Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dueling Nobels -- My Money is on Gary Becker

A few years ago, Bill Becker from Indiana Univ. gave a presidential address to the Midwest Economics Association challenging us to teach the controversies and to teach from the work of the Nobel Economic Laureates. His point as I remember it and not necessarily as he intended it was from the controversies come new truths. It is so hard to find the signal in all of the noise.

Paul Krugman, a nobel prize winner, has led from the interventionist side favoring stimulus on top of stimulus. Apparently, Krugman does not feel like markets can or should correct, nor are massive growth in government and deficit moving in the wrong direction. Barro has commented rather negatively as has many others. Nevertheless, the political economic world is currently moving in concert with Krugman's musing with future consequences uncertain.

As I get ready for the secone day here at the Midwest Economics Association meetings in Cleveland, I hear on the TV "Nobel Economist says do nothing" ... It turns out this is Gary Becker, 1992 Nobel Prize Winner, and a personal hero.

Mary Anastiasa O'Grady writes in that Now is no Time to Give Up on Markets: "What can we do that would be beneficial? [One thing] is lower corporate taxes and businesses taxes and maybe taxes in general. Particularly, you want to lower the tax on capital so you raise the after-tax return to investing and get more investing going on."

"Gary Becker ... is in New York to speak to a special meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society on the global meltdown. He has agreed to sit down to chat with me (O'Grady) on the subject of his lecture. Slumped in a soft chair in a noisy hotel coffee lounge, the 78-year-old University of Chicago professor is relaxed and remarkably humble for a guy who has achieved so much."

I was brought up on Becker. as a Ph. D. student at Ohio State. I could not read enough of his work. I am thrilled to see the words slumped and humble in that opening to O'Grady's interview, because it impresses me with the genuinuness of this remarkable man. A humble economist that speaks the truth of his convictions instead of the pompousness so comoon from those on the political stage.

Dont give up on Markets

Capitalism is under attack in our country and more important with that attack is the attack on our freedom and liberty. Becker reminds us to hold to our believes and to not fall into the just-do-something mentality. Growing government and restricting markets is not the way to create wealth and growth.

Thanks Professor Becker...

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