Why it's so hard to create new economic policies in the U.S.

Ever wonder why it's so hard for the United States to make new public policies -- particularly economic ones -- while it's relatively easy for European nations to do so?

One big reason is the sheer diversity and size of the United States. Culturally speaking, the United States can be seen as three nations, not one. I'd like to take credit for the theory, but it was first formulated by the late Daniel Elazar, a political scientist who wrote American Federalism, A View from the States.

I've adapted Elazar's framework below to provide a slightly different take on the United States' policy landscape, one which may further help explain why it's so hard for the U.S. to agree on economic policies in good times and bad.