Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Thoughts from Thomas Sowell

"People who live within their means are increasingly being forced to pay for people who didn't live within their means -- whether individual home buyers here or whole nations in Europe."

"Politicians can solve almost any problem -- usually by creating a bigger problem. But, so long as the voters are aware of the problem that the politicians have solved, and unaware of the bigger problems they have created, political "solutions" are a political success."

"Do people who advocate special government programs for blacks realize that the federal government has had special programs for American Indians, including affirmative action, since the early 19th century -- and that American Indians remain one of the few groups worse off than blacks?"
 

39 Comments:

At 10/18/2011 7:50 AM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

I just love that guy...he cracks me up everytime. Thanks for posting his "top ten"!

Affirmative action and Indians in the 19th century???? Is he talking about Custer????

He says: "and leaving the voters knowing only who is quickest with glib answers." ???

LOL...isn't that like the pot calling the kettle....african-american????;););)

 
At 10/18/2011 9:27 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Thomas Sowell: Do people who advocate special government programs for blacks realize that the federal government has had special programs for American Indians, including affirmative action, since the early 19th century -- and that American Indians remain one of the few groups worse off than blacks?

truth or consequences: Affirmative action and Indians in the 19th century???? Is he talking about Custer????

Yeah, they had "special programs" for blacks in the 19th century, too.

 
At 10/18/2011 10:00 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i strongly recommend murray's excellent and meticulously researched and footnoted book "losing ground" which conclusively shows that the "great society" programs intended to aid the black community in fact set them back more that the jim crow laws that had been intended to harm them.

not even slavery could break up the black family structure, but the great society programs did. this is what you are missing zach. post emancipation, the programs intended to harm them were less harmful than those intended to help. it's not a coincidence that the relative welfare of the black community peaked just before kennedy and johnson started trying to help them and was falling off precipitously by the time the great society programs got rolling.

seriously, read it. there is nothing ambiguous about these effects at all.

http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Ground-American-1950-1980-Anniversary/dp/0465042333

these guys have literally mistaken the brake for the accelerator. they slow the car way down, see the drop in speed, and hit the brake harder because they think it's the other pedal. it's a self reinforcing death spiral.

18th century doctors who bled their patients and purged them with calomel had good intentions too. that does not mean they were not killing people.

it's not like this is the only example either.

look at how well the CRA worked. it destroyed more wealth and homeownership for the subrpime than any other US policy ever. they are worse off than before.

it may well have had good intentions, but the expression about the road to hell being paved with them persists for a reason.

 
At 10/18/2011 10:19 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Yeah, they had "special programs" for blacks in the 19th century, too." - Zach


By "they", you mean Democrats.

 
At 10/18/2011 10:54 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Che is dead: By "they", you mean Democrats.

Certainly the Democratic Party was instrumental in the maintenance of slavery and Jim Crow in the 19th century.

morganovich: not even slavery could break up the black family structure,

"An’ dey sole my ole man, an’ took him away, an’ dey begin to sell my chil’en an’ take dem away, an’ I begin to cry; an’ de man say, ‘Shet up yo’ dam blubberin’,’ an’ hit me on de mouf wid his han’. An’ when de las’ one was gone but my little Henry, I grab’ him clost up to my breas’ so, an’ I ris up an’ says, ‘You shan’t take him away,’ I says; ‘I’ll kill de man dat tetch him!’ I says. But my little Henry whisper an’ say, ‘I gwyne to run away, an’ den I work an’ buy yo’ freedom.’ Oh, bless de chile, he always so good! But dey got him – dey got him, de men did; but I took and tear de clo’es mos’ off of ’em, an’ beat ’em over de head wid my chain; an’ dey give it to me, too, but I didn’t mine dat."
http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/writings.html

 
At 10/18/2011 11:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

i strongly recommend murray's excellent and meticulously researched and footnoted book "losing ground" which conclusively shows that the "great society" programs intended to aid the black community in fact set them back more that the jim crow laws that had been intended to harm them.

Good book full of great data that really pisses off the Great Society crowd.

 
At 10/18/2011 11:59 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Damn effing straight.

We should pay-as-we-go for wars.

Did anybody ask warmongers to live within their means when they decided to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for decades?

No, we just borrowed the money for wars and then told Americans to borrow money to buy houses--with a mortgage interest tax deduction to boot.

 
At 10/18/2011 12:12 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

zach-

and yet, black families were more cohesive then than now.

read the book, then see how you feel about your anecdotes.

 
At 10/18/2011 1:05 PM, Blogger Steve said...

