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Articles about the work of Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell on the Race Card
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell's latest: "There is not now, nor has there ever been, anything post-racial about Barack Obama, except for the people who voted for him in the mistaken belief that he shared their desire to be post-racial. When he leaves office, especially if it is after one term, he will leave this country more racially polarized than before."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on the Race Card
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell's latest: "There is not now, nor has there ever been, anything post-racial about Barack Obama, except for the people who voted for him in the mistaken belief that he shared their desire to be post-racial. When he leaves office, especially if it is after one term, he will leave this country more racially polarized than before."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Elites
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column out: "One of the ideas that has proved to be almost impervious to evidence is the idea that wise and far-sighted people need to take control and plan economic and social policies so that there will be a rational and just order, rather than chaos resulting from things being allowed to take their own course."

He goes on, "How was it even possible that transferring decisions from elites with more education, intellect, data and power to ordinary people could lead consistently to demonstrably better results?"

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on the Debt
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column up warning about the federal budget on the basis of a report from the Congressional Budget Office, which is headed by a Democrat:

The CBO report points out that the national debt, which was 36 percent of the Gross Domestic Product three years ago, is now projected to be 62 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2010-- and rising in future years.

Tracing the history of the national debt back to the beginning of the country, the CBO finds that the national debt did not exceed 50 percent of GDP, even when the country was fighting the Civil War, the First World War or any other war except World War II. Moreover, a graph in the CBO report shows the national debt going down sharply after World War II, as the nation began paying off its wartime when the war was over.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Hunter College High School
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column about the debate over admissions to Hunter College High School in New York:

actual performance-- whether in schools, on the job or elsewhere-- involves far more than native intelligence. Wasted intelligence does nothing for an individual or society.

The reason a surgeon can operate on your heart, while someone of equal intelligence who is not a surgeon cannot, is because of what different people actually did with their intelligence. That has always varied, not only from individual to individual but from group to group-- and not only in this country, but in countries around the world and across the centuries of human history.

Read More...


The Bean-Counting Mentality
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column responding to a New York Times article that complained that members of minority groups were underrepresented as third-base coaches in baseball. Mr. Sowell writes: "It is part of a more general bean-counting mentality that turns statistical differences into grievances. The time is long overdue to throw this race card out of the deck and start seeing it for the gross fallacy that it is. At the heart of such statistics is the implicit assumption that different races, sexes, and other subdivisions of the human species would be proportionately represented in institutions, occupations, and income brackets if there were not something strange or sinister going on. Although this notion has been repeated by all sorts of people, from local loudmouths on the street to the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States, there is not one speck of evidence behind it and a mountain of evidence against it."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Who Is Rich
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column taking issue with President Obama's definition of "rich":

A couple making $125,000 a year each are not rich, even though together they reach that magic $250,000 income level. In most cases, they haven't been making $125,000 a year all their working lives. Far more often, they have reached this level after decades of working their way up from lower incomes-- and now the government steps in to grab the reward they have earned over the years.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Taxing 'The Rich'
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column:

Someone once said that a democratic society cannot survive for long after 51 percent of the people decide that they want to live off the other 49 percent. Yet that is the direction in which we are being pushed by those who are promoting envy under its more high-toned alias of "social justice."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Unemployment
futureofcapitalism.com

The prolific Thomas Sowell has a new column up on moral hazard and unemployment:

International studies show that people in countries with more generous and long-lasting unemployment compensation spend less time looking for jobs. In the United States, where unemployment compensation is less generous than in Western Europe, unemployed Americans spend more hours looking for work than do unemployed Europeans in countries with more generous unemployment compensation.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on the Economy
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column: "What would probably get the economy recovering fastest and most completely would be for the President of the United States and Congressional leaders to shut up and stop meddling with the economy. But it is virtually impossible that they will do that."

Read More...


Two On Rent Control
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column with a mention of rent control: "New York is the city with the oldest and strongest rent control laws in the nation. San Francisco is second. But if you look at cities with the highest average rents, New York is first and San Francisco is second. Obviously, 'rent control' laws do not control rent."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Gold
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column up about gold:

Inflation is a quiet but effective way for the government to transfer resources from the people to itself, without raising taxes. A hundred dollar bill would buy less in 1998 than a $20 bill would buy in the 1960s. This means that anyone who kept his money in a safe over those years would have lost 80 percent of its value, because no safe can keep your money safe from politicians who control the printing presses.

That is why some people buy gold when they lose confidence in the government's managing of its money. Usually that is when inflation is either under way or looming on the horizon. When many people start transferring their wealth from dollars into gold, that restricts the ability of politicians to steal from them through inflation....

