In a column titled, I kid you not, An Ode to Milton Friedman, Caplan writes:
Today would have been Milton Friedman's 100th birthday. I only met the man long enough for him to sign my copy of Capitalism and Freedom, but he's been a tremendous influence on me.
All of my other adolescent intellectual heroes - Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises - gradually came to seem less impressive in my eyes. But the greatness of Milton Friedman is as constant as the Northern Star.Puhleez, I never got Friedman to sign as much as a tax withholding form that the bastard designed, but I did hear him speak on at least two occasions. The first occasion was in the early 1980s, when he was predicting a crazed inflation that never came, based on his loopy, rigid belief in the monetary equation MV=PT. He never got the V he expected, since he assumed that would be something fairly constant and it turned out not to be. So in many ways his forecast, based on a faulty assumption of a constant (in this case V), was a precursor to the blow up of Long Term Capital Management and later the subprime mortgage syndication business, which both were designed by econometricians who followed Friedman into the room where variables are magically assumed to be constants.
The second time I heard him speak, the audience was allowed to write down questions that he would answer. I aksed on my card if he felt at all guilty about designing the withholding tax. The question was never read to him.
Friedman makes his points as simply, clearly, and bluntly as possible. He never rambles on.Is Caplan seriously comparing Friedman's style in being blunt with that of Rand, Mises and Rothbard? Friedman played a much more skillful close to the vest political game than Rand, Mises or Rothbard. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Rand, Mises and Rothbard were never awarded such prizes, which are never ever awarded to the blunt.
Friedman also was a member of Ronald Reagan's President's Economic Policy Advisory Board, another position that is never give to a true warrior that will always speak the truth.
Caplan concludes by writing:
In a just world, we'd all be Friedmanites now.What crap is this? In a just world, Friedman's monetary equation, his positivist methodology, his education voucher system, his negative income tax and his withholding tax, would all be thrown into hell along with him, where he could play central planning games with Keynes, Marx, Stalin, Mao,and eventually Caplan.