Delegated Governance, Past, Present, and Future
This chapter summarizes the book’s main findings and probes its larger implications. The book has not only shed light on an important episode in American politics, but advanced our thinking about the complex realities of the American state. A second set of implications has to do with the nature of redistributive policy in the United States, which some would argue has been captured by well-heeled interests and become increasingly unresponsive to mass opinion. To the contrary, the book has argued that because the public sends fundamentally contradictory signals to American politicians about what the role of government should be in their lives, delegated arrangements often reflect the views of an ambivalent public. Moreover, because deeply-rooted ideational and institutional forces have driven the recourse to these kinds of governing arrangements again and again, one can expect this pattern to continue in the foreseeable future. To show this, the book ends with a brief examination of the 2009-2010 health care reform effort in which both the fight over the appropriate scope and power of the federal government and the solution—delegation to private health insurers and states—reflect the political forces traced in this book.
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