Today the ideals of free markets and limited government lost one of their most brilliant, cogent, and influential proponents with the passing of Milton Friedman. He was a towering presence in the economic field for over 50 years and a mentor to NTU's President, Dr. John Berthoud. Friedman's contributions to bringing liberty to the world are innumerable. He was the force behind the school of thought known as monetary economics at the University of Chicago. In 1976 he was recognized as a Nobel Laureate, and became a trusted advisor to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
Yet throughout his career, Friedman's erudite and eloquent prose brought the concept of less government interference in the economy to students and laypeople alike. For 17 years, he wrote a well-read column for Newsweek, even as he was authoring academic works.
National Taxpayers Union had a long and productive friendship with Dr. Friedman, stretching back at least to the 1970s. By lending his prominent and authoritative voice to many open letters and ads, NTU was able to enlist hundreds of his colleagues from economic institutions to speak out on everything from the folly of Jimmy Carter's energy plan in 1979 to, more recently, the necessity of repealing the death tax. In 1999, Dr. Berthoud had the honor to interview Dr. Friedman on U.S. antitrust policies, then (and now) a topic of great concern amidst government attempts to break up Microsoft and other successful firms. Friedman noted in a later statement for NTU that "Silicon Valley is suicidal in calling government in to mediate in the disputes among some of the big companies in the area and Microsoft."
Milton's 1998 book, Two Lucky People, was a delightful life story co-authored with his wife Rose. Yet, in his life there were thousands, actually millions, of "lucky people" who knew him personally, benefited from his teachings, read his books, and prospered under governments whose economic policies Dr. Friedman helped to shape.
The thoughts and prayers of the NTU and NTUF staffs go out to Dr. Friedman's wife Rose and his children. His monumental body of work -- on paper, in classrooms, and in action across the globe -- is an immortal testament that taxpayers will always revere.