The Locker Room

January 29, 2007

Milton Friedman on the printed page

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 9:24 PM

In honor of Milton Friedman Day (and in recognition of the fact that UNC-TV is not showing the special Friedman documentary tonight), I have been reading Capitalism And Freedom: 40th Anniversary Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Early in the book, he explains one of the key reasons reliance on a free-market economy plays such a key role in a stable society:

The use of political channels, while inevitable, tends to strain the social cohesion essential for a stable society. The strain is least if agreement for joint action need be reached only on a limited range of issues on which people in any event have common views. Every extension of the range of issues for which explicit agreement is sought strains further the delicate threads that hold society together. If it goes so far as to touch an issue on which men feel deeply yet differently, it may well disrupt the society. Fundamental differences in basic values can seldom if ever be resolved at the ballot box; ultimately they can only be decided, though not resolved, by conflict. The religious and civil wars of history are a bloody testament to this judgment.

The widespread use of the market reduces the strain on the social fabric by rendering conformity unnecessary with respect to any activities it encompasses. The wider range of activities covered by the market, the fewer are the issues on which explicitly political decisions are required and hence on which it is necessary to achieve agreement. In turn, the fewer the issues on which agreement is necessary, the greater is the likelihood of getting agreement while maintaining a free society.

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Re: PBS does Milton Friedman

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:48 PM


UNC-TV is too busy with the Falklands to worry about Friedman, so we won't get to see the documentary.

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Libertarian Paternalism

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:45 PM

Gary Becker joined this ongoing debate two weeks ago. His conclusion:

This is why classical libertarianism relies not on the assumption that individuals always make the right decisions, but rather that in the vast majority of situations they do better for themselves than government officials could do for them. One does not have to be a classical libertarian--I differ on some issues from their position--to recognize that the case for classical libertarianism is not weakened by the literature motivating libertarian paternalism. Indeed, when similar considerations are applied to government officials and intellectuals as well as to the rest of us, the case for classical libertarianism may even be strengthened!

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Roanoke Rapids in a bad country song

Posted by Chad Adams at 3:32 PM

Hey, even a I realize a good country song has to have some tragic elements.  Now Roanoke Rapids could be writing their own as they PAY for the new Randy Parton Theatre.

The city is selling $21.5 million in bonds to pay for the theatre.  Repayment will come in the form of lease payments and ticket sales. 

"If those fall short, the city will rely on property taxes and city sales taxes from the enterprise."    In short, if it fails, the citizens will pay it back as property taxes are co-mingled to pay for city services including the theatre.

Is this really what local government was designed to do? 

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PBS does Milton Friedman

Posted by Jon Ham at 2:45 PM

And NewsBusters says the documentary, which airs tonight, is pretty good. 

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Chimney Rock Park now belongs to the State.

Posted by Michael Moore at 2:40 PM

The State of North Carolina has just purchased Chimney Rock Park, and the Governor is up there today to make the announcement.  (Note: Chimney Rock was private property that was on the real estate market at $55 million, did the state get a break or pay full real estate price? Half Price.) 


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More on Casa Eduardo

Posted by Hal Young at 1:52 PM

There are Two Americas; John Edwards' New House Takes Up Almost All of One of Them

NRO's "Hillary Spot" blog picks up the Carolina Journal story today and ties it to a related piece in the N.Y. Post, pointing out some Dems aren't smiling either:

But between this and the S Corporation tax shelter, which saved him paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicare taxes, he might want to give it a rest the next time he talks about the richest one percent not paying their fair share.

UPDATE: ... This quote from an unnamed Democrat suggests that Edwards' primary rivals may find this a convenient line of attack:

"It's one thing to be a millionaire, but it's totally tone-deaf to be using Katrina victims while you're putting the finishing touches on your multimillion-dollar mansion," said one Democratic operative.

HT: Ric Kolseth

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See We Told You So

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 12:40 AM

Back in 2001 when the JLF (and Dan Gerlach) were working hard to head off Governor Easley's then proposed lottery, we published this Spotlight estimating the amount of money that a NC Lottery would actually generate for the state. At the time the Governor was projecting that the lottery would generate about $500 million for education.  Last year when the lottery was actually put in place the Governor's office and the state legislature estimated that it would bring gross about $1.2 billion and net the state about $425 million. Yesterday's Raleigh News and Observer announced that the Lottery commission's new target is $1 billion gross with a net of $350 million. Our 2001 Spotlight estimated that the lottery would gross $933 million and net $317 million. (This does not factor out lost tax revenue due to the fact that lottery tickets are not taxed while the dollars if spent elsewhere would be. The state takes no account of this in their estimates.) After ajusting our 2001 predictions to 2006 dollars for inflation, our prediction at the time was $1.063 billion gross and $361 milliion net. If they had only listened to us, yesterday's news would truly have been yesterday's news.

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Re: Lottery dilemma

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:31 AM

Mitch, I was amused by lottery director Tom Shaheen's explanation of what consumers were spending a lot of their discretionary dollars on, instead of lottery tickets:"A lot of 'em have gone to cell phones."

Cell phones?!

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For the children

Posted by Jon Ham at 08:30 AM

This is what happens when two generations of American parents decide they shouldn't discipline their children for fear of destroying their creativity. Even their kids who become cops can't function anymore.

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Conservative judicial activism

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:21 AM

Robert Nagel takes issue in this Weekly Standard article with the current debate over a constitutional right to "medical self-defense."

For a book-length argument in favor of conservative judicial activism, try Mark W. Smith's Disrobed

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It is what they didn't do that matters

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:15 AM

What should we make of the optional half-cent sales tax increase recommended by the House Select Committee on Public School Construction Needs?

I was encouraged that the committee voted to strike a recommendation that would have allowed county commissioners to use impact fees, adequate public facilities ordinances, and real estate transfer taxes to pay for school construction. Unfortunately, the House Select Committee on Public School Construction Needs did not make recommendations on cutting the cost of school construction.

New revenue streams, including the sales tax and the proposed $2 billion statewide school construction referendum, will only get you so far. Allowing local control of class sizes, for example, would cut the cost of school construction considerably.

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We aren't the only country suffering from dumbing down

Posted by George Leef at 08:13 AM

Education in Australia is suffering from the same troubles that plague the U.S. Good interview with an Australian education critic here.

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More proof that Mark Sanford is the nation's best governor

Posted by George Leef at 08:03 AM

He has concluded that South Carolina is wasting its money on NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) certification for public school teachers. Here's the story.

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A school construction bond in 2007?

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:50 AM

Wake County commissioners proposed putting a school construction bond on the ballot this fall.

On the other hand, the school board will certainly want a 2008 bond referendum. On their website, school officials say, "for Heritage [High School], H[igh School] 6 and H[igh school] 7 to open in 2010, and for H[igh school] 8 to open in 2011, the county would need additional capital funding in January 2009."

While it is not clear when taxpayers will see another school construction bond, we can at least appreciate the fact that it will not be a dull year in Wake County.

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