Does America need a prime minister?
A statue of British prime minister Winston Churchill in front of the House of Commons and Big Ben in Parliament Square, London.
August 17th, 2011
12:27 PM ET

Does America need a prime minister?

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

After the S&P downgrade of the United States, no country with a presidential system has a triple-A rating from all three major ratings agencies.  Only countries with parliamentary systems have that honor (with the possible exception of France, which has a parliament and prime minister as well as an empowered president).

Juan Linz, professor of social science at Yale, argued that parliamentary systems are superior to presidential systems for reasons of stability. In a parliamentary system, he contended, the legislature and the executive are fused so there is no contest for national legitimacy.

Think of David Cameron in England. He is head of the coalition that won the election, head of the bloc that has a majority in parliament and head of the executive branch as Prime Minister.

In the American presidential system, in contrast, you have the presidency and the legislature, both of which claim to speak for the people. As a result, you always have a contest over basic legitimacy. Who is actually speaking for and representing the people?

In America today, we take this struggle to an extreme. We have one party in one house of the legislature claiming to speak for the people because theirs was the most recent electoral victory.  And you have the president who claims a broader mandate as the only person elected by all the people.  These irresolvable claims invite struggle.

There are, of course, advantages to the American system – the checks and balances have been very useful on occasion. But we’re living in a world where you need governments that are able to respond decisively and quickly.  In a fast-moving world, paralysis is dangerous. Other countries are catching up - if not overtaking – America.

Debt crises across the West make this a particularly bad time for paralysis. Western countries have all built up very large pension and healthcare obligations that lead to huge amounts of debt.  They need to figure out some systematic way to work that debt load down to a much more manageable level. This means a lot of pain.

Given this situation, it becomes very easy in a presidential system for the executive and the legislature to get into a classic standoff over benefits as we saw in the debt crisis.

Remember, the political battle surrounding the debt ceiling is actually impossible in a parliamentary system because the executive controls the legislature. There could not be a public spectacle of the two branches of government squabbling and holding the country hostage.

If we’re in for another five years of this squabbling in the U.S., we are going to make presidential systems look pretty bad indeed.

For more of my thoughts through the week, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and to bookmark the Global Public Square.

soundoff (1,239 Responses)
  1. Arturo Cart

    Greetings. I am a inexperienced Cabinet Maker and was hoping to better be equipped for my vocation at The Kroger Co. That is the reason I arrived to your web page. Being raised in Cottonwood and attending to school at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (IL) in Citronelle, has assisted me to get ready for my future. My mother and father were also lecturers and they notified me about this blog entry upon studying Giraffes Can't Dance. Thank you so much

    June 20, 2016 at 5:29 am | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      I must say, I really like what you have done to your website. I think it's about time that we connected. I'd really love to talk to you about some of the points you have discussed here. On a scale going from 1 to 10. You are a 11. This content is great. You have really changed my way of thinking on more than a few things that I have taken for granted for all my adult life. This site resembles one I used to have.

      December 17, 2018 at 2:28 am | Reply
    • Cbd Vape

      I just wanted to say thanks for this awesome read! I'm really excited about reading much more of your work. This information you are providing is awesome. Is there new news on this? How do you believe it is even possible that things got this bad? This really is a smart way to think about it.

      December 18, 2018 at 12:14 am | Reply
    • Belize volunteer

      I subscribed to the mailing list this morning and I was curious about how often be receiving e-mails from you. Do you write this type of great content on your own or are you a member of a team? If it is not very important to you then just do not do it. This seems to go against what I've seen, I am going to go ahead and try it out and I will share the results.

      December 28, 2018 at 10:46 am | Reply
  2. Arlen Pujia

    Phone in one hand and designer bag in the other, the actress strutted into a LA office building in a pair of Christian Louboutin leopard print heels, with a black peplum top and cropped blue skinny jeans.

    November 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • wine insiders

      You seem to really know who you really are as a human. Might you have any evidence of this? Just about every time I'm online I'm bombarded with junk fake news but I depend on your blog for honest daily news. I just don't see what the problem could be.

      December 22, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • wine insiders

      Reading your blog is way better than kissing. Wow, that's beyond belief. The battle is so large that no one company can be expected to tackle it alone. I just don't see what the issue might be.

      December 23, 2018 at 4:02 am | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      If you ever began a cult, I'd be the first to sign up. This seems to go against what I've read, I'm going to go ahead and try it out then I I'll let you know the results. There is no single correct solution. I've read a few great things here.

