Saturday Matinee: Pure Logic = Brilliance.

Folks, for those of you not familiar with Milton Friedman, you’re in for a treat, as I was when I found these videos.  He’s not talking about politics here, but common sense economics.

What amazed me as I watched these videos is how easily Mr. Friedman understood the basic principles beneath apparently contradictory economic philosophies, and simplified/pared down the questions until the answers were obvious.

His extraordinary logic left both Phil Donahue and the liberal student in the dust;  I doubt that either one of them completely understood what Friedman said.

This is stuff that even Oprah fans can understand, but many in the US Congress either do not, or choose not to.  Our president is not stupid. He knows about the probable economic damage and is willing to forfeit his veto power  (just as he is willing to tell our enemies his war strategy, as he did today).  God help us.


Author: Bunk Strutts

Boogah Boogah.

15 thoughts on “Saturday Matinee: Pure Logic = Brilliance.”

  1. Buona Notte, Signor S

    Molto interessante

    Yes, State Intervention may “remedy” evils in ways that are worse than the remedied “evil”

    eg supplying free condoms in order to reduce under-age pregnancies & venereal diseases seems to result in increasing under-age pregnancies & venereal diseases

    If I were able to understand Mr F, I rather suspect that I am arrived at very similar conclusions ….. but I worry — how much are we missing

    eg i worry about Mr F’s approach to Manufacturing Explosive Automobiles – isn’t it more complicated than Mr F is suggesting

    Surely, it is Manslaughter (err … 2nd degree Moider, in the Charming Argot of New Yoik or Culpable Homicide in Scotland) to knowingly manufacture cars with a dangerous design fault (ie exploding in a rear crash), when that defect is known and easily avoided

    I also worry about that puir wee mannie who (allegedly) expired from hypothermia, after his Electricity was cut off – something has gone adrift

    You have to admire the Student who stood his corner so bravely, although out=classed – reminiscent of HMS Ajax (a 6 inch light cruiser) in 1939 off Uruguay exchanging salutes with the Graf Spee (with its 11 inch guns) – and he did raise some interesting qvestions

    It would be interesting to have our friend Monsieur Metros’ observations


    L’Aigle Gris


  2. The Honorable Eagle Gris–

    With regards to the Ford Pinto, it was designed for cheap transportation as an entry level vehicle. If Ford were found culpable of deliberately creating a flawed product with intention to maim and kill, there are criminal courts for such malfeasance; the rear-end collision scenario was discovered after the fact. I find it hard to believe the potentially dangerous design was intentional, but you can’t dispute that some vehicles are safer than others; If we’re talking about safety, I’d rather drive a 1972 Ford Pinto than a 2009 Harley. This was Mr. Friedman’s point.

    The same goes for building design. It is impractical to design for every contingency because the cost would outweigh the risk, and would make the price unaffordable. Sure, one could design a house that could withstand the impact of a school bus sized meteor, but the risk of that happening is remote, and very few people could afford the construction cost of a bunker like that.

    I agree that there was probably more to the death/electricity shut off story.

    As for the student, I give him credit for sticking to his guns even though his premises were wrong, and that he was clearly outgunned with facts and history. Unfortunately, I doubt he and his supportive audience were swayed as it appears that they viewed Mr. Friedman as part of the evil “Establishment.”

    [Regarding Metro, we had a lot of fun on the fairy debates, and went so far as to start scripting coordinated personal attacks before raincoaster called us on it. We had a 3rd confederate as well, but we didn’t get to fully employ his services.]

    Your Pal Bunk


  3. Sorry to barge in like this, but planetross would have been really pissed off had I conducted a political debate on his blog (the man prides himself in remarkable fence sitting.)

    So, your comment was:

    “Your second statement ignores the fact that it is congress that controls domestic policy, not the President (excepting for his veto power …which can be overridden).”

    I respectfully disagree.

    President W. Bush, a fervent proponent of the unitary executive theory, came in power with a domestic agenda and a Republican-controlled congress.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but there is a little something called executive order… For example, EO 13233 which allows the President to deny access to internal documents, or on a more religious tangent, EO 13435 limiting federal funding for stem-cell research or EO 13279 authorizing federally funded religious organization to discriminate in their hiring practices based on religious beliefs of applicants.

