Friday, October 17, 2008

Peter Robinson: What Would Milton Friedman Say?

Nice article at Forbes by Hoover Fellow Peter Robinson:
"Whom would Milton have blamed?
For the bubble itself? Probably nobody. From the tulip mania in Holland more than three-and-a-half centuries ago to the dot-com bubble here in the U.S. less than a decade ago, wildly irrational behavior sometimes develops in markets. "Friedman never argued that markets are perfect," says Jay, "only that over the long run they're a lot more efficient than any other method of allocating resources." Sometimes, Milton recognized, bubbles just happen.
Whatever the origin of the bubble, however, Milton would have blamed Congress for making it much, much worse. Congress, after all, created Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM - news - people ) and Freddie Mac (nyse: FRE - news - people ), institutions that spent tens of billions of dollars on subprime instruments. "Congress told Fannie and Freddie to subsidize bad loans for the purposes of social engineering," says Jay. "It was terrible, just terrible.""

No comments: