In the United States, we’ve long had a free market system, but that system is not what it once was. Total government spending–state, federal, and local–has grown in real terms by more than 400 percent since 1965. Government spending is now one-third of the economy. As the private economy retreats, the importance of a new marketplace grows: the political marketplace. Products and services are no longer judged according to their usefulness to the economy at large–they’re judged according to whether or not they are politically useful or connected.