Making the Government Better

There might be nothing more frustrating for the average American than watching our so-called leaders do absolutely nothing to help improve the lives of its citizens.

The politicians on both sides are playing games while we as a country walk into what could be the most dangerous times since the Cuban Missiles Crisis.

While I get as upset as anyone at the seeming incompetence, hypocrisy and overall inaction on behalf of elected representatives, in many ways they are captives of a broken system they didn’t necessarily design (not all of them anyway). The media and the election system in particular are set up to foster gridlock, eliminate dissent, and make sure progress or compromise of any kind is impossible.

Just like on the other main category pages (environment, business and society), this page is set up to examine government in terms of four components:

  • Problems – The aspects of government that we don’t like.
  • Causes – The reasons for those problems; the catalysts and inhibitors that promote behavior that leads to those problems.
  • Goals – Things we want from the government. Aspirational concepts that most of us would like to see happen.
  • Strategies – The more specific actions that need to happen if we’re going to reach those goals.

The government has a huge role in our everyday life. While government plays a role in protecting law and order, it has gone off the rails. So how can we fix government?

We start by looking at some of the biggest problems with it.

Problems with the Government

Certainly there is no shortage of problems with the government. You can’t turn around without seeing something that the government is mishandling. Sometimes it seems like they are doing it on purpose. It’s almost like if politicians set out to do a worse job they couldn’t. They are doing as bad a job as they possibly could.

While the problems with the government are too numerous to list, here is an attempt to examine some of the most important ones.
America's Top Issues

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Government Inefficiency

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Gridlock

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Incompetent Leaders

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The High Cost of Living

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So Why Is The Government So Broken?

So those are some of the most important problems with the government and politics. But nothing exists in a vacuum, and those problems have several causes. Some of the biggest, most fundamental causes for so many of the problems not just in government but society in general come down to a handful of big causes, which often are self-reinforcing. Usually, the main culprit is the incentives that develop or are actively created.

For example, right up there with the most important problems we all have with government is the political gridlock that prevents anything meaningful from being accomplished.

If the average citizen had a change to talk to their member of congress, I think the only reasonable way to start the conversation is something like this:

There’s just not a lot positive coming out of DC these days.

While the causes of that gridlock are myriad, there are two that have an outsized impact on exacerbating that gridlock – the media and the current election system.

The media does not allow nuance and constructive dialogue, and instead filters everything through the filter of you’re either with us or against us, reducing everything into meaningless soundbites. The media is perhaps the biggest reason the government sucks so bad.

And the election system makes re-election all but a forgone conclusion. That means the political system can’t function as intended because we are unable to vote inadequate leaders out. Whether it’s the influence of money in politics, gerrymandering, the primary system, etc, the election system is broken and by and large does not allow voters to affect who their elected representatives are.

That is just one example of the “causes” of the “problem” of government gridlock. Sure it’s a gross oversimplification, and those two main causes each have their own causes. But that’s the point. We’re trying to identify the causes that have the biggest influence on the problems we don’t like.

Here are some of the other most impactful causes of so many of the problems with the government we all see.

Causes of those Problems in Government

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An Inept, Lazy and Compromised Media

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Corporate Personhood

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The Great Paradox of Citizens United: Corporate Personhood and Corporate Malfeasance ...
Corruption

Corruption

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Extrepublicrats - Causing All the Trouble

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Government Spending is Out of Control

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Irresponsible government spending is a massive problem. The deficit continues to grow and its only getting worse. Why is it ...
Incentives

Incentives

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Money

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Our Broken Election System

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Polarization

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Regulatory Capture - When Corporations Control The Government

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Rent Seeking

Rent Seeking

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Rising Inequality - Enough is Enough

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The Broken Legal System

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The Influence of Money in Government

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So that’s the problems and the causes, now let’s look at something more hopeful – goals and strategies to improve government. Some of these goals for government reform might seem unattainable, but that is kind of besides the point. They are markers, things to shoot for if we’re ever going to get to a place where the government is acting in the best interests of its citizens.

Nobody is saying it’s possible to reach these goals overnight, what’s important is to make progress toward them. How can we fix the government? Here are some of the most important goals which if achieved could lead to a functioning government that works for all of us.

Goals for the Government

A better government is essential for providing a better life for all of us.

We can have a system that makes laws that ensure rights, reform and improve the public sphere, and use tax dollars to invest in the country’s well-being.

Striving for a goal of better gevernment means that everyone can benefit from its positive influence. Ultimately, it is up to the citizenry to make sure their representatives are working in the public interest – that they pass laws that result in real progress and meaningful change.

If we wield our power correctly, our lives can be greatly improved.

A better government furthers many of our most important goals:

A Functioning Government

A Functioning Government

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Competent Leaders

Competent Leaders

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Government Accountability

Government Accountability

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Healthy People - Building a Stronger Nation

Healthy People – Building a Stronger Nation

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More Accountability

More Accountability

Increased accountability can drive progress. Lack of consequences for wrongdoing are detrimental. More accountability is crucial for a better future ...
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Strong Communities

Strong Communities

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Transparency

Transparency

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With those bigger, broader goals serving as guidelines for getting us to a functioning government, we can identify strategies that can help us make progress toward them. Some of these strategies are more powerful than others in terms of improving the government, but they can each help us make progress. A functioning government won’t happen on its own, but if we can promote these strategies, we can make progress toward the goals and make life better for all of us.

Strategies for Improving Government

More manageable steps to reach those goals:

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Reducing the Federal Debt

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Reform the Finance Industry

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Reform the Jones Act

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Voting Better

Voting Better

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A functioning government can pave the way for a brighter future for its citizens. By passing laws that improve lives and using tax dollars frugally to address important issues, effective governance can help create sustainable results.

We citizens can live in a safe and prosperous nation. As long as government officials take their responsibilities seriously and make decisions that are in the interest of the people they represent, then they have bright futures ahead of them.

If you made it this far, I’d like to thank you! I know all too well there’s too much stuff you could be reading right now, and the fact that you make it all the way down here means a lot to me.

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