It isn't the contentiousness of debate in Washington that has depressed and demoralized the country, it is the Obama administration.
A thought experiment: Mr. Obama is knocked out cold playing basketball. When he awakes, he is unhurt but sees the world through new eyes. Recognizing that the economy desperately needs a boost and that the country he loves is staggering under the weight of excessive government, he proposes a new series of policy initiatives:
1. Repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a market-based, competitive health care system.
2. Reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent (the second highest in the world) to 15 percent and close loopholes.
3. Require all agencies and departments of the federal government to perform an "economic impact" analysis of any new rule or regulation and examine all existing regulations in that light.
4. Reform Medicare along the lines Paul Ryan suggested.
5. Privatize Social Security along the lines Chile adopted (exempt current retirees and those over 50).
6. Abolish Medicaid and give block grants to states to care for the medical needs of the poor.
7. Reform the tax code to simplify and streamline it. Repeal loopholes and exemptions, and reduce rates across the board.
8. Abolish the Department of Education, which has spent $1 trillion over the past 30 years while student scores have remained unchanged.
9. Promote offshore drilling in the U.S. rather than Brazil.
Does anyone doubt that if some of the above agenda items were successfully enacted that the recovery would dwarf all previous bounces? The vitality of the American economy is still there -- it's just suppressed, as it was during the Great Depression.
It wouldn't require such an ambitious agenda to restore American growth and financial health. A simple repeal of ObamaCare and a reduction in federal spending to 2008 levels would probably do the trick.
But all of the talk about how dysfunctional our political system is just obscures the truth -- that our problems stem from mistaken policies, not a broken system.