Joe Biden, Milton Friedman, and the Tyranny of Tiny Minds

(AP Photo/File)

Of all the stupid, petty, bigoted things Presidentish Biden ever sputtered, none bothers me so much as “Milton Friedman isn’t running the show anymore.”


In April of last year, when Biden’s $5 trillion “Build Back Better” scheme was first percolating in the dark, shriveled mass that was once his frontal lobe, the then-candidate told POLITICO he wanted “a new stimulus ‘a hell of a lot bigger’ than $2 trillion.”

“Milton Friedman isn’t running the show anymore,” a reportedly “fiery” Biden told POLITICO’s Michael Grunwald.

It wasn’t Biden’s first run-in with the libertarian-leaning, Nobel Prize-winning economist:

“When did Milton Friedman die and become king?” Biden asked in 2019. The truth is that Friedman, who died in 2006, has held little sway over either Democrats or Republicans for almost two decades. But Biden wants to mark the definitive end of Friedman and the “neoliberal” economics he espoused by unleashing a tsunami of dollars into the global economy and inundating Americans with new entitlements.

Perhaps Biden was thinking, if you’ll indulge me for implying he can do such a thing, of Friedman’s observation that “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”


What Friedman meant was, prices rise and fall according to all kinds of market forces, but inflation is what happens when government prints money faster than the economy generates new wealth.

We’ve been printing money by the trillions, and Biden wants to increase that by endless trillions more — all while using the federal bureaucracy to impede the creation of new wealth.

It’s a recipe for inflation, and anyone sensible — including Democratic economist Lawrence Summers — has been warning Biden of just that.

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This brings us to what I now think of as the “tyranny of tiny minds.”

The thing is, Friedman was never running the show. He was never president of the United States or chairman of the Federal Reserve or King of the World.

All Friedman did was, more accurately than anyone before him, describe how economics works.

It was all pretty simple stuff, too. Friedman used to say, “Everything we know in economics we teach in Econ 1, and everything else is made up.”


But that’s not enough for a tiny mind like Joe Biden’s.

It’s apparent from Biden’s grudge against Friedman — i.e. against economic reality — that Biden sees a different world than Friedman did.

Friedman saw a world that worked by natural laws, discoverable by man.

Biden sees a world that conforms to the will of whatever Big Man is in charge of it. If the Big Man wants to spend trillions we don’t have without any ill effects, then that’s what the Big Man gets.

Hence, “The tyranny of tiny minds.”

But reality — in this case as described by Milton Friedman — always gets the last laugh.

And when it’s laughing at someone like Biden, you can bet it’s a cold, bitter laugh.


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