Category Archives: Milton Friedman

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 10: The Roosevelt Recession (Quotes Milton Friedman!!!)

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By the start of 1937, things were looking up for the U.S. economy. Although the Supreme Court had struck down both the NIRA and the AAA—the chief pillars of the original New Deal’s recovery plan—some time earlier, like a glider released by its tow plane, the recovery itself kept going.

Indeed, the glider analogy doesn’t quite work, because instead of gradually declining, economic activity started rising faster than ever: whereas in 1934 and 1935 real GNP grew by 7.7 and 8.1 percent, respectively, in 1936 it grew by a whopping 14.1 percent. Between May 1935, when the NIRA was struck down, and April 1937, unemployment fell by a third—as compared to a 28 percent decline while the NRA codes were in effect. Bank lending, long stagnant, also started to revive. And the stock market, which bounced around but otherwise made little headway while the NRA did its thing, rose by a hefty 70 percent.[1]

Index of Common Stock Prices

Nor was this improvement at all mysterious. As I explained in an earlier post, instead of promoting recovery as it was supposed to, the NRA codes held it back. It’s therefore not surprising that, by sweeping them off the books in May 1935, and thereby allowing the U.S. economy to make better use of the gold inflows from Europe that were really nursing it to health, the Supreme Court actually did more to promote recovery than the NRA itself had done.

A False Dawn

Things were so good, in fact, that many believed the long-awaited recovery to be just around the corner. FDR must have thought so, or else he wouldn’t have reminded Congress that January that “Your task and mine is not ending with the end of the depression.”

But such optimism didn’t last long. In May, according to the NBER’s business cycle chronology, the economy started shrinking again. Expenditures fell; inventories accumulated; and profits dwindled. Soon it was obvious to all that the U.S. was in the throes of yet another severe recession. By the time it was over, in June 1938, real U.S. GNP had fallen by 18.2 percent. That was less than the 26.6 percent decline suffered in the early years of the depression. But as is clear from the chart below, it happened much more quickly, and was in that respect even more stunning. The setback was also severe enough to undo a substantial part of the gains achieved since FDR took office.

Gross National Product

Bad as the quarterly GNP numbers look, they still don’t accurately convey the extreme nature of the 1937 downturn. Because that downturn was so steep and short-lived, quarterly data can’t do it full justice. To come closer we need to look at industrial production. Although it tracks the nominal output of manufacturing firms, mines, and utilities only—a small portion of the U.S. economy taken as a whole—that statistic has the advantage of being measured every month. Between May 1937 and June 1938, industrial production fell by almost one third—a truly stupendous drop.

Industrial Production

What came to be known as the “Roosevelt Recession,” especially among FDR’s detractors, has posed a challenge to economic historians. But unlike the challenge of explaining the 1929 downturn, the problem in this case consists not of a lack but of a surfeit of plausible culprits—a very different sort of whodunit.

Fear of ‘Flating

Most accounts of the 1937 crash blame it on demand-side shocks, and particularly on a sudden switch to less expansionary, if not contractionary, monetary and fiscal policies. The switch was partly informed by the belief that full recovery was in sight, and the fact that the markets for stocks and some commodities were already booming. But it was also a reaction to banks’ large holdings of excess reserves. Together these developments suggested to many that, unless steps were taken to prevent it, the United States was headed straight for what Federal Reserve Chairman Marriner Eccles called a “dangerous inflation.” Eccles’ worries were shared by many administration officials, including FDR. “I am concerned—we are all concerned,” he told the press that April, “over the price rise in certain materials.”

Dangerous inflation? In retrospect at least, officials’ fear seems tragi-comic. Far from being something to be dreaded, inflation sufficient to get prices back to their 1926 level had long been one of FDR’s main objectives. One could even say that he regarded its achievement as the sum and substance of a complete recovery. But in the late spring of 1937 the Consumer Price Index was still about 20 percent below its level in mid-1926. And if that wasn’t proof enough that the recovery was far from complete—that the country still had a way to go before “reflation” gave way to inflation proper—there was the fact that the conventionally-measured unemployment rate, which counted those working in government relief programs as “unemployed,” was still in the double-digits. Upon hearing that American officials had begun to worry about inflation, Keynes is supposed to have quipped that they “professed to fear that for which they dared not hope.”

Alas, those officials were in earnest; and their fears soon led to action. What particularly concerned them was the reserve stockpile banks had accumulated since the bank holiday, a large part of which consisted of “excess” reserves, meaning reserves beyond banks’ mandatory requirements. Fed officials feared that, as the recovery continued, a revived demand for credit would lead first to a rapid expansion of bank lending and the money stock, and thence to the “dangerous inflation” Eccles warned about. That European gold—”hot money”—was now flowing into the U.S. faster than ever, and that the Fed’s limited security holdings would prevent it from using open-market sales to keep that inflow from adding to banks’ superfluous reserves, only made the need for other action seem that much more acute.[2]

Although the Fed’s open-market powers were limited, thanks to the Banking Act of 1935 it had another trick up its sleeve: the power to as much as double its member banks’ minimum reserve requirements. Fed officials now chose to put that power to use. On Bastille Day, 1936, a divided Board of Governors voted to raise member bank reserve requirements by 50 percent effective August 15th. Because rates didn’t budge, and gold kept pouring into the country, sentiment grew in favor of further increases. Finally, at the end of January 1937, the Board elected to raise the requirements by another third—the maximum level allowed—this time in two half steps to be taken on March 6th and May 1st, respectively. The vertical lines in the following chart, showing the behavior of total and excess bank reserves between 1931 and 1942, mark the dates of the three increases.

Reserves

A Doubling Debacle

While the Fed’s first two reserve-requirement increases seemed to do little harm, the third almost perfectly coincided with the start of the ’37 downturn. According to many experts, this was no coincidence. So far as they’re concerned, instead of merely serving to head-off inflation, the Fed’s decision to double reserve requirements was one of the chief causes, if not the cause, of the 1937 collapse.

How so? In essence, the argument—which owes its popularity to Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’ development of it in their Monetary History of the United States—is that while Fed officials viewed excess reserves as “redundant” reserves, the banks themselves didn’t see them so. Instead, having been traumatized by runs in the early years of the depression, they accumulated excess reserves deliberately, for safety’s sake: unlike required reserves, excess reserves could be used to meet runs without risk of legal penalties. Thanks to low interest rates, this precaution, besides being prudent, was also cheap.[3]

So when the Fed increased banks’ required reserves, and especially when it did so for the third time, instead of doing nothing the banks sought to rebuild their excess reserve cushions. With only so many reserves in the system, this meant limiting their required reserves by shrinking the non-reserve components of their balance sheets: loans, investments, and deposits. The resulting decline in bank credit and the money stock helped bring about the 1937-8 recession, just as the Great Monetary Contraction of 1929-33 led (once again, according to Friedman and Schwartz) to the first Great Depression downturn.

Reserve-ations

Popular as it is, the theory that the Fed triggered the ’37 collapse by raising banks’ reserve requirements has never lacked critics. Unsurprisingly, those Fed officials who argued for the policy, including Lauchlin Currie, the Board’s chief economic advisor, denied that it restricted the supply of credit, or otherwise contributed to the recession. Nor were they alone among their contemporaries in taking that view. According to Benjamin Anderson, who served as Chase National Bank’s chief economist during the depression,

Reducing the [banks’] excess reserves could not reduce the volume of business unless real differences were made thereby in interest rates, and unless restrictions were imposed thereby upon the use of money and credit. Now the evidence is overwhelming that nothing of this sort occurred.

Several more recent writings have drawn renewed attention to and supplemented the evidence Anderson had in mind. In a 2001 article L.G. Telser showed that, instead of lending less, Fed member banks met their increased reserve requirements by selling government securities, ruling out the possibility that the Fed’s actions triggered a credit crunch. A decade later, upon examining data for individual Fed member banks, Charles Calomiris, Joseph Mason, and David Wheelock (2011) found that, even after they’d been doubled, the Fed’s “reserve requirements were not binding on bank reserve demand in 1936 and 1937, and therefore could not have produced a significant contraction in the money multiplier.” Instead, they conclude that, contrary to the Friedman and Schwartz hypothesis, such increases in reserve demand as took place from June 1936 to June 1937 “reflected predictable influences related to the structure of the banks, and not increases in reserve requirements imposed by the Fed.” Finally, Haelim Park and Patrick Van Horn (2014) also find that Fed’s reserve requirement changes didn’t lead member banks to reduce their lending. They therefore conclude that “the actions of the Federal Reserve…cannot be blamed for instigating the economic downturn of 1937-38.”

And a Rejoinder

But Friedman and Schwartz’ critics may not have the last word. Instead, their arguments have been questioned in turn by Gauti Eggertsson and Benjamin Pugsley (2006), who claim that the Fed’s doubling of reserve requirements contributed to the 1937 downturn even though it didn’t lead to any substantial decline in bank lending or the money stock, or to any substantial or lasting increase in short-term interest rates. In their view, the Fed’s decision mattered not because it led to an immediate tightening of credit but because it was the first important sign that the government was reversing its stance on inflation: having long promised to get prices back to their pre-depression levels, and despite not having yet reached that goal, government officials now seemed determined to put a lid on inflation.

Eggertsson and Pugsley consider this official about-face “one of the most peculiar policy mistakes in U.S. economic history.” But they regard it so not because it led to any immediate clamping-down on credit, but because it “created pessimistic expectations of future growth and price inflation that fed into both an expected and an actual deflation.” Nominal rigidities, finally, caused the collapse in prices to be accompanied by an equally severe contraction of output.

Using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model, Eggertsson and Pugsley show that, far from depending on any increase in current short-term interest rates (as opposed to expectations of future rate increases), such an expectations-driven downturn can be “particularly damaging at zero interest rates.” Because it’s immune to the objection that monetary policy can only matter if it leads to immediate changes in bank lending, money growth, and short-term rates, the Eggertsson and Pugsley thesis gives “monetary” explanations of the 1937 downturn a new lease on life.

Rebirth Control

The Fed’s doubling of reserve requirements was but one of two monetary policy changes that may have contributed to the Roosevelt Recession, whether through an expectations channel or otherwise. The other, which some consider more important, and which was also part of the government’s effort to forestall inflation, was the Treasury’s decision to “sterilize” gold inflows.

In fact, Friedman and Schwartz themselves viewed the Treasury’s gold sterilization program as being just as important a cause of the contraction of ’37 as the Fed’s reserve requirement increases. The Treasury had nevertheless been cast in most accounts since as the Fed’s less important accomplice. But in a 2012 paper Dartmouth economic historian Doug Irwin makes a strong case for giving the Treasury pride of place.

As we’ve seen, after 1933 gold fleeing Europe for the U.S. was the chief cause of overall demand growth and, starting in 1935, of concerns that the U.S. was headed toward unwanted inflation. The Fed could do nothing to prevent the gold inflow from adding to banks’ reserves; but it could and it did force banks to hold on to those extra reserves. The Treasury, on the other hand, could sever the link between increases in the total U.S. gold stock and increases in the monetary gold stock, where the last alone contributed to bank reserves. Normally, after drawing on its Fed balance to pay to buy gold at the official price of $35 an ounce, the Fed would replenish its account by depositing an equivalent sum in gold certificates. The monetary gold stock and monetary base would then grow in step with the total gold stock. To sever the link, and thereby “sterilize” the gold inflows, the Treasury had merely to quit printing and depositing a like value of gold certificates for every ounce of gold it purchased.

And from December 1936 until February 1938, excepting a one-time “desterilization” of $300 million in September 1937, the Treasury did just that, with the express aim of “halt[ing] the inflationary potentialities” of incoming gold. As the next FRED chart shows, because the Fed itself extended very little credit during the sterilization period, the Treasury’s policy slammed the brakes on the monetary base growth that had been promoting recovery, to the extent that other New Deal policies allowed it to, since 1934. The chart also makes clear the close coincidence, allowing for a short lag, between the start and finish of the Treasury’s policy and the beginning and end of the 1937-8 recession as reflected in Ayres’ Business Activity index.

Sterilization

According to Irwin, the Treasury’s sterilization policy was far more contractionary than the Fed’s reserve-requirement increases, partly owing to the fact that reserve requirements were less binding than Friedman and Schwartz and others have supposed, but also because the change in the growth rate of the monetary base, from an average annualized rate of 17 percent between 1934 and 1936 to zero, was far greater than the concurrent change in the money multiplier. For this and other reasons, including its timing, Irwin concludes that the Treasury’s policy played the more important role in the 1937-8 recession.[4]

But it was, after all, the combined effects of the Fed and Treasury actions, rather than the relative importance of each, that really matters. And here it’s worth noting that each player acted rather as if it didn’t know, or didn’t care, what the other was up to! While both Marriner Eccles and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau saw a need to clamp down on money growth to head-off inflation, Eccles favored doing so by raising the Fed’s reserve requirements, while Morgenthau tried to convince him that sterilizing gold inflows was the better policy. Instead of coming to an agreement, or otherwise coordinating their policies, Eccles went ahead with the Fed’s first reserve requirement increase without bothering to tell Morgenthau, let alone gain his approval. When that increase seemed to make little difference, Morgenthau proceeded with his sterilization program, after securing Eccles’ last minute and grudging endorsement. Then, despite Morgenthau’s expressed reservations, Eccles in turn went ahead with Fed’s further reserve requirement increases. It is as though two doctors, sharing the same overanxious patient, each insisted on administering a strong sedative, whether the other did so or not, and ended up rendering her unconscious.

But here again, my analogy falls short, because it’s far from obvious that the U.S. economy needed a sedative at all. It fails in another respect as well. For instead of just getting a double-dose of sedatives, the U.S. economy got several. Just what those other sedatives were, and how they contributed to the economic collapse, will be the subjects of my next installment.

Continue Reading The New Deal and Recovery:

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[1] For more on the slow and erratic progress of recovery while the first New Deal was in effect see Garfield Cox (1936, p. 2). Referring to that progress as measured by Leonard Ayres’ index of American Business Activity (which closely follows the more frequently cited index of industrial production), Cox notes that whereas “all previous recoveries, once started, have brought [that index] back to normal rather quickly,” with the longest delay taking just 14 months, “this time after 33 months this index is still substantially below trend.” Furthermore, “no previous recovery from depression has been punctuated by reversals so extensive as those which have interrupted the current expansion.” Cox also notes (ibid., p. 3) that “in no recovery in eighty years have iron and steel and durable goods in general lagged as they have from 1933 to 1935.” These were, of course, among the sectors most influenced by NRA codes.

[2] Several factors contributed to the Fed’s limited capacity to offset gold-based reserve growth through open market sales. One was that by mid-1936, member bank excess reserves exceeded the Fed’s government securities of just over $2.4 billion. Another was that the Fed relied upon income generated by those securities to pay its operating expenses.

[3] For further developments of the argument that banks’ had a genuine demand for excess reserves see Frost 1971 and Wilcox 1984.

[4] Concerning Eggertsson and Pugsley’s claim that the bearing of the Fed’s reserve requirement changes on expectations made those changes much more potent than they might have been otherwise, Irwin observes (p. 250n7) that “[i]t seems implausible to think that ‘animal spirits’ could sink the economy as much as occurred during 1937-8 in the absence of some tangible change in government policy or some real shock.” This seems rather unfair to Eggertsson and Pugsley, who never suggest otherwise. Instead they claim only that expectation effects further magnified the consequences of “tangible” policy changes, including both the Fed’s reserve requirement increases and the Treasury’s sterilization policy.

[Cross-posted from Alt-M.org]

The largest decrease in government spending in US History was the key to ending the depression and Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated!!!

The Great Depression. A row of out of work men at the New York City docks in 1930s. (Photo: Newscom)

“What is history but a fable agreed upon?” as Napoleon once put it, and never has that been more true than the story of the Great Depression and its aftermath. With liberals again pitching more government spending “stimulus” in Washington, it’s critical we get this history right.

In a previous column I unmasked the historical lie that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs ended the Great Depression. After seven years of New Deal-era explosions in federal debt and spending, the U.S. economy was still flat on its back, and misery could be seen on the street corners. By 1940, unemployment still averaged a sky-high 14.6 percent. That’s some recovery.

However, I’ve been deluged with the same question from readers: Ok, what did end the Great Depression? Again, the history books get this chapter of history wrong. Most history books tell us that it was government spending on steroids to mobilize for World War II after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Well, it is true that the economic output surged and unemployment fell, but periods of all-out war are very different than periods of peace. Is it any surprise that unemployment fell dramatically when nearly 12 million Americans joined the military?

My mother, a teenager in that period, used to tell me that during the war, when fuel was scarce and needed for the military, you wouldn’t be caught dead driving to the movie theater or a party. It was regarded as unpatriotic and selfish. People continued to produce even with high tax rates (94 percent during the war) when their tax dollars were financing the fight against the Nazis and the Japanese.

For nearly four years — from 1942 to 1945 — America was not a free-market economy. We were an all-out wartime economy — with the normal laws of economics suspended.

However, a war is no way to fix an economy — obviously. Countering terrorist acts of the Islamic State is not a jobs program. During World War II, when we built ships, tanks, fighter planes, dropped bombs and sent our troops into harm’s way, we weren’t creating wealth. A war is no more stimulating to the economy than a burglar stealing your money, the Japanese tsunami in 2011, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, or a tornado that levels an entire town. Without such calamity, the resources spent reconstructing (or destroying in the case of war) would be spent either purchasing useful, life-enhancing products for consumption or investing in technology and capital equipment requisite to increasing economic output.

