Unions are blamed for protecting the jobs of inferior teachers, causing economic collapse of government and electing corrupt candidates with their "secret" donations. Wrong, wrong and wrong. Unions ensure the rights of teachers being considered for firing to due process guaranteed by the Tenure Act, an act Republicans are eager to dismantle so that experienced, well-educated teachers can be replaced by cheaper, younger ones...
Here's how mob hit man Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran described it in I Heard You Paint Houses:
The Teamsters gave me good job security at Food Fair. They could only fire you if they caught you stealing. Let me put it another way, they could only fire you if they caught you stealing and they could prove it.
Failure at the micro level is essential for success at the macro level, whether it's the development of the brain, a company, industry, or economy. Regulations ensuring due process are why the documentary Waiting for Superman noted that in most major cities the teacher firing rate is 1 in 1000.
The growth in regulations surrounding development, education, health care, and finance, is hard to quantify, but I think they are really affecting things now. I know a CFO of a public company and he said they aren't developing in California because of all their regulations and obligations. Unfortunately, unlike taxes, regulations are much harder to scale back because they are so insidiously constructed, which is why it's very hard to turn around retarded countries like Greece and Spain that guarantee their workers so many things.