A happy society benefits from a competent government, most especially from a competent legislature. The legislature, by its nature, will have representatives of conflicting interests. It will naturally be full of conflicts much more often than it starts with broad agreement on major issues. Thus, a competent government requires a willingness to compromise and work together for the good of the country.
Lately, our government, especially our legislature, has been polarized by a faction, the Tea Party, that rejects compromise on principle. Moreover, the federal legislature has been hamstrung by a pledge that many members of one party, the Republican Party, made to never raise taxes, no matter what effect that has on the country.
There are happy signs that the logjam in the legislature is breaking up. The uncompromising faction lost more than it gained in the recent election. This frees the establishment of their host party, the Republicans, to make deals in the usual way, to move the government forward.
Recently, there has been another happy trend: many Republican leaders who signed the "never raise taxes" pledge are expressing a willingness to shrug off that straightjacket.
I am very hopeful that the lame duck session, and the new Congress to follow, will be very productive in solving a number of problems facing the federal government.