      December 28, 2018 at 4:44 am | Reply
  3. Zachariah Erbst

    I must show thanks to the writer for rescuing me from this incident. After looking through the world wide web and coming across advice that were not productive, I figured my entire life was well over. Living without the approaches to the problems you’ve fixed by way of this review is a critical case, as well as ones which might have negatively affected my career if I had not come across your blog. Your actual competence and kindness in taking care of every item was priceless. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come across such a stuff like this. It’s possible to now look forward to my future. Thanks so much for your skilled and result oriented help. I will not be reluctant to refer the sites to any person who would like counselling about this topic.

    November 29, 2016 at 9:47 am | Reply
    • Best Cbd

      I am really hoping you write more very as soon as you can. Neat website. I subscribed to your mailing list this morning and I was wondering how often you send out new e-mails. Right on with this post.

      December 18, 2018 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • Cbd Drops

      This really cleared this question up for me. This writing style reminds me of my bff. But not everyone is good at being both creative and still being detail oriented. How often do you research the topic? Do you honestly think your articles being posted have really had any long term results on the field? I think they probably do. Babies and small cute animals probably like you.

      December 19, 2018 at 10:32 am | Reply
    • Belize nonprofit

      It is really unbelievable you do not have more followers. I’ve got a few great thoughts for this website so we should chat. No real complaints on my end, this is simply a good article. Well, I have started a long list. I like the helpful info you give in your articles.

      December 29, 2018 at 9:32 am | Reply
  4. Jewel Adamcik

    I adore this website – its so usefull and helpfull.|

    December 6, 2016 at 5:20 am | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      I just don't see what the big deal is. When I read this page I become more intelligent. You're a very persuasive blog content creator. That was a really simple question asked by my teacher that I had no idea how to answer.

      December 17, 2018 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      When I started my phone your page was running. You bring up a number of great facts here. You obviously know what you are talking about. Your creative potential is limitless. Without proper research, your followers won't be interested and you would lose credibility.

      December 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • Cbd Vape

      I'm so happy I discovered this website. I totally felt my brain grow when I read your post. Thank you for this awesome article. I really do enjoy these points you've made here but I kind of doubt any can be applied to reality.

      December 27, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  5. Maxima Rosekrans

    I have recently started a web site, the info you provide on this web site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

    December 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • Belize volunteer

      You seem to really understand who you really are deep down. Anyone can tell that you create content because you really love doing it. I kind of hate that my computer battery is dying. This writing style reminds me of my boyfriend. I'm always amazed that you're somehow capable to produce such epic content on a consistent basis.

      December 17, 2018 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • volunteer Belize

      The 2 most important moments of my life so far were being born and the second is discovering your website. You really should be thanked way more often than you are. Data is just about everything. This girl I used to know loves your blogs. But my biggest threat does not come from new businesses. This really changed my mind on a few points.

      December 23, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  6. Jayson Aderhold

    Very good post! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.|

    January 1, 2017 at 5:07 am | Reply
    • Cbd Vape

      Thank you for writing this amazing page. I have tried a few of those and I really can not make up my mind on which of them I like the most. You look at this subject from far more than one view point. You really cleared this question up for me. You are an great writer. I must say, I really like what you've done here.

      December 17, 2018 at 3:30 am | Reply
    • Pet Cbd

      Sure is a lot of info to consider. To err is part of being a human, but don’t expect forgiveness. I used to live out in Texas so I know what you're talking about here. I'm going to highly recommend this blog to all my friends!

      December 18, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Reply
    • Cbd Products

      I found your page on my Google Plus feed. How did you grow this skill set? This article has some unique points of view when compared to the other articles I have read. About how big is your team, hope you don't mind me inquiring. You’ve really hit the nail on the head.

      December 23, 2018 at 12:38 am | Reply
  7. Veta Harp

    I was examining some of your content on this website and I think this web site is very informative ! Keep putting up.

    February 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • Cbd Dosage

      I simply got to tell you, I am really impressed. This is some really valuable information. Ever become burnt out from writing all this great content? Might you have any more helpful insights? You've really changed my way of thinking about things on more than a few topics today.

      December 25, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Reply
    • Dog Cbd

      I found your blogs on my Facebook feed. This might be just what I was looking for. I have been really distracted, to say the least. You kind of remind me of my bestie. Our neighborhood is way better because of your work. These short, simple Youtube videos have turned him into one of the top influencers in the world.

      December 26, 2018 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      From magazines to blog content to social media posts, people need to write great content if they want to bring people to them. I've never in my life heard of this before just now. That is the thinking of a brilliant mind. I'm not an expert but it looks to me like this information could be really valuable if it were given to the people who understood how to apply it. I guess the shorter answer is, I do not understand very much about this while a longer answer is that I am going to discover all I can on this.

