If you follow the stock market, the news, or opinion polls, you have to conclude that the nation is in a funk. I have attributed this to our massive debt overhang, which time will eventually fix. But there is more. Our institutions are at risk of collapsing under their own weight. We’ve created so many laws and regulations that attempting to do something requires navigating a minefield of rules. We’ve dampened innovation and job creation along with it. We’ve criminalized so much behavior that millions of Americans are unwitting criminals, living freely only by the grace of overworked prosecutors. This is not a recipe for success and it cannot be fixed merely by the passage of time.
If we are ever to recover, there must be a focus on dismantling the cumbersome legal artifacts that keep us tied down. This won’t happen by itself and the process will require dismantling many valuable social safeguards. I see little political will to accomplish this, but that may be because people haven’t connected the dots…yet. We may have made ourselves safer and fairer, but at great expense. Nothing is free and everything is about trade-offs. Honest people can disagree about the right balance between “safe and fair” versus improving standards of living, but my sense of it is that we are slowly reaching a point where we decide that we’ve pushed the pendulum too far in the wrong direction. Maybe the passage of time is required for this as well.
- How deep is the gloom? (theage.com.au)