“Inflation everywhere is a monetary phenomenon,” said Milton Friedman, in his famous 1970 essay titled, The Counter-Revolution in Monetary Theory. What he meant is actually quite simple. Inflation (an overall increase in the price levels of an economy) only occurs when the amount of currency printed by the Federal Reserve exceeds the amount of goods being produced.
People often associate capitalism with “Wall Street greed” and corporate fat cats getting special favors from government. The truth is, anytime the government is involved in the business of anything beyond protecting individual and property rights, it leads to a distortion of the free market and in fact detracts from authentic capitalism. We call this cronyism.
Many feel-good policies are ultimately disastrous. One of these, the concept of a government-mandated minimum wage, is particularly counterproductive. On the face of it, what could be so bad about guaranteeing the poorest workers in society receive wages high enough to ensure a minimum standard of living? (Especially since it only comes at the cost of “immoral corporate greed”?) The answer is: a lot.
In the history of civilization, income tax policies designed primarily to soak the rich have always failed. Why? Because of a basic concept of economics called elasticity. Imagine the price of gas goes up by $4 per gallon (to say, the European price). If you routinely buy 20 gallons of fuel a week for your “fun” car (maybe a BMW M3 or Chevy Corvette), would you, after this price hike, be likely to add an extra $80 a week to the coffers of the gas company? The answer is, of course, no. You observe the price of gas going up and cut your consumption.
Widely regarded as the groundbreaking leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, Milton Friedman led a long and storied career, receiving the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and the National Medal of Science the same year. But he is beloved because his academic brilliance was employed in the practical service of people. Friedman’s observance of the facts led him to a passionate belief that people truly free to choose their course in life without the heavy hand of undue government interference is the surest way forward to create hope and opportunity – a rising tide of prosperity – for all.
On a share-by-share basis, some donor states such as Texas, Florida, and South Carolina get less than an 85 percent share of the highway money they pay in [to the Federal Highway Trust Fund] while New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts get more than 100 percent. As bad as this disparity is, the allocation of federal transit spending is even more inequitable. Many highway donor states are also transit donor states, receiving much less for transit projects than they paid into the transit account, while many of the highway done states are also transit donees…