By Thomas Sowell February 26, 2013 6:01 a.m.
People on both sides of tax issues often speak of such things as a "$300 billion tax increase" or a "$500 billion tax decrease." That is fine if they are looking back at something that has already happened. But it can be sheer nonsense if they are talking about a proposed increase or decrease in the tax rate.
By Thomas Sowell February 19, 2013 6:01 a.m.
A nation's choice between spending on military defense and spending on civilian goods has often been posed as "guns versus butter." But understanding the choices of many nations' political leaders might be helped by examining the contrast between their runaway spending on pensions while skimping on military defense.
By Thomas Sowell February 12, 2013 6:01 a.m.
Now that the federal government is playing an ever larger role in the economy, a look at the track record seems to be long overdue.
By Thomas Sowell February 5, 2013 6:01 a.m.
An old-time trial lawyer once said, "When your case is weak, shout louder!"
By Thomas Sowell January 29, 2013 6:01 a.m.
There is no question that liberals do an impressive job of expressing concern for blacks. But do the intentions expressed in their words match the actual consequences of their deeds?
By Thomas Sowell January 22, 2013 6:01 a.m.
The gun control controversy is only the latest of many issues to be debated almost solely in terms of fixed preconceptions, with little or no examination of hard facts. Media discussions of gun control are dominated by two factors: the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment. But the overriding factual question is whether gun control laws actually reduce gun crimes in general or murder rates in particular.
By Thomas Sowell January 15, 2013 6:01 a.m.
Many years ago, as a young man, I read a very interesting book about the rise of the Communists to power in China. In the last chapter, the author tried to explain why and how this had happened. Among the factors he cited were the country's educators. That struck me as odd, and not very plausible, at the time. But the passing years have made that seem more plausible. Today, I see our own educators playing a similar role in creating a mindset that undermines American society.
By Thomas Sowell January 8, 2013 6:01 a.m.
The political slogan "Forward" served Barack Obama well during last year's election campaign. It said that he was for going forward, while Republicans were for "going back to the failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place." It was great political rhetoric and great political theater. Moreover, the Republicans did virtually nothing to challenge its shaky assumptions with a few hard facts that could have made those assumptions collapse like a house of cards.
By Thomas Sowell January 1, 2013 6:01 a.m.
The beginning of a new year is often a time to look forward and look back. If there are any awards to be given to anyone for what they did in 2012, one of those rewards should be for prophecy, if only because prophecies that turn out to be right are so rare.
By Thomas Sowell December 25, 2012 6:01 a.m.
Must every tragic mass shooting bring out the shrill ignorance of "gun control" advocates?
By Thomas Sowell December 18, 2012 6 a.m.
With all the talk about taxing the rich, we hear very little talk about taxing the poor. Yet the marginal tax rate on someone living in poverty can sometimes be higher than the marginal tax rate on millionaires. While it is true that nearly half the households in the country pay no income tax at all, the apparently simple word "tax" has many complications that can be a challenge for even professional economists to untangle.
By Thomas Sowell December 11, 2012 6 a.m.
One of the big advantages that President Obama has, as he plays "chicken" with the Congressional Republicans along the "fiscal cliff," is that Obama is a master of the plausible lie, which will never be exposed by the mainstream media -- nor, apparently, by the Republicans.
By Thomas Sowell December 4, 2012 6 a.m.
Amid all the political and media hoopla about the "fiscal cliff" crisis, there are a few facts that are worth noting.
By Thomas Sowell November 27, 2012 6 a.m.
Many people think of labor unions as organizations to benefit workers, and think of employers who are opposed to unions as just people who don't want to pay their employees more money. But some employers have made it a point to pay their employees more than the union wages, just to keep them from joining a union.
By Thomas Sowell November 20, 2012 6 a.m.
Mitt Romney now joins the long list of the kinds of presidential candidates favored by the Republican establishment -- nice, moderate losers, people with no coherently articulated vision, despite how many ad hoc talking points they may have.
By Thomas Sowell November 13, 2012 6 a.m.
Among the objections to ObamaCare, one that has not gotten as much attention as it should is the president's power to waive the law for any company, union or other enterprise he chooses.
By Thomas Sowell November 6, 2012 6 a.m.
Books about the history of Harlem have long fascinated me — my favorite being "When Harlem Was in Vogue" by David Levering Lewis. However, a more recent book, titled simply "Harlem," by Jonathan Gill, presents a more comprehensive history -- going all the way back to the time when the Dutch were the first settlers of New York, and named that area for the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands.
