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Harvard Business School: The U.S. Political System Has Been 'Hijacked'

Screengrab / The Washington Post / YouTube

A new case study by Harvard Business School asserts that U.S. politicians have rigged the system to such a degree that the U.S. is on its way to becoming a failed democracy. (photo credit: Youtube)

A new case study by Harvard Business School asserts that U.S. politicians have rigged the system to such a degree that the U.S. is becoming a failed democracy. The authors of the case-study use the word 'hijacked' to describe what the political parties have done to governance in the United States.

Some tidbits:

America’s political system was long the envy of the world. It advanced the public interest and gave rise to a grand history of policy innovations that fostered both economic and social progress. Today, however, our political system has become the major barrier to solving nearly every important challenge our nation needs to address. This was the unexpected conclusion of the multiyear Project on U.S. Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, established in 2011 to understand the causes of America’s weak economic performance and rising inequality that predated the Great Recession.

The authors point to a number of American pathologies that do not plague other advanced nations.

A similar failure to progress has also afflicted the nation’s social agenda. In areas such as public education, health and wellness, personal safety, water and sanitation, environmental quality, and tolerance and inclusion, among others, U.S. progress has stalled or gone in reverse. In these areas, where America was often a pioneer and leader, the U.S. has fallen well down the list compared to other advanced countries. Tolerance, inclusion, and personal freedom are registering troubling declines, a sign of growing divisions in our society.

A poorly educated

In public education, of particular significance for citizen opportunity, in math the U.S. was ranked 31st out of 35 OECD countries (the other advanced economies using the respected PISA process) in 2015, down from 25 in 2009, 20th in reading (down from 14) and 19th in science (down from 17).5 Instead of progress, then, our government is mired in gridlock and inaction. Increasingly over the decades, Congress has been unable to get things done, especially on important issues.

The authors of the piece note how the Founders of the United States would find the rules that govern the country unrecognizable today.

The result: America’s political system today would be unrecognizable to our founders. In fact, certain of our founders warned against political parties. John Adams, our second President, said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.”2 Our founders— and most Americans today—would be shocked by the extent to which our democracy has been hijacked by the private and largely unaccountable organizations that constitute today’s political industrial complex.

A long sequence of Congressional sessions, starting roughly from 1900, for both venal and idealistic motives, have wrought an Administrative State of such size and complexity that Congress possesses neither the wit nor the resources to effectively oversee its manifold and largely unconstitutional activities. The Administrative State conjoins legislative, executive, judicial, and police power into several executive agencies, meeting the definition of tyranny as understood by the Founders. A throwback to Bourbon style Monarchical Absolutism, the Administrative State is a cancer upon the body politic. See Hamburger, Philip - Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (spoiler alert, emphatically unlawful).

This article fails to mention two critical facts! 1 - Big. business decided to commandeer US politics in 1971 when the US Chamber of Commerce implemented the Powell memo’s 3-pronged attack on democracy. Prong 1 was creating think tanks to create convincing pro-business stories. Prong 2 - control what’s said in the press and academia so pro-business information is presented. Prong 3 - Lobby. Lobby. Lobby.

The second event was the 1976 Buckley v Valeo decision where the Supreme Court decreed that corporate political spending counts as speech protected by the First Amendment - since expanded by Citozens United and other decisions. Congressman Coelho Haag no trouble convincing fellow Democrats to fall in line so they could get their share of the loot.

The US government is a wholly-owned subsidiary dutifully serving big money. That’s why we’re losing.

The fixes - a constitutional amendment overturning Buckley and Cotizens United and declaring the people will control money in politics; Public campaign financing; Taking the mechanics of voting such as setting districts and conducting elections out of the hands of politicians, making Election Day a Monday national holiday, fiercely attacking voter suppression; anti-corruption laws; and Other good government measures.

You must be talking about the literacy rate among adult white men. Which were the only ones considered at the time among such surveys. Which makes your point absolutely meaningless.

Apparently Harvard missed all of the studies of the 2000s that found the U.S. was already an oligarchy. They still think it is "failing" as a democracy.

simplified view from average American: most of congress let's lobbyists write their bills, while they spend their days dialing for dollars from lobbyists and big donors, so that they can be reellected to let lobbyists write their bills.

So Harvard finally figured out what we uneducated people knew from Ronnie Reagan's days in the big house. Kinda late to the party, dontcha think?

The authors point out, the dumbing down of the electorate, and since this is from the Harvard School, I would like to make a point that America is NOT a Democracy, it is a Republic, with a constitution and a Bill of Rights designed to protect the minority from the majority. Liberal minds, cant seem to get it through their thick skulls, that the term Democracy, does not apply!

Sure we're a Republic - or at least used to be. It's hard to see how our Republic form of government has protected the minority from the majority or how the majority has been protected from the minority. The term democracy is used to describe how we elect our representatives. Sorry it seems to fly over some people's heads.