War in self-defense might be necessary to protect our families, but any economic growth derived from it is far less beneficial than growth derived from free people making individual decisions on what to consume and in what to invest.

In the 1940s, government spending did indeed surge. The federal share of gross domestic product (GDP) rose from less than 12 percent in 1941 to more than 40 percent in 1943-45. In other words, almost half of everything that was produced in the nation was to fight the war. Domestic spending on many FDR New Deal programs in education, training and social services dropped more than 90 percent.

The real issue is what caused the economy to surge after the war was over.

This story is also not covered in the history books. Shortly after his third re-election in 1944, and at a time when the outcome of the war was no longer in question, FDR and his domestic advisers plotted a “new” New Deal with such spending items as national health insurance. The Keynesians were sure that the massive reduction in government spending would catastrophically tank the economy.

Paul Samuelson, the dean of neo-Keynesians at that time, warned in 1943 that unless wartime spending and controls were extended, there would be “the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced.” Business Week predicted unemployment would hit 14 percent with the postwar cutbacks.

Here’s what happened. Government spending collapsed from 41 percent of GDP in 1945 to 24 percent in 1946 to less than 15 percent by 1947. And there was no “new” New Deal. This was by far the biggest cut in government spending in U.S. history. Tax rates were cut and wartime price controls were lifted. There was a very short, eight-month recession, but then the private economy surged.

Here are the numbers on the private economy. Personal consumption grew by 6.2 percent in 1945 and 12.4 percent in 1946 even as government spending crashed. At the same time, private investment spending grew by 28.6 percent and 139.6 percent.

The less the feds spent, the more people spent and invested. Keynesianism was turned on its head. Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated.

In 1946, the unemployment rate averaged below 4 percent, and it stayed that low for the better part of a decade. This all happened during the biggest reduction in government spending in American history under President Truman.

In sum, it wasn’t government spending, but the shrinkage of government that finally ended the Great Depression. That’s what should be in every history book — but isn’t.

Originally appeared in the Washington Times.

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A Global Leader in Obsolete Technology

FEBRUARY 7, 2021 10:32AM

A Global Leader in Obsolete Technology

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg wants to make the United States the “global leader” in high-speed rail. That’s like wanting to be the world leader in electric typewriters, rotary telephones, or steam locomotives, all technologies that were once revolutionary but are functionally obsolete today. High-speed trains, in particular, were rendered obsolete in 1958, when Boeing introduced the 707 jetliner, which was twice as fast as the fastest trains today.

Slower than flying, less convenient than driving, and more expensive than either one.

Aside from speed, what makes high-speed rail obsolete is its high cost. Unlike airlines, which don’t require much infrastructure other than landing fields, high-speed trains require huge amounts of infrastructure that must be built and maintained to extremely precise standards. That’s why airfares averaged just 14 cents per passenger-milein 2019, whereas fares on Amtrak’s high-speed Acela averaged more than 90 cents per passenger-mile.

Highways require infrastructure but not this level of precision. While a four-lane freeway costs about $10 million to $20 million a mile, California ended up spending $100 million a mile building its abortive high-speed rail line on flat ground, and it predicted building in hilly territory would cost at least $170 million per mile.

In 2009, President Obama proposed that the United States build 8,600 miles of high-speed rail lines in six disconnected networks in the Northeast, South, Florida, Midwest, California, and the Pacific Northwest. Without ever asking how much this would cost, Congress gave Obama $10.1 billion, which (after adding $1.4 billion of other funds) Obama passed on to the states. Except in California, no one expected that these funds would produce 150-mile-per-hour bullet trains, but they were supposed to increase frequencies and speeds in ten different corridors.

Now, more than ten years later, what has happened with those projects? One corridor saw frequencies increase by two trains a day. That corridor and two others saw speeds increase by an average of 2 miles per hour. Three other corridors actually saw speeds decline by an average of 1 mile per hour. Four corridors saw no changes at all. The one corridor that saw both frequencies and speeds increase also saw ridership decline by 12 percent. Effectively, the $11.5 billion was all wasted.

We now know, based on California’s experience, that constructing true high-speed rail in all of Obama’s 8,600 route miles would have cost well over $1 trillion. Unlike the 48,000-mile Interstate Highway System, which cost about half a trillion in today’s dollars but was paid for entirely out of highway user fees, none of the cost of building high-speed rail lines would ever be covered by rail fares. In fact, fares won’t even cover operating costs on most if not all proposed routes.

Rail advocates want to ignore the dollar costs and instead argue that we should have high-speed trains because they are climate friendly. But building high-speed rail releases thousands of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for every mile. Even if operating the trains produced fewer emissions than planes, and there’ no guarantee that it would, it would take decades to save enough to make up for the construction cost—and the rail lines must be effectively rebuilt, releasing more carbon dioxide, every 20 to 30 years.

China has built 22,000 miles of high-speed rail lines and that construction has helped put China’s state railway nearly $850 billionin debt. Since this debt is unsustainable and many of the high-speed rail lines, says a Chinese transportation economist, are “bleeding red ink,” the country has slowed its construction of new lines. Far from getting anyone out of cars or planes, both air travel and highway travel are growing much faster than rail travel in China.

If we are to emulate China’s transportation system, we should look instead at its freeways. Including the interstates and other freeways, the United States has 67,000 freeway miles and is building fewer than 800 new miles a year. China, whose land area is about the same as ours and which has about the same number of motor vehicles as the United States, had 93,000 miles at the end of 2019 and is building 4,000 to 5,000 new miles a year.

China’s road construction isn’t slowing down because the roads pay for themselves out of tolls. China also realizes something that American political leaders have forgotten: highways drive economic growth because, unlike Amtrak or public transit, they are used by the vast majority of people.

Where Amtrak trains were only about half full before the pandemic, many of America’s freeways were filled to capacity during much of the day. This congestion costs commuters $166 billion a year and costs shippers even more. While the pandemic reduced some of that congestion, motorists are driving about 90 percent as many miles as before the pandemic and there is still considerable congestion.

Urban freeways are also the safest roads in the country to drive on, while non-freeway arterials are the most dangerous. On top of saving travelers billions of hours a year, replacing non-freeway arterials with freeways could save thousands of lives each year.

The best thing about highways is that they can pay for themselves. Unfortunately, the mechanisms we use to pay for roads, including gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, are archaic. They don’t adjust for inflation, they don’t adjust for fuel-efficient cars, they don’t cover the costs of city and county roads, and they don’t do anything to relieve congestion.

If Buttigieg wants return the United States to global leadership in transportation, he should find and promote mechanisms that will allow and pay for the construction of new highways that will relieve traffic congestion, improve safety, and generate new economic growth. He actually suggested one such mechanism during his presidential campaign: mileage-based user fees. The last thing we need is more deficit spending building obsolete infrastructure that few people will ever use.

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There is nothing that is free and that is why we have to cut government spending since we are all paying for this inefficient government!!

Milton Friedman – The Free Lunch Myth

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Trump Spending Cut Ideas

President-elect Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that he will balance the federal budget and cut wasteful spending. Here are some of Trump’s views on budget reforms:

  • “We are going to ask every department head in government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days.” Source.
  • “We can also stop funding programs that are not authorized in law. Congress spent $320 billion last year on 256 expired laws … Removing just 5 percent of that will reduce spending by almost $200 billion over a ten-year period.” Source.
  • “I may cut Department of Education. I believe Common Core is a very bad thing,” Trump said. “I believe that we should be — you know, educating our children from Iowa, from New Hampshire, from South Carolina, from California, from New York. I think that it should be local education.” Source.
  • “If we save just one penny of each federal dollar spent on non-defense, and non-entitlement programs, we can save almost $1 trillion over the next decade.” Source.
  • “We’re going local. Have to go local. Environmental protection—we waste all of this money. We’re going to bring that back to the states … We are going to cut many of the agencies, we will balance our budget, and we will be dynamic again.” Source.
  • “Waste, fraud and abuse all over the place. Waste, fraud and abuse. You look at what’s happening with Social Security, you look—look at what’s happening with every agency—waste, fraud and abuse. We will cut so much, your head will spin.” Source.

I hope my head does spin from cuts, although most of Trump’s proposals are vague and quite timid. Still, I’m hoping that the more the incoming president finds out about the federal budget, the more he will appreciate the need for major terminations.

So let me suggest some wasteful spending that the new administration should tackle, and the annual savings from terminating each:

President Trump will face major budget pressures in coming years as deficits and entitlement spending soar. Today’s $600 billion deficits are headed toward $1 trillion, and deficits will be even higher if a recession comes along.

Federal spending cuts would help avert a fiscal crisis and boost growth by reducing economic distortions. The incoming Trump team should start with some of the cuts here, and there are plenty more proposals at DownsizingGovernment.org.

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Dan Mitchell article Coronavirus and the Failure of Big Government: A Closer Look at the FDA

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Coronavirus and the Failure of Big Government: A Closer Look at the FDA

In my five-part series on coronavirus and the failure of big government (here, here, here, here, and here), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received some unflattering attention.

Whether we’re examining its performance regarding equipment, testing, or vaccines, the bureaucracy has hindered the private sector’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to the pandemic.

Today, let’s devote an entire column to problems with the FDA.

Historically, the big issue is that the bureaucracy is too cautious and risk-averse.

The argument from the FDA is that a lengthy and expensive process for approving drugs is necessary to avoid the risk of a drug with bad side effects.

And there are benefits to that approach, with thalidomide being the obvious example.

However, there are also costs. Most notably, the FDA’s onerous approval process means that it takes a long time before consumers get access to many life-saving and life-improving drugs.

The net result is that the FDA has killed more people than it has saved.

If you think that is hyperbole, read this summary of academic research from the Independent Institute.

…requiring a lot of testing has at least two negative effects. First, it delays the arrival of superior drugs. During the delay, some people who would have lived end up dying. Second, additional testing requirements raise the costs of bringing a new drug to market; hence, many drugs that would have been developed are not, and all the people who would have been helped,even saved, are not. …three bodies of evidence suggest that the FDA kills and harms, on net. …It is difficult to estimate how many lives the post-1962 FDA controls have cost, but the number is likely to be substantial; Gieringer (1985) estimates the loss of life from delay alone to be in the hundreds of thousands (not to mention millions of patients who endured unnecessary morbidity). …Deaths owing to drug lag have been numbered in the hundreds of thousands. …in recent years thousands of patients have died because the FDA has delayed the arrival of new drugs and devices

Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that the FDA process means companies much charge higher prices to compensate for the expensive approval process.

But let’s look at where we are today and explore the FDA’s role in fighting the coronavirus.

We’ll start with this tweet about the bureaucracy’s unhelpful role last year as the pandemic was getting worse.

But I mostly want to focus on what the FDA is doing today to make our lives less safe.

Professor Garret Jones of George Mason University has a column in the Washington Examiner excoriating the bureaucracy’s deadly delays in approving another vaccine.

Good enough for Britain. Good enough for the European Union. Not good enough for the United States. That’s what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thinks about the evidence for the Oxford-developed, AstraZeneca-made COVID-19 vaccine: the cheap, refrigerator-friendly, easy-to-transport injection that, so far at least, is 100% successful at keeping people with COVID-19 out of the hospital. The Oxford vaccine has been given to more than a million British citizens, and the EU is now scrambling to find as many doses as it can… So why hasn’t the Oxford vaccine been approved for use in the U.S.? Because the FDA made clear that AstraZeneca needed to finish its lengthy trials in the U.S., above and beyond the trials AstraZeneca had already run in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa. …My colleague at George Mason University, Alex Tabarrok, refers to the “invisible graveyard” — those dead because lifesaving drugs and vaccines were delayed or never invented. Every day we delayed vaccine approval in 2020 was a day that COVID-19 could spread unabated, killing people in the U.S. in the hundreds of thousands. And that deadly delay continues in 2021. …The FDA should approve the Oxford vaccine immediately. Since it doesn’t require fancy freezers, it will easily reach small towns and local clinics in a way that current COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. can’t.

Since I have friends who have died from the virus, it’s infuriating that the FDA is hindering the approval and deployment of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Heck, I would love the chance to get it myself, yet a bunch of cossetted bureaucrats are telling me that my life should be at risk instead.

If you’re wondering why the FDA is mindlessly causing needless danger and death, this tweet from Professor Jones may tell us everything we need to know (he also mentioned Pelosi’s unhelpful role in the column cited above).

Why is she putting people’s lives at risk?

Is it because she reflexively supports red tape? Is it because she’s getting campaign contributions from Pfizer and is trying to keep a competing vaccine off the market? Is it because Astra-Zeneca’s vaccine was developed in the U.K. and she opposed Brexit?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m 99.99 percent sure she’s already been vaccinated and isn’t at risk like the rest of us.

What about the FDA’s motivations?

Dr. Henry Miller’s recent column in the Wall Street Journal has some insight on why the bureaucracy is willing to put our lives in danger.

…countless patients could benefit, if Food and Drug Administration regulators were less risk-averse. I know that from firsthand experience. …As the head of the FDA’s evaluation team, I had a front-row seat. …during the early 1970s, as the supply of animal pancreases declined and the prevalence of diabetes increased, fears of drug shortages spread. Around the same time, a new and powerful tool—recombinant DNA technology, or gene splicing—became available. …Eli Lilly & Co. immediately saw the technology’s promise for producing human insulin…Insulins had long been Lilly’s flagship products, and the company’s expertise was evident in the purification, laboratory testing and clinical trials of Humulin, its new human insulin. Lilly’s scientists painstakingly verified that their product was pure and identical to pancreatic human insulin. …In May 1982 the company submitted to the FDA a voluminous dossier providing evidence of the product’s safety and efficacy. …My team and I were ready to recommend approval after four months’ review. But when I took the packet to my supervisor, he said, “Four months? No way! If anything goes wrong with this product down the road, people will say we rushed it, and we’ll be toast.” That’s the bureaucratic mind-set. …A large part of regulators’ self-interest lies in staying out of trouble. One way to do that, my supervisor understood, is not to approve in record time products that might experience unanticipated problems.

Sadly, this FDA mindset hasn’t changed.

As a result, Americans are needlessly dying.

P.S. Professor Alex Tabarrok has another example of senseless regulation from the FDA.

P.P.S. Here’s my column on the CDC’s unhelpful role in dealing with the pandemic.

P.P.P.S. And here’s what I wrote about the international bureaucrats at the World Health Organization.

P.P.P.P.S. When dealing with other advanced nations, we should adopt the principle of “mutual recognition” so our consumers have the option of benefiting from products approved elsewhere, such as the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.

P.P.P.P.P.S. In an all-too-typical example of Mitchell’s Law, politicians and bureaucrats have created a process than makes drugs very expensive. They then respond by agitating for price controls rather than fixing the underlying problem.

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Quotations: Economists’ Judgments about the FDA

Permitting 1: Significant Liberalization Supported, Definite Judgment

Gary Becker argues for eliminating the efficacy requirements, to improve health and to encourage lower-priced pharmaceuticals:

“[T]he prices faced by Americans can be lowered without price controls while drug development is encouraged, rather than stifled. A major step would be to eliminate FDA regulations introduced in 1962 that raise the cost of bringing drugs to market and artificially slow the process . . . Eliminating all requirements except a reasonable safety standard would vastly reduce drug prices in the U.S., as companies would be encouraged to develop additional compounds to compete for customers.” (Becker 2002)

“[To] return to a safety standard alone would lower costs and raise the number of therapeutic compounds available. In particular, this would include more drugs from small biotech firms that do not have the deep pockets to invest in extended efficacy trials. And the resulting increase in competition would mean lower prices—without the bureaucratic burden of price controls. In turn, cheaper and more diverse drugs would induce insurance companies and public providers to cover many more new drugs, even when their efficacy was uncertain . . .” (Becker 2004, 94)

“To be sure, some sick individuals would try ineffective treatments that would otherwise have been prevented from reaching market under present FDA regulations. But the quantity of reliable health information now available with only a little initiative is many times greater than when the efficacy standard was introduced four decades ago . . .” (Becker 2004, 94)

“As part of any relaxation of the efficacy standard, the FDA could further facilitate public access to relevant information. For example, it could allow drug labels to list separately claims that are supported by clinical evidence and those that are not. And it could be proactive in reporting what is known about the value of drugs in treating diseases, making data available through the Internet and other consumer-friendly media.” (Becker 2004, 94)

Noel D. Campbell: “There is an alternative to reform: abandon the current regulatory process and embrace the free market that has worked so well for so long in other fields. Free-market third-party certification promises safe and effective devices—quickly and efficiently—and gives consumers the freedom to choose the amount of risk that best suits them. The market provides consumers with the full remedies and protections of our legal system, and it frees businesses from the crippling costs of undue regulation.” (Campbell 2000, 342)

Milton Friedman: “By now, considerable evidence has accumulated that indicates that FDA regulation is counterproductive, that it has done more harm by retarding progress in the production and distribution of valuable drugs than it has done good by preventing the distribution of harmful or ineffective drugs.” (Friedman and Friedman 1990, 205–6)

“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.” (Friedman and Friedman 1990, 209)

“The FDA did far less harm than it does now before the Kefauver amendments altered the pressures and incentives of the civil servants.” (Friedman and Friedman 1990, 210)

