A major reason for government's inability -- even unwillingness -- to repair its own dysfunction is that we are still living off the inertia of government's central role during the Great Depression, and later "The Great Society" in which government presented itself as everyone's savior. Personal responsibility for one's life and accountability for wrong decisions took a back seat.
"A Time for Governing: Policy Solutions from the Pages of National Affairs," a new book compiled by the quarterly journal, National Affairs, contains essays that address credible solutions to our major economic problems that nearly everyone, regardless of party affiliation, acknowledges must be solved for a stable American future.
In his essay "Beyond the Welfare State," National Affairs editor Yuval Levin addresses the heart of the problem: "Human societies do not work by obeying orderly commands from central managers, however well-meaning; they work through the erratic interplay of individual and, even more, of familial and communal decisions answering locally felt desires and needs."
Levin adds, "In our everyday experience, the bureaucratic state presents itself not as a benevolent provider and protector, but as a corpulent behemoth -- flabby, slow and expressionless, unmoved by our concerns, demanding compliance with arcane and seemingly meaningless rules as it breathes musty air in our faces and sends us to the back of the line.
"Unresponsive ineptitude is not merely an annoyance. The sluggishness of the welfare state drains it of its moral force. The crushing weight of bureaucracy permits neither efficiency nor idealism. It thus robs us of a good part of the energy of democratic capitalism and encourages a corrosive cynicism that cannot help but undermine the moral aims of the social-democratic vision."
Is it any wonder the public decreasingly identifies with either party and that a growing majority wishes to be "independent" of both? It will take more than the election of a new president and Congress to fix this. It will require a new way of thinking -- which is really an old way of thinking -- by "we the people."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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