Why America’s government can’t function financially
I can certainly understand your confusion. Many people who live in functioning parliamentarian systems have trouble understanding the American system. The fact that it is quickly collapsing makes this confusion more and more troublesome. Who knows what will happen? Unfortunately the US is still the richest state (barely) and the most powerful militarily with a mentally disturbed wannabe dictator in charge supported by a criminal group that was previously a political party.
It’s a good question that is difficult to answer but goes directly to the heart of the structural failure of the US system. The original form of the US federal system was incredibly innovative for the late 18th century. The current form under the constitution was implemented before the French Revolution so the only model was the English revolution of 1688. There were, obviously, lots of reasons to ignore that. The primary influence were the philosophes of the, predominantly, French Enlightenment. But this was before the Revolution and the sequence of problems, terror, and imperial restoration that taught the world a lot about trying to do a pseudo democratic system.
The current structure is a federalist republican system with very limited representation for a very limited part of the population. This was understood to be the only legitimate part of the population defined as white, male, landowners. These were the only people who could vote and they could only vote in their state legislative and governor elections and for the lower house of Congress. Originally the state legislatures elected both the Senate (two from each state no matter the size) and the Electoral College that then elected the president. The popular election for president could be ignored by the Electoral College.
The Senate became a popular election and the electorate was slowly widened to include people of other races as long as they followed the lead of the white citizens who functioned as an aristocracy of wealth. You can see how the whole thing became a shambles through the 20th century. Congress was owned by the parties (only two were functionally allowed) while the Senate was effectively a house of lords able to ignore the people while guaranteeing the well being of the wealthy.
While the Constitution gave the Hour of Representatives (the only popularly elected component) the sole power to propose the budget the Senate must confirm it by proposing its own and then negotiating something they would accept. Even this was too risky so the president could veto it and, effectively, force a start over situation. Of course nothing gets paid for the whole thing grinds to halt as everyone takes the budget hostage to get the part they want.
The only thing that has kept this working for the last forty years or so is the fact that no one will change the rules to allow the president do line item veto. This would allow the president to rewrite a budget to do what he wanted by blocking everything else. It would have quickly collapsed into a full dictatorship under Nixon in the early ’70s with that.
There are many reasons that this was allowed to disintegrate over the decades but primarily it is the structural requirement for racism and the basic denial of democracy as a system. The planetary confusion about this is due to a century of propaganda claiming America as the lead democracy with exceptional power that cannot be questioned.
America started out well and really impressed de Tocqueville as an emerging republic using free market capitalism to grow. It started to show the structural problems in the 1820s with genocide of the indigenous populations. The combination of uncontrolled capitalism proved very powerful for industrial development and territorial exploitation (conquest) but was crippled by slavery and racism that was built into the system.
Economic growth covered the growing social problems at the end of the 19th century and the general horror of the World Wars allowed America as the resource center of the planet isolated from the conflict to play to its advantage. The Great Depression showed the inherent failings of rampant capitalism which gave America its one shot at being truly great, at least for its people, in the late 1940s to the 1970s. This was a democratic socialist state (the use of the terms was forbidden) until capitalist exhaustion and a rapidly changing planet allowed the old forces to finally take control and begin the destruction they had always wanted.
These were the very rich oligarchs who wanted people retained as low level workers with no rights beyond those that wold keep them working. They are now totally committed to greed in the form of all planetary assets being theirs by right of race and ethnicity. Freedom applies only to them. This is a totally class structure with the wealth elite as an improved version of 18th century European aristocracy.
All of this is, of course, now irrelevant as we are shifting to completely different world with massive climate disaster threatening everyone. But the shift is paradigmatic and requires a completely different fully diverse social structure with a distributed and fully sustainable economy as the only option that will now work.
Let me know if this helped or made the confusion worse.