Clive Crook’s cynical view of America’s liberal-conservative divide mirrors my own.  Quoth Crook:

Progressives and conservatives alike call the United States a
“free-market economy”: both sides have an interest in perpetuating this
delusion. The idea is ridiculous – as ridiculous as calling Europe’s
economies “socialist”. True, the blend of government and private
enterprise is a bit different between the US and the European average,
but the models (insofar as it makes sense to talk of a European model)
are neighbors not polar opposites.

All this was true, obviously, long before 2009. Obama, I agree, does
want to narrow the gap a bit more – but it just was not that wide to
begin with. Public spending is lower in the US, but not vastly lower
once you remember to add state and local spending to federal outlays;
the US healthcare anomaly accounts for a lot of the remaining

In most respects (labor protections are the main exception) the US
regulatory state is at least as comprehensive and intrusive as those in
Europe. As for the constant tyranny of petty bureaucracy, let me say as
somebody who has lived in Britain and now in the US that it seems even
worse here. One’s interaction with officials of one sort or another is
endless. Admittedly, I am an immigrant living in DC, which demands
additional oversight. Who knows what I might get up to? Still, these
days, I wince every time I hear, “It’s a free country.” No, it isn’t.

Sad but true.  I would say, though, that the lower level of U.S. labor regulation is a massive advantage that has kept the average U.S. unemployment rate far below Europe’s for decades.