Posts Tagged ‘Why Failed Governmental Programs Live Forever’

“Why Government Is The Problem”: Milton Friedman, #3

July 8, 2015

“Why Government Is The Problem”: Milton Friedman, #3.

The following was derived from Milton Friedman in his Essays in Public Policy. These were  published in Feb.  1993.

Friedman explained in good detail why private enterprise and government enterprises are so different. The primary difference being that governmental programs that fail are expanded and given “eternal life”.

Regarding governmental enterprises, he notes of politicians: “Nobody because likes to admit that he made a mistake, and they do not have to.”

He points out that politicians simply argue that the enterprise initially failed because  it was not designed and funded on a large enough scale.


If a private enterprise is a failure, it closes down—unless it can get a governmental subsidy to keep it going; if a governmental  enterprise fails, it is expanded. I challenge you to find exceptions.

Milton Friedman.

Kindle loc. 155

Of course, it is in the politician’s best interests to fund and grow even failing programs. This is how they gain their political power. Furthermore, if a failing program can be funded and maintained long enough, when it finally collapses it is likely to do so after the politicians have left office. In other-words, the failure provides no real consequences to them. They did not lose their own money and the ultimate failure was someone, or something, else’s fault!

Friedman acknowledges that even well-intentioned politicians are prone to fall into this trap of political power-rewards for programs that are harmful to America, and that elude punishing consequences for their corrupted personal behaviors.

As many Behavior Analysts have asserted, myself included: It’s not the individual that is the problem, it’s the system of contingencies of reinforcement and punishment that shape his or her bad behavior!

Perhaps Friedman’s title should be changed: Its Not The Government: It is the Contingencies of Reinforcement and Punishment Under-Which The Government Operates!

Do you get it?!

Constitutional Amendments are essential to the survival of our American Republic.

Please enter “Liberty Amendments” in my search window to see these critically important recommended Amendments.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 7/8/15

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