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Random Thoughts for the New Year
Barack Obama and the audacity of hype


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Thomas Sowell

Of all the arguments for giving amnesty to illegal immigrants, the most foolish is the argument that we can’t find and expel all of them. There is not a law on the books that someone has not violated, including laws against murder, and we certainly have not found and prosecuted all the violators — whether murderers or traffic-law violators. But do we then legalize all the illegalities we haven’t been able to detect and prosecute?

In the 1920s, Rep. Thomas S. Adams referred to “the ease with which the income tax may be legally avoided” but also said some congressmen “so fervently believe that the rich ought to pay 40 or 50 percent of their incomes” in taxes that they would rather make this a law, even if the government would get more revenue from a lower tax rate that people actually pay. Some also prefer class-warfare politics that brings in votes, if not revenue.

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Can you imagine a man who had never run any kind of organization, large or small, taking it upon himself to fundamentally change all kinds of organizations in a huge and complex economy? Yet that is what Barack Obama did when he said, “We are going to change the United States of America!” This was not “The Audacity of Hope.” It was the audacity of hype.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2011 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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