Here’s an excellent, and topical, interview with Milton Friedman.
Around the 7 minute mark, Friedman says:
I have often in talking to audiences, especially liberal audiences, offered them a challenge. I challenge you to name me a single social measure which has accomplished its intended objectives rather than opposite, which has not done more harm than good.
Around the 22 minute mark, the host Richard Heffner says, “…you just said that mankind is selfish and greedy and that has always been the battle cry of those who said, ‘therefore, we must impose controls upon them.'”
Friedman: Therefore, we have to put power in the hands of other greedy and selfish men.
Heffner: That’s the philosophic basis of the argument that the government must step in.
Freidman: It’s a false argument. It assumes somehow that government is a way in which you put unselfish and ungreedy men in charge of selfish and greedy men. Government is an institution whereby the people who have the greatest drive to get power over the fellow man get in a position of controlling them. Look at the record of government.
That’s what government supporters never seem to recognize. That was one of the points of this post, Anyone Mad At The Government? People in government are no different than the CEOs of the corporations that everybody gets so mad at (while voluntarily buying and benefiting from the products their companies produce).
We demonize CEOs and want to fire them when they screw up – which I have no problem with – but we also want to give government more power when it screws up. That make no sense to me. Some might say, “but you can always elect a different person in government.” Which takes me back to Friedman’s last comment, “Look at the record of government.“