Over , the federal government will spend $1 of every $4 that is spent in the United States, reports Richard Wolf in USA Today.
Remember that when you hear “our free market economy” praised by the television pundits or condemned by the Shock Doctrine set.
That $1 in $4 — higher than usual thanks to the bailouts and stimulus-plan spending — will break a post-World-War-Ⅱ record set a few years into the Ronald “Government is the Problem” Reagan administration.
And this is only the most explicit and direct federal government participation in the economy. For instance, it doesn’t count the underground government, the many costly spending mandates the government slaps on individuals and private businesses, or the financial erosion of inflation. (Nor does it count spending by state and local governments.) Only part of this iceberg is above-water.
Any free market institutions remaining in the United States are like those earliest shrew-like mammals: tiny things, scurrying around trying not to get stepped on by some ginormous reptile.
But in a time of crisis, the dinosaurs proved unable to survive, and the mammals took center stage. Maybe an economic crisis is what it will take for the free market to emerge from the dinosaur’s shadow.