We All Want What’s Best
Ezra Klein surveys the political landscape and offers a bold assessment:
At this point, structural reform of the legislative system should, I think, be the main priority for people left, right, and center who want to see action on the problems facing the country. It’s all well and good to try to get the best outcomes possible given the existing constraints. But if those outcomes aren’t good enough, then at some point you have to turn your attention away from the problems and toward the constraints that are keeping you from solving them.
A wee obstacle to this — aside, ironically enough, from the institutions themselves making changing said institutions ridiculously difficult — is that, while we all “want to see action on the problems facing the country” there’s precious little agreement as to what those problems are, much less on “the best outcomes possible.”
Interestingly, the fact that this was the case circa 1789 explains why the people who wrote the Constitution — some of whom, reportedly, were not complete idiots — set up a system making it very hard for the federal government to do things on which there was not widespread consensus. Granted, the filibuster and other legislative rules piled on top of the Constitutional checks and balances make things even tougher. But I’m not sure that’s generally a bad thing.