On the Real Milton Friedman

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 4, 2012

So we recently celebrated the centenary of Milton Friedman’s birth (I blogged appreciations here and here that I was too lazy to link to on Friedman’s birthday). Naturally, as something of a perverted birthday present to the Late, Great Grand Old Man of modern day economics, some have decided that the best thing they could do to mark the special occasion was to misrepresent Friedman’s positions.

That led Don Boudreaux to write this excellent rebuttal of the dishonest, which serves as a reminder of what Friedman really stood for. Although his lie is six years old, it turns out that one of the dishonest targets of Boudreaux’s editorial is none other than Paul Krugman. Who woulda thunk it?

I suppose it says something about the power and cogency of Friedman’s arguments in life that his opponents feel they have to deliberately misstate his positions in order to be able to refute what he advocated throughout his career. As I have written before, former Secretary of State George Shultz liked to say that “everyone likes to debate Milton . . . when he leaves the room.” Well, Friedman has done more than leave the room, alas, but his opponents appear to be no more successful at debating him.

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