Tyranny of the Status Quo - Beneficiaries





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Published on Jul 31, 2012

Three programs were filmed for the short series "Tyranny of the Status Quo". Beneficiaries is the first episode featuring Dr. Friedman discussing topics with a select group of college students.

Dr. Friedman would like for us to explore the problem of: why is it that what I assert to be a distinct change in public opinion has not succeeded in changing actual policy? What is it about the tyranny of the status quo? What is it the role of pressure groups? What is it that has produced this result? And I would like to attack that problem, that issue… by discussing some of the broad areas of policy that has been very much in the forefront and have been very important in the past two years. We have…as you know in the country, a very large expenditure of governmental funds on higher education, in the form of state universities which are financed out of state or maybe city or local groups; also in the form of federal subsidies to higher education directly to the institutions, and indirectly to students in the form of subsidized loans of various kinds. Grants also, grants without condition, and the question I want to raise is: whether that higher…those higher education expenditures are a justifiable activity of government, and what their consequences are? Whether they really are a desirable element of a welfare state? I may say…my own view has always been very simply that they are not. The reason being: that in the main the benefits go to the individuals who get the higher schooling, the students on the one hand. Those students tend to be in the middle or upper-income groups. Either their parents are from that group or they themselves will be in that group when they get out. Or, as the funds come from people all over- so that you have a case in which you are imposing taxes on relatively low-income people, to confer very large benefits on upper-income people.

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