    As far as shaping domestic policies, how about EO 13422, an order which mandates the designation of a presidential appointee in each federal agency as “regulatory policy officer,” with authority to oversee the rule-making process.

    I won’t even go into the politicization of the Department of Justice… Environment policies, Energy policies, or the misrepresentation of the cost of the Medicare Act of 2003 before Congress… because after all, my initial comment had everything to do with a President’s religious beliefs and governance.

    So how about the Health and Human Services’ midnight administrative regulation which states that doctors, physicians, and health care workers of all kinds can deny patients vital health care information and services because of their personal beliefs, without the patient even knowing (for example, not informing a rape victim about the morning after pill.) Do you think this may have reached “slightly” beyond congressional intent?

    Oooh and how about the appointment of Lester Crawford as FDA commissioner? Do you remember the scandal about unwarranted delays in authorizing the morning after pill in the US? Not part of a religious agenda? Will you blame this one on the Republican majority Senate confirming his nomination?

    I could go on and on about how Bush’ religious beliefs have had an incredible impact on domestic policy. Foreign policy? I would not even know where to start.

    Also, a bit ironic to bring back free market Friedman just as we are experiencing a global market crisis of humongous proportion…

    But all in good fun…

    Nathalie 🙂

    note: I don’t consider myself as a particularly irrational person but I’m waiting for you to illuminate me on that point. 🙂


  4. Nathalie–

    Welcome to Tacky Raccoons. Barge away!

    Before I respond to your “shotgun blast” comment, I’d like to commend you on your apparent knowledge of the executive orders you mentioned. Although I follow politics, I am not as well versed in the peculiar details of government operations. I’m curious as to your background, but that’s off topic.

    Regarding my response to your comment on IATC, it was not intended to be insulting, (snarky, yes). I’m not an apologist for G.W. Bush, and did not agree with many of his policies; I am a conservative who leans libertarian. Your comment on IATC seemed to be another run-of-the-mill cheap shot at an ex-president who deserves better, IMHO.

    About unitary executive theory and Executive Orders: Reinstating powers of the Office of the President eroded by previous administrations is not inherently evil and did no damage. The Republican congress squandered a great opportunity to undo damage caused by flawed fiscal policy enacted by previous administrations. The Republicans knew that doing what was prudent would be very unpopular in many sectors of the electorate, so they caved to the liberal minority hoping that they could retain their seats in the House and Senate. They abandoned the principles that got them elected in the first place and suffered the consequences. Losers.

    Executive Orders are not laws created by fiat, and they can be challenged and overruled by congress, subject to veto; the veto subject to override as well. All presidents have issued executive orders to clarify existing law subject to review by congress. So let’s look at the ones you referred to.

    E.O. 13233 – This one has been bouncing back and forth for years, and generally has the effect of providing the executive branch with a temporary “cone of silence” to prevent enemies of the state from discerning internal operations and long term intentions, as well as fauxpas that could be used for propaganda elsewhere. Note that it protected the archives of the Clinton administration as well… Until Obama reversed it (to allow for a political snipe hunt IMHO).

    E.O. 13435 – The government should not be in the business of funding stem-cell research from fetal cells (or any other research that the private sector would do on its own). While the media lied about research bans, adult stem cells and stem cells from umbilical cords/placentae have proven to be even more useful in the research. Another non-issue.

    E.O. 13279 – You misrepresented this one. It eliminates discrimination based upon religion and other beliefs for charitable organizations, allowing those organizations that provide social services the same opportunity for government funding that other organizations benefit from, and clarifies the law to allow charitable organizations that are discriminatory in nature.

    Charity is a good thing, but I don’t believe in forced charity. Given that our government extorts charity (via the IRS and other confiscatory programs), and that it gives a portion of its bounty to some groups but excludes others, I believe that this E.O. is a good thing. So what if the charitable organizations discriminate/exclude some groups from joining? The Girl Scouts won’t allow me to join, yet they do charitable work. What about a women’s club? Should these exclusionary groups be penalized? E.O. 13279 is not just about religious organizations; it refers to other groups with social programs as well.

    E.O. 13422- This E.O. created an advisory system to oversee spending programs of $100,000,000.00 or more that may adversely affect the economy. Why is this a bad thing? Even Obama has pledged to do something similar (short of the line-item veto).

