"[T]he burden of government is not measured
by how much it taxes, but by how much it spends."
Milton Friedman
(1912-2006) Nobel Prize-winning economist, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, "ultimate guru of the free-market system"
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Reader comments about this quote:
Almost meaningless comment because there's no specific indication of exactly what Friedman is saying [which makes it all the more effective as a kind of subliminal rhetorical device]. This general anti-tax and anti-government statement [not exactly a rarity among business interests] is somewhat analogous to a Rorschach test, which provides a general guideline, but leaves it to each individual to personally fill-in-the-blank with their own biases. [After all, what business admires paying taxes or the government that imposes them?] This general disdain of taxes and government -- only generally hinted at in the statement -- but by virtue of individual identification with it and through filling-in-the-blank, thereby becomes imbued with one's PERSONAL antipathies and biases, thus creating a personal and visceral bond that expands the original comment, which is to say that people can be brainwashed by giving them a kernel of truth in such an imprecise, open-ended way, which meaning they can easily accept and re-write by superimposing their own thoughts along the lines originally set out in a given statement, such that the statement becomes a personal creation and is not regarded as something that was externally generated. Kind of like brainwashing someone into accepting their "own" thoughts. It's a brilliant strategy. Dishonest, but brilliant.
 -- Mitzi Romney, anytown, USA     
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    " Government is a disease masquerading as it's own cure". L.Neal Smith
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    jim, YES! Mitzi - a good liberal generalization at legal positivism. There are natural laws that describe certain taxes criminal (income and property for example). Other taxes for lawful representation, collected for limited Constitutional activities are a cost of freedom, liberty and rights preservation - not a burden as per the quote's subject matter. Burdens of government are measured both by criminal taxes and expenditures (quantity, on what, for what, etc.).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 5
    As Justice John Marshall and Daniel Webster expressed it:

    “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy,” 17 U.S. 327 (1819).

    Objectively, necessarily, the burden of government is measured not only by expenditure but by taxation.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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