Sex scandals have drowned out the real scandal of 2016, which is the slow economic growth experienced since the 2008 financial crisis. This is the slowest recovery from a recession in history, and that has hurt tens of millions of Americans. Recent articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have asked why the economy is growing so slowly, but neither answered the question.
The answer seems obvious to the Antiplanner: the economy is growing slowly because it is being stifled by a government doing the same thing the government did during the Great Depression (as described by Amity Shlaes), which is encumbering businesses with regulation while spending federal dollars on “stimulus” projects that aren’t very stimulating.
Here’s a true story. During the Depression, the railroads complained that they were heavily regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission while the airlines, truckers, and bus companies were not. President Roosevelt named Joseph Eastman, a long-time member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, his “transportation czar” (formally, the “federal coordinator of transportation”). Eastman realized he had two alternatives: deregulate the railroads or overregulate everyone else. As someone comfortable with regulation, he choose the latter.