Category Archives: Milton Friedman

MILTON FRIEDMAN: THE MIND BEHIND THE REPUBLICAN TAX REVOLT Jack Roberts | Jul 22, 2011 | 0 comments

I am moving the FRIEDMAN FRIDAY to a monthly feature on http://www.thedailyhatch.org. My passion has been recent years to emphasize the works of Francis Schaeffer in my apologetic efforts and most of those posts are either on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: THE MIND BEHIND THE REPUBLICAN TAX REVOLT

| Jul 22, 2011 | 0 comments

The on-going debate over raising the debt ceiling has focused on many areas of disagreement between Democrats and Republicans but none bigger than the Republican determination not to raise taxes.  Many pundits credit this to the political power of Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform who have spent years collecting “No Tax Increase” pledges from Republican candidates.  Others attribute Republican intransigence on taxes to a near religious belief in supply side economics, a school of thought founded by economist Arthur Laffer and journalist Jude Wanniski in the late 1970s.

The true seeds of this attitude toward tax increases, in my view, actually go back farther and can be traced to an even nobler pedigree.  The real inspiration for this conviction comes from the late Nobel prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman.  It is only by understanding Friedman’s reasoning and his values that one can fully understand why Republican refuse to see spending cuts and tax increases as simply two sides of the same budget-balancing coin.

This was not always the Republican, or even the conservative, position.  During the 1950s, it was Democrats who advocated tax cuts to stimulate the economy and President Eisenhower who insisted “we can never justify going further into debt to give ourselves a tax cut at the expense of our children.”

In 1964, the eventual Republican nominee for president, Senator Barry Goldwater, voted against the so-called Kennedy tax cuts (actually passed after Kennedy’s assassination the previous year) because he was convinced the resulting deficits would be inflationary.  Even after losing the presidential election to President Lyndon Johnson in a landslide later that year, Goldwater predicted a Republican comeback, telling U.S. News & World Report that a no-win war in Vietnam and high inflation would prompt a backlash against the Democrats two years later (he was right on both counts).

So if Eisenhower and Goldwater represented Republican orthodoxy in the 1950s and ‘60s, what happened?  In large part, it was an intellectual revolution in conservative/libertarian thought prompted by economist Milton Friedman.  While Friedman rejected the simplistic Keynesian (and later supply-side) notion that tax cuts automatically stimulate the economy, he believed that higher taxes were bad because they led to more and bigger government, which he was convinced at best led to waste and at worse to greater government control over our economy, our lives and our freedoms.

In 1967, three year’s after the Kennedy tax cuts, the Johnson Administration was already running huge deficits thanks to the a combination of Great Society social programs and the Vietnam War.  Writing in his regular Newsweek column on August 7, 1967, Friedman expresseded his concern that this would soon lead to higher taxes, using an analysis that would become familiar to his readers over the years:

“.If we adopt such programs, does not fiscal responsibility at least call for imposing taxes to pay for them?  The answer is that postwar experience has demonstrated two things. First, that Congress will spend whatever the tax system will raise—plus a little (and recently, a lot) more.  Second, that, surprising as it seems, it has proved difficult to get taxes down once they are raised.  The special interests created by government spending have proved more potent than the general interest in tax reduction.

“If taxes are raised in order to keep down the deficit, the result is likely to be a higher norm for government spending. Deficits will again mount and the process will be repeated.”

Sure enough, a year later a 10% income tax surcharge was enacted by Congress to cut the deficit and fight inflation.  His prediction having been confirmed, Friedman returned to the subject in another Newsweek column dated July 15, 1968.  He now described a familiar pattern of how Democrats used the traditional view of fiscal conservatism to convince Republicans to help pay for the Democrats’ own profligate spending:

“The standard scenario has been that the Democrats—in the name of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, or the Great Society—push through large spending programs . . . generally against the opposition of the Republican leadership.  The spending programs not only absorb the increased tax yield generated by the ‘fiscal drag,’ they go farther and produce deficits.

“The Democrats then appeal to the Republicans’ sense of fiscal responsibility to refrain from cutting tax rates or, as in this case, to raise them.  The Republicans cooperate, thereby establishing a new higher revenue base for further spending.  The Democrats get the ‘credit’ for the spending; the Republicans, the ‘blame’ for the taxes; and you and I pay the bill.”

Fast forward seven years, when Republican President Gerald Ford was proposing a tax cut to stimulate the economy during a brief recession.  As an economist who believed monetary, not fiscal, policy was the best way to keep the economy on a stable path to growth, Friedman did not believe the proposed tax cut would have its intended stimulatory effect.  He explained why in another Newseek column on July 15, 1975 but went on to say:

“Yet I must confess that I favor tax cuts—not as a cure for recession but for a very different reason.  Our basic long-term need is to stop the explosive growth in government spending.  I am persuaded that the only effective way to do so is by cutting taxes—at any time for any excuse in any way.

“The reason is that government will spend whatever the tax system raises plus a good deal more—but not an indefinite amount more.  The most effective way to force each of us to economize is to reduce our income.  The restraint is less rigid on government, but it is there and seems to be the only one we have.

“So hail the tax cut—but let’s do it for the right reason.”

Another six years went by and now it was the newly-elected president, Ronald Reagan, who was proposing a large, multi-year tax cut to get the economy moving. At the time, he was also proposing off-setting spending cuts (which we all know didn’t happen).  Friedman wrote yet another Newsweek column dated July 27, 1981, refuting objections to the plan by liberal economists while also discounting many of the claims of supply-siders in the Reagan Administration.  Friedman still supported the tax cuts, of course, and explained why liberals were suddenly worried about deficits:

“The analysis so far treats government spending and taxes as if they were two independent entities.  They clearly are not.  We know full well that Congress will spend every penny—and more—that is yielded by taxes.  A cut in taxes will mean a cut in government spending.  And there is no other way to get a cut in spending.

“That is the real reason why the big spenders and the big inflationists of the past have suddenly been converted to fiscal conservatism and to preaching the virtues of fighting inflation.  They know that a multi-year tax cut will force multi-year spending reductions.  They hope that a one-year tax cut will quiet public agitation and allow them to revert next year to their high-spending ways.”

Taken as a whole, these excerpts from columns written for a popular magazine by a Nobel laureate economist between 1967 and 1981—44 to 30 years ago—spell out precisely the philosophy that today motivates many Republicans in and out of Congress to firmly oppose any tax increase as part of a deficit reduction or budget-balancing plan proposed by Democrats.

Like Milton Friedman, they are firmly convinced that any taxes they raise will ultimately result in increased government spending.  They believe government spending necessarily translates into more and bigger government.  They believe the federal government is already too big, threatening not just the health of the economy but their freedom and way of life as well.

One can argue with Friedman’s assumptions as well as the conclusions he draws from them.  But until those on the other side—including the President, Democratic congressional leaders and the media—understand the reasoning and motivations behind the anti-tax sentiments of Republicans from Capitol Hill to the Tea Party activists, it’s hard to imagine anything more than a temporary truce in the battle being waged over the budget.

Low State Taxes help States grow and

Just like with nations, there are many factors that determine whether a state is hindering or enabling economic growth.

But I’m very drawn to one variable, which is whether there’s a state income tax. If the answer is no, then it’s quite likely that it will enjoy better-than-average economic performance (and if a state makes the mistake of having an income tax, then a flat tax will be considerably less destructive than a so-called progressive tax).

Which explains my two main lessons for state tax policy.

Anyhow, I’ve always included Tennessee in the list of no-income-tax states, but that’s not completely accurate because (like New Hampshire) there is a tax on capital income.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Associated Press reports that Tennessee is getting rid of this last vestige of  income taxation.

The Tennessee Legislature has passed a measure that would reduce and eventually eliminate the Hall tax on investment income. The Hall tax imposes a general levy of 6 percent on investment income, with some exceptions. Lawmakers agreed to reduce it down to 5 percent before eliminating it completely by 2022.

It’s not completely clear if the GOP Governor of the state will allow the measure to become law, so this isn’t a done deal.

That being said, it’s a very positive sign that the state legislature wants to get rid of this invidious tax, which is a punitive form of double taxation.

Advocates are right that this will make the Volunteer State more attractive to investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

Keep in mind that this positive step follows the recent repeal of the state’s death tax, as noted in a column for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Following a four-year phase out, Tennessee’s inheritance tax finally expires on Jan. 1 and one advocacy group is hailing the demise of what it calls the “death tax.” “Tennessee taxpayers can finally breath a sigh of relief,” said Justin Owen, head of the free-market group, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, which successfully advocated for the taxes abolishment in 2012.

On the other hand, New York seems determined to make itself even less attractive. Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute writes for Market Watch about legislation that would make the state prohibitively unappealing for many investors.

New York, home to many investment partnerships, now wants to increase state taxes on capital gains… New York already taxes capital gains and ordinary income equally, but apparently that’s not good enough. …The New York legislators want to raise the taxes on carried interest to federal ordinary income tax rates, not just for New York residents, but for everyone all over the world who get returns from partnerships with a business connection to the Empire State. Bills in the New York State Assembly and Senate would increase taxes on profits earned by venture capital, private equity and other investment partnerships by imposing a 19% additional tax.

Diana correctly explains this would be a monumentally foolish step.

If the bill became law, New York would likely see part of its financial sector leave for other states, because many investors nationwide would become subject to taxes that were 19 percentage points higher….No one is going to pick an investment that is taxed at 43% when they could choose one that is taxed at 24%.

Interestingly, even the state’s grasping politicians recognize this reality. The legislation wouldn’t take effect until certain other states made the same mistake.

The sponsors of the legislation appear to acknowledge that by delaying the implementation of the provisions until Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts enact “legislation having an identical effect.”

Given this condition, hopefully this bad idea will never get beyond the stage of being a feel-good gesture for the hate-n-envy crowd.

But it’s always important to reinforce why it would be economically misguided since those other states are not exactly strongholds for economic liberty. This video has everything you need to know about the taxation of carried interest in particular andthis video has the key facts about capital gains taxation in general

Not let’s take a look at the big picture. Moody’s just released a “stress test” to see which states were well positioned to deal with an economic downturn.

Is anybody surprised, as reported by theSacramento Bee, that low-tax Texas ranked at the top and high-tax California and Illinois were at the bottom of the heap?

California, whose state budget is highly dependent on volatile income taxes, is the least able big state to withstand a recession, according to a “stress test” conducted by Moody’s Investor Service. Arch-rival Texas, meanwhile, scores the highest on the test because of “lower revenue volatility, healthier reserves relative to a potential revenue decline scenario and greater revenue and spending flexibility,” Moody’s, a major credit rating organization, says. …California not only suffers in comparison to the other large states, but in a broader survey of the 20 most populous states. Missouri, Texas and Washington score highest, while California and Illinois are at the bottom in their ability to withstand a recession.

Of course, an ability to survive a fiscal stress test is actually a proxy for having decent policies.

And having decent policies leads to something even more important, which is faster growth, increased competitiveness, and more job creation.

Though perhaps this coyote joke does an even better job of capturing the difference between the two states.

 

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 1 of 10 Power of the Market

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I am moving the FRIEDMAN FRIDAY to a monthly feature on http://www.thedailyhatch.org. My passion has been recent years to emphasize the works of Francis Schaeffer in my apologetic efforts and most of those posts are either on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

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Milton Friedman PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 1 of 10 Power of the Market

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1973 Classic: Milton Friedman’s “Barking Cats” Posted on January 5, 2013by Necessary and Proper

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1973 Classic: Milton Friedman’s “Barking Cats”

Free market economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006) won the Nobel Peace Prize for economics in 1976.

Milton FriedmanFriedman published more than 800 columns and articles in his career.  From 1966 to 1984, he wrote a series of more than 300 columns for Newsweek on economics, often alternated with other columnists holding opposing views in order to foster the vigorous debate he relished.  Here is an interesting 1983 quotefrom Friedman, looking back on his Newsweek experience:

(photo credit)

“The task has been challenging and highly rewarding. It has forced me to try … to express technical economics in language accessible to all. It has forced me also to stick my neck out in public…. Best of all, it has produced a stream of reactions from readers – sometimes flattering, sometimes abusive, but always instructive. I have learned in the process how easy it is to be misunderstood or – to say the same thing – how hard it is to be crystal clear. I have learned also how numerous are the perspectives from which any issue can be viewed. There is no such thing as a purely economic issue.”

In a 1973 Newsweek column, Friedman boldly made the assertion that ever since its charter was revised in 1962, the Food and Drug Administration had caused more harm than good.  The letters of response Newsweek received from its readers then gave Friedman the opportunity six weeks later to publish a follow-up column with one of his patented philosophical lessons about the nature of government bureaucracies

Let me show you, with some excerpts from both columns…

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From Frustrating Drug Advancement, 8 Jan 1973

“Put yourself in the position of an FDA official charged with approving or disapproving a new drug. You can make two very different kinds of serious mistakes:

1. Approve a drug that turns out to have unanticipated side effects resulting in death or serious impairment of a sizable number of persons.

2. Refuse approval to a drug that is capable of saving many lives or relieving great distress and has no untoward side effects.

If you make the first mistake, the results will be emblazoned on the front pages of the newspapers. The finger of disapproval, perhaps even of disgrace, will point straight to you.

If you make the second mistake, who will know it? The pharmaceutical firm promoting the new drug…will be dismissed as greedy businessmen with hearts of stone…. The people whose lives might have been saved will not be around to protest. Their families will have no way of knowing that their loved ones lost their lives when they did only because of the [in]action of an unknown FDA official.

…The 1962 [Kefauver] amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act should be repealed. They are doing vastly more harm than good. To comply with them, FDA officials must condemn innocent people to death. In the present climate of opinion, this conclusion will seem shocking to most of you—better attack motherhood or even apple pie. Shocking it is—but that does not keep it from also being correct. Indeed, further studies may well justify the even more shocking conclusion that the FDA itself should be abolished.”

From Barking Cats, 19 Feb 1973

“In a recent column I pointed out that approval of drugs by the FDA delays and prevents the introduction of useful as well as harmful drugs. …I summarized a fascinating study by Prof. Sam Peltzman of UCLA of experience before and after 1962, when standards were stiffened. His study decisively confirmed the expectation that the bad effects would much outweigh the good.

The column evoked letters from a number of persons in pharmaceutical work offering tales of woe to confirm my allegation that the FDA was indeed “Frustrating Drug Advancement….” But most also said something like, “In contrast to your opinion, I do not believe that the FDA should be abolished, but I do believe that its power should be” changed in such and such a way—to quote from a typical letter.

I replied as follows: “What would you think of someone who said, ‘I would like to have a cat, provided it barked’? Yet your statement that you favor an FDA, provided it behaves as you believe desirable is precisely equivalent. The biological laws that specify the characteristics of cats are no more rigid than the political laws that specify the behavior of governmental agencies once they are established. The way the FDA now behaves, and the adverse consequences, are not an accident, not a result of some easily corrected human mistake, but a consequence of its constitution in precisely the same way that a meow is related to the constitution of a cat. As a natural scientist, you recognize that you cannot assign characteristics at will to chemical and biological entities, cannot demand that cats bark or water burn. Why do you suppose that the situation is different in the social sciences?”

The error of supposing that the behavior of social organisms can be shaped at will is widespread. It is the fundamental error of most so-called reformers. It explains why they so often believe that the fault lies in the man, not the “system,” that the way to solve problems is to “throw the rascals out” and put well-meaning people in charge. It explains why their reforms, when ostensibly achieved, so often go astray.

The harm done by the FDA does not result from defects in the men in charge—unless it be a defect to be human. Most are and have been able, devoted and public-spirited civil servants. What reformers so often fail to recognize is that social, political and economic pressures determine the behavior of the men supposedly in charge of a governmental agency to a far greater extent than they determine its behavior. No doubt there are exceptions, but they are exceedingly rare—about as rare as barking cats.”

If you wish to watch Milton Friedman make many of these points in an interview, here’s an 8-minute video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZL25NSLhEA

Illustration of Milton Friedman by Jocelyne Leger

(portrait credit)

 

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman on Donahue – 1979

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I am moving the FRIEDMAN FRIDAY to a monthly feature on http://www.thedailyhatch.org. My passion has been in recent years to emphasize the works of Francis Schaeffer in my apologetic efforts and most of those posts are either on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

Milton Friedman on Donahue – 1979

Uploaded on Aug 26, 2009

Dr. Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate, promoting “Free to Choose” on the show Donahue.