By Thomas Sowell October 30, 2012 6 a.m.
Confidence men know that their victim — "the mark," as he has been called — is eventually going to realize that he has been cheated. But it makes a big difference whether he realizes it immediately, and goes to the police, or realizes it after the confidence man is long gone.
By Thomas Sowell October 23, 2012 6 a.m.
Much of the puzzling behavior by Barack Obama falls into place when we go behind the image that he projects ("Obama 1") to the factual reality of the man's whole life and thrust ("Obama 2").
By Thomas Sowell October 16, 2012 6 a.m.
While voters are busy comparing Mitt Romney with Barack Obama, what might be even more revealing would be comparing Obama with Obama. There is a big contrast between Obama based on his rhetoric ("Obama 1") and Obama based on his record ("Obama 2").
By Thomas Sowell October 9, 2012 6 a.m.
One of the many false talking points of the Obama administration is that a rich man like Warren Buffett should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. But anyone whose earnings come from capital gains usually pays a lower tax rate.
By Thomas Sowell October 2, 2012 6 a.m.
Now that the National Football League has apparently learned that it can be costly to hire cheap officials, perhaps the rest of us should learn the same lesson when it comes to government officials, whose bad calls can do a lot more damage.
By Thomas Sowell September 25, 2012 6 a.m.
The recently discovered tape on which Barack Obama said back in 1998 that he believes in redistribution is not really news. He said the same thing to Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher four years ago. But the surfacing of this tape might serve a useful purpose if it gets people to thinking about the consequences of redistribution.
By Thomas Sowell September 18, 2012 6 a.m.
There was a time when Democrats and Republicans alike could talk sense about tax rates, in terms of what is best for the economy, without demagoguery about "tax cuts for the rich."
By Thomas Sowell September 11, 2012 6 a.m.
We have heard many times from President Barack Obama how he plans to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires," but not on the middle class. Apparently, if you don't happen to be a millionaire or billionaire, you don't have to worry. But the numbers say otherwise -- and say so big time.
By Thomas Sowell September 4, 2012 6 a.m.
Insurance is all about risk. Yet neither insurance companies nor their policyholders can do anything about one of the biggest risks, namely interference by politicians, to turn insurance into something other than a device to deal with risk.
By Thomas Sowell August 28, 2012 6 a.m.
Years, and sometimes decades, pass between my visits to movie theaters. But I drove 30 miles to see the movie "2016," based on Dinesh D'Souza's best-selling book, "The Roots of Obama's Rage." Where I live is so politically correct that such a movie would not even be mentioned, much less shown.
By Thomas Sowell August 14, 2012 6 a.m.
It has long seemed to me that there is far more rationality in sports, and in commentaries on sports, than there is in politics and in commentaries on politics. What has puzzled me is why this is so, when what happens in politics has far more serious effects on people's lives.
By Thomas Sowell August 7, 2012 6 a.m.
There was a time, within living memory, when the achievements of others were not only admired but were often taken as an inspiration for imitation of the same qualities that had served these achievers well, even if we were not in the same field of endeavor and were not expecting to achieve on the same scale.
By Thomas Sowell July 31, 2012 6 a.m.
If Milton Friedman were alive today — and there was never a time when he was more needed — he would be 100 years old. He was born on July 31, 1912. But Professor Friedman's death at age 94 deprived the nation of one of those rare thinkers who had both genius and common sense.
By Thomas Sowell July 24, 2012 6 a.m.
Since so many in the media cannot resist turning every tragedy into a political talking point, it was perhaps inevitable that (1) someone would try to link the shooting rampage at the Batman movie in Colorado to the Tea Party, and that (2) some would try to make it a reason to impose more gun control laws.
By Thomas Sowell July 17, 2012 6 a.m.
Anyone who wants to study the tricks of propaganda rhetoric has a rich source of examples in the statements of President Barack Obama.
By Thomas Sowell July 10, 2012 6 a.m.
One of the reasons for the popularity of political rhetoric is that everybody can be right, in terms of their own rhetoric, no matter how much the rhetoric of one side contradicts the rhetoric of the other side. President Obama repeats how many millions of jobs have been created during his administration, while his critics repeat how many millions of jobs have been lost during his administration.
By Thomas Sowell July 3, 2012 6:01 a.m.
Since this is an election year, the meaning of words is not always clear. So it may be helpful to have a glossary of political terms. One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is “fairness.” It has been used over a vast range of issues, from “fair trade” laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes.
By Thomas Sowell June 26, 2012 6 a.m.
