The word “system” gets a lot of use these days. That includes the way we use the word “system” to talk about our “system” of government. That being the case I thought it might be interesting to do a little Internet search. To see what web pages contain all three words, I googled the words system, government, and broke. I got over 16,000,000 hits. From looking briefly at these web pages, I learned that the following are either broken or can be improved.
- The government’s hiring system.
- The health care system.
- The nation’s food system.
- Our economic system.
- Our government’s procurement system.
- Our air traffic control system.
- Our welfare system.
- Republican Party-run government (breaks the system).
- The political system.
- The tax system.
- The financing system.
- The judicial system.
- The system of laws defining intellectual property.
- The system for protecting nuclear materials.
- And so forth.
There are relatively few web pages (in the top fifty, at least) which take it farther. Few argue that either the whole government is broken or that our entire society is broken. In my brief search, I only found one such web page, Our Broken Government.
Given the numerous things people think are broken, it is a wonder that people don’t think the American system of government broken. Considering it is a matter faith amongst Christians that original sin fractured our relationship with God, that is actually rather odd. Are not we ourselves broken?
Look at what the Founders did. When they wrote the Constitution, they created an extensive system of checks and balances. As the result of their work, what Constitution mostly describes is the structure of government — and how the various institutions within it counterbalance each other.
The Founders were not political novices. They clearly understood the treachery and the extremes of which people are capable. Instead of with one man or a small group, they wanted power decentralized amongst many. Understanding the temptations of power and the abuses of which rulers are capable, they first limited the powers and the responsibilities of Federal Government to that which they saw as necessary. Then to further check human treachery and the extremes of human behavior, they sacrificed government efficiency for a well-defined system of checks and balances.
From the perspective of too many, however, the Founders created a broken government. So ever since the Constitution became Law, some have tried to fix or improve it. The more responsible have formally amended the Constititution. The more sneaky have broadly interpreted the document — as what they call a living document — to mean what they want it to mean. Thus over time the Federal Government has become more powerful, and the powers of our leaders less restrained by the system of checks and balances the Founders created.
Evidence of the chicanery of the people who now lead us is, unfortunately, readily available. Consider today’s news (see here). Our government will now have a 60 percent share in GM.
Where does the Constitution empower the Federal Government to buy and run automobile companies? And how does Obama get away with giving corporations to his labor union supporters?