The ideas that government must fund most basic research, that such research is crucial for advanced technology, and that advanced technology is a strong contributor to economic growth have all become cliches. Not only President Clinton, but also many others, assume that these ideas are true without bothering to examine them.

William Niskanen was not one of those people. More than almost any other economist of his era, he marched to the beat of his own drummer. In doing so, he often challenged accepted views. And in this case, his challenge hit the mark.

These are the last 2 paragraphs of David R. Henderson, “Underappreciated Wisdom from Niskanen,” Defining Ideas, November 15, 2023.

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