Does a laissez-faire philosophy contribute or hurt the U.S. economy?
While the Republican/Tea Parties claim to be for smaller government, does that philosophy really help the economy overall?
Well, smaller government and a laissez-faire economic philosophy are really two different things; you can have one and not the other. I have researched and written extensively now, the latest being the finally completed "A Short History on Recessions/Depressions in America ..." on the subject of laissez-faire. The bottom line is that, plus the rest of the Conservative Austrian School of economic theory that goes along with it is absolutely terrible for this country. Just one small metric to come out of my research: prior to WW II, when America followed the Conservative philosophy 98% of the time, their was, on average, a panic, recession, or depression once every 5 years with most of them being the size of the 2008 downturn or worse. From 1944 - 2002, when America followed an essentially Keynsian theory, America had an average of one minor recession every 10 years, or so. It wasn't until we reverted back to Conservative economics that we had our first major recession since Roosevelt's one in 1937, which was caused by Franklin applying exactly the same fiscal policies in basically the same situation as advocated by Conservatives today.
Theodore Roosevelt was the first truly Progressive, a Republican, who made major changes to the relationship of government and business; he was certainly not laissiz-faire yet he maintained a small government.
@ My Esoteric - While I agree with the majority of your answer, I am left somewhat confused on two (2) points. #1. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a Democratic president and not a Republican and as you said, he was a progressive. For the love of God and country, the Republicans would have kicked his philosophies to the curb, if in the day, they thought they could get away with it. #2. I'm left scratching my head on the "smaller government" comment. With the creation of the TVA, the Civilian Conservation Act, the establishment of the FDIC, Social Security and regulating the securities and banking industries, just to name a few, I don't think FDR was for smaller government. If I am off base, please let me know. I do echo your opinion on our economy regarding conservatives vs. progressive. Thanks for your detailed response.
Not claiming to be an expert, but it seems that people always say we need to make government smaller and get them out of the way. The question is what part of government do you want to eliminate:
Medicare and Social Security
U.S, Department of Agriculture and Federal Drug Administration that help to insure and food supply and drugs we use are safe--I know some stuff gets by, but wouldn't it be worse without these agencies.
Department of Veterans Affairs--who would manage benefits for out citizens who served in the military.
The Military--Takes a whole lot of money do you want to be without them.
Air Traffic Controllers--Take your chances that each airport will all adopt the same standards for Controllers to meet.
The National Weather Service--When you live in Louisiana, you want somebody plotting those hurricane paths.
Environmental Protection Agency--This was not a favorite of the oil and gas industry where I worked for 22 years, but trust me it is better to have one set of regulations to follow instead of 50 sets.
People want government to be smaller. It can be. We do not need the Department of Energy. We do need the Energy Information Administration.
We really do not need the Department of Education, since Education is really handled at the state level.
We do need the U.S. Treasury--there once was a time that banks issued their own currency (long, long time ago) and it was not legal tender. It is nice to know that the money I earned in my home state will be honored in every other state.
Every department and agency has its share of waste. HubPages probably has a couple of people they could let go, like most companies. Where do we want to cut?
Right now in our crazy country, we have what is often referred to as a Pseudo-Free Market Economy - which basically means that our economy works through heavy Regulations, as well as political and public pressure, though mostly through regulations. There isn't a single thing you can do in this country without checking in with some figure-head or getting one form of permit. Why? Because if it isn't illegal, then it's economic, and if it's economic, the government(s) can regulate and they do. If i read more
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