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1

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I am moving the FRIEDMAN FRIDAY to a monthly feature on http://www.thedailyhatch.org. My passion has been recent years to emphasize the works of Francis Schaeffer in my apologetic efforts and most of those posts are either on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1

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Milton Friedman – A Conversation On Minimum Wage

 

 

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Milton Friedman – A Conversation On Minimum Wage

 

Milton Friedman – A Conversation On Minimum Wage

 

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1

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Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]

“The Failure of Socialism” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

Milton Friedman – The Negative Income Tax

Volume 1: Power of the Market Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Anatomy of a Crisis
Volume 4: From Cradle to Grave
Volume 5: Created Equal
Volume 6: What’s Wrong With Our Schools?
Volume 7: Who Protects the Consumer?
Volume 8: Who Protects the Worker?
Volume 9: How to Cure Inflation
Volume 10: How to Stay Free

Updated 1990 Series:
Volume 1: The Power of the Market
Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Freedom & Prosperity
Volume 4: The Failure of Socialism
Volume 5: Created Equal

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994

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Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 2 of 2

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Stearns Speaks on House Floor in Support of Balanced Budget Amendment Uploaded by RepCliffStearns on Nov 18, 2011 Speaking on House floor in support of Balanced Budget Resolution, 11/18/2011 ___________ Below are some of the main proposals of Milton Friedman. I highly respected his work. David J. Theroux said this about Milton Friedman’s view concerning […]

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Milton and Rose Friedman “Two Lucky People”

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Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 2)

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 25, 2011 Says Federal Reserve should be abolished, criticizes Keynes. One of Friedman’s best interviews, discussion spans Friedman’s career and his view of numerous political figures and public policy issues. ___________________ Here is a review of “Two Lucky People.” […]

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“The Failure of Socialism” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

Milton Friedman – The Negative Income Tax

Volume 1: Power of the Market Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Anatomy of a Crisis
Volume 4: From Cradle to Grave
Volume 5: Created Equal
Volume 6: What’s Wrong With Our Schools?
Volume 7: Who Protects the Consumer?
Volume 8: Who Protects the Worker?
Volume 9: How to Cure Inflation
Volume 10: How to Stay Free

Updated 1990 Series:
Volume 1: The Power of the Market
Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Freedom & Prosperity
Volume 4: The Failure of Socialism
Volume 5: Created Equal

_____________________

________

FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman on Self-Interest and the Profit Motive

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Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

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Milton Friedman on Self-Interest and the Profit Motive 1of2

Milton Friedman on Self-Interest and the Profit Motive 2of2

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Milton and Rose Friedman “Two Lucky People”

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Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 2)

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 25, 2011 Says Federal Reserve should be abolished, criticizes Keynes. One of Friedman’s best interviews, discussion spans Friedman’s career and his view of numerous political figures and public policy issues. ___________________ Here is a review of “Two Lucky People.” […]

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Milton Friedman – The Negative Income Tax

Volume 1: Power of the Market Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Anatomy of a Crisis
Volume 4: From Cradle to Grave
Volume 5: Created Equal
Volume 6: What’s Wrong With Our Schools?
Volume 7: Who Protects the Consumer?
Volume 8: Who Protects the Worker?
Volume 9: How to Cure Inflation
Volume 10: How to Stay Free

Updated 1990 Series:
Volume 1: The Power of the Market
Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Freedom & Prosperity
Volume 4: The Failure of Socialism
Volume 5: Created Equal

_____________________

________

 

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Milton Friedman and Francis Schaeffer and Dan Mitchell on Communism

Milton Friedman – Greed not in Communism?

Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried (“Schaeffer Sundays” Part 1)
Francis Schaeffer is a hero of mine and I want to honor him with a series of posts on Sundays called “Schaeffer Sundays” which will include his writings and clips from his film series. I have posted many times in the past using his material.
Communism has never been tried is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.
Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

HowShouldWeThenLive Episode 5

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HowShouldweThenLive Episode 6

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Similarities between French Revolution and Communist Revolution

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

Sometimes Communism sounds very “Christian” – desirable goals of equality, justice, etc. Schaeffer elsewhere explains by saying Marxism is a Christian heresy – Karl Marx

borrowed some of the ideals of N.T.

Below is a great article. Free-lance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

This article was published January 30, 2011 at 2:28 a.m. Here is a portion of that article below:
A final advantage is the mutation of socialism into so many variants over the past century or so. Precisely because Karl Marx was unclear as to how it would work in practice, socialism has always been something of an empty vessel into which would be revolutionaries seeking personal meaning and utopian causes to support can pour pretty much anything.
A desire to increase state power, soak the rich and expand the welfare state is about all that is left of the original vision. Socialism for young lefties these days means “social justice” and compassion for the poor, not the gulag and the NKVD.
In the end, the one argument that will never wash is that communismcan’t be said to have failed because it was never actually tried. This is a transparent intellectual dodge that ignores the fact that “people’s democracies” were established all over the place in the first three decades after World War II.
Such sophistry is resorted to only because communism in all of those places produced hell on earth rather than heaven.
That the attempts to build communism in a remarkable variety of different geographical regions led to only tyranny and mass bloodshed tells us only that it was never feasible in the first place, and that societies built on the socialist principle ironically suffer from the kind of “inner contradictions” that Marx mistakenly predicted would destroy capitalism.
Yes, all economies are mixed in nature, and one could plausibly argue that the socialist impulse took the rough edges off of capitalism by sponsoring the creation of welfare-state programs that command considerable public support.
But the fact remains that no society in history has been able to achieve sustained prosperity without respect for private property and market forces of supply and demand. Nations, therefore, retain their economic dynamism only to the extent that they resist the temptation to travel too far down the socialist road.

Just in case you didn’t realize, we’re “celebrating” an anniversary.

In 1917, at this time of year, the Bolshevik revolution was occurring in Russia. It resulted in the creation of the Soviet Union, followed in subsequent decades by enslavement of Eastern Europe and communist takeovers in a few other unfortunate nations.

This is a very evil and tragic anniversary, a milestone that merits sad reflection because communism is an evil ideology, and communist governments have butchered about 100 million people.

I’ve written about the horrors that communism has imposed on the people of CambodiaCuba, and North Korea, but let’s zoom out and look at this evil ideology from a macro perspective.

My view is that communism is “a disgusting system…that leads to starvation and suffering” and “produces Nazi-level horrors of brutality.”

