The United States has a peculiar problem adopting necessary change. With so many constituencies to palliate, the almost-universal solution is to avoid conflict where possible and payoff the constituencies where not.
This can run up quite a bill, in both dollar and procedural terms.
We have a society full of bad, worm-eaten decisions. Look no further than drilling in deep water when you don’t know how to deal with leaks; heaping all the risks of nuclear accidents and disposal on society so we can keep doing nuclear; getting ready to sweep under the rug issues with shale gas, our newest familiar energy savior; and the worst of them all, sustaining a perpetual co-dependency with our oil suppliers in the Mideast. And I haven’t even mentioned global warming.