A reason to celebrate

A little something for Milton Friedman’s birthday:

Friedman believed that Social Security benefits were the genesis of the welfare state and dependency on government handouts. He advocated the replacement of all welfare programs in America with a negative income tax (effectively a universal basic income) because he did not believe that society would distribute resources evenly enough for all people to earn a living.

Friedman was an idiosyncratic figure who would be hard to pigeonhole in the current political spectrum. He inspired the conservative movement, but was against any discrimination against gay people, in addition to being an agnostic. He was a libertarian who advocated for a progressive income tax system that even went into the negative to ensure that everyone could, at the very least, meet their basic needs.

Perhaps that is what makes him such a hero. Rather than resorting to rote ideological responses to the issues of his life, Friedman instead chose to think about them flexibly and novelly. This is a precedent set during his acceptance of some Great Depression relief programs (but not others), which followed him throughout his life. We should all be so creative in our thoughts.

Few of us ever are.

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