THERE is a misconception that President Bush’s years in office have been characterized by a hands-off approach to regulation. In large part, this myth stems from the rhetoric of the president and his appointees, who have emphasized the costly burdens that regulation places on business.Don't be surprised if this point has to be made and re-made many, many times. The history of laissez-faire is a history of it being falsely discredited for the real flaws of politics. Says Ayn Rand:
But the reality has been very different: continuing heavy regulation, with a growing loss of accountability and effectiveness. That’s dysfunctional governance, not laissez-faire...
In the meantime, if you hear a call for more regulation, without a clear explanation of why regulation failed in the past, beware. The odds are that we’ll get additional regulation but with even less accountability and even less focus on solving our very real economic problems.
If a detailed, factual study were made of all those instances in the history of American industry which have been used by the statists as an indictment of free enterprise and as an argument in favor of a government-controlled economy, it would be found that the actions blamed on businessmen were caused, necessitated, and made possible only by government intervention in business. The evils, popularly ascribed to big industrialists, were not the result of an unregulated industry, but of government power over industry. The villain in the picture was not the businessman, but the legislator, not free enterprise, but government controls.
Expect the current financial collapse caused by the explosion of Greenspan's rocket fuel -- who even the most braindead presidential candidate would have to notice was a government employee -- will nonetheless continue to be blamed on the nonexistent "deregulation" of the financial markets, no matter how many times the fallacy is exploded.