Why has America become a nation that can’t make anything bad end, like wars, farm subsidies, our oil addiction, the drug war, useless weapons programs – oh, and there’s still 60,000 troops in Germany – and can’t make anything good start, like health care reform, immigration reform, rebuilding infrastructure.
Veto points and path dependency. The first means that there are so many places a bill can be killed (committees, chambers, presidency, etc) that legislation is rarely passed. When something does pass, path dependency – “we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way, and it’s too hard to change now” – makes sure it becomes entrenched.
We have far too much of both.