American Elephants


Here’s Milton Friedman On The Minimum Wage by The Elephant's Child

The myths of the minimum wage persist because they sound good — not because they do good, they don’t. Ideally, there would be no minimum wage, and if you wanted to hire your neighbor’s 12 year-old kid to rake the leaves, and he wanted to do it for whatever pay you agreed upon, you would not be subject to government control. The minimum wage hurts the very people it was presumed to help.



Milton Friedman: “Incentives for Immoral Behavior” by The Elephant's Child

Incentives matter. When you get the incentives wrong, you can expect things to go wrong. Sometimes people even end up dead.



The Most Persistent Economic Fallacy of All Time by The Elephant's Child

Milton Friedman, lecture in Erie PA 1978

We are troubled by economic fallacies that seem so reasonable, yet just don’t work. Milton Friedman was wonderful at explaining with great good humor just why they are fallacy. Thank goodness so many of his lessons have been preserved.



Why Are Liberals So Angry? by The Elephant's Child

From the Archives: August 8, 2010.

Liberals control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Their efforts are extolled and celebrated by the national media.  Hollywood churns out movies and TV shows that portray the liberal view of the world.  Congress can pass whatever bills they want, confident that the president will sign them.  They have the power to do whatever they want, and since they are there —our elected representatives — one can assume that they have the approval and good wishes of the people of the United States.

So why are Liberals so angry?  If the recent revelations from JournoList, the e-mail list of about 100 liberal/left journalists mean anything, the most notable fact is the depth of their hatred for conservatives.  And not just conservatives in general, they hate conservative individuals.

There is plenty of evidence of this.  Those of us on the right have seen it — frothing at the mouth, red-in-the-face, not just disagreement, but hatred.  Back in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire,” liberals were enraged.

A  JournoList participant, a public-radio reporter, expressed her personal wish to see Rush Limbaugh die a slow painful death — and nobody objected.  A Daily Kos editor dreams of liquidating opponents like “Steven Milloy and his buddies” with a Soylent Green assisted suicide, because they commit the crime of opposing global warming alarmism.  Howard Dean, never shy about expressing his hatred for Republicans, said “In contradistinction to the Republicans, Democrats don’t believe kids ought to go to bed hungry at night.”  Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) said “I want to say a few words about what it means to be a Democrat.  It’s very simple: We have a conscience.” Oh please!

When you comb through the evidence, it becomes apparent that Conservatives are hated specifically because — they disagree. Liberals life-long dream of government controlled health care has been realized.  And the Republicans had the colossal nerve to oppose it.  It was, liberals are sure, the right thing to do, to make health care more affordable and everybody healthier, and the Republicans started in with their studies and evidence and history and convinced the poor ordinary folk out there to oppose it too.

Progressivism is a bit of a religious experience — everything is politics and politics is everything.  And when they got to be in charge, to control the levers and the power of government, liberals would show everyone just what “hope and change”really meant. Equality, social justice.  Things would be fixed.  The rich would be brought down, business would be forced to stop preying on poor people just to make a profit.  Profit would no longer be allowed. Life would be fair.

Of course they have tripled the deficit that Obama claims daily was left to him by George W. Bush.  They have really, really tried to fix the economy. They have paid people to buy cars, purchase homes, pay off their mortgages, weatherize their homes and put solar panels on their roofs. And it didn’t work. And the liberals are furious because the conservatives — disagreed.

Life is not fair. It just isn’t.  And you cannot make it fair.  Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Human nature is imperfect, unchangeable, and unfixable.  We make mistakes, and that is how we learn.  Sometimes we make horrible mistakes, and we try to fix them.  But if we do not learn from our mistakes, then we cannot grow. The greatest impetus for growth has always been liberty. Milton Friedman once put it rather well:

A society that puts equality— in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.  The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.

I’m repeating this because they are still angry, and it still applies.



Remembering Milton Friedman on His 100th Birthday by The Elephant's Child
July 31, 2012, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom | Tags: , ,

Milton Friedman was born 100 years ago today, and the world is vastly richer in its understanding of free market principles because of him. Well over 200 million peoples have been liberated from poverty because of the rediscovery of free market principles.

President Obama was a part-time instructor in civil-rights law at the University of Chicago, where Friedman taught for decades, but he famously did not participate in the lunchtime conversations among the faculty. He might have absorbed a little something.

In the 1960s, Milton Friedman explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar comes from workers in the private economy. Robbing Peter to pay Paul does not create a magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul.

This is the fundamental error central to Obamanomics. No matter how many times Obama waves his magic wand, no multiplier effect appears. We have had ‘true believers’ before, but never one who bet the whole economy on a Keynesian computer program. Obamanomics is the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in US history.

His was a voice for world-wide economic freedom. His debates, preserved on video, are a delight to watch as he skewers with a gracious smile, all opponents. He had a marvelous talent for communicating the values of the free market to a mass audience.

Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for 1976 — at a time when most of the prizes had gone to socialists.  It was a marker for the return of free-market economics to the intellectual debate.  His 1971 book , written with Anna Schwartz,  A Monetary History of the United States, changed the way we think about money. His two best-selling books, Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Free to Choose (1980) belong on everyone’s bookshelves.



Milton Friedman Explains: Soaking the Rich Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

A good spat over economics always inspires me to reach for Milton Friedman. He explains so clearly, with such good humor.



Another Little Lesson On Learning from History by The Elephant's Child

Milton Friedman on ‘Redistribution of Wealth’ by The Elephant's Child
December 1, 2011, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Statism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

One of the most wonderful things about the computer age is that now we have access to the thoughts and words of those who are no longer with us.



Milton Friedman on the Power of the Free Market! by The Elephant's Child

A Little History: Milton Friedman on Greed. by The Elephant's Child

Fun to reach back a bit in history, and this is probably quite a ways back to judge by the length of Donahue’s hair. It is a good example of the quintessential liberal v. conservative question, though Milton Friedman would probably balk at being called a conservative —he was a libertarian.  Most conservatives would agree with his point of view on capitalism.  Nothing has changed. Liberals still say such silly things and regard the idea that greed is good with bewildered horror.

Here’s another quote from Milton Friedman: (He was very quotable).

A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome —ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.  The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.



Milton Friedman Remembered. by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, July 31, would have been Milton Friedman’s 98th birthday.  Here is a bit from Free to Choose:

A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.  The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.

On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a  happy by-product , end up with both greater freedom and greater equality.  Through a by–product of freedom, greater equality is not an accident.  A free society releases the energies and abilities of people to pursue their own objectives.  It prevents some people from arbitrarily suppressing others.  It does not prevent some people from achieving positions of privilege, but so long as freedom is maintained, it prevents those positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized; they are subject to continued attack by other able, ambitious people.  Freedom  means diversity but also mobility.  It preserves the opportunity for today’s disadvantaged to become tomorrow’s privileged and, in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life.





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