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Posts Tagged ‘friedman’

Happy birthday, Milton Friedman

Posted by Richard on July 31, 2012

Today is the late, great Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday. In honor of that, here’s a 2:24 video clip of Friedman schooling Phil Donahue on the subject of capitalism and greed. Masterful!

[YouTube link]

(HT: Rush Limbaugh)

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Happy Friedman Day!

Posted by Richard on June 7, 2009

You've no doubt heard of the Tax Foundation's "Tax Freedom Day," the day when Americans have finally earned enough money to pay all our taxes. This year, it was April 13. But because of borrowing, taxes don't pay the full costs of government. This year, it's not even close.

Today, we've finally reached what the American Institute for Economic Research calls Friedman Day, the day that we've worked enough to pay for all government spending. Friedman Day has been coming later and later in the past eight years, and this year it came seven weeks after Tax Freedom Day and nearly halfway through the year: 

The reason? The federal government deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 has mushroomed to $1.84 trillion.  This means that about 46 cents of every dollar of federal spending will be financed by borrowing through the sale of new U.S. Treasury securities. 

Nor is the current 2009 deficit simply a one-year spike. The most recent estimate for the 2010 deficit is $1.3 trillion, still about 8.5% of GDP.

And the debt will go up accordingly, by another $1.3 trillion.

The United States seems to have entered a new era of historically high deficits and a national debt that is therefore growing by leaps and bounds.  Emergency or not, temporary or not, this is new territory for the federal government and for the economy.

You and I aren't paying the difference between Tax Freedom Day and Friedman Day out of our pockets, but we're on the hook for it — or our kids and grandkids are. And no, we don't "owe it to ourselves." We owe more than two-thirds of it to foreign investors and governments. And they've been getting antsy about our government's profligacy. 

When the subprime mortgage crisis heated up last July, foreign governments began to worry about the value of the U.S. securities they were holding.  When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started to look insolvent, Treasury officials had to make phone calls around the world, reassuring foreign holders of Treasury and especially "agency" (Freddie and Fannie) securities. Then the government nationalized Freddie and Fannie, taking explicit responsibility for their liabilities.

This was America's "Argentina moment." Suddenly, the United States could be viewed as a debtor nation, obliged to persuade the owners of its debt that everything would be OK. 

Friedman Day, as it inches ever closer to Milton Friedman's July 31 birthday, should serve as a warning that government is consuming way beyond its means. In the years ahead — and for future generations — everything may not be OK.

So take a moment to celebrate Friedman Day today. But then spend some time in sober reflection about our future.

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Celebrate Friedman’s birthday

Posted by Richard on July 30, 2008

Speaking of economics (as I was in my last post), this Thursday, July 31, is the late Milton Friedman's 96th birthday. The Independence Institute is celebrating, and if you're in the Denver area, you might want to join them:

Join the Independence Institute in honoring Nobel Laureate economist Dr. Milton Friedman as part of the national Friedman Legacy for Freedom campaign on July 31, which would have been Friedman’s 96th birthday.

Come celebrate Friedman's contribution to free-market theories with a viewing of an episode of "Free to Choose" focusing on the impact unions have on the free-market. Unionization remains a topic of great significance, especially as we feel the encroachment of unions here in Colorado.

Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008
Reception: 6:00 p.m.
Movie: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Place: Denver News Agency
101 W. Colfax Avenue
The event is free of charge

RSVP below or by calling Amanda at 303-279-6536

RSVP for this Event

BTW, there's another big event this week: On Friday, August 1, the Rush Limbaugh Show celebrates its 20th anniversary. Human Events is celebrating all week. They have commentary for the occasion from sources as diverse as Dick Morris and Ted Nugent — and a plethora of people in between. Check it out! 

And don't miss WorldNetDaily's tribute to Rush, with comments from the likes of Jackie Mason, Chuck Norris, and Pat Boone! 

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Must-see HDTV

Posted by Richard on April 25, 2007

Did you take my advice and watch "The Ultimate Resource" last night? It was simply outstanding, meeting and exceeding my rather high expectations. Visually, it was first-class — beautiful high-definition video comparable in quality to the better Discovery HD programming. The content was fascinating as well as uplifting.

