Walter E. Williams from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 21 Apr 2018 11:57:16 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Walter E. Williams from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/walter-e-williams-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams 9efb049cf4f663cff99ff19420ef95fb A Mayor's Most Important Job for 04/18/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/04/18/a-mayors-most-important-job Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When World War II ended, Washington, D.C.'s population was about 900,000; today it's about 700,000. In 1950, Baltimore's population was almost 950,000; today it's around 614,000. Detroit's 1950 population was close to 1.85 million; today it's down to 673,000. Camden, New Jersey's 1950 population was nearly 125,000; today it has fallen to 77,000. St. Louis' 1950 population was more than 856,000; today it's less than 309,000. A similar story of population decline can be found in most of our formerly large and prosperous cities. In some cities, population declines since 1950 are well over 50 percent. In addition to Detroit and St. Louis, those would include Cleveland and Pittsburgh.</p> <p>During the 1960s and '70s, academic liberals, civil rights advocates and others blamed the exodus on racism &#8212; "white flight" to the suburbs. However, since the '70s, blacks have been fleeing some cities at higher rates than whites. It turns out that blacks, like whites, want better and safer schools for their kids and don't like to be mugged or have their property vandalized. Just like white people, if they have the means, black people can't wait for moving companies to move them out.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 18, 2018</p> 83aa8115e0c04ddb67c1abfdf9c7dc61 Black Political Power Means Zilch for 04/11/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/04/18/black-political-power-means-zilch Wed, 11 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's often thought to be beyond question that black political power is necessary for economic power and enhanced socio-economic welfare. That's an idea that lends itself to testing and analysis.</p> <p>Between 1970 and 2012, the number of black elected officials rose from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000. Plus, a black man was elected to the presidency twice. Jason Riley, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, tells how this surge in political power has had little beneficial impact on the black community.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 11, 2018</p> 31859dcd55398e04d100a2d3d4684071 Discrimination and Disparities for 04/04/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/04/18/discrimination-and-disparities Wed, 04 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I don't mind saying that this column represents a grossly understated review of "Discrimination and Disparities," just published by my longtime friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell. In less than 200 pages, Sowell lays waste to myth after myth not only in the United States but around the globe.</p> <p>One of those myths is that but for the fact of discrimination, we'd all be proportionately represented in socio-economic characteristics, such as career, income, education and incarceration. The fact of business is that there is no evidence anywhere on earth, at any time in human history, that demonstrates that but for discrimination, there would be proportionate representation in anything by race, sex, nationality or any other human characteristic. Sowell shows that socio-economic outcomes differ vastly among individuals, groups and nations in ways that cannot be explained by any one factor, whether it's genetics, discrimination or some kind of exploitation.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 04, 2018</p> 9c2fec2b30a699080a363e2642b3122c How Ignorant We Are for 03/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/03/18/how-ignorant-we-are Wed, 28 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Here's a question for you: In 1950, would it have been possible for anyone to know all of the goods and services that we would have at our disposal 50 years later? For example, who would have thought that we'd have cellphones, Bluetooth technology, small powerful computers, LASIK and airplanes with 525-passenger seating capacity? This list could be extended to include thousands of goods and services that could not have been thought of in 1950. In the face of this gross human ignorance, who should be in control of precursor goods and services? Seeing as it's impossible for anyone to predict the future, any kind of governmental regulation should be extremely light-handed, so as not to sabotage technological advancement.</p> <p>Compounding our ignorance is the fact that much of what we think we know is not true. Scientometrics is the study of measuring and analyzing science, technology and innovation. It holds that many of the "facts" you know have a half-life of about 50 years. Let's look at a few examples.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 28, 2018</p> 4f313ccda0503495b0d765cbe15938f1 Not Always Like This for 03/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/03/18/not-always-like-this Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>One of the unavoidable tragedies of youth is the temptation to think that what is seen today has always been. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in our responses to the recent Parkland, Florida, massacre. Part of the responses to those murders are calls to raise the age to purchase a gun and to have more thorough background checks &#8212; in a word, to make gun purchases more difficult. That's a vision that sees easy gun availability as the problem; thus, the solution is to reduce that availability.</p> <p>The vision that sees "easy" availability as the problem ignores the fact of U.S. history that guns were far more available yesteryear (<a href="http://tinyurl.com/y73sw4ev" target="_blank">http://tinyurl.com/y73sw4ev</a>). With truly easy gun availability, there was nowhere near the gun mayhem and murder that we see today. I'm tempted to ask those who believe that guns are today's problem whether they think that guns were nicer yesteryear. What about the calls for bans on the AR-15 so-called assault rifle? It turns out that according to 2016 FBI statistics, rifles accounted for 368 of the 17,250 homicides in the U.S. that year. That means restrictions on the purchase of rifles would do little or nothing for the homicide rate. Leaders of the gun control movement know this. Their calls for more restrictive gun laws are part of a larger strategy to outlaw gun ownership.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 21, 2018</p> a9073ccb5aafb7b3eac8b8b48474b9e5 Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs for 03/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/03/18/trumps-steel-and-aluminum-tariffs Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There are a couple of important economic lessons that the American people should learn. I'm going to title one "the seen and unseen" and the other "narrow well-defined large benefits versus widely dispersed small costs." These lessons are applicable to a wide range of government behavior, but let's look at just two examples.</p> <p>Last week, President Donald Trump enacted high tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. Why in the world would the U.S. steel and aluminum industries press the president to levy heavy tariffs? The answer is simple. Reducing the amounts of steel and aluminum that hit our shores enables American producers to charge higher prices. Thus, U.S. steel and aluminum producers will earn higher profits, hire more workers and pay them higher wages. They are the visible beneficiaries of Trump's tariffs.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 14, 2018</p> 443ae97a965b3780f22de4874173da7d Hidden Agenda or Ignorance? for 03/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/03/18/hidden-agenda-or-ignorance Wed, 07 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Before we discuss violence with guns, I'd like to run a couple of questions by you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day nearly 30 Americans die in motor vehicle crashes that involve drunk driving. What kind of restrictions should be placed on automobile ownership? Should there be federal background checks in order for people to obtain a driver's license or purchase a car?</p> <p>The FBI's 2015 Uniform Crime Report shows that nearly three times more people were stabbed or hacked to death than were killed with shotguns and rifles combined. The number of shotgun and rifle deaths totaled 548. People who were stabbed or hacked to death totaled 1,573. Should there be federal background checks and waiting periods for knife purchases?</p> <p>Any mature and reasonable person would argue that it is utter nonsense to deal with drunk driving deaths and knife deaths by having federal background checks and waiting periods to obtain a driver's license or to purchase a car or knife. One would recognize, just as courts and the general public do, that cars and knives are inanimate objects and cannot act on their own. Therefore, if we want to do something about deaths resulting from drunk driving or being stabbed or hacked to death, we must focus on individuals. It would be folly and gross negligence of victims for us to focus on inanimate objects like cars and knives. Guns are also inanimate objects and like cars and knives cannot act on their own. It's also plain folly to focus on guns in the cases of shooting deaths.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 07, 2018</p> 0ee8bede1ba94b3f82f6271a8f0e9611 Another Liberal-Created Failure for 02/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/02/18/another-liberal-created-failure Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>A liberal-created failure that goes entirely ignored is the left's harmful agenda for society's most vulnerable people &#8212; the mentally ill. Eastern State Hospital, built in 1773 in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first public hospital in America for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Many more followed. Much of the motivation to build more mental institutions was to provide a remedy for the maltreatment of mentally ill people in our prisons. According to professor William Gronfein at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, by 1955 there were nearly 560,000 patients housed in state mental institutions across the nation. By 1977, the population of mental institutions had dropped to about 160,000 patients.