      December 30, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      I will be a regular visitor here ongoing. Could you grant me an extra seconds of your time to answer just a couple questions? I really learned so much because of this. I really like your style of content. It is very informative and you're obviously very knowledgeable in this area. Being detailed is great, but do not go too crazy with creating volumes of unneeded files at the beginning.

      January 1, 2019 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  8. bill

    yes yes they do

    February 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Reply
    • Cbd Review

      This is just what I was searching for. Do you ever become burnt out by creating all this great content? Oh my goodness! A great article. Do you believe this news might affect the industry in the coming years? Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

      December 25, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • bean bag

      This is the thinking of a brilliant mind. My mom used to tell me the same sort of concepts. Some really great info here. Right up until right now I have had a very incorrect way of thinking about this topic.

      December 28, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • yoga training

      That could turn into an expensive and could become a risky venture. You are a very informative article writer. Your article is great! The 2 most important moments of my life so far were being born and the second is discovering your writings. This is what I'm looking for.

      December 29, 2018 at 10:28 am | Reply
  9. Garfield Walczyk

    Thanks , I've recently been looking for info about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I've discovered till now. But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

    March 14, 2017 at 7:09 am | Reply
    • Cbd Cream

      Discovered this while on WordPress and I am so happy I did. We are truly at the start of a new era in our history. You are totally an expert. What’s the formula for creating a happy life?

      December 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      And once again, you're right. Guess I will just bookmark your blog. I first heard about your site yesterday and I found it was very interesting so I'm glad you are covering it. Just wanted to say fantastic article!

      December 26, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • wine insiders review

      Thanks for sharing your great info. Your post could not be written any better! There's no single right answer. If you're able, shoot me an Email and we will discuss more because I have an idea I think you might love. You have really peaked my interest on this topic, might you give me some additional suggestions? There simply has to be some other option then the ones you've presented here.

      December 28, 2018 at 12:04 am | Reply
    • bean bag

      It's almost like you wrote a book on it or something. To be honest, when I first came to your website last month I was just looking for something funny to read but this site has been really useful and insightful. Discovered this while on Instagram and I am glad we connected. It does not have to cost a lot. I've been a big fan of yours for a long time now and I look forward to seeing more from you. Do you ever get exhausted by writing all these great articles?

      December 29, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  10. Ray

    Relmente me gusta este artículo. Me ha dejado claras muchas cosas que no sabía y me ha aportado nueva información que nutre aquello que sabía sobre este tema.

    May 25, 2017 at 8:45 am | Reply
  11. Masaj cu finalizare

    Come and let yourself be carresed with my hot body! The pleasure that you will feel will be incommensurate ... just show me how my velvet body will bend on your "impatiently" body . I'll take you to the top of sin and you will not regret going along with me on a forbidden land.

    June 21, 2017 at 4:05 am | Reply
  12. home warranty

    This is great content! I've been surfing online for a minute today, yet I never found anything like this. Is it OK to share on Linkedin? Keep up the amazing work!

    June 21, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  13. brianjr

    great post!

    July 19, 2017 at 4:28 am | Reply
    • bean bag

      When you put good people with a common interest in a room together, they’re sure to connect over shared interests. I have been working in the business for about 6 months and I often come to your site for the best insider insights. Neat blog. The information you are providing is amazing. Thank you for this post I found it to be very encouraging. I just wanted to tell you that this article is awesome!

      December 31, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  14. sabun gove

    gove | sabun gove

    July 22, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  15. mbt trainers uk
    mbt trainers uk

    July 28, 2017 at 5:47 am | Reply
  16. Jesse Grillo

    Thanks for sharing your info. I hope you are making money off this website Found this on Tumblr and I am happy I did I bet you would love Maryland.

    August 29, 2017 at 11:40 pm | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      You’ve really smacked the nail on the head. Your writing style reminds me of my bff back in Ohio. But I sometimes miss the old days. I do not fully understand what you're trying to say. You have really opened my mind to varying views on this subject with interesting and solid content. I'm just in absolute disbelief by what I'm seeing on your website.

      December 19, 2018 at 4:49 am | Reply
    • yoga retreat

      Be cool if you lived closer to me so we could hang out. Some of my classmates have been recommending this website to me for a while now so I finally decided to give it a look. It's a funny thing I believed I was a pro on this topic before coming to your blog but I guess I am still a student. I will be sure to bookmark your website because I'll definitely return when I am able to. Your article brings me to a new place of understanding. I can't stop myself from looking at your blog.