“‘The FDA has already done enormous harm to the health of the American public by greatly increasing the costs of pharmaceutical research, thereby reducing the supply of new and effective drugs, and by delaying the approval of such drugs as survive the tortuous FDA process.’ When asked, if you could do anything to improve health in America, what would you do? Friedman replied: ‘No more licensing of doctors. No more regulation of drugs. Not of any kind. Period.’” (Pearson and Shaw 1993, 39, quoting their correspondence with Milton Friedman)

Dale H. Gieringer: “[T]he benefits of FDA regulation relative to that in foreign countries could reasonably be put at some 5,000 casualties [not lives] per decade or 10,000 per decade for worst-case scenarios. In comparison, it has been argued above that the cost of FDA delay can be estimated at anywhere from 21,000 to 120,000 lives per decade. . . . Given the uncertainties of the data, these results must be interpreted with caution, although it seems clear that the costs of regulation are substantial when compared to benefits. However, one conclusion that can be drawn with certainty is that the FDA fails its own criterion for public health: the FDA’s new drug approval system is in no way proven ‘safe and effective.’ ” (Gieringer 1985, 196)

David Henderson: “The tragedy is that these regulations are not necessary. The FDA may have some expertise when it comes to drug safety and efficacy, but on the only issue that matters—your trade-offs between various risks—you are the expert, and the FDA’s scientists are rank amateurs.” (Henderson 2002, 277)

Robert Higgs: “It [the FDA] could issue to products that meet its standards a seal of approval. Consumers would then know that a certified product had passed whatever tests the FDA considered appropriate to demonstrate its safety and efficacy. Consumers would be free, however, to disregard this information if they did not value it. They would be free to purchase products lacking FDA certification, and sellers would be free to sell uncertified products without government obstruction or penalty. Note that no one would be forced to use products lacking FDA certification. Sellers also seek product certification from private testing organizations, whose seals of approval might become more sought after than those of the FDA.” (Higgs 1995c, 99–100)

“The lack of demonstrable benefits from FDA device regulation is hardly surprising. Even if the FDA did not exist, normal market incentives combined with the terrors of product liability litigation are more than sufficient to encourage manufacturers to produce reasonably safe and effective products . . . The emergency care providers, hospital administrators, and medical practitioners who purchase the bulk of the devices have experience and knowledge and access to ample expert information about products from reliable sources such as ECRI, TUV Product Service, and a variety of trade and professional publications. They fervently desire to help, not hurt, the patients they serve, and their reputations depend on their success in doing so. In short, neither device purchasers nor patients need the FDA’s ‘help.’ The agency’s intrusion has clearly created far more cost than benefit . . .” (Higgs 1995b, 81)

Walter E. Williams: “Here’s the modus operandi: If FDA officials mistakenly approve a device that has unanticipated harmful effects, their necks are on the chopping block because the victims are highly visible. Career-minded FDA officials don’t like that kind of exposure. They prefer the hidden mistake, erring on the side of overcaution by needlessly delaying approval. When FDA officials err on the side of overcaution, their victims are invisible. After all, you didn’t know there was a device available that could have saved a loved one’s life, as would have been the case had the angioplasty procedure occurred in Belgium or some other European country. . . . The FDA is long overdue for overhauling. In the process, Congress should allow for private medical-device certification.” (Williams 1996)

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I found this article below from “Reason Magazine” very thought provoking

Deliberately Infect Healthy Young People To Test Coronavirus Vaccines, Propose Bioethicists

An idea that could really speed up vaccine development

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U.S. military physician Walter Reed and his medical colleagues famously had mosquitoes bite volunteers in order to establish that the disease was in fact borne by the flying pests. This finding was the basis of successful mosquito control efforts to reduce the incidence of the disease in tropical areas. The volunteers in these experiments were paid $200 to participate and $500 if they contracted yellow fever. These substantial payments, made in gold, would amount to approximately $8,000 and $20,000 respectively in today’s dollars.

Now Rutgers University bioethicist Nir Eyal and his colleagues are proposing something like Reed’s “human challenge” study as a way to speed up the development of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus that is responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The idea is that vaccine developers can cut more directly to what is essentially a phase three clinical trial. In phase three, vaccines already tested for safety are generally given to a large group of folks who are at risk of the targeted infection and monitored for a considerable period of time to see how many of the vaccinated people actually come down with the disease versus a group of unvaccinated people.

As Eyal explains in Nature, the proposed idea would “gather a group of people at low risk from any exposure—young and relatively healthy individuals—and ensure that they are not already infected. You give them either the vaccine candidate or a placebo and wait for enough time for an immune response. And then you expose them to the virus.” So instead of waiting around for the virus to find (vaccinated and unvaccinated) folks in the wild as researchers do in regular phase three trials, you speed things up by bringing the virus to them.

Setting aside the misery of illness, the risk of death rate for folks under age 50 is about 1 in 200. Eyal argues that such a trial would be ethical on the grounds that we allow people to engage in risky activities all of the time such as volunteering for emergency medical services that increase their risks of exposure. In addition, volunteers in the trial who are being carefully monitored for the disease would likely be safer than folks relying on the general health care system to treat them.

The authors argue that such human challenge studies, by accelerating vaccine evaluation, could reduce the global burden of coronavirus-related mortality and morbidity. If both test subjects and researchers volunteer to take this on, let’s do it.

Milton Friedman on Donahue – 1980 (First Appearance)

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NY GOPer Claudia Tenney declared victor in last lingeriNg House race

NY GOPer Claudia Tenney declared victor in last lingering House race

Republican Claudia Tenney will be declared the winner of her nail-biting rematch against upstate Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi following a marathon three-month recount.

It was the only 2020 congressional race in the country that hadn’t been decided.

The recount and reported irregularities has been a black eye on New York’s handling of elections amid the pandemic.

“Every single valid vote that was cast in New York’s 22nd Congressional District has been accounted for, and counted,” wrote state Supreme Court Justice Scott Del Conte, oversee the disputed recount, in a ruling released Friday.

Tenney led Brindisi by 109 votes — 156,099 votes to Brindisi’s 155,989.

Brindisi defeated Tenney in 2018 during the blue wave mid-term congressional elections. But Tenney has reclaimed her seat that covers eight counties — including the Binghamton and Utica regions.

Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the state Board of Elections, confirmed that Tenney will be declared the winner following the court ruling and could be seated as early as Monday after reading the judge’s decision.

“I’m honored to have won this race. It was a hard-fought campaign and I thank Anthony Brindisi for his service. Now that every legal vote has been counted, it’s time for the results to be certified,” Tenney said in a statement.

“The voters need a voice in Congress, and I look forward to getting to work on behalf of New York’s 22nd Congressional District.”

Brindisi is mulling an appeal of the decision but the judge rejected his request to hold off on certifying the election results until his court appeal could be heard.

DelConte, in his nine-page decision, slammed county election officials for
“systemic violations of state and federal election law” that affected both candidates.

He rapped Oneida County’s failure to process more than 2,400 applications from voters who registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

But the judge determined that it’s up to the state elections board and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature — not the courts — to fix errors.

Del Conte there was no deliberate fraud.

State GOP chairman Nick Langworthy said, “Congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Claudia Tenney and to all of the residents of New York’s 22nd congressional district who will finally have their voices represented in Washington during this critical time for our nation and New York.

“This was a long and frustrating process, but at the end of the day, both candidates were heard in court and every legal vote was counted. It’s time for Anthony Brindisi to concede and for Nancy Pelosi to recall her henchmen back to Washington. The voters and the courts have spoken, and the will of the people must not be delayed or denied any further.”

Then-Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., answers reporters’ questions on Sept. 6, 2018. She was narrowly defeated for reelection later that year, but is leading in her 2020 rematch, which is still undecided. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty)

The only remaining congressional race still not certified will have to wait until at least Jan. 27—and even after that, legal appeals will likely ensue.

Republican Claudia Tenney currently leads Democrat Anthony Brindisi by 29 votes in the race in New York’s 22nd Congressional District.

But late Wednesday, a state judge ordered the Oneida County Board of Elections to review more than 1,000 provisional ballots. Of those, about 300 are likely to be counted, Tenney said.

Some 311,695 votes were cast and counted so far. Tenney said Thursday that her campaign expected to “maintain our lead” even with the new count.

The Left has declared war on our culture, but we should never back down, nor compromise our principles. Learn more now >>

“It certainly underscores that there is a problem with elections and the fact that we are not able to come up with a certified winner. We are closing in on February of the following year—and in about a month, we start circulating petitions for [the 2022] primary season in New York,” Tenney told The Daily Signal.

The November contest was a rematch from 2018, when Brindisi won a close race over then-freshman incumbent Tenney in a strong year for Democrats. Brindisi’s first term expired, so the seat is vacant until the election is certified.

As for when the race finally wraps up, said Tenney: “Who knows?”

“There is an appeals process. I’m certain that will probably happen. It’s unfortunate that people in New York’s 22nd District, they do not have a voice in Washington or a representative right now,” she said.

Brindisi’s campaign did not respond to email and phone inquiries for this report.

Earlier this month, Brindisi announced he would be running again for the seat in 2022, regardless of this year’s outcome.

“I am hopeful that I will be certified the winner in this race for New York’s 22nd District,” Brindisi said in a statement after filing with the Federal Election Commission. “And I will get right back to fighting for bipartisan solutions, making Congress work for working families, and standing up to anyone on behalf of this district.

“Serving this community is the honor of a lifetime. I look forward to being reelected and stand ready to continue to serve this community for years to come,” he added.

Most of the problems arose from major legal changes in mail-in voting as well as from the federal “motor voter” law, Tenney said. Also, the state of New York has a more expansive version of that law.

“My case showed that we are continuing to allow votes to be counted for people who technically weren’t registered under New York law or didn’t get their ballots there, weren’t in on time,” Tenney said. “So, here we are looking at ballots from people whose registrations weren’t processed back in November, and we are going to go back and count those votes.”

She added:

Federal law says you have the right to cast a vote. But the question is, you don’t necessarily have the right to have that vote count. If you are not an eligible voter, that vote shouldn’t count. There is no process, it seems, in New York where, if a vote is cast and canvassed, if it’s not legal, how do you take it back?

In August, partly in response to a troubled process in the June primaries, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed executive orders to expand absentee balloting. Cuomo also signed laws he called “sweeping” that would make it easier to vote.

Cuomo and state lawmakers did little to address some of the Empire State’s worst problems, said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at The Heritage Foundation.

“This is a symptom of the fact that New York has one of the worst-run election systems in the country,” von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commission commissioner and member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, told The Daily Signal. “They lack the basic security protocols, such as voter ID, and no interest in comparing voter registration lists to other states to find out who has moved out. This election just epitomizes all of those problems.”

Local election officials complained they lacked the resources to comply with the new rules. Tenney said she didn’t excuse mistakes by Oneida election officials, but framed their new burdens in the context of a business.

“If you take our optimum week and output, and say you’ve got to do five or 10 times that in the midst of a pandemic with the same people doing the same number of hours with the same equipment and the same facility, we are not going to make the goal,” Tenney said. “And even if we get close to the goal, there are going to be a lot of mistakes made. This is a lot of what happened.”

Late Wednesday, more than two and a half months after the Nov. 3 election, New York state Judge Scott DelConte ordered the Oneida County Board of Elections to review more than 1,000 ballots in the race. That was because the Oneida County Board of Elections failed to process 2,418voter registration forms.

However, many did not meet the legal deadline. So, the judge ordered the county election staff to determine how many of the 1,000 provisional ballots should be counted.

The judge didn’t give either campaign what it was looking for.

Tenney’s campaign legal team argued the court could not retroactively register the voters. Conversely, Brindisi’s lawyers argued the court should count only 69 additional votes they determined belonged to Democrats, but not more than that, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

“Both candidates press this Court to disregard either some, or all, of the potentially valid ballots because it is strategically advantageous for them in this election,” the judge wrote, adding, “Both of these arguments ignore the fact that this problem only exists because … the Oneida County Board of Elections failed to comply with [election law] and review its records.”

He gave the county a Jan. 27 deadline to report the results of the review.

Tenney thinks that could be favorable to her campaign.

“We think there is somewhere between 290 [and] 300 of those. Those votes, the judge is going to have recounted next week,” she said, noting the judge rejected the Democrats’ push for a selective count. “There are 140 or so Republicans in that group, along with conservatives. We feel like, in the worst-case scenario, we’re not going to lose any votes. We’ll maintain our lead.”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.

How Republicans pulled off a big upset and nearly took back the House

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(CNN)There seemed to be one safe bet when it came to the 2020 election results: Democrats would easily hold on to their majority in the House of Representatives. Not only that, but the conventional wisdom held that Democrats would pick up more than the 235 seats they won in the 2018 midterm elections.

While Democrats will have a majority next Congress, Republicans vastly outperformed expectations and nearly pulled off an election shocker.

As of this writing, CNN has projected that Democrats have won in 219 seats. Republicans have been projected the winners in 203 seats. There are 13 races outstanding, per CNN projections.

Of those 13, the Democratic candidates lead in a mere two of them. (One of these 13 is going to a runoff, where the Republicans are heavily favored to win.)

In other words, if every one of those 13 seats went to the party leading in them right now, Democrats would have 221 seats to the Republicans’ 214 seats in the next Congress.

Talk about a fairly close call for Democrats.

Now, Democrats may end up winning a few of the seats where they are currently trailing, but chances are they will end up at or south of 225 seats.

Compare that to what most quantitative forecasters who look at a slew of indicators predicted. Jack Kersting came the closest at 238 seats. FiveThirtyEight clocked in at 239 seats. The Economist modelpredicted that Democrats would win a median of 244 seats in their simulations.

While much attention was paid to the polling misses on the presidential level, they were more accurate by comparison. In the presidential race, the final polling averages got every state right, except for Florida and North Carolina.

Indeed, the forecasts for the presidential race were considerably better than for the House races. The race raters at the Crystal Ball, for example, got every state but North Carolina correct on the presidential level.

Any sort of shy Trump vote was far smaller than a potential shy House Republican vote.

Of course, the value of quantitative forecasts is that they don’t just provide one number. They provide the probability of different outcomes occurring.

In that regard, the Republican performance is even more astounding.

The Economist said there was less than a 1-in-100 chance Democrats would have 221 seats or fewer in the next Congress. The chance they would get 225 seats or fewer was 1-in-100.

FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gave Republicans a realistic, but still fairly low shot of what seems to have happened. The chance Democrats would earn 221 seats or fewer was approximately 1-in-17, while the chance they’d have 225 seats or fewer was approximately 1-in-10.

I should note that 1-in-10 probabilities happen all the time. There’s a reason something is a 1-in-10 chance and not 0%. That said, Republicans simply did better than what folks thought.

A large part of what happened was that the national political environment was more friendly to Republicans than what polls suggested. The final average of generic congressional ballot polls had Democrats ahead by 7 points nationally. Democrats are only ahead by 2 points in the national House vote right now. That may end up closer to 3 points once the votes are all tallied.

A 4- or 5-point miss is considerable.

If Democrats had done 5 points better in every race than they currently are doing, they’d be ahead in 239 seats. That, of course, is right in line with the forecasts.

A lot of these quantitative forecasts also rely upon House ratings from groups like the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and The Crystal Ball.

These too seemed to undersell Republican chances. Take the Cook Political Report ratings, which have historically been very good.

As of this writing, Republicans are leading in 27 of the 27 seats the Cook Political Report deemed toss-up before the election. They are ahead in all 26 of the seats that were deemed either leaning or likely Republican. Republicans are also leading in 7 of the 36 seats that were either leaning or likely to be taken by the Democrats.

That is, Republicans not only pretty much swept the tossups, but they marched into Democratic territory as well.

The Crystal Ball, which bravely has no tossups in its final rating, had Democrats net gaining 10 House seats. It will actually be the Republicans who will likely net gain 10 seats or more.

The end result of which is that Republicans are much closer to a House majority than we believed they would be after 2020 and have put themselves in a strong position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Where things stand in the House

The Democrats majority is shrinking and three dozen races have yet to be called

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s majority has shrunk in House, a shock to Democrats and pollsters who were projecting the California Democrat would expand her caucus after Tuesday’s election.

Democrats were optimistic they could flip roughly 10 seats but their expansion efforts came up short, especially in Texas, and they ended up losing seats in Flordia, Oklahoma, Minnesota and elsewhere.

DEM CAUCUS ERUPTS AS MEMBERS SAY PARTY’S LEFTWARD DRIFT HURT MODERATES IN ELECTION

As of 3 p.m. on Friday, Democrats had won 212 seats compared to Republicans’ 194. Another 29 races have yet to be called. Democrats had a net loss of four seats.

Outstanding races are in New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere. When all those votes are counted, Republicans are optimistic their numbers could swell to 208 and beyond, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

What’s known is that Republicans have flipped at least seven seats from blue to red and an eighth seat in Michigan that was most recently occupied by a Libertarian. Here’s a snapshot of the GOP victories:

GOP gains in the House

–In Florida, Republican candidate Carlos Gimenez defeated freshman Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the 26th district. Republican Maria Elvira Salazar defeated freshman Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala in the 27th district.

–In Oklahoma, Republican Stephanie Bice unseated freshman Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn. Horn flipped the seat from red to blue last cycle.

— In South Carolina, freshman congressman Democrat Joe Cunningham was projected to lose his reelection to state GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, flipping South Carolina’s 1st District back to red.

— In Minnesota, Republican Michelle Fischbach ousted longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, toppling the powerful chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the most pro-Trump district held by a Democrat.

— In New Mexico, Republican Yvette Herrell defeated freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a freshman Democrat who flipped the 2nd Congressional seat from red to blue in 2018.

