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Schuck argues that Washington’s failures are due not to episodic problems or partisan bickering, but rather to deep structural flaws that undermine every administration, Democratic and Republican. These recurrent weaknesses include unrealistic goals, perverse incentives, poor and distorted information, systemic irrationality, rigidity and lack of credibility, a mediocre bureaucracy, powerful and inescapable markets, and the inherent limits of law. To counteract each of these problems, Schuck proposes numerous achievable reforms, from avoiding moral hazard in student loan, mortgage, and other subsidy programs, to empowering consumers of public services, simplifying programs and testing them for cost-effectiveness, and increasing the use of "big data". The book also examines successful policies - including the G.I. Bill, the Voting Rights Act, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and airline deregulation - to highlight the factors that made them work.
An urgent call for reform, Why Government Fails So Often is essential listening for anyone curious about why government is in such disrepute and how it can do better.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jake on 02-05-15
Erudite, Systematic Analysis of Government Failure
This is a phenomenal book. Peter Schuck, a self-described independent who has always voted for Democrats, has shown why government consistently fails in systematic ways. He covers many, many programs and provides astute analysis for each. The book is never boring, despite being so comprehensive. The narrator is excellent, with perfect intonation to match the prose. I hope this book is more discussed. Unfortunately, as Schuck has regretted in interviews, left-leaning media has ignored this book for the most part. That's a shame. America needs to have this conversation.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Carl A. Gallozzi on 11-20-16
Sweeping Analysis- very relevant today.
Enjoyed the detailed analysis concerning a "performance assessment " of Government programs.
Of interest to those interested in public policy.
Rating reflects authors understanding of the subject area.