Quote of the day–Milton Friedman

The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.

Milton Friedman
[So… Why is it that so many people demand more and more centralized government? Is it that facts are irrelevant to people? Is it that despite a hundred years of statist and socialist failure people still don’t see the pattern? Or is it that Labrat nailed it with Parasite memes and monkeyspheres?

And if you don’t have good answers to those questions I’ll still give you an A+ if you can tell me a simple and clean way to dramatically reduce the size of government.–Joe]

10 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Milton Friedman

  1. Damnit no, I can’t. But a suggestion I have. Find the person who you have to drag kicking and screaming to the Swamp that is D.C. and tell them to reduce the size of government. Oh and take away their chairs, people have short meetings that can’t sit down.

  2. Like dieting by denying oneself calories, cutting off the ability of the government to pay for things brings reduction in its fat – the excess employees and staff at all levels. In the military an intelligent commander regularly reduces the size of his staff because they have a natural growth in their life if one doesn’t watch it. So reduce the taxes, the ability to borrow money (federal level especially), and create new money and the government giant might start shrinking. Do remember that I said it was like dieting, which is one of those things you resort to under duress – no one likes to deny themselves the good stuff – no matter how bad it is for them. Well, smart people do, but how many of them are there? in government? even fewer.

  3. Allow doctors to deduct off their taxes the cost of caring for the uninsured and Medicare patients. They will be clamoring to care for them and everyone will get coverage. The govt will get less in taxes but will not have the overhead to manage of govt run health care (nor the power they want over the people).

    If you nationalize anything, nationalize the legal profession, requiring fixed fee services, caps on damages, and all punitive damages go to the state (so when they say it is not about the money, it really is NOT about the money; it is about punishing them not playing the lottery). Major tort reform would greatly reduce costs and prices of everything not to mention reducing the overhead of all those lawyers wanting to get into power in govt.

  4. Rustmeister,

    They built a nuclear bomb. The atom was being split in universities before that.

    Visits to the moon and other planets is significant also. But the government claimed a monopoly and forbid private enterprise to try it on their own. So it’s hard to say if we might have even greater achievements in space had the market been open.

  5. I think that at least part of the problem is that the federal government meets in more or less permanent session. Legislators have their more permanent home in DC with their state residence being where they go on vacation. Since they are usually in session, they must find something to do to justify their presence, and they pass laws.

    Other governments meet occasionally. In Florida the legislature meets once per year. My Board of County Commissioners meets once per week. What we should do is have the federal legislators spend less time in DC than they spend at home in their districts, listening to their constituents. This would give them gainful occupation that does not include ceaseless legislating. Legislative sessions should be short, regular, and infrequent. Consider it like a schedule at camp for children: if they are kept busy they stay out of trouble.

  6. Also, repeal the 17th (I think) Amendment. This would take the selection of Kongress Kritters away from the popular vote, and back to a selection by State committee (however that state wants to run it). Probable beneficial effects: better accountability of Kongressioners to their state if they’re liable to be recalled; less PACs and lobbyists; shorter terms in office.

  7. I like the idea of removing the chairs, but the problem is one of morals. As government structures get larger and more complex, it becomes easier and easier to abstract away from this simple fact:

    The government cannot give that which it has not first taken.

    If you ask the government to do something and you are not writing a check to pay for it your are likely a thief. Perhaps hidden by layers of government, but you are using the power of government (which is backed up with guns) to extort funds from other people to your benefit.

    If government is limited to the specific items originally laid out as its responsibilities, it will be much smaller and there will be far less argument about expenditures – because those functions are common (defense, mail, dealing with other nations, keeping the states from attacking each other…).

    Where does morality come in? The people. The people must be moral according to John Adams:
    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    We have become an immoral people asking of government that which we have not earned nor are prepared to pay for.

    Current politics makes this blindingly clear. The magical thinking in D.C. is becoming the stuff of legend.

    There is no tree on which money grows – short of the Treasury and the Fed colluding to monetize debt (which has another name – fraud) and thereby taxing via inflation. TANSTAAFL

    HOW to make this happen, to make government smaller? Not a clue other than cut off its funding.

    How to do that? You’ve got me… Actually… the governemnt has got me.

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