Scott Sumner reminds us of something I keep saying all the time – things are still way better than they were in the 1970s:
“In 1979 the British government owned many of the large manufacturing firms in industries like autos and steel. Even a candidate as conservative as Thatcher dared not suggest that perhaps the government had better things to be doing than manufacturing cars. (BTW, in Britain the election manifestos are taken much more seriously than in America.) In the 1950s, Eisenhower presided over 90% income tax rates. Until the late 1970s the US government set prices in many industries.
So it is not true that liberals have always believed communism is a bad idea, if by communism you mean an economic system where the government owns the major industries, sets prices, and has confiscatory tax rates on wealth. Of course they never bought into the (totalitarian) communist political system, but they most certainly did buy into its economic system. Samuelson’s textbook once predicted the Soviet living standards would surpass the US by 1990. If true, shouldn’t we adopt a democratic form of socialism in America?
We’ve come a long way. Right-wingers should not get too discouraged about the regulatory “reforms” being considered. Of course the crackdown on derivatives will probably do more harm than good, but the key point is that the harm it does will be trivial compared to the harm done by policies in the 1970s that even conservatives bought into.”
Read the whole thing, including comments. Very good stuff.