Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
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Heartland Institute research fellow Benjamin Domenech, who is also editor of our Health Care News, was a guest today on “The War Room” on Glenn Beck’s Web-based network The Blaze. Ben, S.E. Cupp, Andrew Wilcow, Amy Holmes and Buck Sexton talked about the legacy of Milton Friedman — who would have turned 100 years old today. The video is embedded below, but first a few highlights.
Wilcow started off recounting Friedman’s classic anecdote about ditch-digging as “stimulus” and the “economy of spoons.” Friedman was on a tour of India and saw scores of workers digging it the dirt with shovels. He asked why they weren’t using modern earth-moving equipment to tackle the job more efficiently. Because “more jobs are created” this way, was the reply. Friedman quipped: “Why not use spoons?” The central planners have never come up with a good answer to that retort — and never will.
Cupp applauded how Friedman advocated privatizing “just about everything,” especially entitlements, and how it’s still the “third rail” of politics — at least for now. Paul Ryan is still alive, and he touched it.
Then came Ben:
One of my favorite Friedman quotes is that governments don’t learn, people learn. And what people have learned over the last several decades is that everything Friedman said about school reform is right. … He made reform of schools as a whole something of a priority for him. … Friedman’s legacy today is 700,000 kids in Louisiana who are free of the shackles that tied them to failing schools. And so I think that Milton Friedman’s legacy today would be to expand that kind of thing to the entire nation.
Holmes then agreed with Ben, noting that school reform is the “civil rights issue of our time.” She also noted that Friedman “connected morality to economics — you cannot be politically free if you are economically enslaved.”
Buck noted how Friedman “changed the world we are living in now.” Friedman, an ideological and unapologetic libertarian during the days of the draft, was opposed to conscription and “wanted us to move toward a volunteer army.” That, of course, is what we have today: the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen … by choice.
Wilcow jumped back in by noting that economics is “boring” (Ben jokingly interjects with a “hey!”) but Wilcow continues that when articulated by Friedman, economics was not boring — especially compared to the economics peddled by leftist bores like Paul Krugman.
Ben’s turn again:
[Friedman] was a happy warrior. He was talking about very controversial subjects in a very controversial time. And yet he made his case with confidence and with a pleasant and winning demeanor and that’s a lesson for anyone who advocates for free markets today.
Indeed. Watch the whole discussion. It is well worth six minutes of your time.