Milton Friedman Turns 100; Tyranny Remains Immortal

There’s been a lot of talk about Barack Obama’s statement “You didn’t build that.” What did he mean? Those of us that have paid attention during the almost four years of the Obama Administration know that in the President’s heart he means that no capitalist is anything without government.

Now his defenders say it’s just common sense. Can’t take your goods to market without a government-built road to get you there. That’s all fine and good but the President wants us to believe that this isn’t merely a 50/50 split between government and capitalists but more like 90/10 at best with the government making everything possible; no businesses, no commerce possible without the government.

In light of the 100th birthday of the late free-market economist Milton Friedman, here is one of his most famous monologues involving a simple pencil:


No “commissar” made any of these people involved in the production of the pencil do what they did. They did it out of self-interest, and by committing such actions of self-interest they improved the lives of their fellow men, men that as Friedman said may hate each other if they knew each other personally. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

This is not how Obama and his followers see the world. They see this notion of self-interest as evil even though they practice it themselves sometimes without knowing it.

A movie from 1992 called “Orlando” had a great scene involving a nobleman and Queen Elizabeth I. The nobleman is attempting to entertain the monarch and says: “Now, what would please you? All that is mine is here for your pleasure.” The Queen responds: “All you call yours is mine already.”

This is the attitude of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, et al. Everything that you think is yours is actually theirs. They are the government; they are the philosopher kings, and without them, you are nothing.

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Indiana Frees Workers From Union Thuggery

(With a hat tip to Ace) Indiana’s Republican legislature and Republican governor has passed/signed a right-to-work bill into law. Oh wait, I was supposed to put right-to-work in quotes according to my Reuters style-book. Or as the Indianapolis Star requires, put the old semantic warhorse “so-called” just before “right-to-work” to make sure people don’t get the idea that the words mean what they say.

To clear up this confusion, here’s the story filed by the Oblique Popinjay Press (Ya down with OPP?):

Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a “right to work without having to pay off union thugs and fund the Democrat Party” bill this afternoon without ceremony making Indiana the 23rd state in the nation with the law, Daniels and other Republican supporters characterized the measure as needed for Indiana to attract jobs.

The aptly-named “right to work” law was approved by the Indiana Senate 28 to 22 today, as thousands of union thugs packed Statehouse hallways shouting their disapproval, with thousands more lined-up outside waiting to get in and demand more government and less freedom.

Now I need just one more thing from you folks in Indiana. Please retire Dick Lugar from the Senate so he can live out his remaining years in his home state of Virginia.

MORE: Been thinking about this some more. I am so burned out reading screed after screed of how the GOP field for President has been terrible; how each candidate is going to mean the end of the Republican Party and on and on and on and on. As I’ve said before, the crying towels are in the closet down the hall. It’s time to buck-up buttercup.

Anyway, the larger point I want to make is look at Indiana. Despite three years of Obama and a economic downturn, recession, whatever you want to call it lasting close to four years, Indiana found a way to thrive with low unemployment and groundbreaking political action like that described above. Just because we have a socialist in the White House and may end up with socialist-lite after the next election doesn’t mean changes can’t be made on the state level. There’s more on the line here than the brass-ring in D.C.

BlackBerry Torch Already Flamed Out

Apple’s domination of the smart-phone marketplace continues as the price of the newly released BlackBerry Torch (which is partly touch but still with a keyboard) has been cut in half from $200 to $100.

The price drops may be related to sluggish Torch sales. On Monday, The Wall Street Journal, reported that analysts were disappointed with Torch sales. The newspaper said that Stifel Nicolaus and RBC analysts calculated Torch sales in its opening weekend at 150,000 units. The number pales in comparison with the 1.7 million iPhone 4 handsets Apple sold at launch. It’s also worth noting that, unlike the iPhone 4 and the Droid X at launch, the BlackBerry Torch is still widely available after its first weekend.
I’m an Apple guy, but it’s always made me a little uncomfortable. I hate going with the herd, but the fact is Apple makes the best all-around product. Steve Jobs may be an arrogant, latte-drinking, post-hippie, but for emancipating us from having to buy $20 CD’s just to get one or two good songs alone he should be sainted by the Pope.
Now the troubling part for Apple. They’re the new Microsoft, meaning the government will probably be coming after them soon. When you make the best product and the marketplace rewards you as such, look for the Justice Department to start snooping around. As Ronald Reagan said, there are certain people that think when they see a fat guy standing next to a skinny guy, the fat guy must have taken food from the skinny guy. And many of these people reside in the Justice Department.

A Health Care Enemies List

So picture this if you will. The Democrats pass Obamacare. A few days later, AT&T, Caterpillar and a few other companies announce that the new health care legislation will cost them millions of dollars this year.

So what happens next? Congress announces they will investigate these companies for the validity of their claims and call the CEO’s to testify at Congressional hearings.

Think about this for a minute. Anything about that rub you the wrong way?

How Capitalism Saved Israel

George Gilder has a new piece in City Journal on how Benjamin Netanyahu’s time as Finance Minister helped create the flourishing economy where the Jewish state ranks second to the U.S. in technological innovation. This despite being constantly under attack by its neighbors.

The force driving the Israelis decisively out of their socialist slough into the modern world of finance was once again the ingenuity of Netanyahu. As finance minister, Netanyahu used the financial crisis of 2003 and 2004, precipitated by the latest campaign of Palestinian terror, as a lever to transform Israel’s economy from a largely socialized domain dependent on foreign finance into one of the world’s most open and flourishing financial systems. In the process, he created what occasional advisor Keinan today calls “the greatest opportunity in our lifetimes.”

An Israeli supply-sider, Netanyahu faced the adamant opposition of Histadrut and its allies in the Knesset. To overcome the hostility to finance capitalism that had long hobbled the Israeli economy, Netanyahu enlisted vital help from President George W. Bush and his treasury secretary, John Snow. Netanyahu sought a sovereign loan guarantee that would give Israeli bonds the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury, so that despite intifadas and other perils, Israel could issue bonds on the same terms as the world’s leading economy.

Israeli Mirrors U.S. In Economic Split

Read this story and then think about our country and see if you notice some annoying similarities:

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — Benjamin Netanyahu plans to apply the same small-government policies when he becomes Israel’s prime minister as he did six years ago as finance minister. Then, his tax and spending cuts helped lift the economy out of recession. They may be less suitable this time around.

The Likud party leader, who has until April 3 to form a coalition, faces a shrinking economy, a growing budget deficit and a frozen corporate bond market. The recession in the U.S. and Europe has clobbered Israeli exports, which account for about half of gross domestic product in a country whose economy is smaller than Singapore’s. His only fiscal tool for the moment is a budget drawn up in August and stalled in the parliament.

“Israel must take steps in same spirit as the U.S. and Europe, to allow an even bigger deficit,” said Avi Ben Bassat, a professor of economics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. “The situation requires a change in economic policy.”

Netanyahu’s plans for the economy may encounter objections from his future partners. Although assembling his coalition could take several weeks, one probable member, the Shas party, said during the election campaign that it would seek to restore child allowances that had been reduced under Netanyahu.

Yes, the opposition parties say, Netanyahu’s policies worked before, but…no, let’s not do them again. Love it.