— In Iowa’s First Congressional District, Republican state representative and former TV news anchor Ashley Hinson defeated Democratic incumbent Abby Finkenauer.

– In West Michigan, Republican Peter Meijer, an Iraq war veteran whose grandfather started Meijer superstores, defeated Democrat Hillary Scholten, a former Department of Justice and nonprofit lawyer. The Third Congressional District was open after Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-Libertarian, did not seek reelection.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW HOUSE RESULTS

Republicans say more victories are on the horizon

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Party officials are most optimistic about reclaiming two seats in New York that Democrats flipped in 2018. Votes are still being counted but Republican Nicole Malliotakis has a notable lead over freshman Rep. Max Rose in the Staten Island-Brooklyn district. And former GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney was also ahead in the 22nd District seat she lost two years ago to Rep. Anthony Brindisi.

Democrats have gained two open seats in North Carolina thanks to redrawn congressional maps that favored them and will welcome Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning to their caucus in January.

And Democrats flipped Georgia’s 7th Congressional District held by retiring Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga. Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux beat GOP candidate Rich McCormick in the suburban Atlanta district, the Associated Press called on Friday.

That means Democrats so far have a net loss of four seats in the House.

WHERE THINGS STAND: BATTLE FOR THE SENATE

Democrats think they can hold onto many close races that have not been called and have two other possible pick-up opportunities by defeating Rep. Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey and Rep. Mike Garcia in California.

On a call Thursday afternoon with Democratic House members, Rep. Cheri Bustos, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), expressed frustration with the polling and election forecasts that all pointed to House Democrats expanding their majority.

“I’m furious,” Bustos told her colleagues, according to a source familiar with the call. “Something went wrong here across the entire political world. Our polls, Senate polls, Gov polls, presidential polls, Republican polls, public polls, turnout modeling, and prognosticators all pointed to one political environment – that environment never materialized.”

I have written about the tremendous increase in the food stamp program the last 9 years before and that means that both President Obama and Bush were guilty of not trying to slow down it’s growth. Furthermore, Republicans have been some of the biggest supporters of the food stamp program. Milton Friedman had a good solution to help end the welfare state and wish more people would pay attention to it.   Growing government also encourages waste and hurt growth but more importantly it causes people to become dependent on the government as this article and cartoon below show.

My great fear is that the “social capital” of self reliance in America will slowly disappear and that the United States will turn into a European-style welfare state.

That’s the message in the famous “riding in the wagon” cartoons that went viral and became the most-viewed post on this blog.

Well, this Glenn McCoy cartoon has a similar theme.

Obama Voter Cartoon

The only thing I would change is that the rat would become a “pro-government voter” or “left-wing voter” instead of an “Obama voter.” Just like I wasn’t satisfied with an otherwise very good Chuck Asay cartoon showing the struggle between producers and moochers.

That’s for two reasons. First, I’m not partisan. My goal is to spread a message of liberty, not encourage people to vote for or against any candidate.

Second, I’ve been very critical of Obama, but I was also very critical of Bush. Indeed, Bush was a bigger spender than Obama! And Clinton was quite good, so party labels often don’t matter.

But I’m getting wonky. Enjoy the cartoon and feel free to share it widely.

Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth

Uploaded on Aug 17, 2009

This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video analyzes how excessive government spending undermines economic performance. While acknowledging that a very modest level of government spending on things such as “public goods” can facilitate growth, the video outlines eight different ways that that big government hinders prosperity. This video focuses on theory and will be augmented by a second video looking at the empirical evidence favoring smaller government.

Related posts:

If increase in food stamps was just because of recession then why spending go from $19.8 billion in 2000 to $37.9 billion in 2007?

If the increase in food stamps was just because of the recession then why did the spending go from $19.8 billion in 2000 to $37.9 billion in 2007? The Facts about Food Stamps Everyone Should Hear Rachel Sheffield and T. Elliot Gaiser May 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm (7) Newscom A recent US News & […]

Tell the 48 million food stamps users to eat more broccoli!!!!

Welfare Can And Must Be Reformed             Uploaded on Jun 29, 2010 If America does not get welfare reform under control, it will bankrupt America. But the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector has a five-step plan to reform welfare while protecting our most vulnerable. __________________________ We got to slow down the growth of Food Stamps. One […]

Republicans for more food stamps?

Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth __________________ We got to cut spending and we must first start with food stamp program and we need some Senators that are willing to make the tough cuts. Food Stamp Republicans Posted by Chris Edwards Newt Gingrich had fun calling President Obama the “food stamp president,” but […]

Obama promotes food stamps but Milton Friedman had a better suggestion

Milton Friedman’s negative income tax explained by Friedman in 1968: We need to cut back on the Food Stamp program and not try to increase it. What really upsets me is that when the government gets involved in welfare there is a welfare trap created for those who become dependent on the program. Once they […]

400% increase in food stamps since 2000

Welfare Can And Must Be Reformed Uploaded by HeritageFoundation on Jun 29, 2010 If America does not get welfare reform under control, it will bankrupt America. But the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector has a five-step plan to reform welfare while protecting our most vulnerable. __________________________ If welfare increases as much as it has in the […]

Food stamp spending has doubled under the Obama Administration

The sad fact is that Food stamp spending has doubled under the Obama Administration. A Bumper Crop of Food Stamps Amy Payne May 21, 2013 at 7:01 am Tweet this Where do food stamps come from? They come from taxpayers—certainly not from family farms. Yet the “farm” bill, a recurring subsidy-fest in Congress, is actually […]

Which states are the leaders in food stamp consumption?

I am glad that my state of Arkansas is not the leader in food stamps!!! Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which State Has the Highest Food Stamp Usage of All? March 19, 2013 by Dan Mitchell The food stamp program seems to be a breeding ground of waste, fraud, and abuse. Some of the horror stories […]

Why not cancel the foodstamp program and let the churches step in?

Government Must Cut Spending Uploaded by HeritageFoundation on Dec 2, 2010 The government can cut roughly $343 billion from the federal budget and they can do so immediately. __________ We are becoming a country filled with people that dependent on the federal government when we should be growing our economy by lowering taxes and putting […]

Food Stamp Program is constantly ripped off and should be discontinued

Uploaded by oversightandreform on Mar 6, 2012 Learn More at http://oversight.house.gov The Oversight Committee is examining reports of food stamp merchants previously disqualified who continue to defraud the program. According to a Scripps Howard News Service report, food stamp fraud costs taxpayers hundreds of millions every year. Watch the Oversight hearing live tomorrow at 930 […]

 

A New Look at Thomas Sowell, ‘Great Black Intellectual’ Ignored by Left

The new documentary “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World” tells the story of Sowell’s life and how his penetrating intellect has influenced society. (Photo: Rod Searcy)

Thomas Sowell is considered by many to be one of the most influential and brilliant minds of the past half-century. He is most famous for his work as an economist, but is also a bestselling author, syndicated columnist, historian, and academic.

Yet he hasn’t received much recognition. “When people talk about the great black intellectuals today, you hear names like Henry Louis Gates at Harvard or Cornel West … or today you hear Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi,” says Jason Riley, a journalist, scholar, and member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.

“But in my view, Tom has written circles around those guys and is much broader in subjects that he’s covered as well as much deeper and his analysis is much more rigorous than those guys’,” Riley says.

A new documentary, “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World,” tells the story of Sowell’s life and how his logic and intellect have impacted society.

The Left has declared war on our culture, but we should never back down, nor compromise our principles. Learn more now >>

Riley, who narrates the film, joins the show to discuss the documentary and the personal impact Sowell has had on his own life.

https://youtu.be/WFxtJNK0HH8

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You can watch the full-length documentary hereor by visiting SowellFilm.com.

Plus, John Cooper, associate director of institute communications at The Heritage Foundation and a big football fan, joins us to talk about what we can expect to see during Super Bowl LV this weekend.

We also cover these stories:

  • Democrats urge President Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for student loan borrowers.
  • Biden addresses the National Prayer Breakfast.
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence is joining The Heritage Foundation as a distinguished fellow.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.

The Daily Signal Podcast” is available on Ricochet, Apple PodcastsPippaGoogle Play, and Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You also can write to us at letters@dailysignal.com.

Virginia Allen: Many consider Thomas Sowell to be one of the greatest minds of our day. Sowell is most well-known for his groundbreaking work as an economist, but is also a bestselling author, a photographer, syndicated columnist, historian, and academic. He is a man in pursuit of truth, and when he finds it, he stands by it, even when that truth may not be popular.

Free To Choose Media has just produced a one-hour documentary on the life and work of Thomas Sowell. The film is called “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World.” …

“Thomas Sowell, one of the greatest minds of the past half-century,” says Jason Riley. And Mr. Riley, who narrated the film, is here with us today to discuss the documentary. Mr. Riley, welcome to the show.

Jason Riley: Thank you for having me.

Allen: You narrated this one-hour documentary on Thomas Sowell. I watched it last week and was just completely captivated by the film. I’ve known a little bit about Thomas Sowell, but I learned so much watching this documentary.

What you’ve really done here in this film is essentially take viewers through the life of Thomas Sowell and really show the impact that he has had on people and across so many areas of our world.

So I want to begin by asking you just to share a little bit of your own personal story of how Thomas Sowell—his writings, his rhetoric, his logic, and his honesty—has really impacted you personally.

Riley: Well, I discovered Tom Sowell in college in the early 1990s. I was working on the school paper and having a conversation with my fellow students about affirmative action one day and someone piped in and said, “Jason, you sound like Tom Sowell.” And I said, “Tom, who?”

And the person wrote down the name of a book on a piece of paper and I went to the school library that evening and checked it out and read it in one sitting that evening and went back to school the next morning and checked out everything else they had by Tom Sowell and was pretty much hooked on him by then.

While I was working at The Wall Street Journal on the editorial board in the mid-’90s is when I first got to meet Tom Sowell.

He was at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University then, still is, and he would travel through New York on book tours and meet with various editorial boards. So that’s when I first got to meet him.

I later went out to Stanford to write a profile of him for the newspaper, that would have been in the mid-2000s. And that’s when we sort of struck up a friendship that has sort of endured since then.

Allen: So when you learned, “OK, there’s this film project,” I mean, yourself being a journalist, a scholar, a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, what made you say, “This is a film project that is something that I have to be a part of”?

Riley: Well, they came to me, the Free To Choose folks came to me. I had been working on a biography of Sowell—that’ll be out in May—and when they found out that I was working on this biography, they approached me and said, “We want to do a film, a documentary about Tom’s life. Would you care to narrate it?” And I did not hesitate.

Allen: Share a little bit about your book that’s coming out. And what did give you kind of that passion and drive to say, “You know what? I appreciate his work so much that I am going to take on this challenge and not only be a part of this film, but also write this book”?

Riley: Sure. Well, the book is titled “Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell.” It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now. It will be out on May 25.

And it is the first ever biography of Tom. He has no other biographer. He’s written a memoir himself and he’s written about his personal life in his many columns over the years, but this was the first a biography of Tom.

It’s primarily an intellectual biography. I don’t focus much on his personal life, although there is a bit of that in there, but I do focus on his ideas, the scholarship, how he’s distinguished himself as an intellectual over the past half-century and sort of what his legacy will be, how he’ll be remembered.

I was sort of trying to get him to cooperate with the biography. He’s a very private person for a while, for more than a decade, actually, and I think he’s 90 years old now, so maybe I just wore him down. But he did cooperate, he sat for a bunch of long interviews for the book.

I also interviewed a bunch of colleagues of his, acquaintances, and people who are familiar with his work over the years. So it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun to write.

He’s meant a lot to me in terms of my own intellectual development over the decades. And so I wanted to introduce him and his work to a new generation. And I don’t think that Tom has gotten the exposure that he sort of deserves.

When people talk about the great black intellectuals today, you hear names like Henry Louis Gates at Harvard or Cornel West and people like that, or today you hear Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi. But in my view, Tom has written circles around those guys and is much broader in subjects that he’s covered as well as much deeper and his analysis is much more rigorous than those guys.

I don’t think that Thomas would have gotten the attention and the exposure he deserves. So I’m hoping the film will wet people’s appetite and get them to pick up some books by Tom, as well as the biography I hope does the same thing, gets more people interested in Tom and his scholarship.

Allen: You mentioned Thomas Sowell’s legacy, and I think that the film does a great job of really explaining what that legacy is, and I’m sure your book does the same, but could you just give us a little bit of a teaser of, in your opinion, what is the legacy that Thomas Sowell has already left and will leave?

Riley: I think in a number of areas he’s really made his mark.

Very broadly speaking though, he’s made his mark as a sort of honest intellectual, someone who is much more interested in being right than in being popular, and following the facts where they lead and reporting his findings, even if they happen to be politically incorrect.

And he feels that is the real duty of a scholar, to follow the facts and not fall for trendy thinking or fashionable thinking. … This isn’t a popularity contest. That’s not what true scholarship calls for. So I think that is one of his legacies.

Another is … I think he modeled himself after Milton Friedman, one of his mentors at the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in the early 1960s.

Friedman was someone who felt that intellectuals shouldn’t spend all their time simply talking to one another, that they should seek a wider audience and speak to non-experts, explain themselves and their work to the general public.

And after Friedman left teaching in the 1970s, that’s what he did. In fact, one of the things he did was a television program that was produced by the same company that produced this one, the Free To Choose Network. And that was Friedman’s way of speaking to the general public about economics.

So when Sowell left teaching in the 1970s, I think he set about a type of public intellectualism that was very similar to Friedman’s. He wrote his popular column for general interest readers. Most of Tom’s books are written for non-academics and he takes great pride in explaining economics and these ideas to non-experts.

He’s most known for his writings on race, but his bestselling book is “Basic Economics,” which is essentially an economics textbook without any graphs or equations in it. And I think Tom, although he left the campus teaching, he still sort of continued to teach through these books and columns over the decades.

Allen: One of the things that I was most fascinated to learn about in the film is that Thomas Sowell, he actually used to be a Marxist. But what really cured him, he says of that, was working for the government, when he realized these Marxist ideas, they would never actually work.

Could you just share a little bit about Thomas Sowell’s journey out of Marxism, because I really find that so fascinating?

Riley: Yes. Well, it’s not that uncommon. If you look at a lot of leading conservatives in the 20th century, many of them started on the left.

Milton Friedman started on the left. George Stigler started on the left. Walter Williams, the late Walter Williams, who passed away last year and was a friend of Tom’s for more than 50 years, started out on the left. Clarence Thomas started out on the left. So it’s not that uncommon.

But yes, Tom was a Marxist through his 20s. And then it was working in the government and seeing how some of these ideas he had about how the capitalist system works, seeing that in practice and seeing incentives in place and the intentions of some of these policies versus the actual results, that all had an effect on Tom changing his mind about free markets and their power in shaping people’s lives for the better.

So that’s what it was, it was real-life experience and just less reliance on theories and what’s supposed to happen and paying more attention to what actually comes to pass.

Allen: You did interview Walter Williams for the documentary, which, as you mentioned, Mr. Williams did pass away this past December. So it really is a treasure to have these recorded conversations of him sharing about the work of Thomas Sowell, his relationship with Thomas Sowell.

But one of the things that Walter Williams said is that the media really, they stopped covering Thomas Sowell a long time ago because they knew that they couldn’t debate him. And this is just a sad commentary, in my mind, on really the state of our media.

Why do you think the media has chosen to so often ignore Sowell’s work?

Riley: Well, I think they’ve taken the side of the black left, broadly speaking, and the black left has ignored Tom for a long time. And the media continues to run to black intellectuals, academics, civil rights organizations, and so forth to speak on behalf of black people.

They tell the media, “Don’t pay attention to Tom. Anyone who thinks like that or says those things is a sellout or an Uncle Tom or someone who should not be taken seriously. They’re simply doing the bidding of white people.”

So they’ve responded with these sort of ad hominem attacks on Tom and the media has largely bought that argument.

And the types of people that give out economics awards and those types of things are controlled by the left, generally. And so that has worked against Tom and his exposure over the decades—one of the things I’m hoping that the book and the film will help correct.

Allen: One of the things that I was also really fascinated [by] in the film was just how far-reaching Thomas Sowell’s work really is. That despite the media not giving him the attention that he so deserves, he has impacted so many individuals in so many different areas of our world.

You all interviewed a rap musician for the film who says that Thomas Sowell has inspired many of his lyrics. What did you learn in those conversations with individuals who have been so impacted by Thomas Sowell’s work?

Riley: Well, a lot of them speak about the clarity of his writing. He breaks things down in a way that’s very understandable and digestible and witty and people admire that.

Tom, in the early part of his career, did write more academic books speaking to his peers in the academy, but he could also write for a wider audience.

And editors at newspapers love this because they had this serious rigorous thinker who could write 800-word pieces on the topics of the day for their general interest readers to understand.

So they were getting the depth, this depth of knowledge, in sort of more easily digestible bites. And they really appreciated that and fans of Sowell all seemed to come back to the clarity of his writing and his thinking, how he puts things. He’s a wonderful storyteller.

Also, one of the things he’s known for is his international perspectives. And so he likes to talk about trends, not only within the United States, but in other countries, and what’s going on over there.

I think … sometimes in America, you have people who live in a bit of a bubble, an American bubble, a U.S. bubble. And Tom says, “A lot of these policies that are being pushed here have been tried in other places at other times, and here’s what’s happened over there. And we should keep that in mind when we think about how those policies might affect life here in this country.”

So those international perspectives, which is something he specialized in in many of his books, is something people also appreciate.

