The U.S. political system 03-18-2011

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Letter to the editor by Kenneth J. Beech

Democracy in America may have an inherent legitimacy but it will not be much of a model to anyone if the government is divided against itself and cannot govern.

Money has emerged as the electoral trump card in our political system and corporations have a Supreme Court–recognized right to use their considerable muscle to promote candidates and policies favorable to their business operations and to resist policies  and shut out candidates deemed inimical to their business interests. So whether it’s health reform or a stimulus package, the power of special interests in the system invariably produces either gridlock or mishmash legislation crafted to please the narrow interests of a variety of competing interests rather than the aggregated interests of the economy and society as a whole.  Efficient and rational decision making it’s not. Nor does it appear capable of tackling long-term problems.

Kenneth J. Beech