Friedman Speech Attacks Army Conscription System

Milton Friedman attacked the present draft system yesterday afternoon at a meeting of the newly formed H-R Association for the Study of Economic Doctrines in Winthrop House JCR.

Friedman, a professor at the University of Chicago, called the present conscription system unfair and alien to personal freedoms. "The volunteer army is feasible, always has been feasible, and should have been instituted yesterday," he said.

In place of a conscript army, Friedman advocates a professional service. "A free society is not endangered by a professional army," he said. "Military coups result more often from conscript armies than volunteer armies."

Individual Choice

"A paid army is no more mercenary than teaching or a professional career if the individual makes the choice," he said. Friedman presently serves on a Presidential commission reviewing aspects of the volunteer service.

Friedman also criticized Government involvement in higher education, the weaknesses of the tax structure, and the ineffectiveness of the welfare system. "Government spending on schooling is scandalous. It taxes low-income people to put upper and middle-income people through college," he said.

Tax Reform


He advocated a major reform of taxes which would double the minimum allowance and eliminate all exemptions and exclusions on personal income taxes.

Friedman was critical of Government welfare policies. He said that "Government policies have interfered with the effectiveness of capitalism, a system that has proven to make poor people rich." He went further to say." Present policies to help poor people are making them even poorer." He recommended that we go beyond what Nixon has proposed in reforming the welfare system.

Friedman also commented on inflation and the prospects for a recession. He explained that "our economy is expansionary, not because prices are rising, but because prices are rising more than people's expectations."

"I will give you 50-to-1 odds." he predicted, "that we will have a recession next year."