A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.
There is a lot of talk on the news, talk radio, NPR, blogs, etc about the stimulus package that President Obama signed here in Colorado yesterday. Everybody has strong opinions about what the government should do about the economy.
Republicans and Democrats differ on how they would use the power of the federal government to “fix” the economy. Both agree that something has to be done. Both also agree that it was the other party that caused the problem.
The debates and posturing seems endless. Most all the debates seem to follow the same theme, how do we spend all this money. It’s an emergency, the government must do something. The sky is falling; we are on the verge of an economic collapse, melt down, crisis, free fall, doomsday, etc…What seems to be missing is a different debate.
Is spending tax dollars to aid the economy in an allegedly free market, the role of the Federal government?
One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programmes by their intentions rather than their results.
According to Milton Friedman there are four ways to spend money.
1. You spend your money on yourself. You’re motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.
2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you’re less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.
3. You spend other people’s money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.
4. You spend other people’s money on other people. And in this case, who cares?
So it seems to me that the current plan is to spend other peoples money to help stimulate the economy so the same people will have money to spend on themselves.
Is this the proper role of the Federal government?
There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.