In the 1970s, America is experiencing
the worst economic downturn
since the Great Depression.
President Gerald Ford gathers
the best economic minds in the
nation to consider options.
The meeting is chaired by Alan Greenspan,
and includes John Kenneth Galbraith
and Milton Friedman.
The U.S. economy is fundamentally strong,
but that strength is currently being eroded
by the disease of inflation.
If that disease is not checked,
it will take a heavy toll, including,
in my opinion, the very likely destruction
of our personal, political and economic freedom.
Any cure would have to be
painful and deep to be worse than
letting that disease rage unchecked.
By now, the name Milton Friedman is
well known in the halls of government…
Joining us live from our San Francisco Bureau
is the Nobel Prize-winning
economist, Milton Friedman.
…And around the kitchen tables
and in the living rooms of America.
It’s often described as a profit system.
But that’s a misleading label,
it’s a profit and loss system.
One of the wonderful things about
you is that when you speak,
I almost always understand you.
Professor Friedman, your expertise as
an economist is, of course, indisputable.
His appearances on national television
have made him an unexpected celebrity.
The long-term national security of this
country will not be promoted by converting
the United States into a protected enclave,
protected from foreign competition.
He also appears in print.
I remember Kathryn Graham
of the Washington Post asking me to
persuade Milton Friedman to be a columnist.
I was a little hesitant to do it.
I wrote about three or four trial columns,
and tried them out to see
whether I could do it.
He resisted, he said he didn’t like assignments,
and he said he didn’t know whether
he’d have enough to write about,
and I said, “Milton you will never run out
of things to write about.”
I wrote to the column for seventeen years,
and I think that turned out to be one of the
most important factors in enabling
me to communicate to the public at large.