    Without turning my response to your lucid comments into a tedious and unreadable thesis (as I already have), I responded to your comments about the Executive Orders. Since you presented those first, I presume that they are your strongest arguments to justify your dislike of ex President Bush. I don’t think that the EOs are out of the ordinary for any President, and that they didn’t damage the country in any substantial way.

    You seem to have a problem with religion, not GWB.

    Tacky Raccoons is not a political forum and I won’t turn it into one for numerous reasons, but I don’t mind discussing serious topics with educated commenters as yourself. Let’s continue, but on a point-by-point discussion, rather than the barrage method. Might entice some others to chime in.

    Cordially, Bunk


  5. Hee! Hee! This is getting good! Just read your reply and I will need to think about your points.

    Your assertion was that the President does not control domestic policy and I set out to show that he does, through executive orders, through administrative regulations, and through Congress as well. The President has a domestic agenda when elected, and achieves it through party majority in congress. It gets iffier when the party of the elected president does not have a majority, but that usually does not happen until folks get really pissed off. Until then, the agenda is generally put in place (there are of course some exceptions to this such as the privatization of part of social security that he could not get through.) But as a whole, I would say that the President has great control over the domestic agenda.

    Anyway, I really really have to go now, but I’ll come back to reply. Sometimes work gets in the way.

    Oh I’m totally not against religion. To each his own. Very tolerant. That being said, I’m definitely pro church and state separation. I am pro church and state abyss in between. 🙂



  6. Part Deux:

    Hi Bunk Strutt,

    Barging in again but only shortly!

    1) Background: journalism until moving to the States a very long time ago. Currently photographer.

    2) I do not wish death upon anyone (especially alien death) and quite frankly, I would have hated to see Bush incapacitated during his tenure… considering Number Two.

    3) Powers of the Office of the President were eroded as a reaction to Watergate. Historically, over the last 60 years, presidential powers have increased. I believe accountability of the President to the American people is important as well as balance of powers. The “broad powers” of the President as alleged by memos from the Office of Legal Counsel were based on faulty legal premises and have been repudiated by the Department of Justice itself. I believe the consequences dire. It did damage.

    4) Control of fiscal policy come from government spending and taxation. Budget is submitted by the President. I have not seen any Republicans cave in to the liberal minority in a gazillion years but I would love to hear details. We know that under the Bush administration, government spending increased drastically and tax were cut for the wealthiest. I know your views on taxation are extreme and therefore your fiscal opinions may not exactly reflect the will of the American people. That being said, please elaborate on what would have constituted responsible fiscal policy.

    5) EO are a way for the President to control policy and I mentioned them as a rebuttal to your allegation that Congress controlled the domestic policies.

    6) EO 13233: It has not been bouncing back and forth for years. EO 13233 was drafted by Gonzales in 2001 and it revoked an EO that Reagan had signed in 89. There is a law that governs access to Ex-President papers and EO 13233 clearly undermines the US Code and the intent of the legislators. Even Republicans attempted to have it repelled! Once in 2002, and once in 2007… where the House passed the Bill 333-93 (pretty bi-partisan, isn’t it?)

    7) EO 13435: “The government should not be in the business of funding stem-cell research.” That’s your opinion and you are entitled to one… however I don’t see anything in the Constitution which makes this anti-American. I think that a lot of Americans wish to have medical scientific research federally funded.
    Also please be more specific about media and lies regarding ban. It was not a ban. It was a limitation for obtaining funding.
    As far as adult stem cells vs. embryonic stem cells, it seems to me that they both have advantages and disadvantages. I am not a scientist. I can only defer to what I read.

    8) EO 13279: I do not believe I misrepresented my interpretation of the Order. It allows funding to organizations that discriminate in their employment practices. Isn’t it correct?
    While the girl scout may not allow you to join, they would hire you. They do hire men. I’m afraid you just can’t be a girl scout. If you are lucky, you’ll get the opportunity in your next life. 🙂

    9) wow, this is quite long 😦

    10) EO 13422: There is nothing ADVISORY about this order. Au contraire! It used to be advisory. Not anymore!
    13422 orders the designation of a political appointee as a Regulatory Policy Officer who can control upcoming rulemaking activity in that agency. The keyword being control.
    Congress passes general acts and federal agencies interpret the intent and pass regulatory laws. The head of the agency used to decide what would be included in the plan, now the political appointee has the last word. As you well know, head of federal agencies are subject to Senate nomination… and political appointees, er, not. They are only accountable to the President.

