President Clinton should pardon Michael Milken, said Yaron Brook, the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

“It would be an act of justice–one of the few of the Clinton administration–if Clinton pardoned the man truly responsible for the economic boom of the 1990s,” said Yaron Brook.

“Clinton’s popularity over the last eight years is a consequence of the outstanding performance of the U.S. economy. And who, more than Milken, is responsible for this? Not Clinton–who at best can be said to have done little to interfere with economic growth, but is certainly not responsible for it.”

Brook said that it was Milken’s financial engineering that made possible the restructuring of American business in the 1980s, turning American corporations from the inefficient, bloated and unfocused corporations of the 1970s to the efficient, lean and focused ones of the 1990s. It is this transformation, and the reallocation of capital from old-line industry to the hi-tech industry that fueled the massive creation of new wealth, new jobs, and higher wages.

“Milken’s prosecution for technical violations of securities laws was a classic case of hating a man because of his phenomenal ability,” said Brook. “Milken did nothing immoral in any of his financial transactions and was targeted simply because he was successful. He should not be pardoned for his philanthropic contributions (as some have argued), but for his productive genius.”

“If Clinton wants to redeem himself for all of his failings over the past eight years, which includes taking credit for the booming economy, he couldn’t take a better first step than pardoning Michael Milken.”

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