Skip to comments.Milton Friedman, free market economist, dies at age 94
Posted on 11/16/2006 10:55:13 AM PST by calcowgirl
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Nobody could explain things more clearly, logically or forcefully. He came out with his series Free to Choose not long thereafter. We need more like him. Most of all, we need politicians with the guts to follow his advice.
IIRC, Friedman only advocated any kind of NIT as part of a comprehensive reform that would have drastically reduced overall taxes, moved to sales taxes rather than income, etc. If "they" took one PART of his ideas-that-were-meant-to-be-implemented-comprehensively, and ignored the other parts, one cannot blame Friedman.
He wrote a letter to Galbraith asking snarkily how Galbraith felt to have Nixon as one of his followers. Galbraith never replied.
Last week I was disappointed..
..but today..I'm distraught.
I great champion of FREEDOM passed today..and he will be sorely missed.
The other greats have already passed...Goldwater, Reagan.
WFB..may YOU live forever!
MILTON FRIEDMAN: ... Nixon was a very, very smart person. In fact, he had one of the highest IQs of any public official I've met. The problem with Nixon was not intelligence and not prejudices. The problem with him was that he was willing to sacrifice principles too easily for political advantage.
But at any rate, as I was getting up to leave, President Nixon said to me, "Don't blame George for this silly business of wage and price controls," meaning George Shultz. And I believe I said to him, I think I said to him, "Oh, no, Mr. President. I don't blame George; I blame you! " (laughs) And that, I think, was the last thing I said to him.
Now, the interesting point of that story is that the Nixon tapes are now available, and I have been trying to get that part of the Nixon tapes, but I haven't been able to get them yet. I want to make sure I didn't make this up.
If you're interested in a new approach to this problem, I recommend Charles Murray's In Our Hands. He proposes, in the interests of political provocation, eliminating all entitlements and subsidies and replacing them with a $10,000 grant to every citizen every year from age 20 until death. We spend the same money, without creating the same dependency, making people once again (partly) responsible for their choices. He discusses the NIT and its failure a little in the book.
Amen to that.
Regarding Friedman and the NIT, here is an excerpt from the relevant chapter of his book Capitalism and Freedom.
The major disadvantage of the proposed negative income tax is its political implications.
Apparently some state experiments with an NIT showed significant incentive effects - the discouragement of work. I am surprised he didn't mention that as a major disadvantage.
Still, in light of his lifetime of achievements on behalf of freedom, a vanishingly small mistake.
A great American.
He will be missed.
He did not know the cause of death. old age maybe?"In the long run, we are all dead."
Please - that's a quote from John Maynard Keynes. And we are paying respects to the man who spent his professional career debunking Keynesian economics.
BTW, it is not to be assumed to be true. In the long run, at least until Christ returns, each of us will die - but that is not the same as all people being dead.
"In the long run, we are all dead" is an "Eat, drink, and make merry, for tomorrow we die" philosophy. If our ancestors had followed that prescription we would not have had the patrimony that we have inherited - and if we follow that prescription we will be betraying our posterity instead of honoring the preamble of the Constitution which lists among its purposes "to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
Alright already, you caught me trying to be a little cute there with the Keynes quote. Of course I admired Friedman, and despised Keynsian economics. Unfortunately "We're all Keynesians Now" is back in fashion with the GOP.
The problem with this approach is that those currently living on the dole would blow their $10000 in one month or less. Then they would come crying for more help and the electorate would grant them their welfare if for nothing else then "for the children".
I saw this in passing the newsstand at the airport and couldn't believe it.
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