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US public is paying the price

(China Daily)

11:11, August 24, 2011

The debt crisis has exposed the defects rather than the advantages of America's tit for tat democratic system

The US debt crisis has drawn much criticism both at home and abroad. It is inconceivable to many people that as the only superpower in the world the US was locked in a struggle that threatened to bring the wheels of state to a halt had the politicians not arrived at a last-minute compromise to raise the nation's debt limit in order to avoid a debt default.

As a country that always boasts it has the most "perfect" democratic system in the world, the US is not doing well in its domestic affairs and the debt crisis has exposed the defects rather than the advantages of its system. Even many US citizens have appealed for introspection and reform of the country's political system.

The core of the US democratic system is the representative system of government and the separation of the executive, legislative and judicial powers. People have the right to elect representatives they support, and these representatives are mandated to protect voters' interests. The separation of the three powers is supposed to guarantee a system of check and balances.

Such a political system has been regarded by some as the most advanced form of governance in human history, but it has been inefficient and powerless in the face of the problems the US is facing now.

First, from the perspective of the representative system, the public has the right to elect their agents, but it's hard to deprive the agents of their rights immediately if they are incompetent or crooked. Theoretically, when representative government does not work effectively and there is a deadlock between the rival parties, the government can resort to a referendum to get legitimacy and break the deadlock.

But the power of decision resides in the politicians, who will not easily hand it over. Moreover, it's hard to practice because of practical difficulties. The US has never resorted to a referendum to settle disputes when the government has reached a deadlock over public policy.

Moreover, the public has the right to depose elected officials in office, but it is restricted to lower-ranking officials, not the federal senators. So although many citizens have demonstrated in front of Capitol Hill and protested through the media, they don't have any decision-making power.

Second, although the separation of powers can prevent the spread of malpractice, it cannot guarantee that the right things are done. Separation of powers and federalism are the foundation of US constitutionalism. But as James Madison said they have been set up on the base of the inherent defects of humanity. The regime, designed without a center of authority, tries to prevent the expansion of greed and selfishness, but in fact it can only prevents the spread of greed and selfishness in the form of a dictatorship.

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管理员 at 2011-08-25
@Todd The spelling error has been corrected. Many thanks!
maythree at 2011-08-25217.115.137.*
The US"s problems are not problems of democracy, but rather problems of the US"s type of the democracy. The only other country that has the exact US type of democracy is Nigeria - look at how well that country is going. The problem is inherent in winner-take-all elections, which cause parties to join coalitions in order to win, leaving only two parties. A lack lack of competition among political parties, much like the lack of competition among businesses, does not cause parties to improve. Speaking as a resident in America, most Americans do NOT think they have the best type of democracy in the world, but they don"t have a bad enough quality of life to attempt to change it.
Alfred Ng, Sydney at 2011-08-24110.174.2.*
very incisive analysis and I strongly agree.
Todd at 2011-08-24108.12.108.*
"The US debt crisis has drawn much criticism both at home and aboard" (aboard = abroad)
Buy Gold Now !!! at 2011-08-24220.255.2.*
The democratic system in the US government has failed.For the past two years, I have the privileges of listening to many financial/economic gurus in USA that said the system lead to present total failure was when President Nixon in the 70s de-link the US Dollars with the centuries old gold system, which were practice world wide then.For the past 40 years, non of the subsequent US administrations had amended or overture what President Nixon had done even when they know that the de-link of US Dollars to the gold would lead to the present problems.The subsequent US administrations had failed the US citizens. The effect of this is now becomes President Obama’s responsibility. In other words, for the past 40 years the problems become bigger and bigger. Now the problem is so huge that President Obama got no choice but to print more and more money to keep their system afloat. But this action is only temporary.So the present hardship by the US citizens and the coming financial collapse in USA is the result of inaction by the US government for the past 40 years.The tsunami revolt against the leaders of the Arab countries is going round the world and it is likely to hit US soils and western countries in 2012.So from there, a new system may develop from the present democratic system.This thing had happened in Eastern Europe, USSR and China. It will happen in US and western Europe.China was a controlled system then. It failed them badly then. They know about it, they learned from their mistake. For the past 30 plus years, the Chinese have amended their system to the present Socialist with Chinese characteristics. This has result in lifting up the lives of the Chinese.The Russian has change their system also.The question now is, will the American know and learn from the mistake of the past US administrations ? Are they brave enough to admit that ? Will they amend it for the sake of the future generations ?The answer is “ Let’s see “.

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