On the Record

The Expanding Role of Government

William A. Galston

William Galston joins Andrew McCarthy, Tara Wall, and Cornel West on Beyond the Politics with Bill Bennett to discuss the ailing economy, national security, and the role of government.

WILLIAM GALSTON: Well, there’s another way of looking at it. And that is that, you know, everything made by human beings is imperfect in one way or another. That goes for government and it goes for markets. There are government failures and there are market failures. And prudence and judgment are needed in order to discern which failure is the graver threat to the common good at any particular point in our history.

In the early 1930s, we made a judgment that market failure was a more significant threat than the expansion of government. We appeared to be on the verge of another moment like that. And unless somebody here wants to take the position that the entire New Deal was a mistake, which I’ll be happy to debate, then we cannot be dogmatic about this.

BENNETT: Tara?

WALL: Well, you know, again, you know, some of the failures include the failure of government to act where it should have acted. And that is in the way of oversight. When alarm bells were beginning to ring about the situation, where was Congress? Where were administration officials, not just with this administration, beginning in other administrations as well. I think when those alarm bells sound, you can’t ignore them.

There were efforts as early as last year, two years, three years ago to sound the alarm.

BENNETT: Right.

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