Economics

Letters: When do deficits matter?, hating Milton Friedman…

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When Do Deficits Matter?

Deficits do matter, but I don't need to remind the readers of reason that the bigger danger is the overall size and scope of the government, which are in the process of explosive growth ("When Do Deficits Matter?," May). Most Republicans are, and have been, concerned about deficits, and it is to their shame that they have permitted them to occur. They should know better. Most Democrats don't care a fig about deficits, except when it is politically expedient to do so, as when they can be used as an excuse to raise taxes. They believe in government spending, and their constituencies believe they benefit from bigger government. 

In the 1980s and early '90s, Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress, created deficits through ever-increasing spending, and then used the deficits as an issue against Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. When Republicans were able to enact tax cuts, often with the help of some congressional Democrats, they included supply-side cuts, whichcaused, or were followed by, economic growth, resulting in increased revenues. In the '80s, tax revenues increased at an average annual rate of 9 percent. Unfortunately, federal spending rose at a rate of 11 percent per year. The tax cuts did not create or exacerbate the deficits. They probably mitigated them.

Long-term budget surpluses also can be harmful if not used to pay debt or to give tax cuts. They take money out of circulation and can cause deflation. In other words, the government should balance its budget by drastically reducing its spending, and neither a borrower nor a lender be.

David A. Welber, CPA
York, PA

Hating Milton Friedman

I enjoyed Damon W. Root's short article about the anti-Friedman movement ("Hating Milton Friedman," May). Isn't it strange that the only ones who seem to remember Friedman are the ones who misunderstand him? The most influential economist of the last 30 years, who is famous for explaining what caused the (first) Great Depression, is today virtually ignored as we enter the Second Great Depression. Is it just me, or is this nuts?

Dave Coyne
Goshen, IN

It was painful and sad to see the abuse of Milton Friedman's image and his life accomplishments through the stickers being plastered all over D.C. Perhaps someone could make available accurate stickers that D.C. residents could post adjacent to any "Proud Father of Global Misery" decals they come across? I am envisioning an arrow labeled "False" pointing to the lying sticker, with an adapted quote from Damon W. Root's article, such as "Milton Friedman created the opposite of global misery by lifting millions all over the world out of poverty, through his efforts promoting free markets, international trade, and individual rights."

Julie Dennis
Portland, OR

Decals on the D.C. streets proclaiming "Milton Friedman: Proud Father of Global Misery"? What next? Thomas Edison: Proud Father of the Electric Chair? Henry Ford: Proud Father of Automobile Accidents? Orville and Wilbur: Proud Fathers of Airline Crashes?

Richard Jones
Portland, OR

CORRECTION: "Hired News" (June) referred to Jon Fleischman's website as flashreport.com. In fact, it is flashreport.org. 

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  1. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp.

  2. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp.

  3. .in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

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