Paul Samuelson, one of the foremost academic economists of the 20th century, has died at age 94. He proposed the monetary policy that suggested a temporary reduction in individual tax rates is a powerful weapon against recession. Kennedy put the idea into practice and set in motion the great boom of the 1960s.
He felt that if too great a portion of the nation’s income passes through the government, it becomes inefficient and unresponsive to human needs and risks infringing on freedoms. However, Samuelson also believed that government must do what it can to avert an economic crisis. The harshness of the market has to be tempered, he said, urging that layoffs and government downsizing “must be done with a heart”.
Interestingly, current White House economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, is his nephew.
Below is a link featuring Samuelson and four other Nobel Prize winners. It is a brief history of their theories and experiences that culminate in a host of insights for today’s investors.