This column by my ex-friend Ezra Klein has gotten some notice. I take a big exception to it. The gist is that U.S. liberalism lacks an appreciation for certain salient deficiencies of our welfare state. He leads with reference to our yearnings towards industrial policy. I don’t think he would disagree that we already have an industrial policy. It stinks, but we have one. The U.S. public sector subsidizes armaments, fossil fuel, and health care. In diverse ways, these policies are killing us. But there they are.
Re "ex-friend," I imagine that EK has too much of "on the other hand." He certainly does for me. I think you have the better certainly of both the argument and the writing, if not the perch. As usual, I appreciate the points you make here; I find them clarifying.
Funding is indeed part of the problem with government: there just isn't enough of it. But structure is also significant. A Swiss Army Knife agency is almost guaranteed to do nothing well. (I worked for 30 years with a well-funded but overtasked agency called the Federal Reserve. Oy.) Overlapping agencies are guaranteed to have senseless turf wars. And it is almost impossible to get rid of useless agencies, such as TSA or (say some) the Air Force.