Proposals for Liberalization
In the course of putting together a critique of a critique of the 2005 Economic Report of the President, Daniel B. Klein and Michael J. Clark surveyed 11 economists at George Mason University and came up with a top ten list of economic liberalization policies.
Diminish trade restrictions (tariffs and quotas).
Phase down all agricultural subsidies and liberalize agricultural regulations.
Reduce FDA regulations on pharmaceuticals, devices, and information.
Lighten the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice’s anti-trust enforcement and restrictions.
Reduce regulations on healthcare facilities and professionals.
Repeal legal restrictions on competitive delivery of mail.
Decrease the size of the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with liberalizing the drug laws.
Repeal the expansion of money laundering laws held within the Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy act of 1970 that require some businesses to keep tabs on customers and report activity to the federal government.
Revisit Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.
Liberalize the control or enforcement of equal opportunity/anti-discrimination in employment.
Then came a list of privatizations (schools do not appear on the list because they are primarily controlled locally, not federally).
Disaster insurance (make private and eliminate any subsidy)
U.S. Postal Service (along with liberalization of entry)
Social Security accounts (even if only a small percentage of pay-ins)
Space exploration (NASA)
Power and electric infrastructure
All job training and workforce assistance programs
Disaster response agencies
Water infrastructure (excluding natural channels and rivers)
Federal loan programs
My own top priority is to phase out Medicare.
Thanks to Greg Mankiw for the pointer. Mankiw also points to an article by Robert J. Samuelson on Medicare. Samuelson shares my concern with the problem, but fails to provide a solution. He really needs to read Crisis of Abundance.