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Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006)


American economist noted for his support for free markets and a reduction in the size of government.
Milton Friedman
If a tax cut increases government revenues, you haven't cut taxes enough.
Friedman quotes
Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper.
Friedman
There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.




Friedman Milton quotes
Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated — a system of checks and balances.
Friedman Milton
They think that the cure to big government is to have bigger government... the only effective cure is to reduce the scope of government - get government out of the business.
Milton Friedman quotes
There is enormous inertia—a tyranny of the status quo—in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.
Milton Friedman
[T]oday we see how utterly mistaken was the Milton Friedman notion that a market system can regulate itself... Everyone understands now, on the contrary, that there can be no solution without government. The Keynesian idea is once again accepted that fiscal policy and deficit spending has a major role to play in guiding a market economy. I wish Friedman were still alive so he could witness how his extremism led to the defeat of his own ideas.
Friedman Milton quotes
I don't give a good goddamn what Milton Friedman says. He's not running for re-election!
Friedman
The business of business is business.
Friedman Milton
With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves.
Milton Friedman
I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. … because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. I believe our government is too large and intrusive, that we do not get our money's worth for the roughly 40 percent of our income that is spent by government ... How can we ever cut government down to size? I believe there is one and only one way: the way parents control spendthrift children, cutting their allowance. For government, that means cutting taxes.




Milton Friedman quotes
If we have system in which government is in a position to give large favor - it's human nature to try to get this favor - whether those people are large enterprises, or whether they're small businesses like farmers, or whether they're representatives of any other special group. The only way to prevent that is to force them to engage in competition one with the other.
Milton Friedman
The unions might be good for the people who are in the unions but it doesn't do a thing for the people who are unemployed. Because the union keeps down the number of jobs, it doesn't do a thing for them.
Friedman quotes
Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant little to the wealthy. The rich in ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing — running servants replaced running water. Television and radio — the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets — all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. They would have welcomed the improvements in transportation and in medicine, but for the rest, the great achievements of western capitalism have rebounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful.
Friedman Milton
I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, it's only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater.
Friedman Milton quotes
One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.
Milton Friedman
Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output. ... A steady rate of monetary growth at a moderate level can provide a framework under which a country can have little inflation and much growth. It will not produce perfect stability; it will not produce heaven on earth; but it can make an important contribution to a stable economic society.
Milton Friedman quotes
"The strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power. Whether that person is a government official, a trade union official, or a business executive. If forces them to put up or shut up. They either have to deliver the goods, produce something that people are willing to pay for, are willing to buy, or else they have to go into a different business."
Milton Friedman
Everybody loves to argue with Milton, particularly when he isn't there.
Friedman Milton
The use of quantity of money as a target has not been a success. I'm not sure that I would as of today push it as hard as I once did.


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