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Harry Reid
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column about the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid:

Senator Harry Reid is playing the race card, saying that he can't see how any Hispanic can vote for Republicans. But this is the same Harry Reid who in 1993, rejected "those who ask us to wink at illegal immigration" and warned against having "the social and cultural makeup" of the country "radically altered" by these immigrants.

In 1993, Senator Reid introduced a bill-- the Immigration Stabilization Act--to cut back on all immigration, both legal and illegal.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Mellon, Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell's latest column, about "tax cuts for the rich," is one of his all-time best. On how Andrew Mellon, who was Treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932, understood the Laffer Curve before Arthur Laffer was even born:

Mellon said, "It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue for the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower rates."

Writes Mr. Sowell:

When one of the Rockefellers died, Mellon discovered that his estate included $44 million in tax-exempt bonds, compared to $7 million in Standard Oil securities, even though Standard Oil was the source of the Rockefeller fortune.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on 'Judicial Activism'
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column out offering some context about the court rulings on ObamaCare and whether they qualify as "judicial activism":

"Judicial activism" is a term coined years ago by critics of judges who make rulings based on their own beliefs and preferences, rather than on the law as written. It is not a very complicated notion, but political rhetoric can confuse and distort anything.

In recent years, a brand-new definition of "judicial activism" has been created by the political left, so that they can turn the tables on critics of judicial activism.

The new definition of "judicial activism" defines it as declaring laws unconstitutional.

Read More...


Sowell Versus Herbert on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell:

What are called "tax cuts for the rich" have been reductions in high tax rates under four different administrations, including the Democratic administration of John F. Kennedy. In each case, going all the way back to the 1920s, the reduced tax rates have led to increased tax revenues for the government.

"The rich" have ended up paying both a higher total amount of taxes and a larger share of all taxes than they did before what were called "tax cuts for the rich." The reason is very straightforward: high tax rates that people don't actually pay do not bring the government as much revenue as lower tax rates that they do pay.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell's Latest
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column of "random thoughts," among them:

The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be "materialistic" and "greedy" to want to keep what you have earned. But it is "idealistic" to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.

Read More...


Madison Versus Stengel
futureofcapitalism.com

Foster Friess has a nifty follow-up to that Richard Stengel-Time magazine piece on the Constitution that Thomas Sowell wrote about the other day. Mr. Friess has quotes from James Madison rebutting Time. The key principle is what Madison called "enumerated powers."

Read More...


Two From Sowell
futureofcapitalism.com

Two recent columns from Thomas Sowell are worth a look. The first decodes President Obama's language of "fair," "balanced," and "clean":

President Obama's big pitch in his Monday night televised talk was that what is needed to deal with the national debt crisis is a "balanced" approach -- not just spending cuts but revenue increases as well.

What could sound more reasonable -- especially to those who have not been following what Obama has actually been doing and not doing? This is the same Barack Obama who, earlier this year, called for a "clean" increase in the national debt ceiling.

In this context, the soothing word "clean" referred to an increase in the national debt ceiling without any provisos. That is, no spending cuts at all. In other words, a blank check to keep spending. How balanced is that?

Read More...


Sowell Reconsiders
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell's support of the Boehner debt ceiling deal was mentioned here, so it's also worth mentioning his latest view on the issue:

Just a week before the budget deal was made at the eleventh hour, it looked like the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives had scored a victory by getting the President and the Congressional Democrats to give up the idea of raising the tax rates -- and to cut spending instead. But now that the details are coming out, that "victory" looks very temporary, if not illusory.

The price of getting that deal has been having the Republicans agree to sitting on a special bipartisan Congressional committee that will either come to an agreement on spending cuts before Thanksgiving or have the budgets of both the Defense Department and Medicare cut drastically.

Read More...


Sowell on Nutter
futureofcapitalism.com

Columnist Thomas Sowell praises the black, Democratic, mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter:

"Pull up your pants and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt," he said. "If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you 'cause you look like you're crazy," the mayor said. He added: "You have damaged your own race."

Read More...


Obama and FDR
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column likening President Obama to Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

As unusual as 9 percent unemployment rates may seem to the current generation of Americans, unemployment rates stayed in double digits for months and years on end during the 1930s. Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration followed policies very similar to those of the Obama administration today. He also got away with it politically by blaming his predecessor.

Mr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Read More...


Steve Jobs' Charity
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a column pushing back against that New York Times column scrutinizing Apple's Steve Jobs for not being more of a prominent philanthropist. Writes Mr. Sowell: "Trying to rope Steve Jobs into this world ignores how many other famous businessmen, whose achievements in business have benefited society, have created philanthropies whose harm has offset those benefits....Let business pioneers do what they do best. And let the rest of us exercise more judgment as to how much charity is beneficial and how much more simply perpetuates dependency, grievances and the polarization of society."

Read More...


