Today Is Milton Friedman’s Birthday – Here Are 11 Brilliant Quotes From Him

Today would have been Milton Friedman’s 104th birthday. When he died in 2006, the Wall Street Journal said this of him:

“Few people in human history have contributed more to the achievement of human freedom.”

Here are eleven of my favorite pithy quips from him:

  1. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
  2. If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand
  3. Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
  4. Governments never learn. Only people learn.
  5. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
  6. Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.
  7. The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.
  8. Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own.
  9. Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
  10. Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.
  11. I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.

In 1980, Friedman published “Free to Choose,” which was also turned into a 10-part television series. While promoting it, he spoke with Phil Donahue about it, generating one of the most-watched interactions of all time.

This short clip contains his classic defense of free-market capitalism (view the entire clip here):

Here are links to his two best-selling and incredibly influential books:

Capitalism and FreedomFree To Choose

RIP, Uncle Miltie…


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