Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Suggestion for Rand Paul

Rand Paul is out with an op-ed at WSJ, which curiously quotes Milton Friedman, the man who helped to design the witholding tax and promoted a negative income tax, rather than quoting hardcore libertarian economists on government spending.

As Murray Rothbard put it during the Nixon era:

Mention "free-market economics" to a member of the lay public and chances are that if he has heard the term at all, he identifies it completely with the name Milton Friedman. For several years, Professor Friedman has won continuing honors from the press and the profession alike, and a school of Friedmanites and "monetarists" has arisen in seeming challenge to the Keynesian orthodoxy. 
However, instead of the common response of reverence and awe for "one of our own who has made it," libertarians should greet the whole affair with deep suspicion: "If he’s so devoted a libertarian, how come he’s a favorite of the Establishment?" An advisor of Richard Nixon and a friend and associate of most Administration economists, Friedman has, in fact, made his mark in current policy, and indeed reciprocates as a sort of leading unofficial apologist for Nixonite policy. 
In fact, in this as in other such cases, suspicion is precisely the right response for the libertarian, for Professor Friedman’s particular brand of "free-market economics" is hardly calculated to ruffle the feathers of the powers-that-be. Milton Friedman is the Establishment’s Court Libertarian, and it is high time that libertarians awaken to this fact of life.
I can't imagine Rand doesn't understand this. Is he again talking code to his new friends, Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin? They certainly understand the difference between quoting Friedman, and, say, Mises, Rothbard or Walter Block.

Nevertheless, Rand's piece is mostly about lower taxes and less government spending, except, of course, for what seems to now be Rand's mandatory pro-government addendum, in everyone of his comments, that Karl Marx could launch a communist revolution with:
None of this is to say that we don't need government or that government doesn't strive to do good things. It is to say that government doesn't do anything very well, and that government should be limited—confined to those duties that absolutely can't or won't be done by the private sector.
Here's a suggestion for Rand. Maybe in his next op-ed, instead of leaving wide open the necessity for government, he can spell out just how limited the government should be. Is he in favor of the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the FDA, the SEC, the CFTC, the Fed, HUD, the FAA,. NASA, BATFE? Or are these "keepers" in Rand's view of small government?  Libertarians want to know.


  1. Wenzel, you're a third rate hack.

    "The death of economist Milton Friedman last week at the age of 94 marks a great loss for advocates of freedom everywhere. He was perhaps the most successful free-market economist of the 20th century, in terms of his real-world impact on politics and policy. Many modern politicians, including Ronald Reagan, considered him a major influence in their careers"

    1. With all do respect to Dr. Paul, Murray Rothbard would understand how Milton Friedman was positioning himself as an economist. much more so than Dr. Paul.

      I am going with Wenzel and Rothbard on this one.

    2. "Wenzel, you're a third rate hack."

      Nope. You're just a blind worshipper of Ron Paul.

      Instead of using the "argument from authority" fallacy, maybe instead YOU should explain why he's wrong.
      Anybody who blindly trusts anybody's word, even Ron Paul's, isn't ready for liberty.
      So just quoting someone as if that is enough, isn't impressive in the slightest to any that actually prefers to do his own thinking.

    3. Anonymous, you're a third-rate moron.

    4. Here's what's so destructive about Friedman's monetary theory: It essentially blames the free market ("overheating") for the Great Depression, such that the central planners of the money supply needed to print more to get us out of a so-called "deflationary spiral".

      Neoconservative David Frum Hearts the Fed

      No, Rick Santorum, We Don't Need a Little Inflation

      This is one of the things that made Romney and Mr. "This Bill offends my principles ... This is a Hoover moment", Paul Ryan, unfit for the presidency.

      These people believe the same things that Obama and Bernanke believe about Hoover and the Great Depression, but they're all wrong.

      Hoover was an interventionist like Paul Ryan, and the country suffered more for it.

      Is Budget Austerity Modern-Day Hooverism?

      So, when Rand Paul supports Friedmanite monetary policy, he's actually helping the Left to destroy the economy.

      His father understands this.

  2. Friedman: "...highest IQ was Richard Nixon's and he was a terrible president.

    While I was never a governmental official, I was a member of an economic advisory group that Nixon appointed of which Arthur Burns was chairman. I saw Nixon from time to time when he was president, until he imposed price controls. I saw him only once after that."

    1. Oh please, this just means that like Rand, Friedman tried to play it both ways. From "Presidential Economics" by Herbert Stein:

      "[Nixon] was in touch with Milton Friedman, who was a strong supporter, and had been exposed to Friedman's line of thinking...The most important people in Nixon economic policy was..George Schultz...Schultz was a close friend, admirer and disciple of Milton Friedman"

  3. This article was recently submitted to r/Libertarian on reddit.

  4. Wenzel, the paranoia meds aren't working. I recommend you double the dosage.

    1. Stupidity must be contagious, eh? Look in the mirror sometime.


  5. Whatever, the statement he quoted from Milton Friedman "nobody spends someone else's money as frugally or as wisely as they spend their own" is obviously true so I don't see anything wrong with it. Perhaps he could have quoted Mises or Rothbard and that would have been better, or perhaps he could have quoted none of the above and said that the tax and spending increases are a great idea like the rest of the congress. Then he wouldn't have to worry about Economic Policy Journal attacking him.

  6. I think Wenzel's point is that quoting Friedman goes down well with the establishment, whereas quoting Mises or Rothbard would signal Rand as trouble.

  7. This might be going off into the weeds a bit, but about that abolishing the FAA...

    I'm an en route air traffic controller, and I don't know if ATC services can be truly privatized. I know that both Lockheed and Raytheon had looked at "privatizing" ATC (in the pure, fascistic sense) and they both have passed. The word on the street was that they couldn't make it "profitable". Talking with other controllers (most of which are not economically enlightened), given that control of airspace must be monopolized (meaning, unlike cell phone coverage that can overly a geographic area with multiple carriers, in air traffic there can only be one authority over defined airspace) how can you have competition for controlling services? There's only one tower at an airport, and each en route center has sovereign airspace... Believe me, I'm all for it if it can be truly privatized, and, I admit that I am not the Shell Answer Man. However, I can't see how it would work, though that doesn't mean it can't.

    I rationalize it as ATC services fall under "provide for the common defense" mandate in the Constitution to help me sleep at night.

    1. Just off the top of my head, I would say the airports would receive lower premiums from insurance companies by having ATC. Also, I'd bet that airlines would lose customers if they couldn't guarantee the safety of their flights. Heck,I'd be surprised if there isn't ATC that is already privatized in other countries. We don't have to know exactly how it would work, but it is easy to see that they would have to have it for insurance purposes in a free market, and the better they were at it, the lower their insurance premiums would be.

    2. "Common defense" doesn't include accidents. It's meant to prevent acts of deliberate private property rights violations (within the limits of constitutionally defined jurisdiction).

      The Truth About the "Robber Barons"

      Anti-Trust and Monopoly (with Ron Paul)

      "The source of monopoly is governmental power ..."

  8. Rand is not an Anarchist, get over it. He is a Minarchist. He fundamentally disagrees with you over what utopian society to strive for. Regardless of that fact, we are so far from either that you accomplish nothing by belittling him at every turn.