Walter E. Williams from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 27 Oct 2016 03:11:24 -0700 Walter E. Williams from Creators Syndicate 84ac404399ed84d6a2127eb0c336280d Dumb American Youth for 10/26/2016 Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Do you wonder why Sen. Bernie Sanders and his ideas are so popular among American college students? The answer is that <span class="column--highlighted-text">they, like so many other young people who think they know it all, are really uninformed and ignorant. You say, "Williams, how dare you say that?! We've mortgaged our home to send our children to college."</span> Let's start with the 2006 geographic literacy survey of youngsters between 18 and 24 years of age by National Geographic and Roper Public Affairs.</p> <p>Less than half could identify New York and Ohio on a U.S. map. Sixty percent could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the Middle East, and three-quarters could not find Iran or Israel. In fact, 44 percent could not locate even one of those four countries. Youngsters who had taken a geography class didn't fare much better. By the way, when I attended elementary school, during the 1940s, we were given blank U.S. maps, and our assignment was to write in the states. Today such an assignment might be deemed oppressive, if not racist.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 26, 2016</p> 96aa13aae372fd0bf013553a785fa50c Freedom to Work for 10/19/2016 Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If a person wants to go into business as a taxicab owner, what requirements should be imposed to protect the public? The prospective taxicab owner should show that he is honest and can operate a vehicle safely. His vehicle should pass a safety inspection, and he should have a liability insurance policy. Some cities require the purchase of an existing license, sometimes called a medallion. A medallion has cost as much as over $1 million, as in the case of New York City, and the cost has reached $700,000 in Boston and $360,000 in Chicago. <span class="column--highlighted-text">There is no public protection interest served by forcing a person to go into debt to purchase a taxi medallion, but doing so does serve an interest.</span></p> <p>Before we talk about that, let's look at some good news for prospective taxi owners. The Arlington, Virginia-based Institute for Justice is a nonprofit libertarian public interest law firm that has been on the forefront in the fight for economic liberty for 2 1/2 decades. During that time period, it has piled up numerous victories. The most recent is its Oct. 7 win in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued two groundbreaking decisions that will help cities to sweep aside protectionist transportation regulations in order to make way for new entrepreneurs.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 19, 2016</p> ae3706f7ba29ef12e644a4c2fc241240 A Constitutional Right to Literacy for 10/12/2016 Wed, 12 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Detroit school students, represented by the Los Angeles-based public interest firm Public Counsel, filed suit last month against the state of Michigan, claiming a legal right to literacy based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Ninety-three percent of Detroit's predominantly black public school eighth-graders are not proficient in reading, and 96 percent are not proficient in mathematics. According to the lawsuit, "decades of State disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied Plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy."</p> <p>In terms of per-pupil expenditures, the state does not treat Detroit public school students any differently than it does other students. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Detroit school district ranks 50th in state spending, at $13,743 per pupil. This is out of 841 total districts. That puts Detroit schools in the top 6 percent of per-pupil expenditures in the state. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Discrimination in school expenditures cannot explain poor educational outcomes for black students in Detroit or anywhere else in the nation.</span> Let's look at routinely ignored educational impediments in Detroit and elsewhere.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 12, 2016</p> d14f21cb00ad51fafec8cd31db4e5034 Discrimination and Segregation for 10/05/2016 Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I was invited, along with several other American professors, to deliver lectures at South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1979. Pieter Willem Botha was the prime minister, and apartheid, though becoming a bit relaxed, was the law of the land. Under apartheid, intermarriage between blacks, coloureds and Indians on the one hand and whites was prohibited. There was the Group Areas Act, which determined where different races could live. In addition to many other racially discriminatory laws, there were job reservation laws that determined who could hold what jobs by race. My lecture sought to produce the argument that in free market settings, one is apt to observe less racial discrimination because it is costly to both the discriminated and the discriminator.</p> <p>So my lecture began with this question: Why doesn't South Africa have a law against elephants flying? Elephants having no radar and understanding of flight procedures would pose a severe air traffic control problem. The answer to my question is quite simple. There is no need for a law banning elephants from flying because elephants cannot fly. Think about South Africa's Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, which banned marriages between people of different races. What about its job reservation laws, which required that only whites be employed in certain occupations, such as blasting, running elevators, driving engines, supervising boilers and other machinery, supervising people's shifts, and overseeing mines? A question naturally arises: If white people would not intermarry or if white mine owners would not hire blacks to run mine elevators and other machinery, why in the world would a law banning them from doing so be necessary? The answer is that <span class="column--highlighted-text">whenever there is a law on the books, one's immediate suspicion should be that the law is there because not everyone would behave according to the law's specifications.