If you’d told me that America’s system of dealing with accuses criminals awaiting trial was massively inefficient, hugely unjust, and especially tilted against the poor I would have no problem believing you. My guess, however, would have been that knee-jerk “tough on crime” politics was to blame. Apparently the real issue is “the interests of a powerful bail bonding industry”. NPR makes the case solidly and it’s all the more remarkable when you consider that there are many, many, many more powerful industries out there.
Similarly, I have a friend who used to write software that had something to do with tax administration. She was telling me that it would be relatively simple to implement a system in which everyone’s tax forms come already filled out, so you could then change them if there was a problem, but otherwise have an easy time of it. But the change is always blocked by a combination of the Club for Growth, which wants taxes to be as annoying as possible, and Intuit, which wants to do your taxes for you.