Regulations. We wanted national wealth and we got $40 trillion in regulations. http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/06/wh...cars-maybe-it-was-40-trillion-in-regulations/ quote: Maybe we regulated away the sci-fi future that our never-happened tiger years would have brought us. A 2013 study from economists John Dawson of Appalachian State University and John Seater of North Carolina State University, Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth, estimates that the past 50 years of federal regulations have reduced real GDP by roughly two percentage points a year, or nearly $40 trillion. That is, GDP at the end of 2011 would have been $53.9 trillion instead of $15.1 trillion if regulation had remained at its 1949 level, Imagine a US economy four times as big four times as wealthy as the one today. the cumulative impact of decades of post-New Deal regulation is also why US productivity growth and innovation downshifted in the 1970s there are costs, perhaps immense ones, as well as benefits to regulation. Taxcutter says: Somewhere about 1975 the costs of regulation began to outweigh the benefits. Thus the economy is weighed down with useless government interference.