But others have better summaries of this coercive and totalitarian ideology.

We’ll start with A. Barton Hinkle’s column in Reason.

…the Bolsheviks…seized power from the provisional government that had been installed in the final days of Russia’s Romanov dynasty. The revolution ushered in what would become a century of ghastly sadism. …it is hard even now to grasp the sheer scale of agony imposed by the brutal ideology of collectivism. …In 1997, a French publisher published “The Black Book of communism,” which tried to place a definitive figure on the number of people who died by communism’s hand: 65 million in China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million in Cambodia, 2 million in North Korea, and so on—more than 90 million lives, all told. …depravity was woven into the sinews of communism by its very nature. The history of the movement is a history of sadistic “struggle sessions” during the Cultural Revolution, of gulags and psychiatric wards in Russia, of the torture and murder of teachers, doctors, and other intellectuals in Cambodia, and on and on.

Here’s some of what Professor Ilya Somin wrote for the Washington Post.

May Day. Since 2007, I have defended the idea of using this date as an international Victims of Communism Day. …Our comparative neglect of communist crimes has serious costs. Victims of Communism Day can serve the dual purpose of appropriately commemorating the millions of victims, and diminishing the likelihood that such atrocities will recur. Just as Holocaust Memorial Day and other similar events help sensitize us to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism, and radical nationalism, so Victims of Communism Day can increase awareness of the dangers of left-wing forms of totalitarianism, and government control of the economy and civil society.

In an article for National Review, John O’Sullivan explains the tyrannical failure of communism.

Those evil deeds…include the forced famine in Ukraine that murdered millions in a particularly horrible fashion; starting the Second World War jointly with Hitler by agreeing in the Nazi–Soviet Pact to invade Poland and the Baltic states; the Gulag in which millions more perished; and much more. …The Communist experiment failed above all because it was Communist. …Economically, the Soviet Union was a massive failure 70 years later to the point where Gorbachev complained to the Politburo that it exported less annually than Singapore. …it is a fantasy that the USSR compensated for these failures by making greater social gains than liberal capitalism: Doctors had to be bribed; patients had to take bandages and medicines into hospital with them; homelessness in Moscow was reduced by an internal passport system that kept people out of the city; and so on.

We’re just scratching the surface.

As an economist, I focus on the material failure of communism and I’ve tried to make that very clear with comparisons of living standards over time in Cuba and Hong Kong as well as in North Korea and South Korea.

But the evil of communism goes well beyond poverty and deprivation. It also is an ideology of mass murder.

Which is why this tweet from the Russian government is morally offensive.

Nazi Germany started  and killed 27 millions Soviet people. USSR ended  and saved the world from the Brown Plague

Yes, the Soviet Union helped defeat the National Socialists of Germany, but keep in mind that Stalin helped trigger the war by inking a secret agreement with Hitler to divide up Poland.

Moreover, the Soviet Union had its own version of the holocaust.

I don’t know who put together this video, but it captures the staggering human cost of communism.

Meanwhile, Dennis Prager lists 6 reasons why communism isn’t hated the same way Nazism is hated.

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The only thing I can add to these videos is that there has never been a benign communist regime.

Indeed, political repression and brutality seems to be the key difference between liberal socialism and Marxist socialism.

Let’s close with this chart from Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute.

All forms of totalitarianism are bad, oftentimes resulting in mass murder. As Dennis Prager noted in his video, both communism and Nazism are horrid ideologies. Yet for some bizarre reason, some so-called intellectuals still defendthe former.

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman VIDEOS

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Milton Friedman PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 1 of 10 Power of the Market

Milton Friedman on Donahue – 1980 (First Appearance)

Milton Friedman – A Conversation On Minimum Wage

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1

Milton Friedman on Donahue – 1979

Uploaded on Aug 26, 2009

Dr. Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate, promoting “Free to Choose” on the show Donahue.

Milton Friedman: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

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Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 2 of 2

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

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Milton Friedman on Self-Interest and the Profit Motive 1of2

Milton Friedman on Self-Interest and the Profit Motive 2of2

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Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5

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Milton Friedman – The Negative Income Tax

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 3 of 7)

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman’s video and transcript from C-Span in 1994 Part 2

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Milton Friedman’s video and transcript from C-Span in 1994 Part 2

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 2 of 2

Uploaded on Oct 26, 2011

2nd half of 1994 interview.

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Transcript below:

LAMB: Where did you meet your wife?
FRIEDMAN: In the first course in economics at the University of Chicago in 1932. We took the same course. It was Jacob Viner’s Economic Theory, and, as it happened, Jacob Viner seated his students alphabetically in order to be able to remember their names, and so Rose Director, which was her name, sat next to Milton Friedman. In addition, as Rose always says, she was the only girl in the class at the time.
LAMB: When did you decide to write books together, and how did you separate the responsibility?
FRIEDMAN: Well, that’s very hard to answer. We were married in 1938, six years after we first met, and then we had children. Rose did a wonderful job in really taking care of the house, raising children and being an inspiration to me. But she had a professional career before that. She had written some things and worked in research organizations before that. But it wasn’t until the kids were grown up and off to college that she was able, really, to spend the time working with me. Capitalism and Freedom was based on a series of lectures that I had given at a kind of summer school, and she took those lectures and reworked them into the book, so really she should have been a joint author on that as well.
LAMB: Janet and David?
FRIEDMAN: They’re my children.
LAMB: You dedicate Capitalism and Freedom to them. Where are they?
FRIEDMAN: Janet’s at Davis, Calif. She’s a lawyer, but her husband is a computer specialist who teaches at the Davis Branch of the University of California. My son David is now — well, he’s had a checkered career in the sense that he got a degree in physics, a Ph.D. in physics, but he’s become an economist. He never took a course in economics except over the dinner table.
LAMB: Where is he?
FRIEDMAN: He’s at the University of Chicago in the law school where he does research in law and economics.
LAMB: When did you win the Nobel Prize and for what?
FRIEDMAN: I won the Nobel Prize in 1976, and I won it for none of those things, but for Monetary History of the United States and an earlier book of mine called A Theory of the Consumption Function, which, I may say, are funny things. A Theory of the Consumption Function is, in my mind, the best thing I ever did as a piece of science. Monetary History is undoubtedly the most influential, and Free to Choose is the best selling, so they are not similarly characterized.
LAMB: I’m going to take it even a step lower, if you will. I want you to tell a little bit of the pencil story.
FRIEDMAN: Oh, sure. I’d be delighted to.
LAMB: Your picture on this book has you with a pencil in your hand.
FRIEDMAN: That didn’t originate with me. I got it from Leonard Read, who was the head of the Foundation for Economic Education. It’s used to tell how the market works, and it’s used to tell how people can work together without knowing one another, without being of the same religion or anything. The story starts like this: Leonard Read and I held up a lead pencil — so-called, one of these yellow pencils — and we said, “Nobody knows how to make a pencil. There’s not a single person in the world who knows how to make a pencil.” In order to make a pencil, you have to get wood for the outside. In order to get wood, you have to have logging; you have to have somebody who can manufacture saws. No single person knows how to do all that. What’s called lead inside isn’t lead. It’s graphite. It comes from some mines in Latin America. In order to be able to make a pencil, you’d have to be able to get the lead. The rubber at the tip isn’t really. Nowadays it isn’t even natural rubber, but at the time I was talking, it was natural rubber. It comes from Malaysia, although the rubber tree is not native to Malaysia but was imported into Malaysia by some English botanists. So in order to know how to make a pencil, you would have to be able to do all of these things. There are probably thousands of people who have cooperated together to make that pencil. Somehow or other, the people in South America who dug out the graphite cooperated with the people in Malaysia who tapped the rubber trees, cooperated with maybe the people in Oregon who cut down the trees. These thousands of people don’t know one another. They speak different languages. They come from different religions. They might hate one another if they saw them. What is it that enabled them to cooperate together? The answer is the existence of a market. The answer is the people in Latin America were led to dig out the graphite because somebody was willing to pay them. They didn’t have to know who was paying them; they didn’t have to know what it was going to be used for. All they had to know was somebody was going to pay them. Indeed, going back to Hayek, one of the most important articles he ever wrote — it doesn’t show up in the book — was about the way in which prices are an information mechanism, the role of prices in transmitting information. Let’s suppose there’s a great increase in the demand for graphite. How do people find out about that? Because the people who want more graphite offer a higher price for it. The price of graphite tends to go up. The people in Latin America don’t have to know anything about why the demand went up. Who is it who’s willing to pay the higher price? The price itself transmits the information that graphite is scarcer than it was and more in demand. If you go back to the pencil thing, what brought all these people together was an enormous complex structure of prices — the price of graphite, the price of lumber, the price of rubber, the wages paid to the laborer who did this and so on. It’s a marvelous example of how you can get a complex structure of cooperation and coordination which no individual planned. There was nobody who sat in a central office and sent an order out to Malaysia, “Produce one more thimble of rubber,” or sent a signal. It was the market that coordinated all of this without anybody having to know all of the people involved.
LAMB: How many times have you told that pencil story?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I really haven’t told it that many times. I told it in the TV program and then I told it in the book, but I think this is the third time.
LAMB: You’re living in San Francisco, where we are. What brought you here?
FRIEDMAN: When I reached the age of 65 — I was at that time living in Chicago and teaching in Chicago — I decided I had graded all the exam papers I was going to grade. My wife grew up in Portland, Ore., and she was in love with San Francisco. She tried to move us out here many times during our life together, but she never succeeded until I decided I was going to retire from active teaching. Fortunately, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University offered me the opportunity to be a fellow at Hoover so I could continue my research and writing without doing any teaching.
LAMB: Peter Robinson, who is a “Booknotes” that people will see at another time, said that he got an MBA from Stanford and never once did anybody bring up Adam Smith or Milton Friedman.
FRIEDMAN: I can believe that.
LAMB: Why would that be?
FRIEDMAN: Because you still have, although it’s not the same as it was in 1963 — there’s more tolerance for the kind of ideas I am in favor of. The general academic community is very much socialist in the sense in which Hayek speaks of the socialists. The general academic community, nowadays it’s labeled political correctness. The ideas of Adam Smith, the ideas of Friedrich Hayek, of Milton Friedman are not very congenial to those who believe that the way in which you get things done is by having government come in and do them.
LAMB: You said earlier that you’re an old man. Do you feel like an old man?
FRIEDMAN: Physically at the moment I do, but not intellectually.
