We seem hogtied when it comes to reform

One of the hallmarks of a healthy society is its ability to reform. That is, to recognize problems that have developed. And then to solve them.

Sometimes I wonder how healthy our society is in this regard. After all, we seem hogtied when it comes to reforming our major institutions.

Yes, we did manage the political courage to finally reform our welfare system. This was a major reform. The system was immense. Still is. It had run amok for years. It had rewarded millions of folks to avoid paying jobs. It had rewarded women to bear more babies out of wedlock.

When reformers finally arrived on the scene they were met with vicious resistance. The resistors assured us the reforms would heap millions of the poor onto slag heaps of human waste. They would cause kiddies to starve, parents to abuse children. And all that.

It was rot, of course. The reforms have been hugely successful.

You might think our success with this reform might give us the confidence to tackle other reforms. Alas, it did not.

Our largest institution is Social Security. It cries out for reform. It does not have enough money. If we tax ourselves more to rescue it, we will kick our economy in the teeth. Europeans took that route. Their economies go nowhere today. Because the social systems suck so much money out of them in ever higher taxes. Taxes to support Social Security and other benefit programs.

Some of our best minds can see this clearly. They know we can stupidly follow the Europeans and lift our taxes ever higher. Or we can privatize our system. A major reform.

However, we, as a society are not buying the idea. We seem incapable of reforming this institution.

We are handcuffed when it comes to reforming the postal service. It bleeds taxpayers of billions, decade after decade.

Some of our best thinkers know that if we privatized Ů or semi-privatized our postal service we would likely make money with it. We would likely lower our prices for postage. We might even improve the service. Other countries have achieve these things when they reformed their postal systems.

Can we muster the political will to reform ours? Not on your life.

Can we muster the courage to reform Amtrak? To get its hands finally out of taxpayers pockets? We shell out over a billion a year to keep the trains running.

No, we cannot work up the courage to reform it.

Our public school system succeeds in places. But fails millions of inner city kids. No matter how much money we pour into the system, the results get no better.

Thus far, we seem incapable of reforming this deeply flawed system.

So many of our major institutions beg for reform. A question we should be debating is whether we as a people are up to the challenge.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns, and for Tomís radio shows (and to write to Tom): Tomasinmorgan.com.

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