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And They Said Bush Was Clueless The Liberal Housing Crash

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Don't Cry for Milton

by Christopher Chantrill
June 06, 2009 at 12:06 pm

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WHERE’S the next Milton Friedman coming from? That’s what Club for Growth founder Stephen Moore wants to know. With the ongong “assault against global capitalism” coming out of Washington,

I become more nostalgic for one missing voice: Milton Friedman. No one could slice and dice the sophistry of government market interventions better than Milton.

Friedman was a realist. Despite the success of his ideas he expected people

would be seduced by collectivist ideas again... [So today] it is Milton Friedman and his principles of free trade, low tax rates and deregulation that are standing trial as the murderers of global prosperity.

Lefty economists like Joseph Stiglitz and James Galbraith and pop authors like Naomi Klein are conducting a triumphal march over the intellectual grave of Friedman. Meanwhile “Milton Friedman: Proud Father of Global Misery” stickers are turning up on mail-boxes all over.

Let’s not give way to pessimism, folks. After all, this is a free country; every lefty dog has his day. It’s now thirty years, a full generation, from the last convulsion of Keynesian economics. It was in the 1970s that the government last tried economic policies similar to those of the Obama administration. It wasn’t till 1980 when the policy had nearly drowned the economy in runaway inflation and stagnation that the American people turned to Ronald Reagan into power to execute on the ideas of Milton Friedman, and get the nation out of the mess that liberals had created.

What took so long? Back in the mid-1970s everyone knew that Ronald Reagan was a washed-up joke, and Milton Friedman was a harmless crank with a column in Newsweek alternating with solid liberal establishment economist Paul Samuelson.

Let’s not cry over Milton Friedman. Reviled as a young man because he was a Jew, and later because of his libertarian ideas, he triumphed over his critics because he was clever, he was persistent, and because he worked hard. But we don’t need him to articulate the benefits of capitalism all over again.

Everyone understands that capitalism is the only thing that works. But our liberal friends just don’t care.

They had a chance to incorporate his ideas into their policy, and the Clinton administration did, in a half-hearted way, for a while. But who wants to wind down welfare? Who wants to forswear gorgeous mega-projects to save the planet with renewable green energy? Who wants to give up “free” health care? Who wants to give up sexy high-speed rail—you know, just like they have in Europe? What would be the point of political power without all that?

With or without Milton Friedman, our liberal friends are shortly going to experience a very nasty rendez-vous with reality. As usual with our liberal friends, they will insist that we experience it with them.

It’s a real shame that we are going to have to go through the 1970s all over again. And it’s a shame that the people who will suffer most will be the kids who voted for Obama. Well, maybe not. Maybe the sooner they get a reality check the better.

Heres’s one thing for Stiglitz, Galbraith, and Klein to think about. Obama’s borrow-and-spend may go down a treat in Washington salons, but it won’t be swinging much weight in India and China. And if everyone decides that they can make bigger returns investing in India and China than in the US, well, let’s just say that the Obamanites might find themselves sailing against both wind and tide.

It’s articulating what comes next that matters. Today we need a pitcher that can throw even better stuff than Milton Friedman. Most likely, he—or she—is already warming up in the bullpen. That’s the whole idea behind American Exceptionalism. When we Americans need a new pitcher to get us out of a jam, there always seems to be one on the bench, name of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Friedman, or Reagan or something like that.

We’ll know if this pitcher is the real thing because of the Bronx cheers coming out of the expensive liberal box seats. Here’s the kind of no-nonsense pitching that I’ll be looking for:

  • Enough already with trying to beat the business cycle. The government has been promising to do this for about a century and it has failed. Get it out of here!

  • Enough already with getting other people to pay for your health care. It is cruel, wasteful, and unjust.

  • Enough already with sending little Johnny off for a mandatory twelve year sentence at the state educational penitentiary. Hey, at least your average violent offender at the regular pen gets a trial of his peers and time off for good behavior.

If the new conservative pitcher has the stuff to “slice and dice” the liberal sophistry that would truculently come up to bat against this modest program, here is what I would say.

It’s a start.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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