Conclusion

We have been harshly critical of the ideological turn in American economic policy that began in the early 1980s. We have been critical because the speakers, thinkers, and actors who made that turn “knew” things that they did not know and which proved wrong. They “knew”—without looking at the world at all—that the American economy:

  • Was hog-tied by excessive regulation everywhere, all of which needed to be pruned back to unleash the private sector,

  • Provided insufficient incentives for enterprise and entrepreneurship, which needed larger financial rewards to spur it forward,

    and

  • Had fallen victim to an ossified “demosclerosis” in which too many interest groups had acquired claims to income and wealth not derived from success in ...

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