Saturday, November 18, 2006

More Perspectives on Friedman

Via Joe Malchow, a priceless video clip of Dartmouth Trustee Peter Robinson doing Q & A on libertarianism with Milton Friedman. Classic.

From our local paper, The Valley News, an article on the time the Friedmans spent near Dartmouth.

Via Greg Mankiw, the WSJ's sampler of Friedman's opinions. On Social Security:

I have long been a critic of Social Security, basically because I believe that it is not the business of government to tell people what fraction of their incomes they should devote to providing for their own or someone else's old age. On a more pragmatic level, Social Security is another example of the generalization that government programs typically have effects that are the opposite of those intended by their well-meaning sponsors (what Rep. Richard Armey calls the "invisible foot of government").

The well-meaning sponsors intended Social Security to ensure a minimum income to the poor in their old age. It has largely done that, but at the cost of what they would have regarded as a perverse redistribution of income from the young to the old, from black to white, from the relatively poor to the relatively well-to-do.

From its inception, Social Security has been an unholy combination of two items: a flat-rate tax on earnings up to a maximum with no exemption and a benefit program that awards subsidies that have essentially no relation to need but are based on such criteria as marital status, longevity and recent earnings. As I wrote many years ago, "hardly anyone approves of either part separately. Yet the two combined have become a sacred cow. What a triumph of imaginative packaging and Madison Avenue advertising!"
--from "Social Security: The General And the Personal," March 15, 1988


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