Milton Friedman on Medical Care (Full Lecture)
“I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible,” economist Milton Friedman once said. So the Nobel Prize winner would undoubtedly be concerned this year asTaxmageddon, the one-year $494 billion tax increase that is poised to strike the economy in January approaches.
Friedman’s opposition to taxes was based on the idea that governments were inefficient in everything they did. “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand,” he quipped. By limiting government resources, he hoped to limit the size and scope of government.
Instead, the coming of Taxmageddon would make the federal government even more intrusive and influential. As such, it’s already slowing job creation, generating economic uncertainty, and reducing productive investment.
Friedman would also warn us about the dangers of Obamacare.
“The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus,” he explained. “There is no alternative way so far discovered at improving the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”
Yet Obamacare takes our health care system in exactly the wrong direction. Instead of putting people in charge of their own health care decisions, “it imposes several costly new mandates and restrictions on health insurers and providers that will raise health care costs and therefore premiums.” Further,“Obamacare raises taxes and adds 17 new taxes or penalties that will affect all Americans.”
Friedman warned that government involvement would lead to socialized medicine and that it would be “very much against the interests of patients, of physicians, and of other health care personnel.” Why? Because “you invariably get lower quality and a lower quantity of medical care.”
In one of his most famous quotes, Friedman pointed out that “there’s no free lunch.” Every government “benefit” is paid for by somebody.
Friedman would have been 100 years old today. His wise counsel is missed, but the lessons he taught apply just as much to today’s debates as they did during his lifetime.
I have written about Obamacare over and over again on this blog. Dan Mitchell has shared many funny cartoons about Obamacare too. Milton Friedman has spoken out about government healthcare many times in the past and his film series FREE TO CHOOSE is on You Tube and I encourage you to watch it. It is clear that the federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation.
We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding principles that made our country great. We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.
In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount. I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “The Anatomy of a Crisis” and “What is wrong with our schools?” and “Created Equal” and From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market.
Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 1/4
Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 2/4
Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 3/4
Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 4/4