Great reading list (I’d also suggest this wonderful Higgs video, again).
And it is interesting how very successful Progressivism has been in 1) constantly trumpeting their accomplishments and progress as a (statist) but 2) still managing to largely succeed, whenever anything goes wrong, in asserting that we still have a laissez-faire free market and thus that’s what caused the problem, and the solution is more of the same (which they always portray as new and a break with the past when the only overall theme is continuity with past policy prescriptions).
Here we keep seeing Progressivism as a failure. But it’s probably the most successful political movement in American history. I mean, to be able to constantly ascribe its failures to a boogyman, and always claim market successes (such as rising living standards) are due to it alone, and get so many people to believe, that’s really amazing.
Plus, these people claim to be moderate, empirically-oriented, and fact-based, but the regulatory code (including financial regulation) grows and grows, the number of regulators – including financial regulators – and the extent of their authority grew and grew under Bush, and yet they claim the problem was deregulation and laissez-faire – and they have so many educated people believing that.
Of course one of the things that pushes this charade along is that it is in the interests of both major parties to pretend that one of them supports free markets.