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Reflections on the Passing Scene
Posted By Thomas Sowell On March 23, 2011 @ 12:04 am In Afternoon Edition,Daily Mailer,FrontPage | No Comments
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
They say that records are made to be broken. President George W. Bush set a record by adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt over the course of his eight years in office. But Barack Obama has already beaten that record with $4.4 trillion in just his first three years in office.
People who thoughtlessly give money to panhandlers on the street seem not to realize that this is making installment payments on the degeneration of America.
Don’t mention “municipal golf courses” to me. It sends my blood pressure up through the roof. What earthly excuse is there for spending the taxpayers’ money subsidizing a golf course? Politicians can’t even invoke “the poor,” as they do when trying to justify other government boondoggles.
The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be “materialistic” and “greedy” to want to keep what you have earned. But it is “idealistic” to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.
Lou Gehrig was probably the greatest clutch hitter of all time. Although his career was cut short by the disease that bears his name, in 7 of his 14 full seasons he had over 150 runs batted in. (Babe Ruth was second with 5 seasons.) And Gehrig still holds the career record for home runs with the bases loaded.
Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do— and nothing is more unpredictable.
An e-mail from a perceptive reader points out that, although Congressional “earmarks” represent a very small part of federal spending, they can be used as bribes to buy the votes of members of Congress on bills involving the spending of vastly larger sums of the taxpayers’ money.
When political commentators from the Fox News Channel had books whose sales would normally make the New York Times’ non-fiction best-seller list, the New York Times changed the rules for putting books on that list.
Thus best-selling political books by Mike Huckabee and Dick Morris appeared last Sunday on a more obscure list of miscellaneous personal advice and how-to books, such as “Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.”
When the Federal Reserve cites statistics to claim that there is not much evidence of inflation, we need to keep in mind that the statistics they rely on exclude food and energy prices. The cost of living is no sweat if you can do without electricity and food.
Even if it could be proved that judges who are making rulings that go counter to the written law produce better results in those particular cases than following the letter of the law would have, that does not make society better off. When laws become unreliable and judges unpredictable, lawsuits become a bonanza for charlatans, who can force honest people to settle out of court, for fear of what some judge might do.
The mainstream media never expressed half the outrage about Mao Zedong as they did about Ronald Reagan. Yet, when it came to killing millions of innocent civilians, even Hitler was an amateur compared to Mao.
The Obama administration seems to be following what might be called “the Detroit pattern”— increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions. In the short run, it got mayors re-elected. In the long-run, it reduced Detroit from a thriving city to an economic disaster area, whose population was cut in half, as its most productive citizens fled.
Safety advocates who say that we shouldn’t take chances, but should ban things that might be unsafe, don’t seem to understand that if we banned every food to which somebody had an allergy we could all starve to death.
The vile people who picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in action are far away enough from the mourners not to be heard. It is media attention that magnifies their sick message.
Intolerance may not promote progress but it can promote survival. An intolerant Islamic world may outlast the Western world that seems ready to tolerate anything, including the undermining of its own fundamental values and threats to its continued existence.
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