Too Little, Too Late?

Milton Friedman from his University of Chicago lecture What is America?

1978:

I’m not arguing that government does not have a role, of course it does.  I am not an anarchist.  But I am persuaded that the problem of our society today is too much government, not too little.  Indeed I am persuaded that government is failing to perform the functions which it alone can perform, because we are trying to have it perform functions which it cannot perform.

In Walter Lippman’s phrase, which, I may say, goes back to the 1920’s, we are an over-governed society.

I believe we can get back on the right track, only as a public at large comes to recognize that the direction we have been going is a false direction.  A direction that will lead us not where we want to be, but where we do not want to be.  And that we can get back on the right track only by stopping and then reversing that trend.

Veronique de Rugy and Nick Gillespie, The HillCongress isn’t gridlocked — it’s just totally irresponsible,

2012:

What we’re actually witnessing — and have been for years now — is not gridlock, but the abdication of responsibility by Congress and the president for performing the most basic responsibilities of government. Despite the fiscal crisis that Washington knows will occur if it fails to deal with unsustainable spending and debt, it hasn’t managed to produce a federal budget in more than three years.

The plain fact is that neither party is working honestly to tackle the nation’s fiscal issues. Why stick your neck out when it’s easier to just blame the other side? Given the lackluster economy, the GOP’s smartest option might well be to do nothing but blame the president for the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Republicans studiously avoid implicating themselves and former President George W. Bush, who pushed the Troubled Asset Relief Program through in 2008 and then diverted TARP funds to bail out General Motors and Chrysler.

Simply put, this is no way to run a country. The problem is not gridlock or ideological fervor. The problem is an increasingly irresponsible government that has for far too long been far too easily let off the hook. Whichever party emerges victorious in November, and whatever happens in the lame-duck session, this much is certain: Unless taxpayers begin demanding their president and Congress act responsibly, and do the actual work they were elected to do,”gridlock” will be the least of our problems.

(My emphasis.)  Thirty-four years later and the problem is only worse.

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