Apr 4, 2021

Guess what? Government is necessary

Robert Frank on the high cost of market fundamentalism:

Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate, is said to have joked that if the federal government were put in charge of the Sahara, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.

That antigovernment attitude has been embraced by countless free-market enthusiasts. President Ronald Reagan expressed it clearly in his first Inaugural Address: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” For decades, this perspective has gained influence in American political discourse.

The resulting hostility to government has been costly. It helped spawn not just the recent Texas electric grid meltdown but also a long string of similar failures, including responses to Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

The problem, of course, is how to ensure that government serves the people. But it’s a problem that cannot be wished away.

Read more here.