04/11/2016 - Terry M. Moe: “Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government—And Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency”
From David Price
Our government is failing us. From health care to immigration to poverty, our political institutions cannot deal effectively with the challenges of modern society. Why the dysfunction? While polarization has surely been harmful, William Howell and Terry Moe argue that the roots of dysfunction actually go much deeper—to the Constitution itself. The framers designed the Constitution some 225 years ago for a simple agrarian society. But the government they created, a separation of powers system with a parochial Congress at its center, is ill-equipped to address the serious social problems that inevitably arise in a complex post-industrial nation. We are prisoners of the past, burdened with an antiquated government that cannot make effective policy, and often cannot do anything at all. The solution is to update the Constitution for modern times. This can be done, Howell and Moe argue, through simple reforms that push Congress and its pathologies to the periphery of policymaking, and brings presidents—whose concern for legacy drives them to seek coherent policy solutions—to center stage.