Friedman and Reagan

I just now got around to reading the five-page NYT obit on Milton Friedman.

What jumped out at me was this passage on the Reagan years, a time when Friedman’s theories were both celebrated and questioned:

Prof. Robert Solow of M.I.T., a Nobel laureate himself, and other liberal economists continued to raise questions about Mr. Friedman’s theories: Did not President Reagan, and by extension Professor Friedman, they asked, revert to Keynesianism once in power?

“The boom that lasted from 1982 to 1990 was engineered by the Reagan administration in a straightforward Keynesian way by rising spending and lowered taxes, a classic case of an expansionary budget deficit,” Mr. Solow said. “In fairness to Milton, however, it should be said that one of the reasons for his wanting a tax reduction was to force the spending cuts that he presumed would follow.” Professor Samuelson said that “Milton Friedman thought of himself as a man of science but was in fact more full of passion than he knew.”

It seems even more presumptuous 20 years later. Who thinks we’re going to get rid of big government?

(Italics mine.) Thanks Mitch Kokai.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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