Allen: Making a documentary is no small undertaking. It’s a complicated process. A lot of time, a lot of work. What, for you, was the greatest challenge of working so closely with the team of individuals who were producing this film?

Riley: I just wanted to make sure we were doing justice to Sowell. I really see him as this towering intellectual figure. I’m a journalist by training. I’m not an intellectual, I’m not an academic. I spent a life as a print journalist, basically. And I really wanted to make sure both in the book and in the documentary that we were just doing him justice.

I said before that no one else has written a biography of Tom, but I hope someone else does come along, a real scholar comes along, someone who can really grapple with Tom’s ideas at his level and lay them out for people. I hope someone comes and does that.

I hope my book can be a little placeholder until that comes along and do what I intended it to do, which is, again, wet people’s appetite about Tom.

But that’s my biggest concern. I just want to do him justice because I think he is one of the great social theorists of the 20th century of any color and his writings on political philosophy, his writings on social theory, his writings on education and law and history and culture, they are quite broad. And I think that Tom is someone people will be reading for generations to come.

Allen: I know that you said that Thomas Sowell is quite a private man, but you did have the privilege of speaking with him a little bit throughout the course of making the film. Do you know if he has seen the documentary yet and what his thoughts are on it?

Riley: I don’t know. I haven’t had any contact with Tom since it’s been out so I don’t know if he’s seen it yet. He is at Hoover, the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and I know that Hoover’s aware of the film, so perhaps they’ve reached out to him. But no, I can’t say for certain whether he’s seen it.

Allen: Well, I have no doubt that he’ll feel incredibly honored by it. It really is a beautiful documentary and so informative. Would you just tell our listeners both where they can find and watch the documentary, and then also again, share with us when and where your book will be out?

Riley: Sure. The documentary information can be found at SowellFilm.com. … And it was made for public television so there you can find where it will appear on your local public television station. In addition to that, it’s being streamed on Vimeo and Amazon and YouTube, and you can find links to stream it as well at SowellFilm.com.

In terms of my book, again, it’ll be out in May, May 25 to be exact, and it can be pre-ordered on Amazon right now.

Allen: Great. We will be sure to leave links for both the documentary and to pre-order your book in the show notes today. Mr. Riley, thank you so much for your time.

Riley: Thank you.

Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World – Full Video

Explore Economist Thomas Sowell’s Remarkable Life In New Documentary

Despite writing more than 50 books on economics, race, and history, there’s a good chance Thomas Sowell is the national treasure you’ve never heard of.

The past ten months have proved we live in a senseless world. There are large groups of people on both sides of the aisle who have no regard for reality, or what were once considered the normal and expected rules of polite society. One man, however, has never been swayed by the prevailing winds of the political moment over his illustrious 50-year career, keeping himself grounded in empiricism, fact, and logic: economist Thomas Sowell.

While he has published more than 50 books on subjects such as economics, race, and history, there is still a good chance that Sowell is the national treasure you’ve never heard of. The recently released documentary, “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World,” successfully introduces Sowell both to those who’ve never heard of him and dives deep into the lesser-known aspects of his life for those who are already avid fans.

Narrated by Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley, the documentary takes the audience through Sowell’s life from his birth in North Carolina to his time as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he still works today. For the most underappreciated public intellectual of our time, this film is a well-deserved tribute to a magnificent career.

Sowell and Education

“Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World” appropriately begins with Sowell’s childhood. He was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1930, and both of his parents died by the time he was only a few years old. He was adopted by his great aunt and raised by her, as well as her two adult daughters. When Sowell was eight, they moved to Harlem to gain access to greater opportunities than were available in the Jim Crow South.

While none of the women who raised Sowell ever graduated high school, he says they were “interested in education and they were interested in me.” He did not grow up with any semblance of material wealth — his family did not have a telephone in the house until he was well into his teen years, and they never had a television — but Sowell did grow up with the cultural value of education: something that was able to eventually propel him to great heights.

Education has long been a road to success in America. It is for this reason the two highest-earning religious groups in America — Hindus and Jews — also happen to have the most education out of all religious groups. Today, the tragic reality is that, for many low-income students, the chance to acquire a quality education is significantly diminished by the conditions of the failing public schools they are required to attend.

Having benefited from the option to transfer to a better school when he was young, Sowell now advocates the same policy for the disadvantaged families of today. While Sowell has been writing about education for decades, arguably his deepest dive into the subject came just last year when he wrote “Charter Schools and Their Enemies,” a book that deserves to be remembered as one of his finest works.

The film spends a commendable amount of time emphasizing the role and importance of education, as well as introducing the audience to the various alternatives to the traditional public school monopoly, such as charter schools.

Eva Moskowitz, founder of Success Academy Charter School, correctly points out that the benefits of school choice are concentrated within the most vulnerable communities, despite the fact people with Sowell’s political persuasion are so often maligned as “uncaring” and “unempathetic” towards those who are disadvantaged. By correctly framing the issue in a way that highlights the communities the policy is helping, it allows conservatives and libertarians to begin reclaiming the moral high ground.

Sowell’s Intellectual Influences

Sowell was drafted into the military in 1951. Afterward, he attended Howard University as an undergraduate, then transferred to Harvard University, where he procured a degree in economics. He earned his master’s at the University of Columbia, then went on to the University of Chicago for his Ph.D.

During his college years, Sowell was a Marxist, and he remained so even after taking a class taught by Milton Friedman. Yet all it took was one summer interning in the federal government for him to be exposed to government’s inefficiencies and perverse incentives.

In detailing Sowell’s journey from Marxism to capitalism, the film strikes a chord with those paying attention to the current condition of higher education. Many college students today have a similar disposition to Sowell when he was in college. They believe capitalism has proved to be corrupt at its core, as evidenced by things like climate change, increasing income inequality, and decreasing income mobility.

While people can debate about the merits of these various concerns for hours on end, the real thing these students miss is the efficacy (or lack thereof) of government control of the economy. Sowell’s personal experience in the government opened his eyes to the truth about capitalism, but that should leave all of us wondering what the wake-up call to many in my generation will be.

Sowell credits the Chicago School of Economics with teaching him the importance of gathering hard data. That lesson has stuck with him throughout the years, as his data gathering and usage remains one of his strong suits. Although empiricism and objective truth have largely been replaced by intuition among today’s college students, Sowell never argues based on feelings, but backs up his assertions with facts — and a lot of them at that.

Sowell Today

In 1980, Sowell became a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where they essentially offered to “pay him to be Tom Sowell” by allowing him to choose what and when he writes. Riley explains, “thousands of students would miss out on having Professor Sowell as a teacher, but millions of intellectually curious readers would benefit from Thomas Sowell’s work here [at the Hoover Institution].”

Among the best aspects of “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World” is the extent it explains Sowell’s enduring popularity. Arguably the key reason Sowell is so beloved is that he fearlessly makes his argument no matter the fashionable sentiment at the time. Whether it be on the perverse incentives attached to the welfare state, his critique of the idea that every disparity signals discrimination, or the idea of human capital as the chief necessity for group advancement, Sowell takes on the intellectual establishment.

At a time people are increasingly afraid to speak their minds for fear of being “canceled,” Sowell is a refreshing presence — a presence that lets people know that there are other people who approach the questions of the day with simple common sense. As Riley describes him, “[Sowell is] that rarest of species: an honest intellectual. He spent a career putting truth over popularity. He’s explored the answers to questions others were afraid to even ask.”

Bringing Sowell to the Next Generation

One would not be blamed for believing that a 90-year-old economist would not be particularly popular among a younger audience. Yet, make no mistake, Sowell’s work has proved to be timeless, and he’s gaining a large following among the next generation. On Instagram, the unofficial Thomas Sowell account has more than 150,000 followers, while on Twitter, Sowell’s followers number more than 650,000, and his reach continues to grow.

A documentary such as “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World helps widen that reach. Garnering more than 2.1 million views on YouTube in the first week since its release, there is no doubt that it has done its part in keeping the work of Sowell alive and in the minds of the next generation of students, thinkers, and leaders.

Without a doubt, the world has been lucky to benefit from Sowell’s insights. We can only hope that with the help of films like this, we can adequately extend those insights to those who will be next in line to influence our world.

Jack Elbaum is a freshman at George Washington University. His writing has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and the Washington Examiner. You can contact him at jackelbaum16@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Jack_Elbaum.


Bob Chitester Discusses Milton Friedman and ‘Free to Choose’

Published on Jul 30, 2012 by

“There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”

That is how former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman. But it is not for his technical work in monetary economics that Friedman is best known. Like mathematician Jacob Bronowski and astronomer Carl Sagan, Friedman had a gift for communicating complex ideas to a general audience.

It was this gift that brought him to the attention of filmmaker Bob Chitester. At Chitester’s urging, Friedman agreed to make a 10 part documentary series explaining the power of economic freedom. It was called “Free to Choose,” and became one of the most watched documentaries in history.

The series not only reached audiences in liberal democracies, but was smuggled behind the iron curtain where it played, in secret, to large audiences. Reflecting on its impact, Czech president Vaclav Klaus has said: “For us, who lived in the communist world, Milton Friedman was the greatest champion of freedom, of limited and unobtrusive government and of free markets. Because of him I became a true believer in the unrestricted market economy.”

July 31st, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Friedman’s birth. To commemorate that occasion, we’d like to share an interview with “Free to Choose” producer Bob Chitester. Like this interview, the entire series can now be viewed on-line at no cost at http://www.freetochoose.tv/, thanks to the incredible technological progress brought about by the economic freedom that Milton Friedman celebrated.

Produced by Andrew Coulson, Caleb O. Brown, Austin Bragg, and Lou Richards, with help from the Free to Choose Network.

_____________

April 4, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We got to stop spending so much money on the federal level. It will bankrupt us. I remember back in 1980 when I really started getting into the material of Milton Friedman as a result of reading his articles in Newsweek and reading his book “Free to Choose,” I really did get facts and figures to back on the view that we need more freedom giving back to us and the government needs to spend less.

As a result of Friedman’s writings I was able to discuss these issues with my fellow students at the university and by the time the 1980 election came around I had been attending political rallies and went out and worked hard for Ronald Reagan’s election. In this article below Dr. Thomas Sowell (who was featured twice in the film “Free to Choose”) notes how much influence Milton Friedman had on the election outcome in 1980:

Milton Friedman at 90

by Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California.

Added to cato.org on July 25, 2002

This article originally appeared on TownHall.com, July 25, 2002.

Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday on July 31st provides an occasion to think back on his role as the pre-eminent economist of the 20th century. To those of us who were privileged to be his students, he also stands out as a great teacher.

When I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, back in 1959, one day I was waiting outside Professor Friedman’s office when another graduate student passed by. He noticed my exam paper on my lap and exclaimed: “You got a B?”

“Yes,” I said. “Is that bad?”

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California.

“There were only two B’s in the whole class,” he replied.

“How many A’s?” I asked.

“There were no A’s!”

Today, this kind of grading might be considered to represent a “tough love” philosophy of teaching. I don’t know about love, but it was certainly tough.

Professor Friedman also did not let students arrive late at his lectures and distract the class by their entrance. Once I arrived a couple of minutes late for class and had to turn around and go back to the dormitory.

All the way back, I thought about the fact that I would be held responsible for what was said in that lecture, even though I never heard it. Thereafter, I was always in my seat when Milton Friedman walked in to give his lecture.

On a term paper, I wrote that either (a) this would happen or (b) that would happen. Professor Friedman wrote in the margin: “Or (c) your analysis is wrong.”

“Where was my analysis wrong?” I asked him.

“I didn’t say your analysis was wrong,” he replied. “I just wanted you to keep that possibility in mind.”

Perhaps the best way to summarize all this is to say that Milton Friedman is a wonderful human being — especially outside the classroom. It has been a much greater pleasure to listen to his lectures in later years, after I was no longer going to be quizzed on them, and a special pleasure to appear on a couple of television programs with him and to meet him on social occasions.

Milton Friedman’s enduring legacy will long outlast the memories of his students and extends beyond the field of economics. John Maynard Keynes was the reigning demi-god among economists when Friedman’s career began, and Friedman himself was at first a follower of Keynesian doctrines and liberal politics.

Yet no one did more to dismantle both Keynesian economics and liberal welfare-state thinking. As late as the 1950s, those with the prevailing Keynesian orthodoxy were still able to depict Milton Friedman as a fringe figure, clinging to an outmoded way of thinking. But the intellectual power of his ideas, the fortitude with which he persevered, and the ever more apparent failures of Keynesian analyses and policies, began to change all that, even before Professor Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

A towering intellect seldom goes together with practical wisdom, or perhaps even common sense. However, Milton Friedman not only excelled in the scholarly journals but also on the television screen, presenting the basics of economics in a way that the general public could understand.

His mini-series “Free to Choose” was a classic that made economic principles clear to all with living examples. His good nature and good humor also came through in a way that attracted and held an audience.

Although Friedrich Hayek launched the first major challenge to the prevailing thinking behind the welfare state and socialism with his 1944 book “The Road to Serfdom,” Milton Friedman became the dominant intellectual force among those who turned back the leftward tide in what had seemed to be the wave of the future.

Without Milton Friedman’s role in changing the minds of so many Americans, it is hard to imagine how Ronald Reagan could have been elected president.

Nor was Friedman’s influence confined to the United States. His ideas reached around the world, not only among economists, but also in political circles which began to understand why left-wing ideas that sounded so good produced results that were so bad.

Milton Friedman rates a 21-gun salute on his birthday. Or perhaps a 90-gun salute would be more appropriate.

________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

Explore Economist Thomas Sowell’s Remarkable Life In New Documentary

Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World – Full Video

Explore Economist Thomas Sowell’s Remarkable Life In New Documentary

Despite writing more than 50 books on economics, race, and history, there’s a good chance Thomas Sowell is the national treasure you’ve never heard of.

The past ten months have proved we live in a senseless world. There are large groups of people on both sides of the aisle who have no regard for reality, or what were once considered the normal and expected rules of polite society. One man, however, has never been swayed by the prevailing winds of the political moment over his illustrious 50-year career, keeping himself grounded in empiricism, fact, and logic: economist Thomas Sowell.

While he has published more than 50 books on subjects such as economics, race, and history, there is still a good chance that Sowell is the national treasure you’ve never heard of. The recently released documentary, “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World,” successfully introduces Sowell both to those who’ve never heard of him and dives deep into the lesser-known aspects of his life for those who are already avid fans.

Narrated by Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley, the documentary takes the audience through Sowell’s life from his birth in North Carolina to his time as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he still works today. For the most underappreciated public intellectual of our time, this film is a well-deserved tribute to a magnificent career.

Sowell and Education

“Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World” appropriately begins with Sowell’s childhood. He was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1930, and both of his parents died by the time he was only a few years old. He was adopted by his great aunt and raised by her, as well as her two adult daughters. When Sowell was eight, they moved to Harlem to gain access to greater opportunities than were available in the Jim Crow South.

While none of the women who raised Sowell ever graduated high school, he says they were “interested in education and they were interested in me.” He did not grow up with any semblance of material wealth — his family did not have a telephone in the house until he was well into his teen years, and they never had a television — but Sowell did grow up with the cultural value of education: something that was able to eventually propel him to great heights.

Education has long been a road to success in America. It is for this reason the two highest-earning religious groups in America — Hindus and Jews — also happen to have the most education out of all religious groups. Today, the tragic reality is that, for many low-income students, the chance to acquire a quality education is significantly diminished by the conditions of the failing public schools they are required to attend.

Having benefited from the option to transfer to a better school when he was young, Sowell now advocates the same policy for the disadvantaged families of today. While Sowell has been writing about education for decades, arguably his deepest dive into the subject came just last year when he wrote “Charter Schools and Their Enemies,” a book that deserves to be remembered as one of his finest works.

The film spends a commendable amount of time emphasizing the role and importance of education, as well as introducing the audience to the various alternatives to the traditional public school monopoly, such as charter schools.

Eva Moskowitz, founder of Success Academy Charter School, correctly points out that the benefits of school choice are concentrated within the most vulnerable communities, despite the fact people with Sowell’s political persuasion are so often maligned as “uncaring” and “unempathetic” towards those who are disadvantaged. By correctly framing the issue in a way that highlights the communities the policy is helping, it allows conservatives and libertarians to begin reclaiming the moral high ground.

Sowell’s Intellectual Influences

Sowell was drafted into the military in 1951. Afterward, he attended Howard University as an undergraduate, then transferred to Harvard University, where he procured a degree in economics. He earned his master’s at the University of Columbia, then went on to the University of Chicago for his Ph.D.

During his college years, Sowell was a Marxist, and he remained so even after taking a class taught by Milton Friedman. Yet all it took was one summer interning in the federal government for him to be exposed to government’s inefficiencies and perverse incentives.

In detailing Sowell’s journey from Marxism to capitalism, the film strikes a chord with those paying attention to the current condition of higher education. Many college students today have a similar disposition to Sowell when he was in college. They believe capitalism has proved to be corrupt at its core, as evidenced by things like climate change, increasing income inequality, and decreasing income mobility.

While people can debate about the merits of these various concerns for hours on end, the real thing these students miss is the efficacy (or lack thereof) of government control of the economy. Sowell’s personal experience in the government opened his eyes to the truth about capitalism, but that should leave all of us wondering what the wake-up call to many in my generation will be.

