On C-SPAN in early August, Vermont senator Patrick Leahy (D.) chastised New York mayor Michael Bloomberg for his gun-control advocacy. Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, complained Leahy, has been more of a hindrance than a help. The outfit’s involvement not only contributed to the demise of the Toomey-Manchin bill, it also made it unlikely that any new legislation will pass. “Unfortunately,” he explained, “you have some on the left, like the mayor of New York City, who actually didn’t help a bit with his ads. He actually turned off some people that we might have gotten for supporters.” Mayors Against Illegal Guns has not quite been the knight in shining armor that many on the left hoped it would be. Fifty mayors have left the group since February, many of them explaining bluntly that they had discovered since joining that it was full of extremists hiding in the soft cloth of moderation. Who knew?
In a recent interview, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) was asked whom he would like to be the chairman of the Federal Reserve. One of his ideal candidates was Milton Friedman. This was odd, since Friedman had views counter to Paul’s on monetary policy. Paul later argued, in a piece on National Review Online, that he believes Friedman was “famous for monetary restraint,” so he’d oppose the Federal Reserve’s current expansion of the monetary base. In fact, Friedman was an advocate of consistent growth in the money supply, which would sometimes require expansionary policies. His most famous work on monetary policy, which contained some of the most important macroeconomic insights of the 20th century, blamed the Great Depression on the Federal Reserve — for its inaction and overly restrained policies. Senator Paul either misunderstands Friedman’s lessons or knows nothing about them.