We have arrived at a point where policy persistence, the aspect of public planning that allows a nation to grow with direction and purpose over time, is deteriorating. There is evidence everywhere we look and the evidence is hard to dispute.
Policy requires consensus building and that takes time. Unfortunately, the time required to build consensus for a policy can be longer than it takes to erode the resolve binding that consensus.
We move at a different speed today and have access to more data and information than we can effectively parse. Today’s wildly popular ideas have short shelf lives. Opinions are held by individuals and an increasingly impatient public will only lease them for a short time. Ideas are constantly discarded for the latest popular new economic model or social theory. How do we deal with the consequences of constant change and its effects on our social stability?
Here is a case in point. We are currently in the process of building political consensus for a national Health Care Plan to fix the flaws of our current laissez-faire business oriented approach. The effort is focused on putting a plan in place that meets a handful of objectives: universal coverage, cost reduction, improved service levels, increased competitive options, to name a few. Finding consensus is so difficult because the significant influences commercial advertizing has on the process.
Using the 24 hour media cycle and integrated marketing, insurance lobbies are able to continuously chip away at coalitions and make consensus building an impossible task. Even with a large house majority, factions are identified and exploited to the minority advantage. These tactics are even more evident in the Senate, where 60% can be required to move bills forward.
We have a broken legislative process and need to reform it before we can focus on governance instead of partisan political stagnation. The consequence of failing to fix this problem is political instability and collapse of social rule.