constitution1.pngThe 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?

3 thoughts on “THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN

  1. Do the search Tom did. Oddly enough, education is not in the top fifty. Why? Even though government runs our education system, we weirdly do not associate government with our education system.

    Think I am joking? Do this search. Google education, system, and broke instead of government, system, and broke. You will get almost 33 million hits. People know our education system is broken. Then try excluding the web pages that include the word government. Google education, system, broke, and -government (Note the minus sign in front of government. You will still get almost 23 million hits.


    1. Yet it is the state government which defines what our children will learn and when in it’s Standards of Learning, and it is the state and federal governments which control the quality and qualifications of the teachers who teach our children with their backing of schools of education and control over the content of the teacher certifications.

      Heck, with it’s backing of the NSF EHR, the government even controls which textbooks are developed, how they’re sold to school districts across the country, and the same government which tells us how wonderfully our children are performing under the programs it funds and sells. It’s only when our children take international assessments, like the TIMMS, when we see how miserable our public schools are.

      As we speak President Obama has convened a council to develop national academic standards; standards which are due to the issued this fall and winter. States will not be required to adopt the national standards, but federal funding will only be provided to those states which choose to adopt them. Governor Kaine has announced that Virginia will participate in the effort to establish national standards.

      When it comes to the public schools, the government has been helping us for 30 years and look at what we have to show for it. There is no bigger government failure than the failure of our public schools and every other failure can be traced back to the government’s failure in the public schools.


  2. Your list appears to be missing something which may well be at the heart of all of the other broken things – our broken educational system.

    When was the last time a high school student demonstrated his or her knowledge of the Constitution to you? Of the sacrifices our founders made and the reasons behind every word in the Constitution and Declaration? When was the last time a high school student demonstrated that he / she could perform basic mathematics without the assistance of a calculator?

    Our educational system is broken. We are no longer raising the best and brightest minds in the world in any subject. Our children rank with Azerbaijan in academic achievement.

    If we want to fix the government we need to start by fixing the schools.


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