Imagine a democracy where politicians representing only a tenth of the population can frustrate the will of the majority, where the legislature is divided up into absurdly gerrymandered seats, where money politics is rife, where bipartisanship has disappeared—and where nothing ever gets done. With Congress failing to do anything about health care, climate change or the deficit, that is how an increasing number of Americans see Washington. Meanwhile businesspeople and politicians in the emerging world contrast this paralysis with China's autocratic efficiency. In our cover leader we look at the idea that Washington is broken. We argue that it is wrong to blame the system, not least because it lets Barack Obama off the hook. The main reason why his laws are not passing is because they are unpopular. He has done too little to win over independents and Republicans.
Here are some other pieces from this week's issue you might also be interested in. You can click straight through to each one and read it at
The Economist online