LAMB: Why physically?
FRIEDMAN: I recently had an operation on my back, which had some side effects from which I’ve been very slow in recovering.
LAMB: How old are you now?
FRIEDMAN: I’m 82 years old.
LAMB: Other than this operation, do you think differently because you’re an older person?
FRIEDMAN: No, no.
LAMB: Do you have things you want to accomplish?
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely. My wife and I are in the process of trying to write our memoirs.
LAMB: What in that process are you finding? Is it hard?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, because when you start digging back into your past, you find that you’ve forgotten so much and there’s so much to dig out.
LAMB: What’s the purpose of the memoir?
FRIEDMAN: Well, that’s hard to answer. The purpose of the memoirs is we have been very fortunate people. In fact, our tentative title for it is Two Lucky People. We’ve been very fortunate in our life. We’ve had a great deal of activity. We’ve spent a long time. We’ve been able to be at the center. For example, we spent years with the New Deal in Washington. I was involved in wartime research during the war. We’ve lived through and been associated with a lot that has gone on, and we believe that people have forgotten that story. We’re not mostly interested in telling about ourselves, but we want to tell about the world in which we grew up and the world which enabled us, both of whom came from families which by any standard of today would have been regarded as below the poverty level, but neither her family nor mine ever thought of themselves as poor. They weren’t poor. They didn’t have a very high level of income, but they weren’t poor. Unfortunately, the world is moving in a way in which that is no longer likely to be the case. We think maybe we have a story to tell that will be of interest to the public people at large.
LAMB: How are you going about it?
FRIEDMAN: By writing it.
LAMB: Separately, together? Do you dictate?
FRIEDMAN: No, no. In a word processor mostly. Sometimes by hand, but mostly in a word processor. But the way we’ve always done it. We each write parts of it, and then we share it and so on. I don’t believe the problem of collaboration is a very difficult one.
LAMB: How far away are you from completing it?
FRIEDMAN: We’re about halfway through.
LAMB: What size will it be when it’s finished?
FRIEDMAN: I don’t know. At the moment, it’s about their big, but how big it’ll be, I don’t know. We’re up into the 1950s.
LAMB: As you look around today and watch the world move, where are the influences in the society today? Do books influence? Newspapers? Television?
FRIEDMAN: I would say the television has a tremendous influence, but I think books also have an influence. It’s not easy to answer that question. That’s a very sophisticated and subtle question, and I don’t have an easy answer to it. I think experience plays an enormous role. The collapse of the Berlin Wall, for example, was undoubtedly the most influential action for the last hundred years because it put finis to an attitude. The general attitude had been that the future was the future of government, that the way in which you got good things done was by having government do it. I believe the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the exposure of what was happening in Russia, the contrast between East Germany and West Germany has been made a lesson; more recently, the experience of East Asia, of Hong Kong, of Singapore. Today people may not behave in accordance with their knowledge, but everybody knows that the way to develop and to improve the lot of people is through private markets, free enterprise and small government. We’re not practicing what we should be preaching. I’ve been saying that the former communist states are trying as hard as they can to go to where we were 50 years ago, whereas we’re trying as hard as we can to go to where they were 10 years ago.
LAMB: Why?
FRIEDMAN: Because of the inertia and the drive for power. It’s very hard to turn things around. The big problem with government, as Hayek points out, is that once you start doing something, you establish vested interests, and it’s extremely difficult to stop and turn that around. Look at our school system. How is it our school system is worse today than it was 50 years ago? Look at the welfare state. We’ve spent trillions of dollars without any success. But unsuccessful experiments in government — I’ve said if an experiment in private enterprise is unsuccessful, people lose money and they have to close it down. If an experiment in government is unsuccessful, it’s always expanded.
LAMB: What is it that government does that you like?
FRIEDMAN: I would like government to enforce law and order. I would like government to provide the rules, effectively, that guide our life, that determine what’s proper and to do very little other than that.
LAMB: What kind of a grade do you give to the American system of government today? How is it working?
FRIEDMAN: As it was in 1928 or as it is in 1994? It’s a great system. The fundamental system is great, but it hasn’t been working in the last 30 years.
LAMB: Why not?
FRIEDMAN: Because we’ve been departing from its fundamental principles. The founders of country believed in individual freedom, believed in leaving people be, letting them be alone to do whatever they wanted to do. But our government has been increasingly departing from those constitutional principles. You know, there’s a provision in the constitution that Congress shall not interfere with interstate commerce. That provision had some meaning at one time, but it has no meaning now at all. Our courts have ruled that anything you can think of is interstate commerce, and so the government exercises extensive control over things that it has no business interfering with.
LAMB: What do you think of the Federal Reserve Board today?
FRIEDMAN: I’ve long been in favor of abolishing it. There’s no institution in the United States that has such a high public standing and such a poor record of performance.
LAMB: What did Arthur Burns think of that?
FRIEDMAN: He didn’t like that very much, but, needless to say, I didn’t hesitate to say it to him. Look, the federal reserve system was established in 1914, started operation in 1914. It presided over a doubling of prices during World War I. It produced a major collapse in 1921. It had a good period from about 1922 to about 28. Then it undertook actions which led to a recession in 1929 and 30, and it converted that recession by its actions into the Great Depression. The major villain in the Great Depression was, in my opinion, unquestionably the federal reserve system. Since that time, it presided over a doubling of prices during World War II. It financed the inflation of the 1970s. On the whole, it has a very poor record. It’s done far more harm than good.
LAMB: What do you say to the people who say and write that it’s just a matter of time until it all comes tumbling down, meaning the tremendous debt we have in this country will catch up with us.
FRIEDMAN: The debt is not the problem. The debt is not the problem. You’ve got to compare a debt with the assets which correspond to it. It need not come tumbling down. Whether it comes tumbling down will depend on what we do. If we continue to expand the role of government, if we let government grow beyond limit, it will come tumbling down. But that isn’t going to happen. The attitudes of the American people have changed, and they’ve become aware of the fact that government is too big, too intrusive, too extensive, and I have a great deal of confidence in the American people that they’re going to see to it that doesn’t happen.
