Archive for the ‘Milton Friedman’ Category

parity pay

One of the most prevailing fallacies concerns the so-called parity payment of social security. Most people who make a living doing something more important than economics believe that both the employee and the employer pay 50 percent of social security. Yet this is just plain wrong, as Milton Friedman explains:

The part for which the employer writes the check is also paid by the employee. His wage is lower than it otherwise would be.

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Nobel laureate Milton Friedman on the difference between being in favor of free enterprise and being pro business:

I believe the problem in this world is to avoid a concentration of power.

They think that the cure to big government is to have bigger government, except with them running it instead of the people who are now running it.

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Some time ago I wrote about a 10-minute video in which Milton Friedman outlined the role of government in a free society. Fortunately, I have now found the whole speech which is about one hour:

The first thing you have to do is to emphasize the very different meanings that “free” has. The first is freedom in the sense of the absence of coercion. The second is free in the sense of free lunch, in the sense of absence of costs. There are few more important sources of confusion about the proper role of government in a our society than the confusion between the two very different meanings of the word “free”.

All of us are too willing to see government expand in areas that benefit us. What we object to is paying for when it benefits somebody else.


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Here we have a wonderful discussion of the pros and cons of America’s war on drugs with Milton Friedman and Pete Wilson. The debate was recorded in December 2000, after three decades of fighting against drugs.

As it is we have caused tens of thousands of deaths in Colombia and other Latin American countries. I think that prohibition of drugs is the most immoral program that the United States has ever engaged in. It has destroyed civil rights at home and it has destroyed nations abroad.

The only way you can enforce it is through informers. That is the way in which the Soviet Union tried to enforce similar laws which tried to prevent people from saying things.

What is the difference between saying to somebody that government may tell you what you can take in your mouth but the government may not tell what you may say out of your mouth?

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Today the great Milton Friedman would have celebrated his 100th birthday. No doubt he was one of the greatest economists of all time. His thoughts on various topics from inflation to minimum wages have had a profound impact on liberty and prosperity around the world. Here is a brief collection of my earlier posts on Friedman:

Friedman on Greed:

Friedman on Free Markets:

Friedman on School Choice:

Friedman on Bailouts:

Friedman on the Role of Government:

Friedman on the Military Draft:


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An important question is whether the concept of liberty includes the freedom not to act. Some decades ago, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman was confronted with the Good Samaritan paradox. His thoughts are remarkable:

Note the shift you made: you started with society and ended up with government. Are those synonymous?

A good society will certainly be one in which people in that position will be strongly inclined to move out and rescue that man. But that is a very different question from saying that if the society is bad we can make it good by using force.

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More than a decade ago, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman wrote a comprehensive essay on how to cure the American health care system. It is neither surprising that Congress has not followed any of his proposals, nor that things have not improved at all. Today, most people in the US and elsewhere do not even understand what a health insurance ought to be in general. Thus, with the upcoming presidential election in mind, Friedman’s article is worth reading more than ever:

How to Cure Health Care

We generally rely on insurance to protect us against events that are highly unlikely to occur but that involve large losses if they do occur – major catastrophes, not minor, regularly recurring expenses. […] Yet in medicine, it has become common to rely on insurance to pay for regular medical examinations and often for prescriptions.

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Recently, I found this interesting video in which William F. Buckley and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman discuss the idea of a negative income tax:

In a period of unprecedented prosperity and affluence the number of the people on welfare is skyrocketing. Why?

Because once they get on, we make it almost impossible for them to get off.

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Random collection of quotes on politicians:

Ernest Benn:

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.

Groucho Marx:

Those are my principles.  If you don’t like them, I have others.

Dick Armey:

Three groups spend other people’s money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision.

Will Rogers:

The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other.  The one that’s out always looks the best.

Joseph Sobran:

The difference between a politician and a pickpocket is that a pickpocket doesn’t always get indignant when you tell him to keep his hands to himself.

Politicians never accuse you of  ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money — only for wanting to keep your own money.

Mark Twain:

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Henry Cate VII:

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.

Thomas Sowell:

There is nothing that politicians like better than handing out benefits to be paid for by someone else.

In politics, the truth is strictly optional and that also seems to be true in parts of the media.

You have to have a sense of humor if you follow politics. Otherwise, the sheer fraudulence of it all will get you down.

If politicians stopped meddling with things they didn’t understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.

Charley Reese:

Experience to a politician is like experience to a prostitute — not much to recommend them.

Ronald Reagan:

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession.  I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

Milton Friedman:

If you really want to engage in policy activity, don’t make that your vocation.  Make it your avocation.  Get a job.  Get a secure base of income.  Otherwise, you’re going to get corrupted and destroyed.

source: Freedom Keys

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Nobel laureate Milton Friedman talks about monetary policy and government stimulus. Thirty years old, but as relevant as ever:

When you start inflating the good effects come first, and the bad effects come later.

If you slow down inflation the bad effects come first, and the good effects come later.

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