I was quite fortunate to meet him, just for a moment, last summer. He died a few short months later in November. It is funny how meeting someone so great, even for a brief moment, can have an impact on one.
He was so frail that he gave his speech sitting down in a handsome wingback chair. His lovely wife, Rose, by his side.
He spoke that day about the importance of choice in education.
A commentary on him contains one of his classic quotes on government spending.
What a master of human nature he was...
"There are four ways in which you can spend money.
You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.
Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.
I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!
Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get.
And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income."