Restoring Confidence in Government

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Indiana Oracle, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Indiana Oracle
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    Indiana Oracle The Truth is Hard to Find

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    With the Tea Parties and wide-spread discontent with government and party politics, what politically transcending changes could be made within our Federal government so it is more supported by the majority of Americans?

    Here is a summarization of the five things proposed by William A. Galston.

    What do you think?

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    Public policies cannot succeed in democracies without sustainable public support. In order to restore public confidence in government, policymakers must stop the vicious circle in which mistrust breeds inaction and thus exacerbates mistrust.

    We need to set in motion a virtuous circle of reform. That means adopting measures that make people’s lives better, step by step, without violating their intuitive sense of how much government should try to do and how it should go about doing ­it.


    The first is to focus on the basics. The people expect the national government to keep the economy on an even keel, exercise a measure of foresight, win the wars it decides to wage, and deal effectively with disasters. In recent years, government has done poorly in all these areas. The new administration and Congress must do ­better.

    Second, federal officials in every branch of government must be more conscious of the need to align their promises with the limits of feasible performance.

    While we can reasonably hope to move our transportation system away from fossil fuels during the next generation, “energy independence” is beyond reach. The constant use of that phrase does nothing to reduce public cynicism.

    Third, leaders must be more honest about the costs as well as benefits of the measures they support.

    In the debate over how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, for example, many elected officials prefer a “cap-and-trade” strategy rather than a carbon tax because they think the public would rebel against a new tax.

    But most specialists agree that a cap-and-trade system would drive up consumers’ costs just as much as the tax, albeit indirectly, and might also invite corruption in the distribution of pollution quotas.

    The deliberate attempt to obscure the link between a policy decision and its consequences will exacerbate mistrust without improving ­performance.

    Fourth, pay attention to institutional design.

    After the end of the Cold War, Washington reduced the effectiveness of our public diplomacy by abolishing the independent U.S. Information Agency and folding its functions into the State Department, where its old mission of promoting American ideas and values conflicted with Foggy Bottom’s culture of ­conflict ­avoidance and diplomacy.

    Incorporating the Federal Emergency Management Agency into the new, behemoth Department of Homeland Security contributed to the federal government’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina.

    Conversely, as the United States imports increasing quantities of food from countries around the world, the failure to establish a single, unified agency to oversee food safety has been steadily increasing risks, some of which are already becoming realities. ­High-­profile consternation over the adulteration of ­Chinese-­manufactured powdered milk is a warning sign that we should not ­ignore.
    Fifth, as Elaine Ka­marck, the director of the National Performance Re­view during the Clinton administration, has ar­gued, policies should be designed with effective implementation firmly in mind: Pick the right means to each end. For any particular initiative, policymakers can choose to use reformed bureaucracies, networks, or market mechanisms to accomplish their goals.

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    The Right Bite
    William A. Galston,senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. A former deputy assistant for domestic policy to President Bill Clinton, he is the author most recently of Public Matters: Politics, Policy, and Religion in the 21st Century (2005).
     
  2. HUGGY
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    HUGGY I Post Because I Care Supporting Member

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    I think you are a moron. The "tea party" was promoted by fox television owned by Rupert Murdoch and King Saud of Saudi Arabia the second largest stock holder next to Rupert. What exactly do you have in common with those two? Nothing. That makes you and idiot.
     
  3. MaggieMae
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    MaggieMae Reality bits

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    There's basically nothing to disagree with there, because it's a set of tenets. But putting them in practice is of course the hard part when there are so many special interests looking over the shoulders of elected lawmakers. (And by special interests, I don't necessarily mean just corporate lobbyists. We're all lobbyists.)

    I don't want to change the tone of your thread, but regarding energy specifically, this article nails it: We are going about energy independence backwards and it doesn't take costly government programs to do it.

    Free At Last by Fareed Zakaria
     
  4. Truthmatters
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    Truthmatters BANNED

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    Hard to di when you cant outdraw a gay pride parade in a city like Houston after weeks of 24/7 promotion by a cable news network.
     
  5. Indiana Oracle
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    Indiana Oracle The Truth is Hard to Find

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    Huggy --
    Wll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you can read. For that reason, I struggle to understand what I wrote has to do with the Tea Parties. So.. ?
     
  6. garyd
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    garyd Senior Member

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    Okay the mistrust does not derive so much from the governement doing nothing but rather from the fact that the government is seen to be hand picking winners and losers and doing a piss poor job of it.

    The reason lobbyists exist is because business are compelled to have them simply for self defense against he ever expanding regulatory power of the federal government.
     
  7. Evangelical
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    Evangelical Member

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    You mean a single parade full of people from all over the country, flocking to Houston to "demonstrate", somehow drew more supporters than a local protest that was going on concurrently all over the country at the same time!?!?!?!?!?!

    :cuckoo:
     
  8. MaggieMae
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    MaggieMae Reality bits

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    And not for the millions in fees they pocket? Oh, okay. Funny that lobbyists generally are now trying to wedge their way into a congress now run by Democrats. Kinda shoots down your theory, no?
     
  9. WorldAHope
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    WorldAHope Ready to Rock n' Roll

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    The Tea Parties are really not indicative of the nation. After great promotion and ballyhoo, they drew 150k-300k attendants nationwide, depending upon whose numbers you believe. They were a relatively small event, and were representative of a small sliver of society. Basically, the attendants represented the demographics of that small % who adhere to the views of the Libertarian and/or Constitution Party, only.
    More than 75 % of all American voters/citizens were not represented, and openly disagree with
    the whole Tea Party event, especially some of the highly negative themes presented.

    More people, and a wider cross section of America, will be dissatisifed each week, 16+ weeks in a row because a favorite NFL team lost a game than attended or support the Tea Party movement.

    That being said, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with our governments, the direction of the country, the policies of our nation and states. Many citizens do support the changes being enacted by the current Federal leadership, this is shown by polling data. But Americans are unhappy, want better, more efficient and transparent government.
    Not just one dimension of government - TAXES - but what our government does with those taxes, and how they behave in our name.
    In my opinion, much of what was outlined in the OP article is being enacted by the Obama administration.
    Much of the dissatisfaction Americans feel for our government arises DIRECTLY out of the distasteful experience of having an inept and incompetent and corrupt administration and Congress over the last several years.
    Polls show that a strong majority Americans - currently - approve of the performance of the Obama administration. This can change.

    Elections are the vehicle our Founding Fathers designed to be the time and manner
    to make changes to our government. Not demonstrative hollering and calls by a SMALL minority for overthrow of the elected government barely 3 months into a 4 year term.
    Get candidates who support your desired policies who have the energy and the character that Americans will vote into office, and you will see the change you desire.
    We just did that, a couple months ago.
    We'll do it again, the second half of next year.
     

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