Op-Ed Columnist – The Responsibility Deficit – NYTimes.com
When you listen carefully, you notice the public anger doesn’t quite match the political class anger. The political class is angry about ideological things: bloated government or the predatory rich. The public seems to be angry about values.
The heart of any moral system is the connection between action and consequences. Today’s public anger rises from the belief that this connection has been severed in one realm after another.
Financiers send the world into recession and don’t seem to suffer. Neighbors take on huge mortgages and then just walk away when they go underwater. Washington politicians avoid living within their means. Federal agencies fail and get rewarded with more responsibilities…
What’s needed, Howard argues, is a great streamlining. He’s not calling for deregulation. It’s about giving teachers, doctors and officials the power to actually make decisions and then holding them accountable. Some of their choices will be wrong, Howard acknowledges, but it is better to live in an imperfect world of individual responsibility than it is to live within a dehumanizing legal thicket that seeks to eliminate risk through a tangle of micromanaging statutes.