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Thomas Sowell

Stories by Thomas

SOWELL: Bordering on madness

In a recent confrontation between protesters against the illegal flood of unaccompanied children into the United States and counter-protests by some Hispanic group, one man from the latter group said angrily, “We are as good as you are!”

SOWELL: Distractions in the form of lawsuits and impeachment

With public opinion polls showing President Obama’s sinking approval rate, in the wake of his administration’s multiple fiascoes and scandals — the disgraceful treatment of veterans who need medical care, the Internal Revenue Service coverups, the tens of thousands of children flooding across our open border — Republicans have created two new distractions that may yet draw attention away from the Democrats’ troubles.

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SOWELL: A primer on race

Jason Riley has written a book about blacks in America. Its title is “Please Stop Helping Us.” Its theme is that many policies designed to help blacks are in fact harmful, sometimes devastatingly so. These counterproductive policies range from minimum wage laws to “affirmative action” quotas.

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SOWELL: The spirit to fight back best birthday present for America

Birthdays are supposed to be times for celebration and gift-giving. But America’s upcoming birthday on the Fourth of July is a time when the gift most needed is an urgent warning about the dangers of losing the things that have made this country America — and have long made “America” a ringing word of freedom, not only in this country but to people around the world.

SOWELL: Are we turning in toa lame duck country?

Barack Obama can, as he said before taking office, fundamentally “change the United States of America.” Far from being a lame duck president, Obama can make this a lame duck democracy.

SOWELL: The prisoner deal swap

People are arguing about what the United States got out of the deal that swapped five top level terrorist leaders for one American soldier who was, at best, absent from his post in a war zone. Soldiers who served in the same unit with him call him a deserter. The key to this deal, however, is less likely to be what the United States got out of the deal than it is about what Barack Obama got out of the deal.

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SOWELL: The ambassador and the post office

At one time, people in India had to get on a waiting list to buy Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador automobile, even though it was an obvious copy of Britain’s Morris Oxford of some decades earlier. The reason was simple: the Indian government would not allow cars to be imported to compete with it.

SOWELL: A column of random thoughts

Will the Veterans Administration scandal wake up those people who have been blithely saying that what we need is a “single payer” system for medical care? Delays in getting to see a doctor have been a common denominator in government-run medical systems in England, Canada and Australia, among other places.

SOWELL: Poverty and snow storms

There are no magic solutions, at least none that I know of. Common sense, common decency, work and honesty are about all I can come up with. These things are not fancy or new or politically correct. But they have a better track record than much that we are doing today.

SOWELL: The disturbing trend of rapes on campus

There seems to be a full-court press on to get colleges to “do something” about rape on campus.

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SOWELL: In remembrance of economist Gary Becker

Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker was internationally renowned within the economics profession, but was not nearly as well known among the general public as he deserved to be. More important, his path-breaking ideas, including his analysis of the economics of racial discrimination, deserved to be much more a part of the many discussions of that subject.

SOWELL: The high cost of liberalism

Trying to live in the kind of world that liberals envision has costs that will not go away just because these costs are often ignored by liberals.

SOWELL: Comparison of men vs. women pay is statistical fraud

Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.

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SOWELL: A halo for selfishness

It is fascinating to see how some people — in both politics and the media — can depict their own narrow self-interest as a holy crusade for the greater good of society. The ability of the human mind to rationalize is one of the wonders of the world.

SOWELL: How foreign is our policy?

Like those who are disappointed with Barack Obama’s domestic policies, critics of his foreign policy may be ignoring the fact that you cannot know whether someone is failing or succeeding without knowing what he is trying to do.

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SOWELL: Republicans and the black voter

But first Republicans have got to want to learn, and to be willing to do some thinking, in order to get their message across.

SOWELL: A Tiger of a book

“The Triple Package” is a book that tells us much that we all need to know about America — especially if we want to keep the welfare state ideology from destroying the American Dream.

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SOWELL: The Left versus minorities

Charter schools take power from politicians and bureaucrats, letting parents decide where their children will go to school. That is obviously offensive to those on the left, who think that our betters should be making our decisions for us.

SOWELL: Freedom is not free

Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric goes with it. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it. But is our generation up to fighting for it?

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SOWELL: The 'fairness' fraud

It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels. But there is a sharp difference between upward “mobility,” defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.

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SOWELL: Another galling betrayal

The Afghanistan government’s recent release of dozens of imprisoned terrorists, many of whom had killed Americans, was a galling betrayal of those Americans who died defending Afghanistan against the Taliban terrorists — as well as those Americans who have returned home with arms or legs missing, or with minds traumatized beyond repair.

