Milton Friedman’s ideas don’t reduce the gap between rich and poor

From Slashdot Poll | To the extent there are taxes, I mostly favor …

Re:Missing option: (Score:5, Interesting)

by AndersOSU (873247) on Friday April 17, @09:53AM (#27611647)

The problem with your assertion that that money not taken by a “wealth redistribution scheme” would make it into the hands of average Americans, instead of being hoarded by hedge fund managers, investment bankers, and financial institution executives, and Bernie Madoff, is that the 33 years since Regan was elected has proven the opposite to be true.

Look, I agree Milton Friedman’s ideas sound attractive. But we’ve tried that experiment. So has Chile, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and a number of other countries. Everywhere low taxes and privatization is tried, it results in concentration of wealth, not trickle down prosperity.

Low taxes for the wealthy and lax government oversight results in the wealthy becoming more wealthy – not greater wealth for all.

The vast majority of those who rail about the so-called death tax aren’t principled – they’re misinformed. You might have noticed a good number of the of the signs at the tax-day protests complained that Obama was raising their taxes. A serious chunk of right-of-center Americans are drawn to the GOP because based of social issues. The problem is that because they believe right-wing pundits are right when they talk about subjective issues abortion, they naturally assume they are also right when they talk about objective issues like who’s taxes are going up.

I know /. has a serious libertarian bent, and was clamoring for the Ron Paul revolution. Libertarians – generally speaking – are well educated enough not to be sucked into the gambit of the culture wars. However, they seem to either be oblivious to the fact that the more we try libertarian policies the more the middle and lower classes suffers, or in the true spirit of the fanatic, they tell us that the real problem is we haven’t been libertarian enough. Look – if every step we take toward deregulation, decreased taxation, and privatization makes us worse off, why in the world would we think it’s a good idea to stop wading in the free-market kiddie pool and jump in with both feet?

Re:Missing option: (Score:4, Insightful)

by novakyu (636495) <novakyu@member.fsf.org> on Friday April 17, @07:12PM (#27621553)
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Look, I agree Milton Friedman’s ideas sound attractive. But we’ve tried that experiment. So has Chile, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and a number of other countries. Everywhere low taxes and privatization is tried, it results in concentration of wealth, not trickle down prosperity.

I think you are looking at the wrong metric. The basis of trickle-down economics is “rising tide raises all boats”.

The real metric you should be looking at is the absolute quality of the life of those in lower-middle class (or even those who might be below “poverty line”).

Are they better off now than they were 30 years ago? Definitely. Is this due to free market economy or due to better technologies (either as a product of free market or government-subsidized activity)? That’s debatable.

If you are looking to “reduce the gap” between the rich and the poor, free market is a very poor tool—communism has shown that it can reduce the gap between the rich and the poor (mainly by making everyone, or nearly everyone, poor). What free market advocates claim is that free market is more efficient and productive. This is done by putting capital into the hands of those who know how to use it (what you see as “concentration of wealth” is a feature, not a bug), and the end result is that (this is what free market advocates claim) even though the poor may seem poorer compared to the rich, they are better off than they would have been if the government stifled all this economic activity.

The gap between the poor and the rich is not the right metric to look at if you want to genuinely see if a particular policy promotes prosperity. It’s the absolute well-being that matters, not the relative one.

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