Can the Government Govern?
Effective government requires that institutions be strong enough to control the efforts of organized, entrenched special interests in favor of the broader interests shared but poorly articulated by most members of society. Recent changes in our institutions and in the problems they face raise doubts about the capacity of contemporary American government to handle these parochial forces. Congress has seemingly become more fragmented, the presidency more politicized, and the bureaucracy more labyrinthine. After a decade or more of trying, our institutions have not mastered a variety of problems—the budget deficit, the trade imbalance, and energy insecurity—that threaten society’s general interest in an economic future as bright as its past.
Can the Government Govern? argues that the problem is inherently and substantially institutional and discusses the politically difficult requirements for overcoming it. In so doing, this volume opens the debate and public discussion necessary for change. Contributors include John E. Chubb writing on energy policy, David B. Yoffie on trade policy, Paul E. Peterson and Mark Rom on macroeconomic policy, Samuel Kernell on the presidency, Kenneth A. Shesple on Congress, and Terry M. Moe on the bureaucracy.