Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of people say that our government is “broken” because it hasn’t been able to accomplish anything meaningful over the last few months. Unfortunately, it looks like some confusion exists between what it means to have a broken government and a slow one.
We’ve seen broken government before. In 2010, a liberal congress and president passed a healthcare bill the American people did not want, a stimulus package the American people did not want, and created the biggest increase in federal spending ever, which – you guessed it – the American people did not want. That’s a real broken government. Even though it moved at breakneck speed, the Democrats failed to do what they were elected to do – fix the economy! Instead, they played around with expensive big-government experiments and the American taxpayer’s credit card.
This kind of blatant disregard of the volonté générale, the people’s will, constitutes a breach of the “social contract.” The social contract is an unspoken agreement which says that since the government gets its power to rule from the people, it has to respect the will of the people in return. When the Left broke the contract in 2010, the American people revolted, electing one of the most conservative House classes in decades.
Suddenly, our government slammed on the brakes. Nothing was getting done. The Republicans in the House were “obstructionists,” “roadblocks,” or “the problem,” according to the media.
Good, that’s exactly what the people wanted.
Americans voted to slow things down. A slow government makes fewer irrational decisions. It has to think about everything, debate everything, and vet everything it signs into law. No one vetted the Obamacare bill, for example – Nancy Pelosi even infamously said “We’ll have to pass it so you can find out what’s in it.” Do you think the Democrats could have gotten away with passing such a dysfunctional bill with the GOP in control of a chamber of congress?
You see, slow government isn’t broken government. Government is broken when it disobeys the will of the people it works for, and more often than not, a fast government can do more damage than a slow one in this way. A deliberate government is much more likely to respect the will of the people. To twist an old quote by Thomas Paine, you could even say “that which governs best, governs slowly.”