>REACT: Milton Friedman’s last thrity years are a gift.

>The legendary Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman has passed away at the age of 94. That is quite an accomplishment. If you do not think so, you are not aware of how I almost killed him some thirty years ago.

I have two professional relationships with Friedman involving two of his greatest passions. The most recent was as an advisor to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Way back when, however, I was retained as a senior advisor to the National Tax Limitation Committee, a group founded by my friend Lew Uhler. Friedman was the intellectual powerhouse behind the concept of a tax-limitation constitutional amendment.

One day it was my task to chauffeur our group from our hotel to a meeting in a nearby office building. We were running late. Lew popped into the front passenger seat. Friedman and his wife, Rose, took up the rear seat. I was driving. Since we were running late, I did a bit of a jackrabbit start.

Well … Friedman had not exactly taken up his seat, as I said. He was in the process of taking up his seat, with on foot on the floorboard and the other on the pavement. As the car lurched forward, Freidman flew backward. Rose’s scream brought me to a halt. As I looked back, the rear door was open, the seat behind Lew was empty… and there was some guy rolling around on the ground a few feet behind the car.

Fortunately, he survived without as much as a bruise. Outside of an abrasion on his suit, he was in mint condition. If everyone every thought of Friedman as anything but gracious, you were not there to see his kind assurances, and his assistance that I drive – despite the understandable offer from Lew to take over the wheel.

While I am sad to see Friedman leave this world without the benefit of his contemporaneous wisdom, I am thankful for all the days he has been around since that fateful day.

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