The President’s Economic Betrayal – LewRockwell

[From the Rothbard Archive, originally published in The New York Times, September 4, 1971.]

On Aug. 15, 1971, fascism came to America. And everyone cheered, hailing the fact that a “strong Presi­dent” was once again at the helm. The word fascism is scarcely an exaggeration to describe the New Economic Policy. The trend had been there for years, in the encroachment of Big Government over all aspects of the economy and society, in growing taxes, subsidies and controls, and in the shift of economic decision-making from the free market to the Federal Government. The most recent ominous development was the bailout of Lock heed, which established the principle that no major corporation, no matter how inefficient, can be allowed to go under.

But the wage-price freeze, imposed in sudden hysteria on Aug. 15, spells the end of the free price system, and therefore of the entire system of free enterprise and free markets that have been the heart of the American econ­omy.

The main horror of the wage-price freeze is that this is totalitarianism, and nobody seems to care. For it is an open secret in Washington that wages and prices cannot be simply and starkly frozen forever, and that ninety days will scarcely be enough to solve any economic problem. It is an open secret that the Administration is planning to use the ninety days to prepare a permanent bureaucracy to administer permanent wage and price controls.

The Anatomy of the Sta…
Murray N. Rothbard
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The first challenge to hurl at our Caesar in the White House is not eco­nomic but moral: quo warranto? By what right do you use coercion to tell buyers and sellers what prices they may or may not agree upon, or employers and workers what wages they may pay?…

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