I've been wondering what Brad DeLong would have to say about Friedman.
As far as I can tell, the man's policy ideas may have been straightforward in his own mind, but often contradictory to the non-economist. Here was a man who believed that the market could eventually solve most problems and that government interference with it was anathema, yet he had a major role in the now solidly-in-place institution of withholding tax. He proposed privatizing Social Security as early as 1962, yet he also suggested a "negative income tax" for low-income people which has now been institutionalized as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
I dunno. I'm more of a believer in the Keynesian view that government has a role in society than I am in Friedman's view that it ought to butt out, but I can't deny that he was one of the two or three giants of 20th-century economic thought.
More on Friedman at Wikipedia.Posted by Linkmeister at November 17, 2006 09:45 AM | TrackBack