</span> In other words, some people would intermarry and some mine owners would hire blacks in those reserved jobs.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 05, 2016</p> dc02a0d8596e7a84397db09fca675307 Transgenderism Can Be Helpful for 09/28/2016 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>North Carolina's legislative body passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which mandates a statewide policy banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex, as opposed to their opinion of their sex. That means people must use bathrooms and other public facilities where occupants can be in various stages of undress according to whether their sex chromosomes are XX, in the case of females, or XY, in the case of males. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community claims that the use of biology to determine sex is oppressive and limits alternatives. I agree. I all but argued this in a column earlier this year titled "You Are What You Say You Are" (<a href="" target="_blank"></a>). Let's look at some possible benefits of freeing oneself from the oppression of biological determinism.</p> <p>Say that I am sentenced to a five-year prison term for bank fraud. Though confinement can never be pleasant, I'd find it far more tolerable if I could convince the judge that though biologically I have XY chromosomes, in my opinion I'm really a woman and thus my confinement should be in a female prison with a female cellmate. For the court to fail to take my sexual opinion into consideration would violate our Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, I could say.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 28, 2016</p> 5a1484b79f93b319e5d6567f75603e77 Cruelty to Black Students for 09/21/2016 Wed, 21 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last year's college news was about demands for safe spaces, trigger warnings and bans on insensitivity. This year's college news is about black student demands for segregated campus housing and other racially segregated campus spaces and programs. I totally disagree with these calls by black students. It's a gross dereliction of duty for college administrators to cave to these demands, but I truly sympathize with the problems that many black college students face. <span class="column--highlighted-text">For college administrators and leftist faculty, the actual fate of black students is not nearly so important as the good feelings they receive from a black presence on campus.</span> Let's examine some of the problem.</p> <p>A very large percentage of all incoming freshmen have no business being admitted to college. According to College Board's 2015 report, the average combined SAT score for white students was 1576 out of a possible 2400. Black student SAT scores, at 1277, were the lowest of the seven reported racial groups (<a href="" target="_blank"></a>). The College Board considers an SAT score of 1550 as the benchmark that indicates a readiness for college-level work. Only 32 percent of white students scored at or above proficient in math, and just 7 percent of black students did. Forty-six percent of white test takers scored proficient in reading, and 17 percent of blacks did. The ACT, another test used for admission to college, produced similar results. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports, in an article titled "A Major Crisis in College Readiness for Black Students," that 34 percent of whites who took the ACT were deemed college-ready in all four areas &#8212; English, mathematics, reading and science. For blacks, it was only 6 percent (<a href="" target="_blank"></a>).<p>Updated: Wed Sep 21, 2016</p> fa889fc60199e1e298ec7c07d461a754 Academic Giants and Dwarfs for 09/14/2016 Wed, 14 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The University of Chicago's president, Dr. Robert J. Zimmer, wrote a Wall Street Journal article, titled "Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education." In it, he wrote: "<span class="column--highlighted-text">Free speech is at risk at the very institution where it should be assured: the university.</span> Invited speakers are disinvited because a segment of a university community deems them offensive, while other orators are shouted down for similar reasons. Demands are made to eliminate readings that might make some students uncomfortable. Individuals are forced to apologize for expressing views that conflict with prevailing perceptions. In many cases, these efforts have been supported by university administrators."</p> <p>Sharing the president's vision, the University of Chicago's dean of students, John Ellison, sent a letter to freshmen students that read, in part: "Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called 'trigger warnings,' we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces' where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own."<p>Updated: Wed Sep 14, 2016</p> 0c494794af7ba3469e1cfecfe1ceb7d8 Corrupt Academics and the Media for 09/07/2016 Wed, 07 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Some are puzzled by the dishonesty, lack of character and sheer stupidity of many people in the media. But seeing as most of them are college graduates, they don't bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let's look at it.