@morganovich - I don't follow comments enough to know your other positions, but I hope that you agree with MP that the War on Drugs has been a colossal failure, and should be abolished. Do you?

Do you see any connection at all between the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the War on Drugs (c.1970), and the massively disproportionate effect of drug laws on minorities? Or how that disproportionate impact might have contributed to the state of Black families in America today?

War on Drugs = destructive, with corrosive knock-on effects to Black American families.

So from that perspective, then yes, "special government programs for blacks" have caused a lot of harm.

---

CRA: that meme has been so disproven that bringing it up distracts from any other point you are trying to make.

 
At 10/18/2011 1:50 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

morganovich: and yet, black families were more cohesive then than now.

Welfare may have had a deleterious effect, but that's a far cry from suggesting it was in any way worse than slavery.

 
At 10/18/2011 2:45 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

steve-

yes. i think the war on drugs is a total failure and never should have been instituted in the first place.

it's hypocritical, contrary to personal liberty, and unwinnable in any event.

it is none of the government's business is steve jobs likes to take acid and run around his backyard.

 
At 10/18/2011 2:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

zach-

you are twisting my argument and trying to set up a straw man to joust with.

i made a very specific claim about family strucutre.

you are twisting it into something much more.

of course slavery was a terrible thing. that's the whole point. it was horrendous, yet not even it pulled the black family apart. the great society did.

it's worth thinking about when you assess such programs, well intentioned though they may be.

blacks were gaining ground under jim crow. they lost it all again under kennedy and johnson.

if they could overcome somehting as pernicious as segregation and still gain ground, then consider how much more harmful the GS must have been.

pick up murray's book. read it.

the data will stagger you.

 
At 10/18/2011 4:58 PM, Blogger Jim said...

There are a few Indian tribes that are not on government programs. They are the richest.

 
At 10/18/2011 6:10 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Random thoughts from another Southern man that wants to impose his ways on the North.

Looks like the political measure called secession didn't work for Sowell's ancestry.

If he wants to reinstate the antebellum South, keep it there. Let the rest of the nation go forward.

 
At 10/18/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

To save the Republic (the U.S. isn't a democracy), we may need a new constitutional amendment.

The Voting Fairness Amendment

Since the federal budget has become so large (i.e. a "black hole" in the U.S. economy), only U.S. citizens 18-55, who've worked full-time in the past year, and earned at least the minimum wage should be eligible to vote, along with all U.S. citizens 55 and older.

 
At 10/18/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We should pay-as-we-go for wars.

Did anybody ask warmongers to live within their means when they decided to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for decades?


Yes. Principled men like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have typically argued against wars of aggression and have asked that wars be fully funded. And while many Democrats and most Republicans have supported the unfunded wars there were quite a few that were against them.

No, we just borrowed the money for wars and then told Americans to borrow money to buy houses--with a mortgage interest tax deduction to boot.

Who is "WE"? Americans are not the American government. There is no collective good that is the same as what is good for individual Americans.

 
At 10/18/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

and yet, black families were more cohesive then than now.

read the book, then see how you feel about your anecdotes.


Zach does not like to have facts get in the way of his beliefs.

 
At 10/18/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Since the federal budget has become so large (i.e. a "black hole" in the U.S. economy), only U.S. citizens 18-55, who've worked full-time in the past year, and earned at least the minimum wage should be eligible to vote, along with all U.S. citizens 55 and older.

Why? And vote on what?

If I am 16 years old and am a net payer of taxes I should be able to have as much say as anyone else who pays as much as I do. And if I am over 55 years old and depend on state funds to subsidize my living costs why should I be able to vote myself more such subsidies.

 
At 10/18/2011 7:49 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

VangelV, to be eligible to vote in federal elections; a 16-year old may not have enough wisdom to vote and a 55-year old could've retired early.

 
At 10/18/2011 8:58 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV, to be eligible to vote in federal elections; a 16-year old may not have enough wisdom to vote and a 55-year old could've retired early.

Says who? Age is an arbitrary measure. Some 16-year-olds are far more capable of reasoning properly and are more mature than 60-year-olds. If they pay taxes because they work than they have proved themselves in the marketplace they deserve a vote far more than someone who just happened to turn 55 but may have been a drain on society his/her whole life.

 
At 10/19/2011 12:22 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Random thoughts from another Southern man that wants to impose his ways on the North.

Looks like the political measure called secession didn't work for Sowell's ancestry.

If he wants to reinstate the antebellum South, keep it there. Let the rest of the nation go forward.
"

Your comment is muddled as usual, but do you realize that Sowell is Black?

