Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ungovernable?

An AP poll says most Americans believe the economy won't much improve no matter who's elected president. Maybe America is just ungovernable.

Ungovernable?

Back in November 2009 I wrote a column questioning whether we've become a city, state and nation that no longer is governable.

The AP Monday reports on a new poll showing most Americans don't think the economy will much improve no matter who's elected president.

Reminded me of what I wrote in `09. And it's not a cheery thought.

Think of the money -- it'll be in the billions -- spent by candidates, political parties, PAC's and individual rich people to elect Romney or reelect Obama.

And think of the AP poll that, when focused on the top issue of the race, jobs, shows 60% of Americans believe the impact on unemployment by whoever wins in November will be slim or none.

In other words, some things never change and a majority believes that will continue.

In `09, I wrote about a "barely functioning, bitterly partisan Congress" unable to get anything done. Sound familiar?

I noted that in Harrisburg an "inert" Legislature refused to move any progressive programs and seemed content to serve mostly as fodder for prosecutors. Sound familiar?

And I wrote that in Philly, Mayor Nutter's "new day, new way" was mired in the same old crime/union/schools/budget woes. Sound familiar?

So here's the question: what do taxpayers get in return for all the government they support, for all the pay and perks provided "leaders?"

Maybe some marginal change? Maybe some political entertainment? Maybe basically nothing?

We barely hold things together with paste-up, unimaginative budgets. We spend inordinate time on ideologically-driven social issues such as abortion or gay marriage while short-changing broader issues impacting all of society. Take your pick: education, public health and safety, real jobs programs.

The price for this is a spreading national attitude that we're simply ungovernable. If that's right, where do we go from here?

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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