Lawrence W. Reed is the president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), widely considered to be America's first liberty-oriented think tank. The group was started in 1946 by Leonard Read (no relation), who is most famous for authoring of a vivid celebration of global trade and the division of labor, "I, Pencil." Today FEE publishes The Freeman and hosts seminars for high school and college students.
Reed has been an advocate for liberty since 1968, when at age 14 he bought a bus ticket to Pittsburgh to protest the USSR's invasion of Czechoslovakia by joining the Young Americans for Freedom in burning a Soviet flag. At Freedom Fest 2009 in Las Vegas, Editor in Chief Matt Welch asked Reed to list three economic lessons that need to be relearned in 2009.
1.) Government has nothing to give to anybody, except when it first takes from somebody.
2.) A government that's big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you've got.
3.) Free people are not equal economically, and economically equal people are not free. Freedom will generate differences in income, because we're different one person to another.