Last night’s debate between Govs. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., won’t affect the results of an election — but it did define how we identify ourselves as a nation.
It was a discussion of what we want our government to be. They debated immigration, crime, gun rights, education, parental rights, abortion, and energy.
But more than anything it was a debate of capitalism versus socialism, liberty versus tyranny, or, in the words of DeSantis, “freedom over failure.”
It was a debate of Milton Friedman versus Karl Marx.
Newsmax columnist Veronique de Rugy observed yesterday that then-candidate Joe Biden claimed in 2020 that Nobel-laureate economist "Milton Friedman isn't running the show anymore.”
While Friedman never “ran the show” during his lifetime, he offered sage advice to those who did, and in recent years Florida may be one of the best examples of those who followed that advice, and California the best example of those who did not.
He once observed that "a society that puts equality before freedom will get neither," whereas "a society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both."
That maxim is especially true now that "equality" has morphed into "equity," where some people are considered "more equal" than others.
And the proof is in the numbers. As moderator and Fox News host Sean Hannity observed last night, during the years 2021 and 2022 Florida added 454,000 new residents, while 750,000 fled California.
The free market system allows the market set the cost of goods and services.
If a manufacturer, supplier or retailer sets prices too high, sales plummet. If he sets them too low or sells shoddy merchandise, he goes bankrupt.
But when government starts tinkering with the system, it falls apart.
When California began converting from fossil fuels to renewables, the cost of energy skyrocketed, and reliability of electric service dropped with summer brownouts and demands to avoid charging electric vehicle. $6 gas at the pump is now commonplace.
But as Stephen L. Miller, contributing editor for The Spectator observed, "Newsom would rather talk about Joe Biden's record than his own."
OK, so let’s do that.
One of Biden’s first acts as president was to follow California’s lead by turning off the spigot to domestic gas and oil while pushing renewables and electric vehicles.
Ten months later he accused the petroleum industry of price-gouging, and "asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil and gas companies are participating in illegal conduct aimed at keeping gasoline prices high."
With reelection looking less certain, he went after merchants Monday, telling them, "It’s time to stop the price gouging and give the American consumer a break," and threatened to the Defense Production Act to force them to do it.
He repeated that message Thursday on X:
"Let me be clear to any corporation that hasn’t brought their prices back down even as inflation has come down: It’s time to stop the price gouging," he said. “Give American consumers a break."
Readers pointed out that as long as inflation is a positive number, prices will continue to rise.
Tinkering with wages has the exact same effect.
California raised its minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 an hour. After that the cost of a McDonald’s burger, fries and soft drink rose to $16, which had customers complaining that it’s "no longer affordable."
Friedman could have predicted that. "The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem," he said. Recent "solutions" include:
- The $1.2 trillion Inflation Reduction Act, which had the opposite effect.
- The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 billion act meant to address the COVID pandemic. Instead it accelerated inflation and led to mental health issues in Americans.
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion act that added few jobs and did little for infrastructure, but also added to inflation.
- Not benefitting any Americans, U.S. Taxpayers pay $451 billion per year to care for illegal immigrants, and have paid more than $78 billion in aid to Ukraine.
In a quip often attributed to Sen. Everett Dirksen, the late Illinois Republican reportedly said, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money."
Government should stick to its basic function of protecting its citizens: Provide for military defense, police protection, and the protection of individual property and contract rights, along with those rights expressed in the Constitution.
As Friedman observed, "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand."
The government isn’t smart enough to control the economy. It can only get off the backs of American business to allow then, and the economy, to flourish.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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