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Apothegms for the Age of Obama
Random thoughts on the passing scene.


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Thomas Sowell

Sometimes we seem like people on a pleasure boat drifting down the Niagara River, unaware that there are waterfalls up ahead. I don’t know what people think is going to happen when a nation that already sponsors international terrorism has nuclear bombs to give to terrorists around the world.

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about “fairness” and “social justice,” what is your “fair share” of what someone else has worked for?

Here is a math problem for you: Assume that the legislation establishing government control of medical care is passed and that it “brings down the cost of medical care.” You pay $500 a year less for your medical care, but the new costs put on employers is passed on to consumers, so that you pay $300 a year more for groceries and $200 a year more for gasoline, while the new mandates put on insurance companies raise your premiums by $300 a year, how much money have you saved?

I seldom read fiction — and I tend to regard autobiographies as fiction.

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In response to news of President Obama receiving the Nobel Prize for peace, an e-mail from a reader recalled a black classmate’s comments upon graduating from high school many years ago. When asked to list the advantages and disadvantages of being black, the black student facetiously listed as an advantage “being praised for infinitesimal accomplishments.”

Many colleges claim that they develop “leaders.” All too often, that means turning out graduates who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do. There are already too many people like that, and they are a menace to everyone else’s freedom.

Some people are so busy being clever that they don’t have time enough to be wise.

No one likes to admit having been played for a fool. So it will probably take a mushroom cloud over some American city before some Obama supporters wake up. Even so, the true believers among the survivors will probably say that this was all George W. Bush’s fault.

Stepping beyond your competence can be like stepping off a cliff. Too many people with brilliance and talent within some field do not realize how ignorant — or, worse yet, misinformed — they are when talking like philosopher-kings about other things.

There has probably never before been as drastic a decline in the quality of the vice president as when Dick Cheney was replaced by Joe Biden. Yet the New York Times is lionizing Biden as a wise counselor to President Obama. When you support the liberal agenda, that makes you brilliant ex-officio in the media, whether or not you are vice president — and whether or not you have even common sense.

Government pressures on mortgage lenders to accept less than the full amount they are owed may win votes for politicians, since there are far more borrowers than lenders. But how much future lending can be expected when the lenders know that politicians are ready to intervene at any time to prevent them from getting their money back?

Some people think that the Obama administration is going to get rid of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, making him the scapegoat for its economics failures. This would be consistent with the president’s tendency to act as if the people under him are not carrying out his policies. But if they get rid of Geithner too early, that will not help if things still do not get better after he is gone and before the 2010 elections.

People who are urging us to do things to win the approval of other countries seem to put an excessive value on other countries’ approval, as distinguished from their respect that we can lose by such bowing to “world opinion.” Do the world champion New York Yankees try to curry favor with teams that are also-rans?

Can you name the only .400 hitter who never won a batting title during his whole career? Or a pitcher who stole home? If you are one of the first ten to answer either of these questions, you will receive a free copy of my most recent book, The Housing Boom and Bust.



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