Happy 106th birthday on July 31, Milton Friedman!

From American Enterprise Institute (AEI):

“An important event takes place this week that is recognized annually on CD. Tuesday, July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday — he was born on that day in 1912 and would have been 106 years old this year. Unfortunately, Milton died on November 16, 2006, when he was 94 years old. In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal following Professor Friedman’s death, they reported his loss with the same tribute Milton used when Ronald Reagan died, saying “few people in human history have contributed more to the achievement of human freedom.” In honor of his legacy and birthday, here are 20 of my favorite Milton Friedman quotes, along with a bonus video and some special birthday graphics:

1. There is nothing as permanent as a temporary government program.

2. Many well-meaning people favor legal minimum-wage rates in the mistaken belief that they help the poor. These people confuse wage rates with wage income. It has always been a mystery to me to understand why a youngster is better off unemployed at $15 an hour than employed at $7.25 (updated). The rise in the legal minimum-wage rate is a monument to the power of superficial thinking.

3. First of all, the government doesn’t have any responsibility to the poor. People have responsibility. This building doesn’t have responsibility. You and I have responsibility. People have responsibility. Second, the question is how can we as people exercise our responsibility to our fellow man most effectively? That’s the problem. So far as poverty is concerned, there has never been a more effective machine for eliminating poverty than the free enterprise system and the free market. The period in which you had the greatest improvement in the lot of the ordinary man was the period of the 19th and early 20th century.

4. In the international trade area, the language is almost always about how we must export, and what’s really good is an industry that produces exports, and if we buy from abroad and import, that’s bad. But surely that’s upside-down. What we send abroad, we can’t eat, we can’t wear, we can’t use for our houses. On the other hand, the goods and services we import, they provide us with TV sets we can watch, with automobiles we can drive, with all sorts of nice things for us to use.”

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Posted by at 10:08 AM

Labels: Profiles of Economists


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