So, to get away from the utilitarian stuff for a bit, a bit of unmitigated optimism:
Link (I have no idea if this link will continue to work or not, but here's hoping it does)
What the hell is that, you ask? It's a logarithmic representation of adjusted GDP, divided by population, over time. I graphed the US, Poland, Russia, and Germany.
Guess what? Regardless of the short term, they all normalize to a line. The Weimar Republic, the Soviet Union, the Great Depression and the New Deal - none of them have more than short-term effects on the economy. At best/worst, it looks like governments can seriously destabilize the economy in the short-term, creating massive fluctuations up and down.
Regardless of what governments do, in the end, they're irrelevant as far as the economy goes. The economy "wants" to grow at a particular and logarithmic rate, and any deviations from that rate get eaten up in the long haul. Which shouldn't really surprise us, because it's technological innovation, not government, which determines what happens to the economy, and innovations don't care about national borders. As long as there's one place in the world where free innovation still occurs, the rest of the world benefits. Free rider problem indeed.
The economy, it would seem, can look after itself. I suggest social issues - by which I mean personal liberty, not the contradictory mess of nonsense that passes for social issues among most of the left - might be more pertinent to our consideration. It doesn't matter if the economy will improve if you get locked in jail because some government official decides you are part of some Problem to be Fixed.
So - Enjoy the Decline. It won't last, if history is any judge of character.