 
At 10/19/2011 8:45 AM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

"Your comment is muddled as usual, but do you realize that Sowell is Black?"

Ron,
Makes no difference. Leftist logic: He is conservative, and anti-Obama. Ergo he is a racist.

 
At 10/19/2011 9:43 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

morganovich: i made a very specific claim about family strucutre.

Yes, and it was false. There is just no case to be made about the bstability of the black family under slavery, when children could be sold, families broken apart, marriages not recognized, and forced couplings including with slaveowners.

You might have a better case if you restricted it to black families under Jim Crow. But then again, all families were more stable in previous generations.

Peak Trader: only U.S. citizens 18-55, who've worked full-time in the past year, and earned at least the minimum wage should be eligible to vote, along with all U.S. citizens 55 and older.

Take it back to 1820!

So there would be fewer voters the worse the unemployment situation. And as unemployment is higher in minority groups, this would have the added advantage of disenfranchising blacks. And at-home mothers, or those who work for less than minimum wage, such as many farm workers, wouldn't have the vote either. A win-win for rich white guys!

VangelV: does not like to have facts get in the way of his beliefs.

Indeed, we enjoy being challenged with facts, but that doesn't salvage morganovich's claim.

 
At 10/19/2011 8:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, and it was false. There is just no case to be made about the bstability of the black family under slavery, when children could be sold, families broken apart, marriages not recognized, and forced couplings including with slaveowners.

It is not false at all. As morganovich pointed out, the Great Society programs did far more damage to the family structure in the black community than the Jim Crow laws. The left's narrative falls apart whenever it claims that progressives have helped blacks. The reality is that they did more damage to the black community than racist Southern Democrats.

 
At 10/19/2011 8:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Indeed, we enjoy being challenged with facts, but that doesn't salvage morganovich's claim.

But the facts support his claim. Your faith based narrative does not.

 
At 10/20/2011 6:51 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

morganovich: not even slavery could break up the black family structure

...

VangelV: As morganovich pointed out, the Great Society programs did far more damage to the family structure in the black community than the Jim Crow laws.

That's not what he said. He compared it to life under slavery, where children could and would be sold, where marriage wasn't recognized, mating was by fiat, and where the father was often the slaveowner.

 
At 10/20/2011 3:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That's not what he said. He compared it to life under slavery, where children could and would be sold, where marriage wasn't recognized, mating was by fiat, and where the father was often the slaveowner.

Actually, here is what he said:

i strongly recommend murray's excellent and meticulously researched and footnoted book "losing ground" which conclusively shows that the "great society" programs intended to aid the black community in fact set them back more that the jim crow laws that had been intended to harm them.

not even slavery could break up the black family structure, but the great society programs did. this is what you are missing zach. post emancipation, the programs intended to harm them were less harmful than those intended to help. it's not a coincidence that the relative welfare of the black community peaked just before kennedy and johnson started trying to help them and was falling off precipitously by the time the great society programs got rolling.

seriously, read it. there is nothing ambiguous about these effects at all.

http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Ground-American-1950-1980-Anniversary/dp/0465042333

these guys have literally mistaken the brake for the accelerator. they slow the car way down, see the drop in speed, and hit the brake harder because they think it's the other pedal. it's a self reinforcing death spiral.

18th century doctors who bled their patients and purged them with calomel had good intentions too. that does not mean they were not killing people.

it's not like this is the only example either.

look at how well the CRA worked. it destroyed more wealth and homeownership for the subrpime than any other US policy ever. they are worse off than before.

it may well have had good intentions, but the expression about the road to hell being paved with them persists for a reason.


The actual data supports his views, not yours. The Great Society has done far more harm to the black family than slave owners did. If you look at family formation before and after Johnson's grand experiment you will see just how much damage the progressives did to black families.

 
At 10/20/2011 7:18 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Actually, here is what he said: "... not even slavery could break up the black family structure ..."

Yes, and that fuller statement doesn't make the overstatement any better. We could discuss the other issue, but it's impossible to make any progress when such egregious errors are allowed to stand.

 
At 10/20/2011 7:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, and that fuller statement doesn't make the overstatement any better. We could discuss the other issue, but it's impossible to make any progress when such egregious errors are allowed to stand.

But that is the problem. It is not an error. The Great Society actually did more harm to the black family than even slavery. If you actually did some reading that was supported by data you would know this. Of course, yours tends to be a faith based belief system so you attack people for statements that are actually supported by history.

