It's no secret that America's public schools, health care system, and lawsuit industry -- among other institutions -- are broken. After decades of alarming reports and reform efforts, they still cost far more, and with worse results, than those of almost all other developed countries. And President-elect Obama's hope of changing things dramatically for the better faces an uphill battle.
I don't know that we're getting "worse results" from our health care system, but I'll concede the point regarding schools.
A big part of the reason, New York City lawyer-author-civic leader Philip Howard writes in a forthcoming book, Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans From Too Much Law, is that our institutions and their leaders are paralyzed by tangles of legal rules and diverted "from doing what we think is right" by fear of being unfairly hauled into court.
It's an interesting read.