</p> <p>"A Clash of Police Policies," a column written by Dr. Thomas Sowell, presents some readily available statistics: "Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice (Earl) Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years."<p>Updated: Wed Sep 07, 2016</p> 521a472cfcc8e6b83bad4fd48d7d2487 Economic Conspiracies for 08/31/2016 Wed, 31 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A general economic principle is that any law or regulation that restricts market entry tends to impose the greatest burden on those who can be described as poor, latecomers, discriminated-against and politically weak.</p> <p>The president of the NAACP's St. Louis chapter, Adolphus Pruitt, has petitioned a circuit court judge to reject the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission's conspiratorial call to issue a temporary restraining order that would force Uber to shut down. He says the order would negatively impact nearly 2,000 African-Americans who work as Uber partners in black neighborhoods that have long been ignored by taxis and other transportation providers. In a statement, Pruitt said, "The immediate harm of a (temporary restraining order) would strand thousands of African American riders who depend on Uber to travel around a city that has measurable gaps in its transportation system and has failed to serve our neighborhoods for decades."<p>Updated: Wed Aug 31, 2016</p> a8c219d644e2cff653c7038a2af9646c College Campus Lunacy for 08/24/2016 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>As the fall semester begins, parents, students, taxpayers and donors should be made aware of official college practices that should disgust us all.</p> <p>Hampshire College will offer some of its students what the school euphemistically calls "identity-based housing." That's segregated housing for students who &#8212; because of their race, culture, gender or sexual orientation &#8212; have "historically experienced oppression." I'd bet the rent money that Hampshire College will not offer Jewish, Irish, Polish, Chinese or Catholic students segregated housing. Because there is no group of people who have not faced oppression, Hampshire College is guilty of religious and ethnic discrimination in its housing segregation policy.</p> <p>University of Connecticut administrators think that more black men will graduate if they spend more time together. According to Campus Reform, they are building a new residence hall to facilitate just that. Dr. Erik Hines, the faculty director for the program, said that the learning community "is a space for African-American men to ... come together and validate their experiences that they may have on campus. ... It's also a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience." By the way, Hampshire College and the University of Connecticut are not alone in promoting racially segregated student housing.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 24, 2016</p> 14a2d9d04913dc8704acad217efa9bf0 Is Free Trade Causing Job Loss? for 08/17/2016 Wed, 17 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>International trade figures heavily in the presidential race. Presidential candidate Donald Trump said, "Hillary Clinton unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible trade deal after another - from NAFTA to China to South Korea." And adding, "A Trump Administration will end that war by getting a fair deal for the American people. The era of economic surrender will finally be over." He lamented, "Skilled craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers have seen the jobs they love shipped thousands and thousands of miles away."</p> <p>Hillary Clinton has offered her own condemnations of trade and globalization. Some see her stance on trade as little more than typical campaign rhetoric. Bill Watson's Reason magazine article "Hillary Clinton's Protectionist Promises Would Do Serious Economic Damage," looked at Clinton's trade agenda. Watson concluded that for "fans of free trade and globalization, Clinton is a much more appealing candidate simply by not being horrible."</p> <p>It is true that the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been in steep decline for almost a half-century, but manufacturing employment disguises the true story of American manufacturing. U.S. manufacturing output has increased by almost 40 percent. Annual value added by U.S. factories has reached a record $2.4 trillion. To put that in perspective, if our manufacturing sector were a separate nation, it would be the seventh richest nation on the globe.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 17, 2016</p> 9f9e53ef22111cfb550aadd9db09fd76 The Decline of Civility for 08/10/2016 Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>One of the unavoidable consequences of youth is the tendency to think behavior we see today has always been. I'd like to dispute that vision, at least as it pertains to black people.</p> <p>I graduated from Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High School in 1954. Franklin's predominantly black students were from the poorest North Philadelphia neighborhoods. During those days, there were no policemen patrolling the hallways. Today close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools. There were occasional after-school fights &#8212; rumbles, as we called them &#8212; but within the school, there was order. In contrast with today, students didn't use foul language to teachers, much less assault them.</p> <p>Places such as the Richard Allen housing project, where I lived, became some of the most dangerous and dysfunctional places in Philadelphia. Mayhem &#8212; in the form of murders, shootings and assaults &#8212; became routine. By the 1980s, residents found that they had to have window bars and multiple locks. The 1940s and '50s Richard Allen project, as well as other projects, bore no relation to what they became. Many people never locked their doors; windows weren't barred. We did not go to bed with the sound of gunshots. Most of the residents were two-parent families with one or both parents working.