|Basic Economics- Milton Friedman-|
Libertarian Professor Milton Friedman is wrong about at least one aspect in this lecture. This lecture was given in 1978 and he was arguing that the Federal Government was continuing down the road of socialism that it started in the 1930s, continued in the 1940s, expanded somewhat in the 1950s with the Federal Highway System, of course expanded in the 1960ss with the Great Society. But by the late 1970s, big government progressivism and socialism, high taxes were losing popularity. This is something that Jimmy Carter understood when he ran for President in 1976. Remember, he did not run on expanding the New Deal or Great Society, but to return honor and trust to the Federal Government after the Watergate scandal. Jimmy Carter was basically a New Democrat before that term became popular in the 1990s. And ran on balancing the Federal budget, fiscal discipline and fiscal responsibility. The Progressive Era basically ended when Gerry Ford became President in 1974. President Nixon continued to it to a certain extent with the Environmental Protection Agency. But by 1978 we were no longer in the Progressive Era as we were just ten years earlier and things like tax cuts became popular and tax hikes were unpopular.
As a Liberal I'm a big believer in individual freedom to go along with personal responsibility. But that by itself at times is not enough and there are people that simply make bad choices in their life and as a result aren't in position to take care of themselves. And it's not just in their interest, but society's interest for those people to be able to take care of themselves, pay their own bills etc. So they are paying taxes and producing for the society. A public safety net can be valuable in two ways. Prevent people from starving, going homeless, dying from lack of health care, etc. But a safety net can also be valuable if it empowers people who need it, so they can get themselves on their feet. Taking care of themselves, collecting fewer public services and instead paying into these public services through taxes and producing for society by working and raising their own kids. So they no longer need to collect public assistance, because they now have the skills to take care of themselves.
Individual freedom and personal responsibility are great, but someone who doesn't have much of an education and doesn't have the skills to take care of themselves, simply doesn't have the individual freedom to take care of themselves. Because they don't have the resources to do so. And as a result end up being dependent on people who do take care of themselves, because they aren't free to do those things for themselves. I believe in liberal democracy and what I mean by that is having a society, a free liberal society where we're liberal with freedom and not spending other people's money. Where everyone can get a good education so they can live in freedom and make their own decisions with their own lives. And perhaps most importantly, held responsible for their own decisions. For good and bad and know when their decisions are good by being rewarded for them, but also knowing there's a real price for making bad decisions. Like hurting innocent people, to use as an example. But also spending their own money irresponsibly, as another example.