Politics & Policy

He Rests, His Legacy Can’t

Conservatives should do Milton Friedman's unfinished business.

‐ While he was a young, “thoroughly Keynesian” Treasury official, Friedman promoted the withholding tax as a temporary, World War II revenue-raiser. This may have been his biggest regret.

“It never occurred to me at the time that I was helping to develop machinery that would make possible a government that I would come to criticize…as too large, too intrusive, too destructive of freedom,” Friedman wrote in Two Lucky People, his and Rose’s memoir. “There is an important lesson here. It is far easier to introduce a government program than to get rid of it.”

Rather than let Uncle Sam vacuum interest-free loans from workers’ paychecks, Americans should be free to send the Treasury monthly checks, along with their rent and power bills. Transparent tax collection likely would ignite a national tax revolt.

For a man awash in accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom that Ronald Reagan awarded him in 1988, Friedman was incredibly modest. He could have been forgiven for having a swollen head; instead, he was disarmingly unassuming.

He also was a bouyant optimist. Asked in late 1999 for words of wisdom as the new millennium approached, Milton Friedman laughed and told me: “The millennium will take care of itself.”

— Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, a media fellow with the Hoover Institution, and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
The Economy

Here Comes the Biden Blame Game

During the eight years that President Obama and his team managed the economy, Americans were regularly assured that the president’s Keynesian policies would deliver striking growth in the years ahead. The growth repeatedly failed to materialize, and what followed was a master class in blamesmanship. No matter ... Read More
The Economy

Here Comes the Biden Blame Game

During the eight years that President Obama and his team managed the economy, Americans were regularly assured that the president’s Keynesian policies would deliver striking growth in the years ahead. The growth repeatedly failed to materialize, and what followed was a master class in blamesmanship. No matter ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
History

From Hate to Heroism

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and, lately, relentless book-hawking. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, please follow this link. From Hatred to Heroism Daniel Cordier, when he was young and getting started in life, did not seem ... Read More
History

From Hate to Heroism

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and, lately, relentless book-hawking. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, please follow this link. From Hatred to Heroism Daniel Cordier, when he was young and getting started in life, did not seem ... Read More