SOWELL: Random thoughts on random topics

It is amazing how many people still fall for the argument that, if life is unfair, the answer is to turn more money and power over to politicians. Since life has always been unfair, for thousands of years and in countries around the world, where does that lead us?

SOWELL: Republicans again looking to pry defeat from the jaws of victory

Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats, while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.

SOWELL: The problem with fact-free liberals

But who reads history these days? Moreover, those parts of history that would undermine the vision of the left — which prevails in our education system from elementary school to postgraduate study — are not likely to get much attention.

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SOWELL: Why Christie became a target

Whatever the political fate of Governor Christie, he has provided an example of the kind of articulation that is needed — indeed, imperative — if the Republicans are to have any chance of rescuing this country from the ruinous policies of the past few years.

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SOWELL: The ‘trickle-down’ lie

The time is long overdue for people to ask themselves why it is necessary for those on the left to make up a lie if what they believe in is true.

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SOWELL: Good books for Christmas

As Christmas approaches, the shopping mall can become a shopping maul. One of the ways of buying gifts for family and friends, without becoming part of a mob scene in the stores, is to shop on the Internet. However, for many kinds of gifts, you want to be able to see it directly, and perhaps handle it, before you part with your hard-earned cash for it.

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SOWELL: A challenge to our beliefs

We in America have gotten used to vast gaps between blacks and whites on test scores. But this was not always the case, in places where there was anything like comparable education.

SOWELL: Random musings

Because many of us make mistakes that can have bad consequences, some intellectuals believe that it is the role of government to intervene and make some of our decisions for us. From what galaxy government is going to hire creatures who do not make mistakes is a question they leave unanswered.

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SOWELL: The war against achievement

If the concept of achievement threatens the prevailing ideology, the reality of achievement despite having obstacles to overcome is a deadly threat.

SOWELL: Tea Party at the crossroads

With the chances of making a dent in ObamaCare by trying to defund it being virtually zero, and the Republican Party’s chances of gaining power in either the 2014 or 2016 elections being reduced by the public’s backlash against that futile attempt, there was virtually nothing to gain politically and much to lose.

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SOWELL: An old ‘new’ program

But, instead of directly helping those particular people to get insurance, the “solution” was to expand the government’s power over everybody, including people who already had health insurance that they wanted to keep.

SOWELL: Throw the rascals out?

This kind of government must constantly “do something” in order to keep incumbents’ names in the news. In short, big government has every incentive to create bigger government.

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SOWELL: Inarticulate Republicans

If Republicans want to show some seriousness about articulating their case, they might start by deleting the abbreviation “CR” from their vocabulary. As has been said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That journey is long overdue.

SOWELL: High risk, low yield

There is a United States of America today only because George Washington understood that his army was not able to fight the British troops everywhere, but had to choose carefully when and where to fight. Futile symbolic confrontations were a luxury that could not be afforded then and cannot be afforded now.

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SOWELL: Minimum wage madness

Minorities, like young people, can also be priced out of jobs. In the United States, the last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate —1930 — was also the last year when there was no federal minimum wage law. Inflation in the 1940s raised the pay of even unskilled workers above the minimum wage set in 1938. Economically, it was the same as if there were no minimum wage law by the late 1940s.

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SOWELL: Syria and Obama

Whatever the Obama rhetoric, the reality is that his policies in Egypt and Libya have led to replacing stable regimes, at peace with Israel and the West, and tolerant of their own Christian minorities, with chaotic regimes in which fanatical anti-Western terrorists have played a large and growing role, with hostility to Israel and murderous attacks on Christians in their own country.

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SOWELL: Unintended consequences

One of the many unintended consequences of the political crusade for increased homeownership among minorities, and low-income people in general, has been a housing boom and bust that left many foreclosed homes that had to be rented, because there were no longer enough qualified buyers.

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SOWELL: A poignant anniversary

We have a long way to go to catch up to what Martin Luther King said 50 years ago. And we are moving in the opposite direction.

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SOWELL: Reality versus mirages in Egypt

Barack Obama’s Middle East interventions have replaced stable and neutral despots in Egypt and Libya with anti-Western despots and chaos. Such is the price of pursuing ideological mirages.

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SOWELL: Are we serious about education?

Other examples could be cited of educators who produced outstanding results for minority students — in New York, Houston and other places — and faced the wrath of the education establishment, which sees schools as places to provide jobs for teachers, rather than education for students, and which will not tolerate challenges to its politically correct dogmas.

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Defend yourself against the busybody of politics

Opinion Column

It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new “solution” to society’s “problems.” Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today’s problems are a result of yesterday’s solutions.