Today, the late Noble-Prize winning economist and one of the greatest freedom fighter of our lifetime Milton Friedman would have celebrated his 98th birthday. By far, the most admired trait of Friedman was his presentation of the ideas of liberty. As one of the true geniuses of the 20th century, he was an excellent communicator who successfully explained complex economic theories in a simple manner. He was a spokesman for capitalism who inspired countless individuals through his intelligence and kindness. While he faced his fair share of angry commentators, Friedman always kept his calm demeanor and had a smile on his face. He understood that name calling and insults were counterproductive tactics only used to distract from the real issue at hand.
Milton Friedman is known for a variety of accomplishments that have advanced freedom in America. Often, Friedman’s ideas were ahead of their time. One idea that was particularly close to his heart was allowing children to escape their failing government-run school. Friedman who is considered the “father of school vouchers,” first introduced the revolutionary idea as a professor at the University of Chicago in 1955. Although it was a controversial idea at the time, school vouchers have become a tried and true method of reforming failing school districts. In 1996, Milton and his wife Rose founded the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation to promote the rapidly expanding idea of school choice. Although Milton and Rose are no longer with us, their school voucher legacy still lives on.
Since the passing of Milton Friedman in 2006, the school choice movement has continued to spread across the nation. Less than a year before his death, he expressed his growing optimism for the future of school choice saying, “I remain optimistic for several reasons. One, there is increasing dissatisfaction with the schools on the part of parents. Two, there is widening interest in and support of greater parental choice. Third, some 20 states or more have various kinds of voucher-type proposals under consideration.”