The Role of Government in the Economy
Congressional staffers, together with members of the public, participated in the 2011 Senate Socrates seminar on October 28-30 at the Aspen Institute’s Wye River Campus in Queenstown, MD. The seminar participants discussed government regulation, the relationship between markets and governments, and the extent of regulation in specific areas such as health care, retirement and education. Bernstein also led a discussion on “Making Sense of the budget deficit” on Saturday evening to explore the causes and trends of the budget deficit, as well possible ways to approach the government debt.
What is, and should be, the role of government in market-oriented economies? Are there economic functions the government should undertake — either because of an inherent government role or inability of markets to effectively generate and allocate capital? What tensions and tradeoffs does this engender? What kind of regulations will allow capitalism to work most effectively, and how do we know the optimal level of regulation? Do the recent economic crisis and the interventionist government response in the US and elsewhere suggest that markets are more fragile and more prone to failure than previously thought? Have new regulations lessened or exacerbated the likelihood and magnitude of future crises?
Moderators: Bradley D. Belt, senior managing director, The Milken Institute, and Jared Bernstein, senior fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden