certain winners are highly paid lobbyists and lawyers. This applies even to such progressive initiatives as health-care reform, when Barack Obama was obliged to buy off the health insurers and pharmaceutical companies with subsidies and guarantees that they’d come out ahead – with the extra costs passed along to the consumer. No wonder trust in government is virtually gone.”

Where does that leave us?

“America’s problems go far deeper than its ideological divides. The question is not whether Democrats or Republicans will ultimately prevail, but whether the political culture can evolve enough to tackle fundamental institutional reforms. . . .”

Worth reading in its entirety . . .


Just another vote for dysfunctional polarization
The Globe and Mail, November 4, 2010  <br>

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