Monday, June 4, 2012

Milton Friedman: Withholding tax "too useful for the purposes of people in power"

From his memoirs:
"It never occurred to me at the time that I was helping to develop machinery that would make possible a government that I would come to criticize severely as too large, too intrusive, too destructive of freedom. Yet, that is precisely what I was doing. [My wife] Rose has repeatedly chided me over the years about the role that I played in making possible the current overgrown government we both criticize so strongly."
From The Guardian (2006):
The great irony for Friedman's fans is that the one piece of public policy he was responsible for that was widely and internationally adopted was one that greatly increased the ability of central governments to collect taxes - a policy he later repudiated in disgust.
It's not so much that Gary Johnson didn't sound like a deer in the headlights (great mixed metaphor there, or what) in his interview with Robert Wenzel.  He did.  He plainly hadn't been briefly on the pit he was jumping into with regarding to the raging and quite impotent arguments between different schools of Libertarian economics.

But I grow increasingly tired of people harping on the "gotcha" moment regarding Milton Friedman and the withholding tax.  Friedman did repeatedly criticize that which he had created over the years, and no amount of posturing makes it go away that he did so.  It is quite possible to have read Friedman and come away with that disdain for tax withholding that marked his later years.

Nor have any of his so-called critics--predominantly Lew Rockwell/Ludwig von Mises robots--acknowledged this.

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