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Creative Destruction and Government

When was the last time our government went through a significant overhaul? No, I don’t mean when was the last time the people switched but the game stayed the same. I mean when was the last time the structure really changed? The best examples that comes to mind would FDR’s terms (each one brought new innovations, from social programs to war time planning boards) and Truman’s presidency, where he dismantled almost all of the central planning and government oversight that was built during WWII.

If that’s the case, its been nearly 55 years since any major structural change has been made to our government. That’s 55 years where power flowed the same way. Since that time, Congress has been increasingly influenced by lobbying versus citizen outreach, and the Supreme Court has been forced to tackle nearly every contentious issue to arise in lieu of congress’s willful negligence (to the point that now the membership of the Supreme Court is one of the biggest issues around).

Considering that everything else in our world is moving faster, while Congress continues to do less and the Supreme Court is forced to do more (and they usually have a 5–10 year lag time on addressing issues), are we far from the time when the political status quo won’t meet the nation’s needs? Or is this sort of political gamesmanship and inaction just a sign of the end of the end — of giving up the initiative as a country?

Even at the state level, state after state has shown an inability to work together to create sustainable fiscal budgets that balance services with spending. Congress has raided the social security cookie jar for years, and now can’t pass a reform of anything (not even a bad reform). Creative destruction has worked over the business world numerous times since the 1950’s, but government is by its very nature quite resistant to such change. Without burning everything down and starting fresh, how could the status quo realistically be changed?