Subsidies, stimulus, regulations, protectionism, trade restrictions, government-bank collusion, zoning, bailouts and more do not equal a “free” market.
Depressing as it is, politics usually trumps economics. There’s nothing new in that, but free-market advocates ought to learn some lessons and adjust their strategy accordingly.
The politicians who run the government—and think they run the country—are afraid to appear as though they are doing nothing. We saw this when the recession hit. They were particularly worried about seeming to put party above the public good.
As the Wall Street Journal put it back then, “The speed with which Washington hashed out the [stimulus] plan was driven mostly by the drumbeat of bad economic news. Behind the scenes, it was greased by other powerful motivations. Congressional Democrats needed to demonstrate they were capable of results after a year of gridlock. Republican lawmakers, up for re-election, wanted to show sensitivity to voters’ economic woes. And the White House didn’t want ‘recession’ added to its legacy.”
CONTINUED at Reason. Written by Sheldon Richman.