New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman unloaded another lecture on Sunday about how our country is in dire need of reform, like an Arab backwater: "Does America need an Arab Spring? …has American gone from a democracy to a “vetocracy” —from a system designed to prevent anyone in government from amassing too much power to a system in which no one can aggregate enough power to make any important decisions at all?
Conservative economist Daniel Mitchell takes Friedman to task: "This is remarkable, in part because he is stunningly wrong. The political class in Washington manages to spend about $4 trillion per year and churn out tens of thousands of pages of new regulation annually."
Mitchell added: The politicians also manage to enact dozens of new laws every year, almost all of which expand the size and scope of the federal government. If that’s gridlock caused by “vetocracy,” then I shudder to think what activist government looks like."
Mitchell said "the part that really shocked me was that Friedman basically acknowledged that the problem is big government." Friedman wrote "the huge expansion of the federal government, and the increasing importance of money in politics, have hugely expanded the number of special-interest lobbies and their ability to influence and clog decision-making."
This is a facepalm moment. Friedman begins his column by complaining that our system is sclerotic and that this makes it hard for politicians to enact more laws, yet he then admits that our system is sclerotic because government is too big already. And it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that Friedman wants to make government even bigger – which is why he’s complaining about gridlock in the first place!