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Posts By Author » Walter Williams

Dependency, Not Poverty
  12 Feb 2014     12:09 am

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor” (http://tinyurl.com/448flj8), report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than …

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Schoolteacher Cheating
  5 Feb 2014     12:09 am

Philadelphia’s public school system has joined several other big-city school systems, such as those in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., in widespread teacher-led cheating on standardized academic achievement tests. So far, the city has fired three school principals, and The Wall Street Journal reports, “Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation’s largest cheating scandals.” (1/23/14) (http://tinyurl.com/q5makm3). Investigators found that teachers got together after tests to erase the students’ incorrect answers and replace them with correct answers. In some cases, they …

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Politics of Hate and Envy
  29 Jan 2014     12:09 am

Part of the progressive agenda is to create hate and envy. One component of that agenda is to attack the large differences between a corporation’s chief executive officer’s earnings and those of its average worker. CNNMoney published salary comparisons in “Fortune 50 CEO pay vs. our salaries” (http://tinyurl.com/c2b24rv). Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s annual salary is $2.8 million. CNN shows that it takes 66 Wells Fargo employees, whose average salary is $42,400, to match Stumpf’s salary. It takes 57 Wal-Mart employees, who earn $22,100 on average, to match CEO Michael …

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OK to Feel Sorry
  22 Jan 2014     12:09 am

At one time in our nation’s history, blacks feeling sorry for whites was verboten. That was portrayed in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” This is a novel published in 1960 — and later made into a movie — about Depression-era racial relations in the Deep South. The novel’s character Tom Robinson, a black man, portrayed in the movie by Brock Peters, is on trial, falsely accused of raping a white woman. The prosecuting attorney, while grilling Robinson, asks him why he spent so much time doing …

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Income Inequality
  15 Jan 2014     12:09 am

Democrats plan to demagogue income inequality and the wealth gap for political gain in this year’s elections. Most of what’s said about income inequality is stupid or, at best, ill-informed. Much to their disgrace, economists focusing on measures of income inequality bring little light to the issue. Let’s look at it.

Income is a result of something. As such, results alone cannot establish whether there is fairness or justice. Take a simple example to make the point. Suppose Tom, Dick and Harry play a weekly game of poker. The result is: …

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Politics And Minimum Wage
  8 Jan 2014     12:09 am

There’s little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies “find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.” A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed …

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Parting Company
  1 Jan 2014     12:09 am

Here’s a question that I’ve asked in the past that needs to be revisited. Unless one wishes to obfuscate, it has a simple yes or no answer. If one group of people prefers strong government control and management of people’s lives while another group prefers liberty and desires to be left alone, should they be required to enter into conflict with one another and risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences on the other group? Yes or no. My answer is no; they should be …

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Dumb Politicians Won’t Get Elected
  25 Dec 2013     12:09 am

Politicians can be progressives, liberals, conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, and right-wingers. They just can’t be dumb. The American people will never elect them to office. Let’s look at it.

For years, I used to blame politicians for our economic and social mess. That changed during the 1980s as a result of several lunches with Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., which produced an epiphany of sorts.
At the time, I had written several columns highly critical of farm subsidies and handouts. Helms agreed, saying something should be done. Then he asked me whether I …

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The Pope and Capitalism
  18 Dec 2013     12:09 am

Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that “economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world” and concluding that “this opinion … has never been confirmed by the facts.” He went on to label unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny.” Let’s look at the pope’s tragic vision.

