The nation's economic recovery has been squandered by crippling partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill and by heavy special-interest lobbying by American business, a Harvard Business School report said Wednesday.
"Despite a decade of steady economic growth since the Great Recession, America has done remarkably little to address underlying structural weaknesses in the country's economy and society," the report said. "The nation has squandered the recovery."
According to the report, "America has made so little progress [because] our political system has been optimized by the two major political parties to advance their partisan interests rather than the public interest.
"Electoral and legislative rules serve the parties well but cause gridlock and disable our democracy."
The document, "A Recovery Squandered: The State of U.S. Competitiveness 2019," surveyed thousands of business leaders, including 5,713 Harvard Business School alumni and 1,006 members of the general public, Yahoo Finance reports.
"We had this wonderful recovery," Michael Porter, an HBS professor and study co-author, told Yahoo. "It could have given us the chance to take some significant resources and devote them to some of our well-known challenges, like infrastructure or healthcare.
"None of that happened," he added. "Instead, we squandered a major economic recovery and didn't use it to make things better."
Business spent $6 billion a year on lobbying, which the report said was among several factors in declining U.S. competitiveness.
Other dollars went to elections and ballot initiatives, efforts to influence employees' votes and donations, and to companies adding former government officials to their payrolls.
"Lobbying has been hugely expanding and growing over time — and it's just perverting everything about legislation," Porter told Yahoo.
"If you want your M&A deal approved, you do lobbying," he explained. "You get to the people in the legislature that are involved in [the Federal Trade Commission] or connected with the various groups and you can get regulations modified.
"You can get deals passed."
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