Obama and FDR
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell compares President Obama to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "People who say that Barack Obama cannot be re-elected with unemployment at its current level should take note that Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected a record four times, despite two consecutive terms in which unemployment was never as low as it is today."

Read More...


Sowell Backs Gingrich
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a column endorsing Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries: "Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington."

Read More...


Sowell Backs Gingrich
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a column endorsing Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries: "Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington."

Read More...


Obama and FDR
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell compares President Obama to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "People who say that Barack Obama cannot be re-elected with unemployment at its current level should take note that Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected a record four times, despite two consecutive terms in which unemployment was never as low as it is today."

Read More...


Steve Jobs' Charity
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a column pushing back against that New York Times column scrutinizing Apple's Steve Jobs for not being more of a prominent philanthropist. Writes Mr. Sowell: "Trying to rope Steve Jobs into this world ignores how many other famous businessmen, whose achievements in business have benefited society, have created philanthropies whose harm has offset those benefits....Let business pioneers do what they do best. And let the rest of us exercise more judgment as to how much charity is beneficial and how much more simply perpetuates dependency, grievances and the polarization of society."

Read More...


Obama and FDR
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column likening President Obama to Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

As unusual as 9 percent unemployment rates may seem to the current generation of Americans, unemployment rates stayed in double digits for months and years on end during the 1930s. Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration followed policies very similar to those of the Obama administration today. He also got away with it politically by blaming his predecessor.

Mr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Read More...


Sowell on Nutter
futureofcapitalism.com

Columnist Thomas Sowell praises the black, Democratic, mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter:

"Pull up your pants and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt," he said. "If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you 'cause you look like you're crazy," the mayor said. He added: "You have damaged your own race."

Read More...


Sowell Reconsiders
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell's support of the Boehner debt ceiling deal was mentioned here, so it's also worth mentioning his latest view on the issue:

Just a week before the budget deal was made at the eleventh hour, it looked like the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives had scored a victory by getting the President and the Congressional Democrats to give up the idea of raising the tax rates -- and to cut spending instead. But now that the details are coming out, that "victory" looks very temporary, if not illusory.

The price of getting that deal has been having the Republicans agree to sitting on a special bipartisan Congressional committee that will either come to an agreement on spending cuts before Thanksgiving or have the budgets of both the Defense Department and Medicare cut drastically.

Read More...


Two From Sowell
futureofcapitalism.com

Two recent columns from Thomas Sowell are worth a look. The first decodes President Obama's language of "fair," "balanced," and "clean":

President Obama's big pitch in his Monday night televised talk was that what is needed to deal with the national debt crisis is a "balanced" approach -- not just spending cuts but revenue increases as well.

What could sound more reasonable -- especially to those who have not been following what Obama has actually been doing and not doing? This is the same Barack Obama who, earlier this year, called for a "clean" increase in the national debt ceiling.

In this context, the soothing word "clean" referred to an increase in the national debt ceiling without any provisos. That is, no spending cuts at all. In other words, a blank check to keep spending. How balanced is that?

Read More...


Madison Versus Stengel
futureofcapitalism.com

Foster Friess has a nifty follow-up to that Richard Stengel-Time magazine piece on the Constitution that Thomas Sowell wrote about the other day. Mr. Friess has quotes from James Madison rebutting Time. The key principle is what Madison called "enumerated powers."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Elites
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column out: "One of the ideas that has proved to be almost impervious to evidence is the idea that wise and far-sighted people need to take control and plan economic and social policies so that there will be a rational and just order, rather than chaos resulting from things being allowed to take their own course."

He goes on, "How was it even possible that transferring decisions from elites with more education, intellect, data and power to ordinary people could lead consistently to demonstrably better results?"

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on the Debt
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column up warning about the federal budget on the basis of a report from the Congressional Budget Office, which is headed by a Democrat:

The CBO report points out that the national debt, which was 36 percent of the Gross Domestic Product three years ago, is now projected to be 62 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2010-- and rising in future years.

Tracing the history of the national debt back to the beginning of the country, the CBO finds that the national debt did not exceed 50 percent of GDP, even when the country was fighting the Civil War, the First World War or any other war except World War II. Moreover, a graph in the CBO report shows the national debt going down sharply after World War II, as the nation began paying off its wartime when the war was over.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Hunter College High School
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column about the debate over admissions to Hunter College High School in New York:

actual performance-- whether in schools, on the job or elsewhere-- involves far more than native intelligence. Wasted intelligence does nothing for an individual or society.

The reason a surgeon can operate on your heart, while someone of equal intelligence who is not a surgeon cannot, is because of what different people actually did with their intelligence. That has always varied, not only from individual to individual but from group to group-- and not only in this country, but in countries around the world and across the centuries of human history.

Read More...


