ECON 101: Williams shares insights on free enterprise, economic freedoms
Published 3:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2016
Dr. Walter E. Williams of George Mason University and one of America’s best-known economists was the guest lecturer at Troy University Wednesday. Williams was hosted by the university’s Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy.
Steve Miller, Johnson Center executive director, said Williams’ lecture was a major event of the year for the Johnson Center.
Miller said Williams is one of the foremost defenders of economic freedom and it was an honor to have him at Troy University.
As an economist, Williams is a proponent of free market economics and opposes socialist systems of government intervention.
Williams prefaced his lecture by saying that some of his comments might be construed as mean spirited and politically incorrect.
Williams said the Founding Fathers laid out in the Constitution the legitimate role of government and that was limited government – a government that was to provide for the common welfare of the people and one that does not include over taxation of the people and over spending by the government.
“From January 1 through April, workers are taxed – federal, state and local – without the right to decided how the fruits of their labor are used,” Williams said. “We have abandoned personal freedom. Free enterprise is under attack. There is contempt for private property and economic freedom.”
Williams said increased government control has reduced the country to a form of servitude as American freedoms are slipping away.
He used an analogy that is understandable in rural South Alabama –that of a frog in a cook pot.
“If you drop a frog in a pot of hot water, its reflexes will be such that it will hop right of the pot,” he said. “But, if you put the frog in a pot of cold water and heat the water bit by bit, the frog will stay there until its too late and it will die. It is the same with America’s freedoms. They are slowly slipping away.”
Williams said no Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus is coming to rescue America. It is up to America’s own resourcefulness to get out of the pot before it’s too late.
Williams’ audience was made up primarily of university students but also contained a large number of community members.
Terry Hassett of Troy said he has long been a reader of Williams’ syndicated columns and has read several of his books.
“I appreciated the opportunity to hear Walter Williams speak,” Hassett said. “I was impressed with his knowledge of our Founding Fathers and how far away from the original intent of the Constitution we have come. What stood out to me is that we have managed to create an environment that ignores our Founding Fathers’ plan. The Constitution aim was to limit government. What government has managed to do is limit us.”
Hassett said he agreed with Williams that free market economics is the way to right what is wrong with America.
“If I give a man a five dollars for a steak and he gives me the steak, then we are both winners,” he said. “I got what I wanted because the steak was more important to me than the five dollars. The man got what he wanted because the five dollars was more important to him than the steak. That’s how free market economics works.”