The crisis in financial markets has set off a predictable torrent of anti-capitalist sentiment. Despite the fact that government regulations were a major cause of the crisis, anti-capitalists and their enablers in the media have blamed the market and called for new restraints. The government has already exerted an unprecedented degree of intervention in financial markets, and it now seems clear that new economic controls will expand far beyond Wall Street.
Regulation of production and trade is one of the two basic things that government does in our mixed economy. The other is redistribution—transferring income and wealth from one set of hands to another. In this realm, too, anti-capitalists have seized the moment to call for new entitlements such as guaranteed health care, along with new tax burdens on the wealthy. The economic crisis, along with the election of Barack Obama, has revealed a huge pent-up demand for redistribution. Where does that demand come f