Milton Friedman's Memo to Wisconsin

C. Edmund Wright
Inspired by the latest ad campaign from CNBC where they show the late Milton Friedman skewering a befuddled Phil Donahue in a debate on capitalism, I was perusing some Friedman quotes on the internet this morning.

And I came across this, which was clearly written for the people of Wisconsin:

"When unions get higher wages for their members by restricting entry into an occupation, those higher wages are at the expense of other workers who find their opportunities reduced. When government pays its employees higher wages, those higher wages are at the expense of the taxpayer. But when workers get higher wages and better working conditions through the free market, when they get raises by firm competing with one another for the best workers, by workers competing with one another for the best jobs, those higher wages are at nobody's expense. They can only come from higher productivity, greater capital investment, more widely diffused skills. The whole pie is bigger -- there's more for the worker, but there's also more for the employer, the investor, the consumer, and even the tax collector.

That's the way the free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people. That's the secret of the enormous improvements in the conditions of the working person over the past two centuries."

It never ceases to amaze and inspire -- the prescience that Friedman and Rand had on so many economic issues relative to the arguments we are having today.   The same with Ronald Reagan and the dangers of government run health care.  Truth is indeed permanent.
Inspired by the latest ad campaign from CNBC where they show the late Milton Friedman skewering a befuddled Phil Donahue in a debate on capitalism, I was perusing some Friedman quotes on the internet this morning.

And I came across this, which was clearly written for the people of Wisconsin:

"When unions get higher wages for their members by restricting entry into an occupation, those higher wages are at the expense of other workers who find their opportunities reduced. When government pays its employees higher wages, those higher wages are at the expense of the taxpayer. But when workers get higher wages and better working conditions through the free market, when they get raises by firm competing with one another for the best workers, by workers competing with one another for the best jobs, those higher wages are at nobody's expense. They can only come from higher productivity, greater capital investment, more widely diffused skills. The whole pie is bigger -- there's more for the worker, but there's also more for the employer, the investor, the consumer, and even the tax collector.

That's the way the free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people. That's the secret of the enormous improvements in the conditions of the working person over the past two centuries."

It never ceases to amaze and inspire -- the prescience that Friedman and Rand had on so many economic issues relative to the arguments we are having today.   The same with Ronald Reagan and the dangers of government run health care.  Truth is indeed permanent.