Left-leaning New York Times columnist Ezra Klein concedes government is sometimes the problem, and calls for a "louder and more insistent" effort against counterproductive regulations. He has an interview with Treasury Secretary Yellen in which he describes her as agreeing. Klein writes:
But if Democrats don't always admit how much government can do to help, they also don't always admit how much it can do to hurt. The market would build more housing if local zoning czars would let them. Companies were clamoring to sell more rapid tests earlier, but the F.D.A. wouldn't let them. All across the country, nuclear and solar and wind projects are being tied up in red tape.
You can go too far with this, and Republicans often do. The frustrating truth of regulation is there's no one position you can have on it. Good regulations are good, bad regulations are bad. But bad regulations are hard to unwind, and they're often unseen.
This is a view Yellen shares. "In some cases, regulation can have costs that greatly exceed the benefits," she told me. "I'm no expert on housing, but in many localities, it seems the restrictions on local zoning make it extremely hard to build affordable housing and keep prices high. There certainly is some effort in the administration to convince states and localities to ease regulation to increase the supply of affordable housing."
That effort needs to become louder and more insistent. If Democrats want to claim a bigger role for government in shaping our future, they need to be the ones who are most outraged when it is government that is holding us back.