First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a …

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Our Fragile Planet
  11 Dec 2013     12:09 am

Let’s examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question. “The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile.” “The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis.” Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: “Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day.” “Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It’s the only home we have!” Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth …

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Blacks and Obama
  4 Dec 2013     12:09 am

In a March 2008 column, I criticized pundits’ concerns about whether America was ready for Barack Obama, suggesting that the more important issue was whether black people could afford Obama. I proposed that we look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was …

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Masking Totalitarianism
  27 Nov 2013     12:09 am

One of the oldest notions in the history of mankind is that some people are to give orders and others are to obey. The powerful elite believe that they have wisdom superior to the masses and that they’ve been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Their agenda calls for an attack on the free market and what it implies — voluntary exchange. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they should do. Therefore, free markets are replaced with …

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Do Americans Prefer Deception?
  20 Nov 2013     12:09 am

There’s more to the deceit and dishonesty about Social Security and Medicare discussed in my recent columns. Congress tells us that one-half (6.2 percent) of the Social Security tax is paid by employees and that the other half is paid by employers, for a total of 12.4 percent. Similarly, we are told that a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent is levied on employees and that another 1.45 percent is levied on employers. The truth of the matter is that the burden of both taxes is borne by employees. In other …

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Does Washington Know Best?
  13 Nov 2013     12:07 am

According to some estimates, there are more than 100 million traffic signals in the U.S., but whatever the number, how many of us would like Washington, in the name of public health and safety, to be in sole charge of their operation? Congress or a committee it authorizes would determine the position of traffic signals at intersections, the length of time the lights stay red, yellow and green, and what hours of the day they can be flashing red.

While you ponder that, how many Americans would like Washington to be …

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Congressionally Duped Americans
  6 Nov 2013     12:09 am

Last week’s column, “Is There a Way Out?”, generated quite a few responses, some a bit angry. Some people were offended by my reference to Social Security and Medicare as entitlements or handouts. They said that they worked for 45 years and paid into Social Security and Medicare and how dare I refer to the money they now receive as an entitlement. These people have been duped by Congress and shouldn’t be held totally accountable for such a belief. Let’s examine the plethora of congressional Social Security lies. I’ll leave …

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Is There a Way Out?
  30 Oct 2013     12:09 am

According to a recent Fox News poll, 73 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, up 20 points from 2012. Americans sense that there’s a lot going wrong in our nation, but most don’t have a clue about the true nature of our problem. If they had a clue, most would have little stomach for what would be necessary to arrest our national decline. Let’s look at it.

Between two-thirds and three-quarters of federal spending, in contravention of the U.S. Constitution, can be described as Congress taking …

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Loving and Hating America
  23 Oct 2013     12:09 am

As I’ve documented in the past, many leftist teachers teach our youngsters to hate our country. For example, University of Hawaii Professor Haunani-Kay Trask counseled her students, “We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it.” Some universities hire former terrorists to teach and indoctrinate students. Kathy Boudin, former Weather Underground member and convicted murderer, is on the Columbia University School of Social Work’s faculty. Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers teaches at the …

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Racial Trade-offs: Part II
  16 Oct 2013     12:09 am

Last week’s column discussed the political trade-offs made by black politicians and civil rights organizations that condemn whole generations of black youngsters to failing schools (http://tinyurl.com/6mmlsf). Similar political trade-offs in labor markets condemn many blacks, particularly black youths, to high rates of unemployment and reduced economic opportunities. Let’s look at this, starting with a few historical facts.

Today white teen unemployment is about 20 percent, while that for blacks is about 40 percent and more than 50 percent in some cities. In 1948, the unemployment rate of black 16-year-old and 17-year-old males …

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Racial Trade-offs
  9 Oct 2013     12:09 am

Trade-offs apply to our economic lives, as well as our political lives. That means getting more of one thing requires giving up something else. Let’s look at some examples.

Black congressmen and black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, always side with teachers unions in their opposition to educational vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other measures that would allow black parents to take their children out of failing public schools. Most black politicians and many black professionals take the position of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is on …

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Are Guns the Problem?
  2 Oct 2013     12:04 am

Every time there’s a shooting tragedy, there are more calls for gun control. Let’s examine a few historical facts. By 1910, the National Rifle Association had succeeded in establishing 73 NRA-affiliated high-school rifle clubs. The 1911 second edition of the Boy Scout Handbook made qualification in NRA’s junior marksmanship program a prerequisite for obtaining a BSA merit badge in marksmanship. In 1918, the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. established its own Winchester Junior Rifle Corps. The program grew to 135,000 members by 1925. In New York City, gun clubs were started …

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