Why conservatives should re-read Milton Friedman

Pretty good piece in the Times:

So far, it might seem that Friedman envisages only minimal moral constraints on business activity. But in fact he acknowledges the need for a variety of government interventions to keep capitalism on the right track. These include not only laws against deception and fraud, but also control of the money supply, prevention of monopolies and compensation to those involuntarily harmed by pollution and similar “neighborhood effects” of business activities. Most strikingly, Friedman proposed a “negative income tax” to eliminate poverty. Roughly, his idea was to give all those reporting income below the poverty line a rebate that would bring them at least up to the line. Our current earned income tax credit — supported by both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan — is an application of the idea but restricted to those who are employed. Friedman, a major intellectual hero of the right, supported a program most current conservatives would denounce as “socialism.”

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