 
At 10/20/2011 8:08 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/20/2011 8:09 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: If you actually did some reading that was supported by data you would know this.

You're not making an argument. Yes, as noted by Gutman, blacks formed kinship groups even in the slave period. But so did blacks during the Great Society.

 
At 10/20/2011 8:47 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You're not making an argument. Yes, as noted by Gutman, blacks formed kinship groups even in the slave period. But so did blacks during the Great Society.

The black family has been nearly destroyed by the Great Society welfare programs. As morganovich wrote, "not even slavery could break up the black family structure, but the great society programs did." While his posting was not as eloquent and complete as it could have been, he was right and you are wrong. Try looking at both books in more detail and you will see just how much you have been misinformed.

 
At 10/21/2011 6:07 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Try looking at both books in more detail and you will see just how much you have been misinformed.

Murray's analysis has not withstood scrutiny. It seems more designed to reassure people about their own preconceptions. "It's going to make them feel better about things they already think but do not know how to say."

We touched on Gutman's book above, which does not directly address the question.

VangelV: The black family has been nearly destroyed by the Great Society welfare programs.

At its peak, only one in four black women of childbearing age were on AFDC, nor did they have more children on average than their white counterparts, so that alone can't explain the high proportion of black children born out of wedlock. Other social factors were also at work.

 
At 10/21/2011 1:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Murray's analysis has not withstood scrutiny. It seems more designed to reassure people about their own preconceptions. "It's going to make them feel better about things they already think but do not know how to say."

We touched on Gutman's book above, which does not directly address the question.


I have yet to see a valid attack on Murray's analysis. The data he uses comes mainly from government sources and shows clear trends that support his argument. Gutman shows that the black family was very strong even under slavery. Black family formation is far worse today than it was under slavery.

 
At 10/21/2011 1:41 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

At its peak, only one in four black women of childbearing age were on AFDC, nor did they have more children on average than their white counterparts, so that alone can't explain the high proportion of black children born out of wedlock. Other social factors were also at work.

It is incentives. When you tell a young woman that you will pay her to support her kids but only if their father is not supporting them it is easy to see why many black kids would wind up growing up without a father being around.

 
At 10/21/2011 8:46 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: The data he uses comes mainly from government sources and shows clear trends that support his argument.

Correlation does not equal causation.

VangelV: It is incentives. When you tell a young woman that you will pay her to support her kids but only if their father is not supporting them it is easy to see why many black kids would wind up growing up without a father being around.

Yes, even if we accepted the argument on its face, it isn't sufficient to explain the data. It's as if you didn't read our comment.

 
At 10/23/2011 10:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV: The data he uses comes mainly from government sources and shows clear trends that support his argument.

Correlation does not equal causation.


That is very true if you were trying to determine the cause.

But in this case the the data supports morganovich's statement that slavery could not break up the black family, which is what you were opposing. Clearly the black family is worse off under the Great Society than it was before it. While you could argue that this does not prove that the Great Society programs are responsible I would say that one of the biggest arguments for those programs was about how they would help the black family.

 
At 10/23/2011 10:45 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV: It is incentives. When you tell a young woman that you will pay her to support her kids but only if their father is not supporting them it is easy to see why many black kids would wind up growing up without a father being around.

Yes, even if we accepted the argument on its face, it isn't sufficient to explain the data. It's as if you didn't read our comment.


Given your lack of clarity and backtracking it is hard to take your comments as seriously as those of other people who do far more research and use data and theory to support their arguments. My comment is valid. The data is easily explained by looking at incentives. In a conservative society where personal responsibility is encouraged having children out of wedlock is seen as a bad thing. This pushes young women to be more careful about their sexual partners and for young men to stick around and marry the mothers of their children. That all changes when government steps in and pays young women money to support their children if their biological fathers are not around. When that happens the incentive is to push the father out of the picture and to have even more children.

 
At 10/23/2011 2:34 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: The data is easily explained by looking at incentives.

No. You ignored the problems raised concerning the claim.

VangelV: That all changes when government steps in and pays young women money to support their children if their biological fathers are not around.

At most one in four women of childbearing age were on AFDC. Even accepting that this incentivized them to remain single, this still does not explain the high rate of single motherhood, which exceeded one in four.

VangelV: When that happens the incentive is to push the father out of the picture and to have even more children.

Turns out that birthrates dropped throughout the period in question among women on AFDC, and while birth rates were higher among women on AFDC compared to women not on AFDC, they were also younger and less educated, which correlates with higher birth rates regardless of receiving AFDC.

 

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