Monday, 12 August 2013

Milton Friedman is Dead, Long Live Milton Friedman! Rand Paul doesn't know that Milton Friedman died seven years ago

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is often mentioned as a Presidential candidate, and he is clearly and actively campaigning despite his official line that he is not yet running. He is starting to realize that he has to also be, in addition to fiery and opinionated (on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, "If I had been president...I would have relieved you of your post.") somewhat knowledgeable to be President of the United States. He took a step backward on that score, in a recent interview on Bloomberg News, when asked by Joshua Green on who his ideal Federal Reserve Chairman would be:

Green: Who would your ideal Fed chairman be?
Paul: Hayek would be good, but he’s deceased.

Green: Nondead Fed chairman.
Paul: Friedman would probably be pretty good, too, and he’s not an Austrian, but he would be better than what we have.

Green: Dead, too.
Paul: Yeah. Let’s just go with dead, because then you probably really wouldn’t have much of a functioning Federal Reserve.

I know, I'm an economist, and Friedman is, even if many economists disagree with him, still an economic icon. But if someone is running for President, a self-proclaimed student of Hayek and von Mises, that person should know that the great American icon of limited government, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, is dead! Paul not knowing that suggests to me that he is still getting his economic advice from non-economist, ideological, political hacks. Not good for someone who seeks to lead the largest economy in the world.

By the way, as a native New Jerseyan, I have to boast that Friedman was also a native of the Garden State: a 1928 graduate of Rahway High School, and a 1932 graduate of Rutgers University.