April 01, 2008


I finished reading Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom. I think for accessibility's sake I prefer Thomas Sowell's books, but without Friedman there would be no Sowell.

One thing that struck me was how little progress we've made in 46 years. Most of the points Friedman argues are the same points I've heard from the likes of Sowell, Stossel, or Elder. School vouchers, ending the minimum wage, a flat tax, the unsustainablility of social security: Friedman was talking about all of these things in 1962. 1962, for pete's sake. And we haven't done anything about it since then? These problems have been common knowledge for nearly 50 years, and still we manage to screw it up.

A lot of the book felt like it could've been written last week, since we still face the same stupid issues today. That is, until he starts using actual facts and figures.

In 1961, government amounted to something like $33 billion (federal, state, and local) on direct welfare payments and programs of all kinds: old age assistance, social security benefit payments, aid to dependent children, general assistance, farm price support programs, public housing, etc.

Then you see just how boned we are. Each of these programs alone is more than $33 billion these days.

We've had 46 years to take the advice of the world's greatest economist. Why have we been so stupid?

Posted by Sarah at April 1, 2008 08:14 AM | TrackBack

I laughed the other day when, on FOX, the reporter announced that Social Security MIGHT run out by something like 2043. News flash: we already knew this. My dad told me at age 18 that every penny I earned would be taxed and given to someone else for Social Security and that I would never see ANY of it. I guess I accepted it a long time ago. Why is this news????

Posted by: Nicole at April 1, 2008 02:53 PM

It's human nature.

Posted by: Green at April 1, 2008 10:25 PM