The federal government has expanded beyond what it was in 1955, but it has done so over the last decade by means of borrowed money. That ability is going to be curtailed at some point. When that curtailment takes place, the federal government is going to be put on a diet. There will be a contraction of government control over the economy.
We attribute far too much power and far too much influence to the tenured bureaucrats who staff the agencies of the federal government. These people are not innovative, not driven by some sense of messianic mission, not communists, not socialists, not much of anything. They are what bureaucrats are around the world: timeservers. They fill out forms. Why should we expect anything different? Why should we think American bureaucrats are exceptional? Why should we think that the vast expansion of bureaucratic power has not been accompanied by a vast expansion of paralysis, incompetence, and petty tyranny?
I don't care if Obama is a socialist, if he really is. Obama does not run the country. The entrenched Civil Service-protected bureaucracies run the country. They write 83,000 pages a year of three-column, fine print regulations that run the country. The people who implement the Federal Register run the country. The President and Congress have very little say in the details of running the country. The only major piece of legislation that Obama got through, other than a Keynesian stimulus package, which was no worse than George Bush's Keynesian stimulus package, was Obamacare. The Supreme Court may throw it out next month. The man has almost nothing else to show for the first four years of his administration. He is not Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson.
When the government goes bankrupt, as it is going to do, the bailouts will cease. Then Keynesianism is going to suffer a reversal .. it is going to wind up in the ash can of history with or without prodding from inside academia.
Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1920 that socialist planning is irrational. Central planners are blind without capital markets. He was right. Socialist tyrants are blind. Their bureaucratic enforcers are blind. They can impoverish millions of people for a time. They can create terror for a time. A few have killed millions. But then their economic systems always implode. Communism is dead. Socialism is on a catheter. We are not on the road to serfdom .. there are a lot of bureaucrats around who are going to lose their jobs after the Great Default.