My only minor criticism is that the last of the five segments — the story of Shanghai entrepreneurs and their computer game company — was the weakest. The China segment was merely interesting, while the preceding four segments were moving:

  • In Ghana, a poor fisherman and his wife wanted their daughter to get a good education, so they put her in a private school instead of the free government school. James Tooley explained that in this very poor region of Ghana, 75% of the schools are private and for-profit, and all of them outperform the government schools.
  • In Peru, remote mountain villagers celebrated when they finally get legal titles to land that their families have worked for generations. Hernando de Soto talked about how property rights and the rule of law can turn the world's four billion poor into eager and successful stakeholders in the capitalist system.
  • In Estonia, the former Soviet republic has become one of the economically freest countries on Earth, enabling the Estonia Piano Company to transform itself from an inefficient producer of mediocre pianos for the state into an efficient, successful producer of some of the world's highest-quality instruments.
  • In Bangladesh, a young woman got a small loan so she and her husband could buy a loom. This enabled them to make and sell high-quality saris, lifting themselves out of poverty. Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank have made millions of similar "microcredit" loans (averaging $70), always for an income-producing purpose that will lift a family out of poverty. The repayment rate is 99%. 

The program is a joyous and heartwarming celebration of the human spirit and of the benefits of liberty. By all means, see it if you can. HDNet is showing it several more times in the next few days (see schedule). I'm sure it will eventually be available on DVD, but if you can see it on HDNet this week, I bet you'll be glad you did. 

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The Ultimate Resource

Posted by Richard on April 23, 2007

If you're an advocate of free markets and a fan of the late Julian Simon and the late Milton Friedman, and you have an HDTV, it doesn't get any better than this: glorious high-definition images from exotic locales all over the world celebrating people's creativity as the ultimate resource and freedom as the key to enabling them to accomplish wonderful things. 

Tuesday, April 24, at 10 PM Eastern, HDNet premieres a new documentary from Free To Choose Media entitled "The Ultimate Resource." It will repeat five more times between then and May 5 (see schedule), so you have time to buy that high-def TV you've been thinking about and order HD programming from your cable or satellite provider. 

Lance at A Second Hand Conjecture has lots of info:

In short, they travel to China, Bangladesh, Estonia, Ghana, and Peru and show examples of how people (thank you Julian Simon) – when given the incentives and the tools – are proving they can apply their free choice, intelligence, imagination and spirit to dramatically advance their well-being and that of their families and communities. …

You can see the trailer and more here. Teachers can get the video (and lots of other resources) for free at

These stories of entrepreneurship and achievement among the world's poorest people illustrate the ideas of four outstanding thinkers featured in the program:

Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which uses microfinance to bring opportunity to the world’s poorest people by helping them to start their own businesses.

Hernando de Soto, founder of The Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, helps developing countries open their systems — creating strategies for legal reform that offer the majority of the world’s people a stake in the free market economy.

James Tooley, British professor of education policy, explores the widespread, dramatic impact of low budget private education– financed not by charities or wealthy supporters– but by the poor families themselves in India, China, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.

Johan Norberg, Swedish author and scholar, takes aim at both left-wing critics, who would condemn developing countries to poverty until they develop “First World” workplace standards, and Western governments, whose free market rhetoric is undercut by tariffs on textiles and agriculture, areas in which developing countries can actually compete.

Wow, what a lineup! I can't wait to see it. 

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Happy Milton Friedman Day!

Posted by Richard on January 29, 2007

Today is Milton Friedman Day — "a celebration of the economist’s positive impact on American life and business, and the spread of the benefits of free markets to nations around the globe." Friedman, who died on November 16 at the age of 94, is considered one of the — if not the — most influential economists of the 20th century. To honor his memory, the University of Chicago is holding a memorial service today at 2 PM Eastern. Speakers include Czech President Vaclav Klaus. As I write this, the live webcast should be starting in a few minutes. You can also watch it, along with the entire Free to Choose TV series and other Friedman video, at

Later tonight, don’t miss a new PBS special on Friedman from Free to Choose Media, The Power of Choice. Here in Denver, it’s on KRMA-6 at 9 PM. Check your local PBS affiliate’s listings.

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