    11) I don’t necessarily want anyone else to chime in.

    12) The list of reasons for disliking George Bush in my book is far longer than this comment. Frankly, I would not know where to even start. Executive Orders are by far not one of the primordial reasons. I have a bag of these… the main one, I think, being the invasion of Iraq. I think the books by Woodward and the book about Paul O’Neill are quite informative on the subject of how we embarked in the war and how Bush governed (without asking questions.)

    Anyway… This is way longer than I thought it would be. Sorry, i have not answered your question about my idea of a conservative. I think anything I would say would amount to a stereotype… but I think that the typical definition of, for example, being fiscally conservative has become severely compromised by the last few conservative Presidents that left office with huge budget deficits, and I’m also puzzled by the conservatives trying to portray themselves as representing the interests of Joe the plumber. I find this totally amusing considering…

    “What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base.” George Bush

    My work is done. It has been a pleasure!

    Nathalie 🙂

    note: I’m not re-reading this. I so don’t have the courage. Excuse any typos or grammatical issues. Thanks!


  7. Re: part deux

    1. Nice photos, too.

    2. I never insinuated that you wished death for GWB, but many in the left did, and said so publicly.

    3. Now we’re talking about Nixon? And then Truman? What does “accountability of the President to the American people” mean? You paint with a very vague and broad brush.

    4. Congress controls domestic spending. Regarding “gazillion years,” here’s one famous cave-in: remember George H.W. Bush’s “Read My Lips” speech? He later caved, and signed the biggest tax increase in history (in the “spirit of bipartisanship”) and was castigated for it. Then Bill Clinton out-did him and got a free pass in the media.

    Regarding taxation, all tax reductions only reduce taxes for the folks and businesses that pay them. Since the wealthy are taxed heavily, simple logic follows that any tax decrease benefits them more, allowing previously confiscated assets to be plowed back into the private sector, creating jobs and income for the middle and lower classes. This ultimately increases tax revenue. Even JFK understood this principle, and it worked for Reagan, too. My view is not extreme; it’s just simple economics.

    Responsible fiscal policy would be to slash tax rates across the board. If that move scares the beltway bandits, then the next best thing would be to freeze spending increases and deal with a fixed budget for a change, just as businesses and households do just to stay solvent. Unfortunately, government doesn’t have that dilemma so it can spend as much as it wants regardless of the income it receives, without having to produce anything. This is the seduction of socialism.

    5. Congress controls domestic policies by controlling spending.

    6. This is a non-issue, except in cases of national security.

    7. Our government should not be in the business of funding research that the private sector would (and does) do on its own. The media lied when it presented the issue as a ban on embryonic stem cell research, which it wasn’t; I agree with you. For many folks there is a moral argument about using aborted fetuses for government-funded research.

    8. We’re talking about fair funding of private charitable organizations here. Lookee, if my business and personal tax dollars were not confiscated to fund studies on the seasonal mating habits of the 3-toed microscopic booger sniffer weevil, I’d have more money to donate to charities of my own choosing, including hiring people to study booger sniffing weevils. Actually my point was that every organization and every person discriminates. You wouldn’t hire a two-year old to mow your lawn, nor would you hire a paroled child molester to monitor your two-year-old. Those are both examples of discrimination. So why should the government withhold support for a religious charitable organization just because the church won’t hire satanists?

    9. Yep. =)

    10. So? BTW, I think you meant “Senate confirmation.”

    11. You have no control over this matter. I’ve shown restraint; Note that I’ve not turned Bunkessa and Bunkarina loose on you… yet. =)

    12. So we finally get to the reason you dislike GWB: the Iraq War. Lemme hear it!

    All in fun. Bunk


  8. Cincinnati, eh? Oh well, for a instant, I thought we were about to have a “the world is so small” moment.

    Pausing would be great. I’m not having such a great time presently and I’m about to leave town for a few days so postponement seems indicated. I’ll compose my response at the beach. 🙂



  9. “Y’all.”
    Seriously. A friend of mine has a funny friend who goes by Bunk. The dude works for MTV and since you write about music quite a lot, I thought perhaps… The odds were slim but I just had to ask (considering all the very crusty info I would have had on you!) 🙂


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