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On government: We can all agree government’s broken; but what can we do to repair it?

By Lee Hamilton

By Lee H. Hamilton

As election season approaches, I’ve been pondering a crucial issue about the role of government in our society. It’s that our government often fails — and that we need to address this.
There’s ample cause for concern. The VA appointments scandal; the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act; the 28 years of missed inspections that led to the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas; scandals at the General Services Administration and the Secret Service…. There’s a long and dispiriting list of occasions when the federal government has fallen short.
The issues surrounding government performance don’t stir the passions. Progress comes slowly, the media’s not especially interested in the tedious story of building competence, and politicians want to make grand proposals, not spend their time digging into the nuts and bolts of fixing bureaucracies.
Moreover, as political scientist Paul C. Light has amply demonstrated, government failures happen for a long list of reasons that cannot be fixed easily, painlessly or quickly. Sometimes problems are rooted in policies that were ill-conceived, too complicated, or not well communicated.

For the complete story, see the Aug. 11 print edition of the Richmond News.

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