Our almost casual disregard for the erosion of the foundations of our political economy — endless talk but little successful action on internationally uncompetitive K-12 educational results; a widely touted university system that produces more visual and performing arts graduates than math, biology, or engineering graduates; an immigration policy that all but ignores the need to upgrade our human capital; underinvestment in certain kinds of infrastructure, science, and technology; the relentlessly rising tide of social dysfunction among the majority of the American population that does not graduate from college; somehow convincing ourselves that we are uniquely responsible for maintaining global order, when we represent only about 25 percent of global economic output; a continuous trade deficit for more than 30 years; federal government debt of 70 percent of GDP, without any real prospect of achieving fiscal balance, never mind running the budget surpluses that would be required to pay it down, and so on — is shocking and profligate. . . . The United States can thrive in this new world, but is not destined to do so.Manzi doesn't oppose reform; he merely advocates federalism:
My argument is not that we should avoid reforms. To the contrary, it is that we should attempt many more potential reforms by trying them out on a small scale to see how they really work.