It’s fashionable, and I believe largely correct, to assert that we need to apply conservatism to the problems of our time and not 1978. But it is incredible how some of our economic debates are bringing us right back there.
As I’ve indicated in a prior post, the energy debates of this presidential election were eerily similar to those of the late 1970s, and Reagan’s position at that time is startlingly contemporary. We basically rehashed the Carter-Reagan energy policy debate in the 2008 presidential campaign, only without anybody playing Reagan.
The current debate about auto bailouts obviously echoes the debate about the original Chrysler bailout in 1979. This is creating the need to go all the way back to the basic arguments about why free markets, though sometimes painful, are the best means of increasing material well-being. Luckily, we have writers like Megan McArdle and Will Wilkinson to help. All hail the libertarians.