Sowell credits the Chicago School of Economics with teaching him the importance of gathering hard data. That lesson has stuck with him throughout the years, as his data gathering and usage remains one of his strong suits. Although empiricism and objective truth have largely been replaced by intuition among today’s college students, Sowell never argues based on feelings, but backs up his assertions with facts — and a lot of them at that.

Sowell Today

In 1980, Sowell became a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where they essentially offered to “pay him to be Tom Sowell” by allowing him to choose what and when he writes. Riley explains, “thousands of students would miss out on having Professor Sowell as a teacher, but millions of intellectually curious readers would benefit from Thomas Sowell’s work here [at the Hoover Institution].”

Among the best aspects of “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World” is the extent it explains Sowell’s enduring popularity. Arguably the key reason Sowell is so beloved is that he fearlessly makes his argument no matter the fashionable sentiment at the time. Whether it be on the perverse incentives attached to the welfare state, his critique of the idea that every disparity signals discrimination, or the idea of human capital as the chief necessity for group advancement, Sowell takes on the intellectual establishment.

At a time people are increasingly afraid to speak their minds for fear of being “canceled,” Sowell is a refreshing presence — a presence that lets people know that there are other people who approach the questions of the day with simple common sense. As Riley describes him, “[Sowell is] that rarest of species: an honest intellectual. He spent a career putting truth over popularity. He’s explored the answers to questions others were afraid to even ask.”

Bringing Sowell to the Next Generation

One would not be blamed for believing that a 90-year-old economist would not be particularly popular among a younger audience. Yet, make no mistake, Sowell’s work has proved to be timeless, and he’s gaining a large following among the next generation. On Instagram, the unofficial Thomas Sowell account has more than 150,000 followers, while on Twitter, Sowell’s followers number more than 650,000, and his reach continues to grow.

A documentary such as “Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World helps widen that reach. Garnering more than 2.1 million views on YouTube in the first week since its release, there is no doubt that it has done its part in keeping the work of Sowell alive and in the minds of the next generation of students, thinkers, and leaders.

Without a doubt, the world has been lucky to benefit from Sowell’s insights. We can only hope that with the help of films like this, we can adequately extend those insights to those who will be next in line to influence our world.

Jack Elbaum is a freshman at George Washington University. His writing has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and the Washington Examiner. You can contact him at jackelbaum16@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Jack_Elbaum.


Bob Chitester Discusses Milton Friedman and ‘Free to Choose’

Published on Jul 30, 2012 by

“There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”

That is how former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman. But it is not for his technical work in monetary economics that Friedman is best known. Like mathematician Jacob Bronowski and astronomer Carl Sagan, Friedman had a gift for communicating complex ideas to a general audience.

It was this gift that brought him to the attention of filmmaker Bob Chitester. At Chitester’s urging, Friedman agreed to make a 10 part documentary series explaining the power of economic freedom. It was called “Free to Choose,” and became one of the most watched documentaries in history.

The series not only reached audiences in liberal democracies, but was smuggled behind the iron curtain where it played, in secret, to large audiences. Reflecting on its impact, Czech president Vaclav Klaus has said: “For us, who lived in the communist world, Milton Friedman was the greatest champion of freedom, of limited and unobtrusive government and of free markets. Because of him I became a true believer in the unrestricted market economy.”

July 31st, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Friedman’s birth. To commemorate that occasion, we’d like to share an interview with “Free to Choose” producer Bob Chitester. Like this interview, the entire series can now be viewed on-line at no cost at http://www.freetochoose.tv/, thanks to the incredible technological progress brought about by the economic freedom that Milton Friedman celebrated.

Produced by Andrew Coulson, Caleb O. Brown, Austin Bragg, and Lou Richards, with help from the Free to Choose Network.

_____________

April 4, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We got to stop spending so much money on the federal level. It will bankrupt us. I remember back in 1980 when I really started getting into the material of Milton Friedman as a result of reading his articles in Newsweek and reading his book “Free to Choose,” I really did get facts and figures to back on the view that we need more freedom giving back to us and the government needs to spend less.

As a result of Friedman’s writings I was able to discuss these issues with my fellow students at the university and by the time the 1980 election came around I had been attending political rallies and went out and worked hard for Ronald Reagan’s election. In this article below Dr. Thomas Sowell (who was featured twice in the film “Free to Choose”) notes how much influence Milton Friedman had on the election outcome in 1980:

Milton Friedman at 90

by Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California.

Added to cato.org on July 25, 2002

This article originally appeared on TownHall.com, July 25, 2002.

Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday on July 31st provides an occasion to think back on his role as the pre-eminent economist of the 20th century. To those of us who were privileged to be his students, he also stands out as a great teacher.

When I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, back in 1959, one day I was waiting outside Professor Friedman’s office when another graduate student passed by. He noticed my exam paper on my lap and exclaimed: “You got a B?”

“Yes,” I said. “Is that bad?”

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California.

“There were only two B’s in the whole class,” he replied.

“How many A’s?” I asked.

“There were no A’s!”

Today, this kind of grading might be considered to represent a “tough love” philosophy of teaching. I don’t know about love, but it was certainly tough.

Professor Friedman also did not let students arrive late at his lectures and distract the class by their entrance. Once I arrived a couple of minutes late for class and had to turn around and go back to the dormitory.

All the way back, I thought about the fact that I would be held responsible for what was said in that lecture, even though I never heard it. Thereafter, I was always in my seat when Milton Friedman walked in to give his lecture.

On a term paper, I wrote that either (a) this would happen or (b) that would happen. Professor Friedman wrote in the margin: “Or (c) your analysis is wrong.”

“Where was my analysis wrong?” I asked him.

“I didn’t say your analysis was wrong,” he replied. “I just wanted you to keep that possibility in mind.”

Perhaps the best way to summarize all this is to say that Milton Friedman is a wonderful human being — especially outside the classroom. It has been a much greater pleasure to listen to his lectures in later years, after I was no longer going to be quizzed on them, and a special pleasure to appear on a couple of television programs with him and to meet him on social occasions.

Milton Friedman’s enduring legacy will long outlast the memories of his students and extends beyond the field of economics. John Maynard Keynes was the reigning demi-god among economists when Friedman’s career began, and Friedman himself was at first a follower of Keynesian doctrines and liberal politics.

Yet no one did more to dismantle both Keynesian economics and liberal welfare-state thinking. As late as the 1950s, those with the prevailing Keynesian orthodoxy were still able to depict Milton Friedman as a fringe figure, clinging to an outmoded way of thinking. But the intellectual power of his ideas, the fortitude with which he persevered, and the ever more apparent failures of Keynesian analyses and policies, began to change all that, even before Professor Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

A towering intellect seldom goes together with practical wisdom, or perhaps even common sense. However, Milton Friedman not only excelled in the scholarly journals but also on the television screen, presenting the basics of economics in a way that the general public could understand.

His mini-series “Free to Choose” was a classic that made economic principles clear to all with living examples. His good nature and good humor also came through in a way that attracted and held an audience.

Although Friedrich Hayek launched the first major challenge to the prevailing thinking behind the welfare state and socialism with his 1944 book “The Road to Serfdom,” Milton Friedman became the dominant intellectual force among those who turned back the leftward tide in what had seemed to be the wave of the future.

Without Milton Friedman’s role in changing the minds of so many Americans, it is hard to imagine how Ronald Reagan could have been elected president.

Nor was Friedman’s influence confined to the United States. His ideas reached around the world, not only among economists, but also in political circles which began to understand why left-wing ideas that sounded so good produced results that were so bad.

Milton Friedman rates a 21-gun salute on his birthday. Or perhaps a 90-gun salute would be more appropriate.

________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

Time Is Ours to Win War on Government Waste

A man waits at a bus stop in Washington, D.C., that displays the national debt of the United States, June 19, 2020. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

In the last 20 years, our country’s national debt has exploded.

In 2001, when George W. Bush took office, the national debt was $5.8 trillion. It took around 225 years—booms, busts, depressions, wars, etc.—to amass that much national debt. In just eight years, Bush and a compliant Congress doubled the number to $11.7 trillion. In Barack Obama’s two terms, another $8.6 trillion was added.

During the past four years, Donald Trump and Congress fought many battles, but not over this: In that time, America’s future was mortgaged to the tune of another $6.7 trillion.

Today, the national debt is around $27 trillion, a fourfold increase in the last two decades. That doesn’t count unfunded mandates. And there is no end in sight.

The Left has declared war on our culture, but we should never back down, nor compromise our principles. Learn more now >>

Whenever human beings gather to accomplish a task, any task, without strong and effective oversight, a natural evolution takes place. Whether it be in business, academia, philanthropy, or government, every activity morphs from the original goal to self-aggrandizement.

In government, this process is particularly toxic. There are no profits, let alone a profit motive. No concern with productivity. No incentive to turn off the proverbial lights. No measure of success. No motivation to end counterproductive activities.

Add to this mix the influence of public employee unions. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman were opposed to them for reasons that long ago became apparent. The goal of all unions is self-preservation—just as management’s is to maximize profits.

But public employee unions add two other noxious elements to the mix: (1) defending job incompetence and (2) heavy-handed involvement in the electoral process in a search for pliant politicians who can help them achieve their objectives by spending ever more of the public’s money.

Now, out of the blue, the experts-for-hire have a new scheme to justify continued fiscal irresponsibility: modern monetary theory. It holds that so long as interest rates are lower than inflation rates, politicians can spend away. That is not a theory. It is idle wordplay, and the victim of such sophistry is the American taxpayer—and future generations of American taxpayers.

Never in our history has fiscal soundness been more important. The exploding annual deficits of the last 20 years have produced a national debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product that is as high as it was during World War II even though our nation is at peace.

Moreover, many severely underfunded programs such as Social Security and Medicaid are not included in today’s debt calculations, although they should be.

The passage of a 5,593-page must-pass-quickly bill in December was indisputable evidence that the national debt will never be addressed from the top down. That legislation was sent to the Senate two hours before the vote. Who can read 2,800 pages per hour, 47 pages per minute? How can responsible lawmakers vote on bills they have not read?

While our political leaders have repeatedly told us how important this bill was to the survival of so many Americans, they delayed the bill for months for political reasons.

A crucial-to-the-survival-of-so-many-Americans pork-filled bill? Some $10 million to Pakistan for “gender programs”? Another $700 million to Sudan for Lord knows what? And on and on and on.

History has a clear and repeated message: If we do not address this exploding debt, it will bring to life all-knowing leaders, leaders who Friedrich Hayek said possessed the “fatal conceit.” They think they know more than is knowable. Leaders who have all the answers for everything they define as a problem: more regulations, more government control, more taxes.

This is a noxious cure that has never succeeded, one that has left country after country in economic tatters.

Fortunately, the world in changing. Today, we have the means to address this financial irresponsibility, this threat to our country, as our Founders envisioned it. We are immersed in the Information Age, the Big Data world, the Cloud world, the Bitcoin world.

The cost of communications is close to zero. Smartphones, iPads, and computers are a crucial part of everyday life. With the touch of a finger, one click, information on every topic is available 24 hours a day.

Buy anything. Sell anything. Today, instant access to information is embedded in our culture. Why should government expenditures be exempt?

Transparency has always been the best antidote to rein in profligate government spending. Having instant information at our fingertips gives fiscally responsible Americans a powerful new weapon in the War on Waste.

Today, there is no reason why every local, state, and federal government expenditure is not online, in real time, available to every citizen. Taxpayers should be able to attend a school board meeting and pull up school expenses on their phones.

Open the Books has a formidable weapon to unleash the voting public’s ability to address this exploding national debt, this lack of transparency, this threat to our democracy—the Open the Books Government Expenditure Library, which contains over 5 billion (and growing) local, state, and federal government expenditures.

Last year, we filed 41,500 Freedom of Information Act requests. We sued several government entities to encourage them to provide us the same information we collect from other states.

The Open the Books Government Expenditure Library is open to everyone: citizens, politicians, students, academics, scholars, journalists, think tanks—everyone, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Transparency can be as revolutionary as the internet has been for the economic well-being of the world. Transparency cannot only enhance the odds of the survival of this, the greatest country in the history of the world, but, over time, it will contribute to our prosperity, our health, and our happiness.

Wasted taxpayer dollars are not just nonproductive. Waste allowed to exist encourages more waste. Fraud allowed to exist encourages more fraud. A financially sound economy, one that works to remove waste, fraud, duplication, and incompetence, will increase respect for government, for the rule of law.

Open the Books places the future of this great country more firmly in the hands of the voters. To ensure our elected officials realize this, we have to communicate continuously with them what we expect and how we will vote.

I suggest we begin with one clear public statement: “I will never vote for anyone who has voted for a bill they have not read.” Register that statement at OpenTheBooks.com/READTHEBILL.

Obviously, our elected officials are unwilling to address this explosive, increasingly crucial national debt problem. Fortunately, we the taxpaying voters today have a weapon at our fingertips to successfully wage a War on Waste. Successful because our political leaders will quickly recognize that if they want to be reelected, they will have to respond accordingly.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.

Originally published by RealClearPolitics

March 31, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Please explain to me if you ever do plan to balance the budget while you are President? I have written these things below about you and I really do think that you don’t want to cut spending in order to balance the budget. It seems you ever are daring the Congress to stop you from spending more.

President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington. | AP Photo

“The credit of the United States ‘is not a bargaining chip,’ Obama said on 1-14-13. However, President Obama keeps getting our country’s credit rating downgraded as he raises the debt ceiling higher and higher!!!!

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Just spend more, don’t know how to cut!!! Really!!! That is not living in the real world is it?

Making more dependent on government is not the way to go!!

Why is our government in over 16 trillion dollars in debt? There are many reasons for this but the biggest reason is people say “Let’s spend someone else’s money to solve our problems.” Liberals like Max Brantley have talked this way for years. Brantley will say that conservatives are being harsh when they don’t want the government out encouraging people to be dependent on the government. The Obama adminstration has even promoted a plan for young people to follow like Julia the Moocher.  

David Ramsey demonstrates in his Arkansas Times Blog post of 1-14-13 that very point:

Arkansas Politics / Health Care Arkansas’s share of Medicaid expansion and the national debt

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Baby carrot Arkansas Medicaid expansion image

Imagine standing a baby carrot up next to the 25-story Stephens building in Little Rock. That gives you a picture of the impact on the national debt that federal spending in Arkansas on Medicaid expansion would have, while here at home expansion would give coverage to more than 200,000 of our neediest citizens, create jobs, and save money for the state.

Here’s the thing: while more than a billion dollars a year in federal spending would represent a big-time stimulus for Arkansas, it’s not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the national debt.

Currently, the national debt is around $16.4 trillion. In fiscal year 2015, the federal government would spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion to fund Medicaid expansion in Arkansas if we say yes. That’s about 1/13,700th of the debt.

It’s hard to get a handle on numbers that big, so to put that in perspective, let’s get back to the baby carrot. Imagine that the height of the Stephens building (365 feet) is the $16 trillion national debt. That $1.2 billion would be the length of a ladybug. Of course, we’re not just talking about one year if we expand. Between now and 2021, the federal government projects to contribute around $10 billion. The federal debt is projected to be around $25 trillion by then, so we’re talking about 1/2,500th of the debt. Compared to the Stephens building? That’s a baby carrot.

______________

Here is how it will all end if everyone feels they should be allowed to have their “baby carrot.”

How sad it is that liberals just don’t get this reality.

Here is what the Founding Fathers had to say about welfare. David Weinberger noted:

While living in Europe in the 1760s, Franklin observed: “in different countries … the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor. Tytler was also a historian, and he noted, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan

April 6, 1816

[Jefferson affirms that the main purpose of society is to enable human beings to keep the fruits of their labor. — TGW]

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, “the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.” If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra taxation violates it.

[From Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert E. Bergh (Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), 14:466.]

_______

Jefferson pointed out that to take from the rich and give to the poor through government is just wrong. Franklin knew the poor would have a better path upward without government welfare coming their way. Milton Friedman’s negative income tax is the best method for doing that and by taking away all welfare programs and letting them go to the churches for charity.

_____________

_________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

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Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

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Montana Lawmaker Outlines Troubling Implications of Biden’s Executive Actions

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Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., seen here speaking at a campaign rally at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Belgrade, Montana, Nov. 3, 2018, joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to explain his top policy priorities. (Photo: William Campbell/Corbis/Getty Images)

Freshman Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., has entered the House with a bold plan to develop America’s natural resources and push back on the agenda of the far left.

Rosendale joined “The Daily Signal Podcast” during a recent trip to the U.S.- Mexico border to discuss why he ran for Congress, his former service in the Montana Legislature, the divisive moment the country finds itself in, and much more.

We also cover these stores:

  • House Democrats put forward their case against former President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial slated to begin next week in the Senate.
  • Two lawyers representing Trump in the impeachment trial lay out their defense.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says his state is committed to taking action against censorship by big tech companies.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.

The Daily Signal Podcast” is available on Ricochet, Apple PodcastsPippaGoogle Play, and Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You also can write to us at letters@dailysignal.com.

Rachel del Guidice: Hi, everyone. This is Rachel del Guidice with The Daily Signal Podcast. I am here joined by Congressman Matt Rosendale of Montana. He is a new congressmen in this new Congress. And I’m just so happy to have you with us today.

Rep. Matt Rosendale: Good to be here. Thank you for having me, Rachel.

Del Guidice: Well, it’s great to have you with us. I want to start off talking about your service in Montana before running for Congress, so tell us a little bit about that and then also what led you to run for Congress.

Rosendale: Actually, 10 years ago, I was riding my horse four or five days a week and chasing cows around the ranch, and I really didn’t expect that I would be in this position right now.

