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Random Thoughts of an Economist

Posted By Thomas Sowell On August 8, 2011 @ 12:05 am In Afternoon Edition,Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 7 Comments

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

The next time a member of the British royal family gets married, I hope they elope and spare us all another 24/7 media orgy.

Does the “not guilty” verdict in the Casey Anthony child murder trial mean that the jury succumbed to the confusion between “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “beyond any conceivable doubt”? The word “reasonable” is not put in there just for decoration.

We seem to be living in an age when nobody can be bothered to answer their telephone, but everybody has a recorded message telling us how important our phone call is to them.

President Obama often talks about wanting to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” but — in his actual tax proposals — higher taxes usually begin with couples earning $250,000 between them. Apparently that makes you a millionaire or a billionaire.

It doesn’t seem very scientific to have a good-looking nurse taking a man’s blood pressure.

As the British have lost their empire and, more important, lost their respect for laws and standards, Britannia has gone from ruling the waves to waiving the rules.

The difference between mob rule and democracy was never more sharply demonstrated than by labor unions’ attempts to prevent the Wisconsin voters’ elected representatives from carrying out their official duties at the state Capitol. What would it matter what the voters want if any mob can stop it from happening?

My favorite birthday card this year said on the outside, “Ageing is Inevitable” — and, on the inside: “Maturity is optional.”

Theodore Roosevelt said that his foreign policy was to speak softly and carry a big stick. Barack Obama’s foreign policy in Libya has been to speak loudly and carry a little stick. Too often Obama’s foreign policy around the world looks like children happily playing with fire.

Class-warfare politics is bad enough when it is for real. But often it is as phony as a three-dollar bill, when the same politicians pass high tax rates on “the rich” to win votes — and then get financial support from “the rich” to create loopholes that enable them to avoid paying those high tax rates.

It is amazing how many people seem to think that, if you give them your phone number or e-mail address, this means that they are authorized to pass them on to others.

Three little words — “We the people,” the opening words of the Constitution of the United States — are the biggest obstacle to achieving the political goals of the left.

For that, they must move decisions away from “We the people” — from individuals to government; from elected officials to unelected judges; and from national institutions to international institutions like the United Nations — all safely remote and insulated from “We the people.”

Some hotels have been called “historic.” But to me that just means old. I don’t like staying in old-fashioned hotels. There is usually a reason why those fashions went out of fashion.

Learned scholars still debate the reasons for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Learned scholars of the future, looking back on our decline and fall, may simply be baffled as to how we could have been so stupid.

Awkward and uncomfortable hospital gowns for patients just add a needless complication to the problems of people who are already sick. Surely someone could design something less bothersome.

I have never believed for a moment that Barack Obama has the best interests of the United States at heart.

Many liberals who consider themselves friends or allies of blacks are usually friends or allies of those particular blacks who are doing wrong things, often at the expense of other blacks.

At one time, it was well understood that adversity taught valuable lessons, which reduce the probability of repeating foolish decisions. But, today, the welfare state shields people from the consequences of their own mistakes, allowing irresponsibility to continue and to flourish among ever wider circles of people.

Amid all the concerns about the skyrocketing government debt, a front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal said: “Families Slice Debt to Lowest In 6 Years.” It is remarkable how differently people behave when they are spending their own money compared to the way politicians behave when spending the government’s money.


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