Is Our Government Functionally Broken?

Floyd Norris of the New York Times:

The United States — which now pays 2.4 percent to borrow money for 10 years, more than a percentage point less than it paid six months ago — seemingly has no desire to try to save its own economy, let alone anyone else’s.

Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider:

When things get bad, governments do stuff. That’s not just limited to America. There isn’t a government in the world that doesn’t try to ameliorate hard times, whether they be economic, natural disaster-related or something else.

The recent action in Washington really does call into question whether the Washington Put exists at all. One party was completely unyielding in its demands, and seemingly willing to seriously damage the economy to pursue its agenda. And it’s not just the debt ceiling where you see this. This FAA nonsense shows again a total inability to do basic, obvious stuff.

There are lots of things the US government could do to improve the economy. Austerity wasn’t one of them, but it was the one thing that there was bipartisan consensus for. Also, tax cuts for rich people.

The problem isn’t that our government is no longer good at doing things. We do lots of things very well. We cut taxes for rich people. We transfer the wealth of poor, middle, and working class Americans to the rich. We cut social support programs. We bomb countries into oblivion and then stick around to make sure that when these countries get rebuilt, they’re rebuilt at high cost by multinational corporations who also happen to be donors to our political class.  We also spy on our citizens, abet the theft of countless homes by banks, and keep black prison facilities around the world to disappear and torture people who we think are bad. Our government is very good at doing these things.

What our government is not good at is doing things that benefit poor, working, and middle class Americans. Our government is not good at promoting peace, nor the rule of law. It is not good at creating a more equitable society. It is not good at finding new ways to help those in need of help, nor is it good at finding new ways to care for the sick.

Our government isn’t broken and certainly still functions at a disturbingly high level. It just doesn’t function for you and me.  The real problem is that the government is not controlled by nor accountable to the bottom 98% of the country.

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