I’ve been very engaged in politics my entire life, but I was building a business, I’m raising a family, and so I never really had the time that was necessary, what I felt, to dedicate to public service.

Once my boys were out of college and the community really came to me, and I found myself as chairman of the local AG association and president of the parish council at the Catholic church.

I’m very active in the church and they said, “Look, we are not getting proper representation in Eastern Montana in the Legislature,” and so folks recruited me to run for the Legislature, and I entered in 2010. I was elected to the [state] House. In 2012, I was elected to the [state] Senate. And in 2014, my colleagues elected me as the Senate majority leader.

It just really happened very quickly. And I’ve always said that I just want to serve where I can be the most effective for my community, and my community means my county, my state, or my nation.

Then the folks encouraged me to run for the open U.S. House seat because Greg Gianforte had disclosed that he was not seeking reelection. He was going to run for governor. And I obviously ran for the House seat and was able to win it.

Del Guidice: Well, congratulations. Before talking about going into Congress, what are some of the issues that you worked on in the Montana State House that you really saw [are] important to Montanans and really affected what you did on day to day there?

Rosendale: Sure. Really, the things that I focused on [were] trying to really lower the regulatory and tax burden on our businesses and put people in a better position to either start or expand businesses and grow job opportunities.

Then the last four years, I have been serving as the state auditor, which in Montana means I was the commissioner of securities and insurance. I’ve really focused the bulk of my efforts on trying to do something about the cost and the access to health care.

It has not been addressed. We still are dealing with these problems, but I was able to make some great strides to reduce the calls, to expand access, to guarantee coverage for preexisting conditions, and actually, in many cases, improve the quality of health care that people were receiving and start beginning to bend the cost curve down. Health care is a really big deal.

I sat on the state land board. We were responsible for managing 5.2 million acres of state school trust lands. Any agricultural lease, any mineral lease, any pipeline easement that protects harvesting of timber, all of those agreements were run through the state land board, and we would approve those.

We were generating somewhere between $40 and $45 million a year to put toward the K-12 education system for the state of Montana.

Del Guidice: Before we get to Congress, I have to ask you, you have a ranch out in Montana. Tell us about the ranch and what you do there.

Rosendale: I miss it a lot is what I do. People often ask me, “Do you get back to the ranch that often?” I said, “Yes, every night, just as soon as I close my eyes.”

It’s a wonderful place. It is about 20 miles north of a little town by the name of Glendive. It is on the Yellowstone River. By the time the Yellowstone River gets to me and my property, it’s been flowing about 600 miles, so it’s a big river. It’s not just a little trout stream.

And I’m very blessed, my wife Jean and I are very blessed to have the ranch and our sons. I have three sons. We have enjoyed every moment that we’ve been there.

Del Guidice: That’s awesome. I want to switch talking a little bit about Congress. You’re a new member there. What have been your reflections, before we get started talking about what you want to do? What have your reflections been on starting off at such a turbulent time in history right now?

Rosendale: It is and I will tell you my initial thought was that I was disappointed on swearing-in day. I have to tell you.

After going through swearing-in at the state Legislature, where we convene every other year, and you haven’t seen your colleagues from across the aisle. Your colleagues that are of the same party, you haven’t seen each other regularly for quite some time. We would come together and people would embrace, and they would greet each other.

The speaker, regardless of who they were, gave a very, very positive message to try to set the tone on trying to get work done.

Complete opposite, Day One, United States Congress, and I was disappointed. I thought that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi delivered a very divisive message, and it was just not the same tone and tenor that I had hoped that we were going to start off with.

You deal with that, and you can’t let that one unfortunate day affect the work that you want to accomplish as you go forward.

Then, obviously, we’ve had a tumultuous time over the last three weeks, and we have gotten through that. We are beyond that and now, finally, I was told what committees I’m going to serve on.

I’m going to be on [the] Natural Resources and Veterans’ Affairs [committees], two committees that are going to be extremely important to the state of Montana. I’m looking forward to getting to work, quite frankly. I mean, this is what the people elected me for, and this is what I want to do.

Del Guidice: You talk about getting to work. What are some of the things that are top-line on your heart and mind as issues that you want to work on in Congress as you go forward?

Rosendale: Sure. On natural resources, there are so many natural resources that are located within our state that I want to make sure that they can be developed and utilized in a safe and environmentally sound method, and we can do that.

We’ve seen the practices have changed over the last several years and whether we’re talking about the new copper mine that has been permitted near White Sulphur Spring or whether we’re talking about a better management of our public lands where our national forests are located, so that we don’t have to watch them burn thousands and thousands of acres in the summer, we can actually harvest that timber and put it to good use.

Certainly, we want to make sure that our oil and gas resources are developed. That is a place where we’re going to have conflict with the new administration.

President [Joe] Biden has demonstrated by revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and revoking, at least for a stated period of time, any leases or drilling on public lands, that’s a problem. …

We have four refineries located in our state and in addition to having four refineries located in our state, we have a lot of people that work for those refineries and the ancillary businesses that feed them. The development of those energy resources not only drives a pretty good segment of our economy, but it also contributes dramatically to our national security.

This is something that we’ve seen over the last just four years under the previous administration, where we were able to go from being dependent upon other countries that were not friendly to the United States, to actually being not only energy independent, but energy dominant, so that we can start looking to our allies and helping them with their energy needs, so that they’re not dependent on some of these unfriendly nations either.

Del Guidice: Let’s talk a little bit too about the state of play where things are at. As you mentioned, we have a Democrat in the White House. President Biden is there. Now the House and Senate are both in Democrat control.

As you look forward into the coming weeks and months and years, we’ve heard talk of possibly Democrats voting to make D.C. and Puerto Rico a state; different policies like the Green New Deal—talk of that being implemented—the Equality Act.

In your perspective, where do you think and how do you think conservatives should work so that that type of policy is responded to in an adequate way?

Rosendale: That is [a] very good question. Obviously, in the House, the majority rules anything and so that is all it takes.

I hope that all my friends that are out there listening right now recognize when they were calling for the end to the filibuster, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea because, obviously, we’re going to end up being in the minority sometime or another, which is right now, where that could work against us.

Quite frankly, thank goodness there is still a filibuster in place because what I’m hoping is that the most damaging of those agenda items will be able to be stopped in the Senate, because they won’t have a 60-vote majority to be able to start pushing any of those issues forward onto the floor.

However, the Democrats do have control over the reconciliation process through budget, and it’s my understanding that they have not only this year’s budget, but they have ’21, ’22, and ’23 fiscal years that they’re able to utilize for reconciliation.

I also understand that right now, none of those most damaging agenda items can be attached to reconciliation to be pushed through.

I’m thinking that the Biden administration is going to try to use their executive powers to implement some of these things and fortunately then, it’s going to fall to our attorneys general across the country to be able to file lawsuits and keep these things from being implemented upon the states.

I have a very good relationship with my state attorney general. We came into the state Legislature as freshmen together in 2010. We’re very good friends. And I’ve already had a meeting, sat down and talked with him, and said, “We need to make sure that we are working together to push back on some of these most damaging issues.”

Del Guidice: Well, we were just on a trip to the border, got to see a bunch of different things.

One of the things that stood out to me was in different areas, since President Biden’s administration has stopped construction on the border wall, there’s these big areas of border wall that had been completed, but there’s so many different spots where they still need to finish and all of that’s being halted.

Congressman, can you tell me a little bit about your reflections from what you’ve seen and also just your thoughts on what else needs to happen here?

Rosendale: A couple of points that I took away from the border trip were, No. 1, as you said, to have just an immediate halt to all that construction was unfortunate.

On Day One, President Biden started killing jobs. And this isn’t rhetoric. These are just plain, simple facts—whether we’re talking about the closure of the Keystone pipeline, whether we’re talking about the halting of oil and gas permits on public properties. I mean, all of this started killing jobs immediately.

What we also saw was it was killing jobs immediately as we went down to the border, and we saw equipment parked and, like you say, construction on the wall halted and construction sites that were not complete. They hadn’t even finished the work that they were doing.

In the conversations with the different law enforcement people, the Border Patrol security and the local residents, they have major, major concerns about how this is going to impact the area going forward.

It was interesting to hear them say that the populations of people that are coming across the border on different areas are different types of people that they’re dealing with.

You have more of a criminal element in the mountainous, more isolated areas, as opposed to more of people that are just trying to seek an improvement in their life that are closer to the urban areas, as they are trying to come across the border.

I think one of the takeaways that everybody in our country needs to understand is that the people that I spoke to down at the border—whether we were talking about Border Patrol, whether we were talking about the local ranchers or the local authorities, the sheriff’s departments, and things like that—were very compassionate and cognizant of what was going on with these people that were coming in illegally to enter our country, and they felt bad for the ones that were being so harshly treated by this criminal element that was helping get them into our country.

They want to see the suffering, the human suffering stop. And the best way for us to keep that human suffering from taking place is to stop providing an incentive and a free pass for people to enter into our country.

Once they’ve recognize that they cannot just walk in and the deterrent is there, you won’t have this wall of humanity that’s trying to attack the border.

Del Guidice: Well, as we wrap up, we talked a little bit about how divisive everything is right now and as a man of faith, also as a leader in your community, and now in your country, what are some parting words you’d like to leave, not only to your constituents in Montana, … but the rest of the country, and what our outlook should be as we just try to move on and move up?

Rosendale: I think that, again, as a man of faith, I do place my faith in God and I pray daily that we can improve what is taking place here.

My hope is that I will be able to connect with enough other like-minded individuals in Congress, regardless of what side of the aisle that they’re sitting on, that we can basically take personalities and set them aside and look at what has proven to work to benefit our country in the past.

Because, look, you can talk about personalities all day long, but if we are really focused on improving the economy, expanding jobs, trying to make sure that we do something about health care, then let’s talk about those things and get everything else off of the table. And that’s what’s going to put our country in a better position, which means that the lives will be better for the people that we serve.

Del Guidice: Congressman Rosendale, thank you so much for joining us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.” It’s been great having you with us.

Rosendale: Thank you so much, Rachel. Good to see you.

President Biden and Labor Unions

Joe Biden is old. He has been in politics since 1970 and holds antiquated views. On the campaign trail, he used expressions such as “malarkey” and said that kids should listen to the “record player.”

President Biden’s views on labor unions are similarly archaic. Unions appear to be central to his view of the economy, yet few private‐​sector workers are in unions today. This Biden campaign statement, which is ostensibly about clean energy, promotes labor unions 32 times. Biden wants to “create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure,” wants to “ensure these investments create good, union jobs that expand the middle class,” and so on. Spending on cars, energy, manufacturing, railroads, airports, broadband, and everything else in Biden’s plan is about union jobs, over and over ad nauseam.

The focus is pathological. I say that because union members account for just 6 percent of private‐​sector employment today, yet Biden’s statement reads as if unions dominate the workforce, are the bulwark of the middle class, and are central to the economy. They are not and will not be going forward. The economy is too dynamic and competitive, and Americans have increasingly rejected unions in the private sector, as shown in the chart below.

The Biden statement repeatedly stresses “choice.” Biden wants to “provide workers with the choice to join a union and bargain collectively.” But “collective bargaining” is a euphemism for monopoly unionism and the denial of choice. It violates freedom of association, as Charles Baird explains here. The frequent use of the word “choice” is an attempt to mask the reality of coercive labor unionism under current federal law.

Even if collective bargaining was reasonable in theory, frequent corruption scandals reveal that labor union leaders abuse their special privileges. Most recently, the

Justice Department reached a civil settlement with the United Auto Workers union, marking a major turning point in a multiyear corruption investigation that has sent several former labor leaders to prison. The sprawling probe, led by the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit, has penetrated the UAW’s top ranks and exposed what federal prosecutors described as a culture of corruption among its leadership built around kickback schemes, embezzlement and other illicit activities.

Why would any policymaker want to strengthen such organizations? Yet that is the direction of President Biden. His proposals would move backwards by reinforcing the coercive nature of federal labor union law, which is incompatible with personal freedom and the modern economy.

The chart shows that private‐​sector union membership has fallen from 32 percent of the workforce in 1960 to just 6 percent today.

graph of union share

Note: Chart data from unionstats, Barry Hirsch, and BLS.

With a $15 federal minimum wage, any jobs that don’t produce at least $36,000 per year in goods and services will eventually be eliminated—either because businesses close their doors, outsource their labor, or automate low-skilled jobs. (Photo: Moyo Studio/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has proposed a nationwide $15 minimum wage as part of his so-called “American Rescue Plan.” Talk about bad timing: Raising labor prices on businesses that are struggling to stay afloat is like throwing them a load of bricks instead of a life preserver.

State and local governments raising their minimum wages is one thing, but to more than double the federal minimum, from $7.25 to $15 per hour?

Nearly one in every five restaurants permanently closed their doors in 2020 as 30 large retail and restaurant companies filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, employment in food services (restaurants and bars) fell 19% in 2020 as retail clothing jobs dropped 24% and accommodations (hotels) jobs plummeted 32%.

The Left has declared war on our culture, but we should never back down, nor compromise our principles. Learn more now >>

Although very few people—only about 1% of all workers and 0.1% of single parents—make the $7.25 minimum wage, a good portion of restaurant, retail, and hotel jobs pay less than $15 per hour.

No one would suggest raising the rent on households who are months behind on their payments, so how could raising labor prices help businesses?

For a restaurant with five full-time workers making minimum wage, a doubling of the federal minimum wage would mean an extra $85,800 in wages and employment taxes. With restaurant profit margins of about 5%, that could require an extra $1.7 million in food sales ($4,700 more per day)—a seemingly impossible feat in normal times, let alone in the middle of a global pandemic.

Higher wages are a great thing—especially when the gains accrue to lower-income workers. But the only way to achieve actual wage increases—that is, lasting wage increases that don’t take jobs and incomes from others—is for workers to become more productive.

To that end, government mandates are powerless. A $15 minimum wage won’t help workers gain education and experience or provide them with technology that will enable them to produce more value and earn larger incomes. In fact, it could cause the opposite, by shifting employers’ resources away from training and investments to wages instead.

Moreover, raising wages by government fiat hurts many workers in the short and long run by cutting off the bottom rungs of the career ladder.

A $15 federal minimum wage translates into over $36,000 per year in wages and mandated taxes and benefits paid by employers. That means that any jobs that don’t produce at least $36,000 per year in goods and services will eventually be eliminated—either because businesses close their doors, outsource their labor, or automate low-skilled jobs.

That’s why even liberal economists and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office caution that a $15 federal minimum wage would lead to a survival-of-the-fittest labor market, reduce future incomes, and disproportionately harm African Americans and women.

The former chair of President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, warned in 2015, “Research suggests that a minimum wage set as high as $12 an hour will do more good than harm for low-wage workers, but a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.”

Those consequences would be unequal across the country. Large cities with high costs of living—many of which already have or are on the path to a $15 minimum wage—may not experience huge consequences. But non-urban areas and places with lower costs of living could be devastated.

Imagine if policymakers were proposing a minimum wage hike to nearly $36—ensuring that all full-time workers earned at least $74,000 per year.

Most people would say that’s too much, realizing that such a high minimum wage would have massive consequences in terms of lost jobs, increased prices, and a complete and utter disruption of the American labor market and economy.

Yet, $15 per hour in Mississippi would be equivalent to $35.74 per hour in D.C., where federal lawmakers seek to impose a national standard across the U.S.

Minimum wages are best left to local governments, where decisions can be made based on economic conditions and the cost of living.

If a local government sets its minimum wage above the market wage, at least workers and business owners who lose their jobs and businesses can move to places where it’s still possible for them to earn a living.

But if policymakers impose an excessively high nationwide minimum wage across 50 very diverse states and more than 3,000 counties, there will be nowhere else for the harmed to go.

Instead of mandating policies that irrefutably harm some people to the benefit of others, policymakers should focus on opening doors to income opportunities for all workers.

Reducing barriers to jobs and income gains is what helped contribute to the 14.6% increase in wages for workers at the 10th percentile of earners (those earning about $10 per hour) between 2016 and 2019.

Lawmakers at all levels should be seeking to help Americans recover and gain new opportunities instead of permanently wiping out existing ones.

©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.

Ep. 4 – From Cradle to Grave [6/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980)

February 9, 2021

President Biden c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for taking time to have your office try and get a pulse on what is going on out here in the country.

I read this article on January 15, 2021 about your announcement the previous night concerning your first proposal to Congress. Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package Includes More Stimulus Checks, State Government Bailout, $15 Federal Minimum Wage

I wanted to let you know what I think about the minimum wage increase you have proposed for the whole country and I wanted to quote Milton Friedman who you are familiar with and you made it clear in July that you didn’t care for his views! Let me challenge you to take a closer look at what he had to say!

Milton Friedman on the minimum wage

All too often, the policy debates of today are simply refights of the battles of yesteryear. As a result, old arguments often retain a striking relevance.

In February 1973, economist Milton Friedman gave an interview to Playboy magazine. It was a wide ranging interview, covering topics from monetary policy to political philosophy. Friedman was an economist with a rare gift for translating technical arguments into clear prose (as you will find in his books Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose). His remarks on the minimum wage, as given in that interview, are startlingly contemporary.

PLAYBOY: But you prefer the laissez-faire—free-enterprise—approach.
FRIEDMAN: Generally. Because I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse. Take, for example, the minimum wage, which has the effect of making the poor people at the bottom of the wage scale—those it was designed to help—worse off than before.