The Bean-Counting Mentality
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column responding to a New York Times article that complained that members of minority groups were underrepresented as third-base coaches in baseball. Mr. Sowell writes: "It is part of a more general bean-counting mentality that turns statistical differences into grievances. The time is long overdue to throw this race card out of the deck and start seeing it for the gross fallacy that it is. At the heart of such statistics is the implicit assumption that different races, sexes, and other subdivisions of the human species would be proportionately represented in institutions, occupations, and income brackets if there were not something strange or sinister going on. Although this notion has been repeated by all sorts of people, from local loudmouths on the street to the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States, there is not one speck of evidence behind it and a mountain of evidence against it."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Who Is Rich
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column taking issue with President Obama's definition of "rich":

A couple making $125,000 a year each are not rich, even though together they reach that magic $250,000 income level. In most cases, they haven't been making $125,000 a year all their working lives. Far more often, they have reached this level after decades of working their way up from lower incomes-- and now the government steps in to grab the reward they have earned over the years.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Taxing 'The Rich'
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column:

Someone once said that a democratic society cannot survive for long after 51 percent of the people decide that they want to live off the other 49 percent. Yet that is the direction in which we are being pushed by those who are promoting envy under its more high-toned alias of "social justice."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Unemployment
futureofcapitalism.com

The prolific Thomas Sowell has a new column up on moral hazard and unemployment:

International studies show that people in countries with more generous and long-lasting unemployment compensation spend less time looking for jobs. In the United States, where unemployment compensation is less generous than in Western Europe, unemployed Americans spend more hours looking for work than do unemployed Europeans in countries with more generous unemployment compensation.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on the Economy
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column: "What would probably get the economy recovering fastest and most completely would be for the President of the United States and Congressional leaders to shut up and stop meddling with the economy. But it is virtually impossible that they will do that."

Read More...


Two On Rent Control
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column with a mention of rent control: "New York is the city with the oldest and strongest rent control laws in the nation. San Francisco is second. But if you look at cities with the highest average rents, New York is first and San Francisco is second. Obviously, 'rent control' laws do not control rent."

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Gold
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column up about gold:

Inflation is a quiet but effective way for the government to transfer resources from the people to itself, without raising taxes. A hundred dollar bill would buy less in 1998 than a $20 bill would buy in the 1960s. This means that anyone who kept his money in a safe over those years would have lost 80 percent of its value, because no safe can keep your money safe from politicians who control the printing presses.

That is why some people buy gold when they lose confidence in the government's managing of its money. Usually that is when inflation is either under way or looming on the horizon. When many people start transferring their wealth from dollars into gold, that restricts the ability of politicians to steal from them through inflation....

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Harry Reid
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column about the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid:

Senator Harry Reid is playing the race card, saying that he can't see how any Hispanic can vote for Republicans. But this is the same Harry Reid who in 1993, rejected "those who ask us to wink at illegal immigration" and warned against having "the social and cultural makeup" of the country "radically altered" by these immigrants.

In 1993, Senator Reid introduced a bill-- the Immigration Stabilization Act--to cut back on all immigration, both legal and illegal.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on Mellon, Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell's latest column, about "tax cuts for the rich," is one of his all-time best. On how Andrew Mellon, who was Treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932, understood the Laffer Curve before Arthur Laffer was even born:

Mellon said, "It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue for the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower rates."

Writes Mr. Sowell:

When one of the Rockefellers died, Mellon discovered that his estate included $44 million in tax-exempt bonds, compared to $7 million in Standard Oil securities, even though Standard Oil was the source of the Rockefeller fortune.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell on 'Judicial Activism'
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column out offering some context about the court rulings on ObamaCare and whether they qualify as "judicial activism":

"Judicial activism" is a term coined years ago by critics of judges who make rulings based on their own beliefs and preferences, rather than on the law as written. It is not a very complicated notion, but political rhetoric can confuse and distort anything.

In recent years, a brand-new definition of "judicial activism" has been created by the political left, so that they can turn the tables on critics of judicial activism.

The new definition of "judicial activism" defines it as declaring laws unconstitutional.

Read More...


Sowell Versus Herbert on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell:

What are called "tax cuts for the rich" have been reductions in high tax rates under four different administrations, including the Democratic administration of John F. Kennedy. In each case, going all the way back to the 1920s, the reduced tax rates have led to increased tax revenues for the government.

"The rich" have ended up paying both a higher total amount of taxes and a larger share of all taxes than they did before what were called "tax cuts for the rich." The reason is very straightforward: high tax rates that people don't actually pay do not bring the government as much revenue as lower tax rates that they do pay.

Read More...


Thomas Sowell's Latest
futureofcapitalism.com

Thomas Sowell has a new column of "random thoughts," among them:

The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be "materialistic" and "greedy" to want to keep what you have earned. But it is "idealistic" to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.

Read More...


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