David Frum reminds us just how freer and more dynamic the United States economy has become over the last fifty years. It's a useful empirical rejoinder to the panic of the Beck right:
Think back to 1960. The federal government regulated the price of every airfare. It regulated every rail, truck and shipping route. It regulated the price of natural gas. It regulated stockbrokers' commissions. It regulated the interest rates that could be paid on checking accounts. It told most farmers how much they could grow of what commodity. It regulated what kind of political and religious comment could be expressed on the airwaves. And of course it conscripted millions of young men beginning their careers into the armed forces.
All of that is gone, gone, gone.
True, in other ways society is more regulated than it used to be. There was no Clean Water Act back then, no Americans with Disabilities Act. I think most Americans -- even most Tea Party members -- support the new environmental and antidiscrimination acts that have replaced the old regulation of transport, energy and financial pricing. But whether you support the new laws or oppose them, it's just wrong to say we're treading a one-way road to serfdom.
He goes on to acknowlegde that the size and cost of government are major concerns.