For the last forty years, most Americans have been expecting more than their government is capable of delivering. That mistake is at the root of why our government is functioning poorly. Instead of admitting its limitations, or trying to manage our expectations, government starts lying to us about what is possible.
It’s especially bad because Americans are prone to expecting more than Europeans. On the two sides of the Atlantic, the experience of WWII was radically different: frequent bombardment, impoverishment, and political turmoil on one side; orderly politics and secure skies on the other. Memories of those very hard times are still strong in Europe, but Americans are mostly protected by size, might, and the two oceans. In the longer term picture, the United States, through its cheap and plentiful land, and skilled immigrants, has been used to enjoying low-hanging fruit not just for a couple of generations but for hundreds of years. That expectation is built into our history and built into our national character.
From The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen.
Success is knowing what worked yesterday. The idea that tax cuts stimulate growth, an idea I often support, may depend on other factors as well. If there are other evolutionary factors that may inhibit growth this fact may not be as true today as it was under Reagan. Yet increased debt is even more dangerous for there is simply less growth to fund it. We can neither spend our way nor tax our way out of this economy. The solution is to reduce our dependency on easy government solutions such as easy money and fiscal mythology. We can reduce our friction costs, which includes regulations and mandates. It has been the habit of the elected to promise benefits without paying for them. It will take an exceptional leader and communicator to explain to the voters that the period of a government that can solve all our problems is over, and that we will be much better for it.