PLAYBOY: How so?
FRIEDMAN: If you really want to get a feeling about the minimum wage, there’s nothing more instructive than going to the Congressional documents to read the proposals to raise the minimum wage and see who testifies. You very seldom find poor people testifying in favor of the minimum wage. The people who do are those who receive or pay wages much higher than the minimum. Frequently Northern textile manufacturers. John F. Kennedy, when he was in Congress, said explicitly that he was testifying in favor of a rise in the minimum wage because he wanted protection for the New England textile industry against competition from the so-called cheap labor of the South. But now look at it from the point of that cheap labor. If a high minimum wage makes unfeasible an otherwise feasible venture in the South, are people in the South benefited or harmed? Clearly harmed, because jobs otherwise available for them are no longer available. A minimum-wage law is, in reality, a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.

PLAYBOY: Isn’t it, rather, a law that requires employers to pay a fair and livable wage?
FRIEDMAN: How is a person better off unemployed at a dollar sixty an hour than employed at a dollar fifty? No hours a week at a dollar sixty comes to nothing. Let’s suppose there’s a teenager whom you as an employer would be perfectly willing to hire for a dollar fifty an hour. But the law says, no, it’s illegal for you to hire him at a dollar fifty an hour. You must hire him at a dollar sixty. Now, if you hire him at a dollar sixty, you’re really engaging in an act of charity. You’re paying a dollar fifty for his services and you’re giving him a gift of 10 cents. That’s something few employers, quite naturally, are willing to do or can afford to do without being put out of business by less generous competitors. As a result, the effect of a minimum-wage law is to produce unemployment among people with low skills. And who are the people with low skills? In the main, they tend to be teenagers and blacks, and women who have no special skills or have been out of the labor force and are coming back. This is why there are abnormally high unemployment rates among these groups.

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

President Biden and Labor Unions

President Biden and Labor Unions

Joe Biden is old. He has been in politics since 1970 and holds antiquated views. On the campaign trail, he used expressions such as “malarkey” and said that kids should listen to the “record player.”

President Biden’s views on labor unions are similarly archaic. Unions appear to be central to his view of the economy, yet few private‐​sector workers are in unions today. This Biden campaign statement, which is ostensibly about clean energy, promotes labor unions 32 times. Biden wants to “create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure,” wants to “ensure these investments create good, union jobs that expand the middle class,” and so on. Spending on cars, energy, manufacturing, railroads, airports, broadband, and everything else in Biden’s plan is about union jobs, over and over ad nauseam.

The focus is pathological. I say that because union members account for just 6 percent of private‐​sector employment today, yet Biden’s statement reads as if unions dominate the workforce, are the bulwark of the middle class, and are central to the economy. They are not and will not be going forward. The economy is too dynamic and competitive, and Americans have increasingly rejected unions in the private sector, as shown in the chart below.

The Biden statement repeatedly stresses “choice.” Biden wants to “provide workers with the choice to join a union and bargain collectively.” But “collective bargaining” is a euphemism for monopoly unionism and the denial of choice. It violates freedom of association, as Charles Baird explains here. The frequent use of the word “choice” is an attempt to mask the reality of coercive labor unionism under current federal law.

Even if collective bargaining was reasonable in theory, frequent corruption scandals reveal that labor union leaders abuse their special privileges. Most recently, the

Justice Department reached a civil settlement with the United Auto Workers union, marking a major turning point in a multiyear corruption investigation that has sent several former labor leaders to prison. The sprawling probe, led by the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit, has penetrated the UAW’s top ranks and exposed what federal prosecutors described as a culture of corruption among its leadership built around kickback schemes, embezzlement and other illicit activities.

Why would any policymaker want to strengthen such organizations? Yet that is the direction of President Biden. His proposals would move backwards by reinforcing the coercive nature of federal labor union law, which is incompatible with personal freedom and the modern economy.

The chart shows that private‐​sector union membership has fallen from 32 percent of the workforce in 1960 to just 6 percent today.

graph of union share

Note: Chart data from unionstats, Barry Hirsch, and BLS.

With a $15 federal minimum wage, any jobs that don’t produce at least $36,000 per year in goods and services will eventually be eliminated—either because businesses close their doors, outsource their labor, or automate low-skilled jobs. (Photo: Moyo Studio/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has proposed a nationwide $15 minimum wage as part of his so-called “American Rescue Plan.” Talk about bad timing: Raising labor prices on businesses that are struggling to stay afloat is like throwing them a load of bricks instead of a life preserver.

State and local governments raising their minimum wages is one thing, but to more than double the federal minimum, from $7.25 to $15 per hour?

Nearly one in every five restaurants permanently closed their doors in 2020 as 30 large retail and restaurant companies filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, employment in food services (restaurants and bars) fell 19% in 2020 as retail clothing jobs dropped 24% and accommodations (hotels) jobs plummeted 32%.

The Left has declared war on our culture, but we should never back down, nor compromise our principles. Learn more now >>

Although very few people—only about 1% of all workers and 0.1% of single parents—make the $7.25 minimum wage, a good portion of restaurant, retail, and hotel jobs pay less than $15 per hour.

No one would suggest raising the rent on households who are months behind on their payments, so how could raising labor prices help businesses?

For a restaurant with five full-time workers making minimum wage, a doubling of the federal minimum wage would mean an extra $85,800 in wages and employment taxes. With restaurant profit margins of about 5%, that could require an extra $1.7 million in food sales ($4,700 more per day)—a seemingly impossible feat in normal times, let alone in the middle of a global pandemic.

Higher wages are a great thing—especially when the gains accrue to lower-income workers. But the only way to achieve actual wage increases—that is, lasting wage increases that don’t take jobs and incomes from others—is for workers to become more productive.

To that end, government mandates are powerless. A $15 minimum wage won’t help workers gain education and experience or provide them with technology that will enable them to produce more value and earn larger incomes. In fact, it could cause the opposite, by shifting employers’ resources away from training and investments to wages instead.

Moreover, raising wages by government fiat hurts many workers in the short and long run by cutting off the bottom rungs of the career ladder.

A $15 federal minimum wage translates into over $36,000 per year in wages and mandated taxes and benefits paid by employers. That means that any jobs that don’t produce at least $36,000 per year in goods and services will eventually be eliminated—either because businesses close their doors, outsource their labor, or automate low-skilled jobs.

That’s why even liberal economists and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office caution that a $15 federal minimum wage would lead to a survival-of-the-fittest labor market, reduce future incomes, and disproportionately harm African Americans and women.

The former chair of President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, warned in 2015, “Research suggests that a minimum wage set as high as $12 an hour will do more good than harm for low-wage workers, but a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.”

Those consequences would be unequal across the country. Large cities with high costs of living—many of which already have or are on the path to a $15 minimum wage—may not experience huge consequences. But non-urban areas and places with lower costs of living could be devastated.

Imagine if policymakers were proposing a minimum wage hike to nearly $36—ensuring that all full-time workers earned at least $74,000 per year.

Most people would say that’s too much, realizing that such a high minimum wage would have massive consequences in terms of lost jobs, increased prices, and a complete and utter disruption of the American labor market and economy.

Yet, $15 per hour in Mississippi would be equivalent to $35.74 per hour in D.C., where federal lawmakers seek to impose a national standard across the U.S.

Minimum wages are best left to local governments, where decisions can be made based on economic conditions and the cost of living.

If a local government sets its minimum wage above the market wage, at least workers and business owners who lose their jobs and businesses can move to places where it’s still possible for them to earn a living.

But if policymakers impose an excessively high nationwide minimum wage across 50 very diverse states and more than 3,000 counties, there will be nowhere else for the harmed to go.

Instead of mandating policies that irrefutably harm some people to the benefit of others, policymakers should focus on opening doors to income opportunities for all workers.

Reducing barriers to jobs and income gains is what helped contribute to the 14.6% increase in wages for workers at the 10th percentile of earners (those earning about $10 per hour) between 2016 and 2019.

Lawmakers at all levels should be seeking to help Americans recover and gain new opportunities instead of permanently wiping out existing ones.

©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.

Ep. 4 – From Cradle to Grave [6/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980)

February 9, 2021

President Biden c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for taking time to have your office try and get a pulse on what is going on out here in the country.

I read this article on January 15, 2021 about your announcement the previous night concerning your first proposal to Congress. Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package Includes More Stimulus Checks, State Government Bailout, $15 Federal Minimum Wage

I wanted to let you know what I think about the minimum wage increase you have proposed for the whole country and I wanted to quote Milton Friedman who you are familiar with and you made it clear in July that you didn’t care for his views! Let me challenge you to take a closer look at what he had to say!

Milton Friedman on the minimum wage

All too often, the policy debates of today are simply refights of the battles of yesteryear. As a result, old arguments often retain a striking relevance.

In February 1973, economist Milton Friedman gave an interview to Playboy magazine. It was a wide ranging interview, covering topics from monetary policy to political philosophy. Friedman was an economist with a rare gift for translating technical arguments into clear prose (as you will find in his books Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose). His remarks on the minimum wage, as given in that interview, are startlingly contemporary.

PLAYBOY: But you prefer the laissez-faire—free-enterprise—approach.
FRIEDMAN: Generally. Because I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse. Take, for example, the minimum wage, which has the effect of making the poor people at the bottom of the wage scale—those it was designed to help—worse off than before.

PLAYBOY: How so?
FRIEDMAN: If you really want to get a feeling about the minimum wage, there’s nothing more instructive than going to the Congressional documents to read the proposals to raise the minimum wage and see who testifies. You very seldom find poor people testifying in favor of the minimum wage. The people who do are those who receive or pay wages much higher than the minimum. Frequently Northern textile manufacturers. John F. Kennedy, when he was in Congress, said explicitly that he was testifying in favor of a rise in the minimum wage because he wanted protection for the New England textile industry against competition from the so-called cheap labor of the South. But now look at it from the point of that cheap labor. If a high minimum wage makes unfeasible an otherwise feasible venture in the South, are people in the South benefited or harmed? Clearly harmed, because jobs otherwise available for them are no longer available. A minimum-wage law is, in reality, a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.

PLAYBOY: Isn’t it, rather, a law that requires employers to pay a fair and livable wage?
FRIEDMAN: How is a person better off unemployed at a dollar sixty an hour than employed at a dollar fifty? No hours a week at a dollar sixty comes to nothing. Let’s suppose there’s a teenager whom you as an employer would be perfectly willing to hire for a dollar fifty an hour. But the law says, no, it’s illegal for you to hire him at a dollar fifty an hour. You must hire him at a dollar sixty. Now, if you hire him at a dollar sixty, you’re really engaging in an act of charity. You’re paying a dollar fifty for his services and you’re giving him a gift of 10 cents. That’s something few employers, quite naturally, are willing to do or can afford to do without being put out of business by less generous competitors. As a result, the effect of a minimum-wage law is to produce unemployment among people with low skills. And who are the people with low skills? In the main, they tend to be teenagers and blacks, and women who have no special skills or have been out of the labor force and are coming back. This is why there are abnormally high unemployment rates among these groups.

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

Schumer Is Wrong About Debt. Congress Must Take Debt Danger Seriously, Not Spend Recklessly

Debt

Calling for stimulus spending in response to COVID-19, Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., stated on Jan. 28, “The dangers of undershooting our response are far greater than overshooting it.” (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images)

The combination of unified control of the federal government along with the COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly caused some elected officials to think there are no consequences to new spending proposals. However, they must wake up to the dangers posed by recklessly adding to the national debt.

On Thursday, Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., exemplified this mindset by saying, “The dangers of undershooting our response are far greater than overshooting it. We should have learned the lesson, from 2008 and 2009, when Congress was too timid and constrained in its response to the global financial crisis.”

>>> What’s the best way for America to reopen and return to business? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, assembled America’s top thinkers to figure that out. So far, it has made more than 260 recommendations. Learn more here.

This is wrong on several fronts.

The Left has declared war on our culture, but we should never back down, nor compromise our principles. Learn more now >>

First, the stimulus spending that took place in the wake of the Great Recession was ineffective at creating jobs, and in some ways slowed the economy by creating perverse incentives and crowding out private activity.

Second, despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic, the economy is currently in much better shape than it was during the last recession.

The national unemployment rate hit 10% in October 2009 and stayed above 8% through August 2012. In contrast, the COVID-19 recession caused unemployment to spike to 14.8% in April 2020, but it fell below 7% by October.

Third, Congress has already approved over $4 trillion in response to the pandemic, much of which is still available or in the process of being distributed. The idea that Congress has been “undershooting” the response is ridiculous.

Most importantly, Schumer and other leftists in Congress are ignoring the very real danger posed by adding to the $27.8 trillion federal debt, which is over $210,000 for every U.S. household.

Even after the pandemic is over and the economy returns to normal, we will face serious problems as a result of the federal government’s broken finances.

Over $21 trillion worth of federal debt obligations are traded on the open market. While interest rates are low today, Congress has no control over what those rates will be as the debt turns over and requires refinancing.

Credit rating agencies are growing concernedabout the sustainability of America’s finances. If demand for our debt goes down, that will force the Treasury to offer higher interest rates.

Higher interest rates on so much debt would add up very quickly, which makes this a serious risk to economic growth and future prosperity. That means we need to put an end to massive deficits and eventually shrink the debt, either in absolute terms or in relation to the size of the economy, to reduce the risk to current and future generations.

This will be impossible unless legislators address the driving force behind long-term debt and deficits: unsustainable benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Major trust funds will run dry all too soon. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) goes broke in 2024, Social Security Disability Insurance in 2026, and the Social Security retirement fund in 2031. These are programs that tens of millions of people rely on, and trust fund insolvency would cause serious upheaval, especially for Social Security.

Annual deficits for the federal government and these major benefit programs are too large to close overnight. Deficits were already high during the years of strong economic growth prior to the pandemic, and then exploded in 2020.

Reforms aiming to slow the growth of spending on Social Security and Medicare can have a significant effect, but only if those reforms are in place several years before the trust funds run out. The longer we wait, the more drastic the necessary changes become.

Besides reforming large benefit programs, there are many other ways for Congress to improve the nation’s financial health. These include refocusing the federal government on core priorities, eliminating wasteful spending, returning to a regular budget process, and strengthening economic growth.

What would not help this massive and growing problem is spending trillions of dollars we don’t have on more “relief” legislation that would do little to help the economy. Hopefully Congress will come to its senses and recognize that it has a responsibility to use taxpayer dollars wisely.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.

—-

March 31, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Please explain to me if you ever do plan to balance the budget while you are President? I have written these things below about you and I really do think that you don’t want to cut spending in order to balance the budget. It seems you ever are daring the Congress to stop you from spending more.

President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington. | AP Photo

“The credit of the United States ‘is not a bargaining chip,’ Obama said on 1-14-13. However, President Obama keeps getting our country’s credit rating downgraded as he raises the debt ceiling higher and higher!!!!

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Just spend more, don’t know how to cut!!! Really!!! That is not living in the real world is it?

Making more dependent on government is not the way to go!!

Why is our government in over 16 trillion dollars in debt? There are many reasons for this but the biggest reason is people say “Let’s spend someone else’s money to solve our problems.” Liberals like Max Brantley have talked this way for years. Brantley will say that conservatives are being harsh when they don’t want the government out encouraging people to be dependent on the government. The Obama adminstration has even promoted a plan for young people to follow like Julia the Moocher.  

David Ramsey demonstrates in his Arkansas Times Blog post of 1-14-13 that very point:

Arkansas Politics / Health Care Arkansas’s share of Medicaid expansion and the national debt

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Baby carrot Arkansas Medicaid expansion image

Imagine standing a baby carrot up next to the 25-story Stephens building in Little Rock. That gives you a picture of the impact on the national debt that federal spending in Arkansas on Medicaid expansion would have, while here at home expansion would give coverage to more than 200,000 of our neediest citizens, create jobs, and save money for the state.

Here’s the thing: while more than a billion dollars a year in federal spending would represent a big-time stimulus for Arkansas, it’s not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the national debt.

Currently, the national debt is around $16.4 trillion. In fiscal year 2015, the federal government would spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion to fund Medicaid expansion in Arkansas if we say yes. That’s about 1/13,700th of the debt.

It’s hard to get a handle on numbers that big, so to put that in perspective, let’s get back to the baby carrot. Imagine that the height of the Stephens building (365 feet) is the $16 trillion national debt. That $1.2 billion would be the length of a ladybug. Of course, we’re not just talking about one year if we expand. Between now and 2021, the federal government projects to contribute around $10 billion. The federal debt is projected to be around $25 trillion by then, so we’re talking about 1/2,500th of the debt. Compared to the Stephens building? That’s a baby carrot.

______________

Here is how it will all end if everyone feels they should be allowed to have their “baby carrot.”

How sad it is that liberals just don’t get this reality.

Here is what the Founding Fathers had to say about welfare. David Weinberger noted:

While living in Europe in the 1760s, Franklin observed: “in different countries … the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor. Tytler was also a historian, and he noted, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan

April 6, 1816

[Jefferson affirms that the main purpose of society is to enable human beings to keep the fruits of their labor. — TGW]

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, “the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.” If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra taxation violates it.

[From Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert E. Bergh (Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), 14:466.]

_______

Jefferson pointed out that to take from the rich and give to the poor through government is just wrong. Franklin knew the poor would have a better path upward without government welfare coming their way. Milton Friedman’s negative income tax is the best method for doing that and by taking away all welfare programs and letting them go to the churches for charity.

_____________

_________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

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