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 10, 2016</p> fcbaddda71028edb3657f18641cb325e Compensating Differences for 08/03/2016 Wed, 03 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What economists call an ability to make "compensating differences" is a valuable tool in everyone's arsenal. If people are prohibited from doing so, they are always worse off. You say, "Williams, I never heard of compensating differences. What are they?"</p> <p>Jimmy Soul's 1963 hit song, "If You Wanna Be Happy," explained the concept of compensating differences. His lyrics went: "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife. So from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you." His point was that an ugly woman would treat you better. But more importantly, a less attractive woman's willingness to compensate for her differences enables her to effectively compete with a pretty woman.</p> <p>It goes the other way around, too. I've presented people with the following scenario: Suppose you saw a fat, ugly cigar-smoking old man married to a beautiful young woman. What kind of prediction would you make about the man's income? Everybody I've asked guesses that he would have a high income. The fat, ugly cigar-smoking old man would essentially be telling the beautiful young woman, "I can't compete for your hand the same way a guy like Williams can, so I'm going to offset my handicap by offering you a higher price."<p>Updated: Wed Aug 03, 2016</p> 3882d480db7fc75fac7b103fcfd8b112 What Can Discrimination Explain? for 07/27/2016 Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A guiding principle for physicians is primum non nocere, the Latin expression for "first, do no harm." In order not to do harm, whether it's with medicine or with public policy, the first order of business is accurate diagnostics.</p> <p>Racial discrimination is seen as the cause of many problems of black Americans. No one argues that racial discrimination does not exist or does not have effects. The relevant question, as far as policy and resource allocation are concerned, is: How much of what we see is caused by current racial discrimination?</p> <p>From the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, black youth unemployment was slightly less than or equal to white youth unemployment. Today black youth unemployment is at least double that of white youth unemployment. Would anyone try to explain the difference with the argument that there was less racial discrimination during the '40s and '50s than today?<p>Updated: Wed Jul 27, 2016</p> f767b9779027b3e5ec94b7fd762bd870 Challenges for Black People: Part II for 07/20/2016 Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The prospects for a better future are nearly hopeless for roughly 20 percent of black people &#8212; those who reside in big-city crime-infested and dysfunctional neighborhoods. There is virtually nothing that can be done about it without a major rebuilding of the black community from within. Let's examine some of the aspects of the problem and the dismal prognosis, given the status quo.</p> <p>The most important social unit is the family. Many talk about the "breakdown" in the black family when a far more accurate description is that the family doesn't form in the first place. About 73 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers. By the way, that percentage was 25 in 1963 and 11 in 1938. The absence of fathers is crucial. Even President Barack Obama recognized this when he said that "children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison." Female-headed households are a devastating problem, but the solution lies almost exclusively within the black community. It's a massive job for black churches and social organizations. If there is a role for government to play, it's to stop subsidizing such behavior with handouts.</p> <p>Education and skills acquisition are vital to upward mobility. But what goes on in many predominantly black schools is no less than a betrayal to those blacks and whites who sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears during the civil rights struggle of the 1940s, '50s and '60s in an effort to secure better educational opportunities. Nationally, an average of 1,175 teachers and staff were physically attacked each day of the 2011-12 school year. Most of this occurred at predominantly black schools. In Baltimore, each school day in 2010, an average of four teachers and staff were assaulted. Some Chicago teachers are treated for post-traumatic stress. Given this climate of fear, intimidation and disorderliness, one should not be surprised by an outcome that shows that the average black student who manages to graduate from high school has an academic achievement level of a white seventh- or eighth-grader.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 20, 2016</p> ea19c99af046122a76374b84e5e97bb6 Challenges for Black People for 07/13/2016 Wed, 13 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President Barack Obama and his first attorney general, Eric Holder, called for an honest conversation about race. Holder even called us "a nation of cowards" because we were unwilling to have a "national conversation" about race. The truth of the matter is there's been more than a half-century of conversations about race. We do not need more. Instead, black people need to have frank conversations among ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable and embarrassing the topics may be.