Where do you find the Answers? Try Milton and Rose

We, of course, expected cries of war mongers about our position on Iran, but we stand by it. The alternative is far worse.  On the other hand, people who might agree with our stand on zero tolerance for rioters in Baltimore or anywhere else, still ask what would you do about the underlying problems that lead to these protests?  In order to  provide answers we have to move from commentary to actual policy proposals.  To do so, we need help from some notables both living and dead.  The first one we turned to was President Obama who when faced with a long entrenched policy he felt was at a dead end said ” I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result.”  While he said in reference to Cuba, the point was well taken. Instead of doing the same unsuccessful things decade after decade, it just might be worthwhile to head in a different direction.  Baltimore like many other of our cities have had one party rule for decades.  That means a certain political philosophy has governed the decisions and the general direction that have brought them to their present deplorable state.  Democrats who ruled all these years, adhere to a big government creed that goes back to the great depression.  Then It received its economic gravitas from John Maynard Keynes who proposed that government action could ameliorate the negative aspects of the business cycle.  After his passing, like minded economists such as John Kenneth Galbraith expanded on this government primacy philosophy to a system where government was the supreme arbitrator between Capital, represented by Big Business, and Labor represented the unions.  On the level of cities like Baltimore this has come to mean unaccountable positions for public employee unions, such as the police and teachers unions. They provide the money and reliable voters to for democrat politicians to prevail. The cost is unfunded pensions and an inability to fire bad or unproductive employees.  Businesses close to City Hall get contracts, zoning and tax breaks in return for their support.  How else can you explain more than 2 billion dollars Stimulus money not making any notable difference in Baltimore’s major problems in education,employment and overall economic growth.  Only the politicians, crony capitalists and unions seem to  made out.  Freddie Gray’s Sandtown-Winchester  neighborhood just continued its downward spiral. John Maynard Keynes was never without contemporaries who pointed to a different path forward.  Chief among them was Friedrich von Hayek, who saw this government dominance as leading us down “the Road to Serfdom” in the book by that name.  Later the NeoKeynesians moved us further down this road, but also had opposition and one who stood out was Milton Friedman along with his collaborator wife  Rose.  From Ronald Reagan to today’s majority of the Nations Governors, his smaller government individual centered way forward has offered an alternative to the philosophy that has brought Baltimore and similar cities to their present dire circumstances.  In light of this we may do well to ask what would Milton and Rose do? Even though both he and Rose are gone, they left us with starkly different policy proposals from those practiced in these faltering cities.  Education, employment and and how a city achieve economic growth were all tackled by the Friedmans.  It was Milton that said “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” Continue reading


The same misguided thinking that is destroying the City of Baltimore appears to be at play in the current Iran Nuclear negotiations.  You might think this quite a leap, but consider the very short term focus by those in charge against a certain long term loss. The same thinking that leads to the decision not to arrest lawbreaking young people because they’re young and disadvantaged and having only a limited pause (at best ten years) to a Iranian Atomic Bomb because the alternative is military action ensures longer term problems. Why would you show restraint to  lawbreakers when the result will in much dimmer future for the whole community?  By the same token, why would you forgo military action if the result is a future military situation is one of numerous Mideast nuclear powers possibly run by fanatics are at each others and our throats?  Just as enforcing the law on the first rioters increases faith that the community will be protected so people can continue to invest in it,  refusing to allow a rogue state to destabilize the Mideast might allow the area to sort itself out and ultimately progress to the benefit of its people while eliminating a great danger to humanity. Continue reading


Could there be a greater waste of money than having a military or law enforcement and refusing to use them.  The lawlessness in Baltimore is a case in point.  Looting and attacks on police were allowed to proceed without much opposition on the mistaken idea that we have to let people let off steam before it escalates even further.  How many times does this thinking have to backfire before we wake up and remember why we have law enforcement to maintain public order?  Unless especially built as a political capitols such as Washington D.C. or Brasília, cities and towns exist to serve an economic purpose.  This means you have to try to maintain your current businesses while attracting new ones to replace those that are lost or your town will die. This takes money and money goes where it is treated well.  If you let people steal from your business community without consequence or worse letting them loot and then burn down a business, you’re not treating money with respect.  Why would any person invest in expansion or start a new business under those conditions?  More likely, if you own a business there you’d be looking to relocate where you’re treated better.  Where these riots have taken place, they either slow to or never recover.  Baltimore has been in decline ever since the MLK assassination riots.  Knowing this history, how could a civic leader not protect their city’s lifeblood?  Yet Baltimore Mayor Stephanie  Rawlings-Blake appears to have given stand down orders to the police in the face of rioting, looting and destruction.  She claims to have taken numerous economic courses but seems to be unaware of the enormous harm this would do to the very people she claims to help.  Makes you wonder what they are teaching at her Alma Mater Oberlin these days. Continue reading