Do we need a “reset” button on the way we look at domestic policy?

Just as the post below suggests that we face new and as yet not fully understood developments on the international front, a piece by Michael Barone suggests that the same thing may be true at home.

We may be trying to fix an economy that no longer exists (except in our minds). FDR fostered, according to Barone, cooperation among Big Business, Big Government, and Big Labor-what Barone calls Big Unit government. It worked for quite a while.

But things change. Big Business, in particular, has changed with the “organization man” being replaced by non-conformist entrepreneurs. The Forbes 500 list today looks very different from the list of the 1970s. Labor unions are now mainly enclaves of government employees.

But policy doesn’t take a changed landscape into consideration:

The Obama Democrats, faced with a grave economic crisis, responded with policies appropriate to the Big Unit America that was disappearing during the president’s childhood.

Their financial policy has been to freeze the big banks into place. Their industrial policy was to preserve as much as they could of General Motors and Chrysler for the benefit of the United Auto Workers. Their health care policy was designed to benefit Big Pharma and other big players. Their housing policy has been to try to maintain existing prices. Their macroeconomic policy was to increase the size and scope of existing government agencies to what looks to be the bursting point.

What we see is Big Government colluding with Big Business and trying to breathe life into Big Labor.

Some of this can be defended. The Obama Democrats are right in pointing out that the TARP financial bailout was the product of the George W. Bush administration, and they may well be right that it would have been disastrous to allow Citibank to fail.

But Big Unit policies are not a good fit for a country that has grown out of the wreckage the Big Units made of things in the 1970s. They freeze poorly performing incumbents in place, and they don’t provide the breathing room for small units to start up and grow.

In the meantime, the Big Units are not performing as well as they did for Dr. Win the War. The visibly flagging economy and the slapdash stimulus and health care bills have left most voters ready to take a chance on the still reviled Republicans. The unanswered question is, will the Republicans have an effective alternative to Big Unit governance?

That is the question, isn’t it?

If Republicans get in and revert to their cozy old ways, we’re sunk.