</p> <p>Among the nation's most dangerous cities are Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Newark, Cleveland and Philadelphia. These once-thriving cities are in steep decline. What these cities have in common is that they have large black populations. Also, they have been run by Democrats for nearly a half-century, with blacks having significant political power. Other characteristics these cities share are poorly performing and unsafe schools, poor-quality city services, and declining populations.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 13, 2016</p> b9d5dd441b43ebae10013654fac6377a Thinking Beyond Stage One for 07/06/2016 Wed, 06 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce dramatically increased tariffs on some Chinese steel products, such as cold-rolled steel, which is used to make appliances, cars and electric motors. Tariffs were raised by 500 percent on some other Chinese steel products. President Barack Obama and the major 2016 presidential aspirants, particularly Donald Trump, believe this measure will protect jobs in the U.S. steel industry. There is no doubt that steel industry jobs will be saved. But there is an ignorance and/or incapacity of being able to think beyond stage one when evaluating public policy. Measures to protect steelworker jobs pay attention to only the seen effects of public policy; they ignore the unseen. In other words, they look at only the visible beneficiaries of public policy and ignore the invisible victims.</p> <p>U.S. steel companies want to restrict steel imports so that they can sell more steel to American companies and charge them higher prices. That means more employment and greater profits for those in the steel industry. We can think of those observations as the seen, or stage-one, effects of import restrictions.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 06, 2016</p> d2d5445865ba4769d79b9d01ca3d6792 Multiculturalism: A Failed Concept for 06/29/2016 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism has "utterly failed," adding that it was an illusion to think Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side." The failure of multiculturalism is also seen in Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European countries. Immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle East refuse to assimilate and instead seek to import the failed cultures they fled.</p> <p>Leftist diversity advocates and multiculturalists are right to argue that people of all races, religions and cultures should be equal in the eyes of the law. But their argument borders on idiocy when they argue that one set of cultural values cannot be judged superior to another and that to do so is Eurocentrism.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 29, 2016</p> 68365ac728640fa8b13e6b5c62936064 Purification of America for 06/22/2016 Wed, 22 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In 2008, Barack Obama promised a fundamental transformation of America. Where that promise has gone unfulfilled the most is in areas of sexual and racial discrimination. What's worse is the official sanction given to such discrimination. Let's look at some of it.</p> <p>Visit just about any California men's prison and you will see that one's race determines whom he cells with, the toilet and shower he uses, and what recreation areas he enjoys. Then there is sexual discrimination. Female correctional officers earn the same pay as their male counterparts. However, when it comes to extracting a dangerous inmate from his cell, it is always a five- or six-male officer team that risks bodily injury. How fair is that? Why not have both male and female cell extraction teams?</p> <p>Harvard University has announced new rules that will punish students who join single-sex clubs, including fraternities and sororities. Part of that punishment will make them ineligible for college endorsement for top fellowships, such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships. As an aside, Rhodes scholarships should be banned; Cecil Rhodes was one of the architects of South African apartheid.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 22, 2016</p> e05541353ea411e45f89a0fbb36083e0 Money Going to Washington for 06/15/2016 Wed, 15 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>According to a New York Post article (May 22, 2016), in just two years, Hillary Clinton &#8212; former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state &#8212; collected over $21 million in speaking fees. These fees were paid by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, UBS, Bank of America and several hedge fund companies.</p> <p>In 2015, lobbyists spent $3.22 billion lobbying Congress. In 2013 and 2014, just 10 chemical companies and allied organizations spent more than $154 million lobbying the federal government. The Center for Responsive Politics in 2013 reported that The Dow Chemical Co. "posted record lobbying expenditures" in 2012, "spending nearly $12 million," and was "on pace to eclipse" that amount. Fourteen labor unions were among the top 25 political campaign contributors between 1989 and 2014.</p> <p>Many Americans lament the fact that so much money goes to Washington. Let's ask ourselves why corporations, labor unions and other groups spend billions upon billions of dollars on political campaigns, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech and wine and dine politicians and their staffs. Do you think that these are just civic-minded Americans who want to encourage elected officials to live up to their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution? Do you think that people who spend billions of dollars on politicians just love participating in the political process? If you believe that either one of those notions applies, you're probably a candidate for a straitjacket and padded cell.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 15, 2016</p>