LAMB: But if you were sitting around with experts in a room and they said, “Let’s look at the future,” where are the problems? We listen every day on the radio and read in the newspapers that it’s just a matter of time.
FRIEDMAN: I think that’s wrong. Fundamentally, what’s been happening is that in the period I talked about from 1928 to now, we have been starving the successful part of our society, namely, the free private enterprise system, and we have been feeding the failure. Government controls over 50 percent of the output of the country, but thank God government is not efficient. Most of that is wasted.
LAMB: Another one of our “Booknotes” guests in this series is John Kenneth Galbraith. If you put the two of you in a room together, which one’s the happiest with what’s happened over the last 50 years?
FRIEDMAN: Ken would be much happier than I would be.
LAMB: Why would he be?
FRIEDMAN: Because he’s a socialist.
LAMB: Why do you think he’s happier and why do you think his side’s been more successful?
FRIEDMAN: Because the story they tell is a very simple story, easy to sell. If there’s something bad, it must be an evil person who’s done it. If you want something done, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to have government step in and do it. The story Hayek and I want to tell is a much more sophisticated and complicated story, that somehow or other there exists this subtle system in which, without any individual trying to control it, there is a system under which people in seeking to promote their own interests will also promote the well-being of the country — Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Now, that’s a very sophisticated story. It’s hard to understand how you can get a complex interrelated system without anybody controlling it. Moreover, the benefits from government tend to be concentrated; the costs tend to be disbursed. To each farmer, the subsidy he gets from the government means a great deal. To each of a much larger number of consumers, it costs very little. Consequently, those who feed at the trough of government tend to be politically much more powerful than those who provide it with the wherewithal.
LAMB: During your lifetime, who are the leaders you think have been the most loyal to their beliefs and have done the best job?
FRIEDMAN: I would certainly put Ronald Reagan high on that list.
LAMB: What do you say to David Frum’s thesis? Have you read Dead Right?
FRIEDMAN: Yes. He’s quite right. I agree with it.
LAMB: That conservatives basically buy off now . . .
FRIEDMAN: I’m not a conservative. I never have been a conservative. Hayek was not a conservative. The book that follows this one in Hayek’s list was The Constitution of Liberty, a great book, and he has an appendix to it entitled “Why I Am not a Conservative.” We are radicals. We want to get to the root of things. We are liberals in the true meaning of that term — of and concerned with freedom. We are not liberals in the current distorted sense of the term — people who are liberal with other people’s money.
LAMB: You write about Thomas Jefferson. What was he?
FRIEDMAN: I would certainly put him very high on the list. He was a great man. There’s no question about that, and he was certainly a believer in freedom. He was not a conservative.
LAMB: Would he have been a liberal?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, in my sense, not in the corrupted sense of today.
LAMB: But what’s confusing as you watch today’s people who embrace him, you have the Jefferson-Jackson dinners every year for the Democratic Party, and Lincoln is embraced by both sides. What was he?
FRIEDMAN: He’s much more difficult to characterize because his role in our history had to do with the Civil War, and that’s not something to be characterized in terms of socialist or liberal or conservative.
LAMB: Is Thomas Jefferson a Democrat as we know the Democratic Party today?
FRIEDMAN: No, he would not.
LAMB: What would he be today?
FRIEDMAN: He would be a libertarian.
LAMB: A member of the Libertarian Party?
FRIEDMAN: Not necessarily. See, I’m a libertarian in philosophy, but, as I say, I’m a libertarian with a small “l” and a Republican with a capital “r.”
LAMB: You supported and were close to Barry Goldwater.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, I was.
LAMB: What was he?
FRIEDMAN: A libertarian in philosophy, not in party.
LAMB: What is Bill Clinton?
FRIEDMAN: Oh, he’s a socialist.
LAMB: Defined as being what?
FRIEDMAN: As somebody who believes that the way to achieve good things is to have government do it. You can’t think of a more socialist program than the health care program that he tried to get us to adopt.
LAMB: You said earlier in the discussion when we were talking about Rutgers that the worst way to go is to take care of the bottom up. Explain that.
FRIEDMAN: Not to take care of them in the sense of giving them a minimum income, but to believe that the progress of society is going to come from the bottom.
LAMB: So how do you take care of someone who is in the lower third?
FRIEDMAN: In my book Capitalism and Freedom I propose something called a negative income tax, of getting rid of all of the welfare programs we now have, but replace them by essentially a minimum income.
LAMB: But you also say that’s not going to happen very quickly.
FRIEDMAN: Well, we’re moving toward that. The earned income credit is in that line.
LAMB: What will that do?
FRIEDMAN: What we’re not going to move toward, the place we’re wrong is with all of the special welfare programs we have — food stamps, aid to families with dependent children. There are probably a hundred such programs, and what I’ve argued is that we ought to replace that whole ragbag of programs with a single negative income tax.
LAMB: In your lifetime, have you ever had a theory that proved to be wrong? Do you ever go back and say, “I was wrong”?
FRIEDMAN: Oh, yes, sure.
LAMB: What was it?
FRIEDMAN: During World War II when I was at the Treasury, I was essentially a Keynesian, as I believed that the way to control inflation was by controlling government spending. I paid very little attention to money. Only after World War II when I started to work in the field of money did I come to a different conclusion. Now, I believe Keynes was a great man. He was a great economist, but I think his theory is wrong.
LAMB: And his theory, basically stated, is?
FRIEDMAN: Basically stated, the fundamental element of it, is that what matters is spending and what matters in particular is government spending and that government must play a major role in guiding the society. He was a liberal in the 19th century sense, but he was also an elitist, and he believed that there was a group of able public-spirited intellectuals who should be given charge of society.
LAMB: When people look at Milton Friedman 25 years from now — you’ll probably still be here . . .
FRIEDMAN: I won’t be here.
LAMB: What do you want them to remember? Do you want them to remember you as a writer, as a teacher, as a philosopher, as an economist?
FRIEDMAN: Again, I want them to remember me as an economist.
LAMB: And what principle do you want them to remember the most?
FRIEDMAN: That’s hard to say because there are quite a number. I mentioned The Theory of the Consumption Function, which is a very technical book but which yet, I believe, has had a good deal of influence within the discipline of economics. But I really don’t know how to answer that question. I think that people 25 years from now will have to answer it, not me.
LAMB: Milton Friedman has been our guest, and he wrote the introduction of this 50th anniversary edition of F. A. Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom, and he has a few books of his own. We thank you very much for joining us.
FRIEDMAN: Very nice to be here.
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