Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Milton Friedman's rises from grave spreads death and disaster in wake.

I have long thought that one of the worst writers around is Paul Krugman. He is just a very nasty man with issues. His hatred overflows his columns regularly.

One of his more absurd opinion pieces was recently published in the New York Times. At least with opinion pieces he doesn’t need facts or evidence. He just needs an opinion, his hate and a cup full of irrationality to boot. Economist Russell Roberts has brought to my attention that Krugman is now claiming the Milton Friedman is responisble for people dying.

Yes, the much honored but deceased economist is supposedly responsible for people dying at this very time. And he uses food scares to prove his point. Terror is an effect weapon and Krugman doesn’t mind using it. I don’t mean terrorism just the stirring up of terror, the fear-mongering that Statists like Krugman (and I should add his counterparts on the Right) use with amazing regularity.

Who’s responsible for the new fear of eating? Some blame globalization; some blame food-producing corporations; some blame the Bush administration. But I blame Milton Friedman.

He mentions the various cases of E. coli where people get sick from the food we eat. So was Uncle Miltie running around the fields before his death lacing the fields with poison to knock off people long after he’s gone. It concerns me. I had dinner with the man. I sat next to him at the table. I even left my food unattended at a couple of points during the meal. Perhaps I should rush off to the clinic for an exam. No doubt the moment I mention Milton Friedman I’ll be rushed into intensive care. But then that was some years ago but maybe it’s just slow acting! I do fear a bit warm. (Which couldn’t be anything to do with hot summer weather we are having here.)

How does Krugman prove his point. First, he mentions that Friedman was a critic of government consumer protection. Friedman argued it didn’t work well. He argued it didn’t really make consumers safer and it had unintended consequences that often made them worse off and it cost a lot of money in the meantime.

Krugman’s view is the opposite. If there is a state control that someone proposes Krugman gets orgasmic over it. He has wet dreams over socialism just call it something else.. He thinks a book of photos of Stalin, Marx, Mao, Castro and such is just raw erotica.

According to Krugman the laughable Bush administration is not pushing through new strong controls (see I told you he gets aroused at the very thought of economic bondage) because they are in the grips of a free market ideology. Okay, so it is laughable. The reality is that none of Friedman’s suggestions on this matter were tried. What is in place is the system that Krugman and his allies advocated.

Some would say that the food problems still arise with regulations show that the regulatory system itself doesn’t work. Krugman’s view is relatively consistent. He always says the controls were stringent enough, big enough, broad enough. He always advocates more state power. No one he hates Milton Friedman.

Now is it Bush? That is a different question and one that can’t be so easily dismissed. Bush is supremely inept when it comes to the occupants of the oval office. His handling of Katrina was a clear indication of that. Ditto for the war, the budget, constitutional liberties, ad nauseum. But beyond lip service paid by Bush to woe his own Republican base there hasn’t been an administration so NOT influenced by Friedman. It takes a certain kind of insanity to accuse Bush of believing in too much freedom.

But are E.coli outbreaks really that unprecedented that Krugman thinks he can use them to slander a dead man? Actually not but then facts are not on speaking terms with Krugman. Let’s look at past recent E.coli outbreaks.

During Bush, who I also loathe as anyone reading this blog knows, we had an E.coli outbreak where 70 people got sick from some infected meat. And then there was the fresh spinach outbreak of last year were 200 got ill and three died. Still pretty awful stuff but hardly earth shattering.

So how about under Mr. Clinton? In 1999 there was an E.coli outbreak in New York state that sickened 781 people. That’s way more than under Bush though Bush did have three fatalities. But that isn’t the end of the outbreaks under Clinton. In 1997 there was another outbreak with 108 becoming sick and three having kidney failure. Still no deaths. In 1996 there were 70 cases of E.coli infections and one died. In 1994 another 23 were infected and in 1993 over 700 people were infected and four of them died.

It is rather gruesome but we do need to do a body count here. Bush: 270 sick, 3 deaths. Clinton: About 1,700 sick and 5 deaths. Was Milton Fridman sneaking into the White House at night and whispering in Bill Clinton’s ear?

Before becoming an journalistic hit-man Krugman was also a paid adviser to the Enron company. Not exactly prime credentials in my books. Even the omsbudsman for the New York Times had to say that “Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.”

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