Roger Backhouse and Bradley Bateman comment on the state of economics in today's NY Times. While their piece has merit, the authors tie the recent economic troubles to "unfettered capitalism." Really? Crony capitalism, yes. Unfettered, no way.
The Federal Register was up to 82,590 pages in 2010. It had dipped to 74,408 pages in 2007, down from 83,294 in 2000; but it only had 14,479 pages in 1960. I know these are crude measures, but where do we find "unfettered"?
And in our federal system, there are many state and local governments that also do some regulating. In terms of share of GDP (table), if the federal share hovers around 20 percent, adding state and local pushes government share up to about 35 percent.
The NY Times Magazine includes Adam Davidson's "Can Anyone Really Create Jobs? The answer is no. And that goes for the presidential candidates too". Most of the piece is useful because the idea that politicians can somehow "create jobs" is now standard political jargon. They can surely add bulk to the Federal Register, but that's another story.
Today's WSJ lists some recent U.S. industrial policy corporate welfare.