The reaction of the economic mainstream to the inflationary turmoil of the 1970s was to retreat to an ideological interpretation of their fundamental ideas -- a doctrinaire reinforcement of laissez-faire economics.
If neoliberalism is the spirit of the age, then what if we have landed in a new age? Burgin recounts how the reaction from both left and right after the financial crisis predicted an upsurge in Keynesiasm or at least greater state activism.
Bad economic policy is misunderstood by the public as the product of bad actors, but the deeper story is one of normal people performing under bad incentives. That is why "the leavening hand of wise policy" is about as useful a concept as the fairy godmother's magic wand.
For those who believe in a society, that to some degree we are all in this together, there are three choices: resist change, stagnate or progress. So far, no one has discovered how to progress without the institutions of government.
Half of America has been clinging to a self-image that is fast receding: Hearty white folks on the plains instead of brown ones in the cities; a venerated middle class instead of one that is crushed and diminishing; governance that is the envy of the world!