President Obama's latest political ploy — granting new "rights" out of thin air, by executive order, to illegal immigrants who claim that they were brought into the country when they were children — is all too typical of his short-run approach to the country's long-run problems.
By Thomas Sowell June 19, 2012 6 a.m.
Would anyone work to support themselves or their families -- and then turn over a chunk of that hard-earned money to somebody else, just because of the words used by that somebody else? A few people may be taken in by the words of con men, here and there, but the larger tragedy is that millions more are taken in by the words of politicians, the top-of-the-line con men.
By Thomas Sowell June 12, 2012 6 a.m.
Among the people who are disappointed with President Obama, none have more reason to be disappointed than those who thought he was going to be "a uniter, rather than a divider" and that he would "bring us all together."
By Thomas Sowell June 5, 2012 6 a.m.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently told a group of black clergymen that the right to vote was being threatened by people who are seeking to block access to the ballot box by blacks and other minorities.
By Thomas Sowell May 29, 2012 6 a.m.
'Education" is a word that covers a lot of very different things, from vital, lifesaving medical skills to frivolous courses to absolutely counterproductive courses that fill people with a sense of grievance and entitlement, without giving them either the skills to earn a living or a realistic understanding of the world required for a citizen in a free society. The lack of realism among many highly educated people has been demonstrated in many ways.
By Thomas Sowell May 22, 2012 6 a.m.
The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.
By Thomas Sowell May 15, 2012 6 a.m.
The “Occupy” movement, which the Obama administration and much of the media have embraced, has implications that reach far beyond the passing sensation it has created.
By Thomas Sowell May 8, 2012 6 a.m.
A small headline in the second section of the Wall Street Journal last week told a bigger story than a lot of front page banner headlines. It said, “U.S. Firms Add Jobs, but Mostly Overseas.”
By Thomas Sowell May 1, 2012 6 a.m.
Around this time of year, I sometimes hear from parents who have been appalled to learn that the child they sent away to college to become educated has instead been indoctrinated with the creed of the left. They often ask if I can suggest something to have their offspring read over the summer, in order to counteract this indoctrination.
By Thomas Sowell April 24, 2012 6 a.m.
Whatever the ultimate outcome of the case against George Zimmerman for his shooting of Trayvon Martin, what has happened already is enough to turn the stomach of anyone who believes in either truth or justice. An amazing proportion of the media has given us a painful demonstration of the thinking -- and lack of thinking -- that prevailed back in the days of the old Jim Crow South, where complexion counted more than facts in determining how people were treated.
By Thomas Sowell April 17, 2012 6 a.m.
Apparently the soaring national debt and the threat of a nuclear Iran are not enough to occupy the government’s time, because the Obama administration is pushing to force Westchester County, N.Y., to create more low-income housing, in order to mix and match classes and races to fit the government’s preconceptions. Behind all this busy work for bureaucrats is the idea that there is something wrong if a community does not have an even or random distribution of various kinds of people. This arbitrary assumption is that the absence of evenness or randomness shows a “problem” that has to be “corrected.”
By Thomas Sowell April 10, 2012 6 a.m.
One of the highly developed talents of President Barack Obama is the ability to say things that are demonstrably false, and make them sound not only plausible but inspiring. That talent was displayed last week when he was asked whether he thought the Supreme Court would uphold Obamacare as constitutional or strike it down as unconstitutional. He replied: “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
By Thomas Sowell April 3, 2012 6 a.m.
A long-standing legal charade was played out again recently, when Federal Express paid $3 million to settle an employment discrimination case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor.
By Thomas Sowell March 20, 2012 6 a.m.
Many people may be voting for Mitt Romney because of the view in some quarters that he is the inevitable Republican candidate for President of the United States and the candidate with the best chance of beating Barack Obama, rather than because they actually prefer Romney to the other candidates. Inevitability has a very unreliable track record. During the primary season, people should vote for whomever they prefer, on their own merits, not because pundits have pronounced them inevitable.
By Thomas Sowell March 13, 2012 6 a.m.
What are we to make of President Barack Obama’s latest pronouncements about Iran’s movement toward nuclear bombs?
By Thomas Sowell March 6, 2012 6 a.m.
Many people are looking to the many primary elections on March 6 “Super Tuesday” to clarify where this year’s Republican nomination campaign is headed. It may clarify far more than that, including the future of this nation and of Western civilization. If a clear winner with a commanding lead emerges, the question then becomes whether that candidate is someone who is likely to defeat Barack Obama. If not, then the fate of America and of Western nations, including Israel will be left in the hands of a man with a lifelong hostility to Western values and Western interests.