When Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman died last November at age 94, tributes came from all over the world. Friedman, who spent a large part of his career at the University of Chicago, demonstrated convincingly that governments cannot be successful at running economies, and that economic decisions are best left to free markets. One of Friedman's distinguishing qualities was intellectual bravery. He spoke up when few would contradict the "common wisdom" that developed after the Great Depression -- the belief that government could guide the economy to prosperity through its tax and spending policies. Friedman believed that only the free-market interchange of goods and services at prices set by informed buyers and sellers could bring economic growth and prosperity. By the 1970s, the world was busy proving him right. The Soviet Union, with its succession of failed 10-year plans, saw its citizens standing in line for basic necessities. Socialism was tested to death in that huge country. In the U.S., decades of government manipulation of taxes and spending also had failed convincingly. In the early part of the decade, the U.S. economy had deteriorated into "stagflation" -- with high unemployment, high inflation and slow growth. The resulting wage and price controls instituted by President Nixon and the "WIN" (whip inflation now) buttons of President Ford demonstrated the inability of our government to create real economic growth. After Friedman won the Nobel Prize in 1976, America was ready to listen.