America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.
But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.
This is one of the big differences between Scotland and the US. The overall economic and political systems are similar, but Scots regard problems as having solutions, and don't hesitate to cook up, discuss, and implement "schemes" (which doesn't have the same negative connotation over there) to address all sorts of issues, large and small. We've basically given up on fixing anything (including education), which is somehow presented as the sensible adult approach to governance.