      December 26, 2018 at 5:42 am | Reply
  17. Jesse Grillo

    Exceptionally well written! I am reading your blog while in my RV. No complaints on this end, simply a awesome piece. You already know this but you are a Jedi when it comes to this stuff. To think, I was confused a minute ago.

    August 30, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • Bean Bag

      I will be applying these insights the next time I am at school. This website resembles my old one. There is one key difference though. Your blog has brought great joy. I simply have to tell you that I really like your pages write up. Does your website have a contact page? I am having a tough time locating it but, I would love to send you an e-mail.

      January 2, 2019 at 6:05 am | Reply
  18. Jesse Grillo

    Wow, that is a really great way of thinking about it! I know you would love Wyoming. I simply have to tell you that your articles are really valuable. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further posts thank you once again. Are there other blogs you work on?

    August 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  19. Jesse Grillo Jesse Grillo

    I have been looking everywhere for this! I am bored to death at work so I decided to browse your write up on my iphone during lunch break. This is an excellent, an eye-opener for sure! You are totally a professional. Some nice points there.

    August 31, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Jesse Grillo

      I am really here to learn as much as possible on the subject so I may help people with their concerns in the future. I first came to your site over 9 months ago and it is really great to see you are still around. Great website. I look forward to seeing it improve over time. I'll talk about this website with my school group. I am reading your article while chillin at my coffee shop.

      December 29, 2018 at 12:59 am | Reply
  20. Jesse Grillo

    You seem to really know who you are. excellent post, thanks a lot. On a scale from 1 to 10, You are an 11.

    September 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      I have used a few of them and I really can not make up my mind on which of them I like best. My friend told me they would want to be a paid teacher in this field some day. I just shared this on my blog and 22 people have already shared it! Keep creating great articles like this one. My neighbor turned me onto your pages.

      December 17, 2018 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • Cbd Oils

      Do you believe todays news will change things in the coming months? Any more recommendations you could share with me? You have really hit the nail on the head. Your blog is so mind blowing that my mouth starts bleeding when I look at it. You really have a great way of thinking about things.

      December 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  21. Sheldon Owen

    I am hoping you write once more very soon! You really sparked my interest.

    September 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • Cbd Tincture

      I'll be a regular visitor here ongoing. I have been following this website for some time now and I really like the changes that have been made to this blog. Thank you for writing this mind blowing blog. I just by luck found your post. You're so beyond awesome! Great insight, exactly what I was looking for.

      December 18, 2018 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • Cbd Store

      It is about time that we connected because I'd really love to discuss to you about some of the subjects you have discussed here. Good page, very helpful. My girlfriend enjoys your blog. You’ve really hit the nail on the head. I am surprised at how slow your website came up on my phone.

      December 19, 2018 at 10:06 am | Reply
  22. Jesse Grillo

    Fantastic website! Your post is really useful. Nice read.

    September 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  23. ルイヴィトンコピー財布


    January 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  24. Trenton Dreier

    This can be a great read for me personally, Have to admit that you simply just are among the best bloggers I ever saw.Thank you for posting this data.

    January 19, 2018 at 4:43 am | Reply
    • Cbd Tincture

      You should write a lot more thank this, that is all I need to say. Do you ever list sources in your work? It would be great to read about what inspires you. Your write ups really make me to think more about how I see the world. I wished you lived close so we could be friends.

      December 20, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • bean bag

      And that is an expensive and might be a dangerous proposition. I first saw your website about 2 years ago and it is really great to see you are still here. To err is part of being a human, but don’t expect forgiveness. I think the owner of this web is really working a lot. I want to encourage you to definitely keep up with your great work because you're very talented. How often do you research the subject?

      December 22, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Reply
    • Bean Bag

      Colors seem a lot brighter when you post new content. I have never in my life heard of that before just now. I first saw your blog about a year ago and it's really nice to see you are still around. I know the owner of this website is really working hard. I am surprised at how slow your website came up on my phone. I just shared your page on my Instagram.

      December 22, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Reply
    • Cbd Vape

      You clearly understand what you are talking about. Top Blog experts would love this. I really think this site needs a great deal more attention. I have been looking almost everywhere online for thisinfo.

      December 23, 2018 at 8:44 am | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      You’ve really smacked the nail on the head. I really like your website but... I am dyslexic. Do you have Youtube videos on the topic? I will be subscribing to your feed for sure. You sure have a lot of info on this topic. Thanks for this post I found it to be very encouraging.

      December 24, 2018 at 5:43 am | Reply
  25. home business franchise opportunities

    At this time it seems like Movable Type is the best blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    April 15, 2018 at 12:22 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.