We Need a Little More Milton Friedman Right About Now
Not long ago, President Joe Biden made an offhanded comment that "Milton Friedman isn't running the show anymore."
This president has seldom spoken more valid words. And that's where the trouble has begun.
If you were to rate the three most influential economic minds of all time, you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a better trio than Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Friedman.
I'm a little too young to have known Keynes or Smith, but I am old enough to have gotten to know Friedman, and I'm proud to have called him a friend.
I used to have dinner with Friedman and his wife, Rose, a great economist in her own right, and a few other of his close confidantes once or twice a year up in San Francisco during the last years of his life.
Few academics have done more to advance human freedom than Friedman. He was the leading apostle for the free enterprise system. He had a profound impact on major policy decisions, including the case for parental choice in education, expansion of free trade and even abolition of the military draft.
He was forever suspicious of government power -- and for a good reason.
His two masterpieces were "Free to Choose" and "Capitalism and Freedom." If you haven't read them, why not? Biden should. They were economic masterpieces written for the common man -- and hence read by millions.
I remember that when Friedman would travel to places such as China, Mexico and India, he often got a cold reception from the political leaders, but he was treated like a rock star by the masses. They loved him. It reminded me of the line from the old rock song, "People everywhere just want to be free."
So what does this remembrance of Uncle Milton, as he was sometimes called, have to do with the myriad problems that beset our current economy? Runaway spending and debt. A welfare state that is bankrupting our country. The ever-worsening rise in consumer prices.