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 28, 2018</p> a951b47eab43fcf3f8aae82b0a4e2f63 Will Automation Kill Our Jobs? for 02/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/02/18/will-automation-kill-our-jobs Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A recent article in The Guardian dons the foreboding title "Robots will destroy our jobs &#8212; and we're not ready for it." The article claims, "For every job created by robotic automation, several more will be eliminated entirely. ... This disruption will have a devastating impact on our workforce." According to an article in MIT Technology Review, business researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States.</p> <p>If technology is destroying jobs faster than it's creating them, it is the first time in human history that it's done so. Actually, the number of jobs is unlimited, for the simple reason that human wants are unlimited &#8212; or they don't frequently reveal their bounds. People always want more of something that will create a job for someone. To suggest that there are a finite number of jobs commits an error known as the "lump of labor fallacy." That fallacy suggests that when automation or technology eliminates a job, there's nothing that people want that would create employment for the person displaced by the automation. In other words, all human wants have been satisfied.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 21, 2018</p> 4317bf837c0c35aea1b470ce3fc6b04f Black History Month for 02/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/02/18/black-history-month-a31d0 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Carter G. Woodson, noted scholar, historian and educator, created "Negro History Week" in 1926, which became Black History Month in 1976. Woodson chose February because it coincided with the birthdays of black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Americans should be proud of the tremendous gains made since emancipation. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Black Americans, as a group, have made the greatest gains, over some of the highest hurdles, in a shorter span of time than any other racial group in mankind's history.</span></p> <p>What's the evidence? If one totaled black income and thought of us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, black Americans would rank among the world's 20 richest nations. It was a black American, Colin Powell, who, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed the world's mightiest military. There are a few black Americans who are among the world's richest and most famous personalities. The significance of these achievements is that in 1865, neither a former slave nor a former slave owner would have believed that such gains would be possible in a little over a century. As such, it speaks well of the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks well of a nation in which such gains were possible. Those gains would have been impossible anywhere other than the U.S.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 14, 2018</p> 0e53a672a8d147dad71d3dfdbbf28807 Let's Limit Spending for 02/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/02/18/lets-limit-spending Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Some people have called for a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution as a means of reining in a big-spending Congress. That's a misguided vision, for the simple reason that in any real economic sense, as opposed to an accounting sense, the federal budget is always balanced. The value of what we produced in 2017 &#8212; our gross domestic product &#8212; totaled about $19 trillion. If the Congress spent $4 trillion of the $19 trillion that we produced, unless you believe in Santa Claus, you know that Congress must force us to spend $4 trillion less privately.</p> <p>Taxing us is one way that Congress can do that. But federal revenue estimates for 2017 are about $3.5 trillion, leaving an accounting deficit of about $500 billion. So taxes are not enough to cover Congress' spending. Another way Congress can get us to spend less privately is to enter the bond market. It can borrow. Borrowing forces us to spend less privately, and it drives up interest rates and crowds out private investment. Finally, the most dishonest way to get us to spend less is to inflate our currency. Higher prices for goods and services reduce our real spending.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 07, 2018</p> 39841d79518ff8b4e5e6f42f2fbcabf9 Immigration Lies and Hypocrisy for 01/31/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/01/18/immigration-lies-and-hypocrisy Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump reportedly asked why the U.S. is "having all these people from shithole countries come here." I think he could have used better language, but it's a question that should be asked and answered. I have a few questions for my fellow Americans to consider. How many Norwegians have illegally entered our nation, committed crimes and burdened our prison and welfare systems? I might ask the same question about Finnish, Swedish, Welsh, Icelanders, Greenlanders and New Zealanders. The bulk of our immigration problem is with people who enter our country criminally from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. It's illegal immigrants from those countries who have committed crimes and burdened our criminal justice and welfare systems. A large number of immigrants who are here illegally &#8212; perhaps the majority are law-abiding in other respects &#8212; have fled oppressive, brutal and corrupt regimes to seek a better life in America.</p> <p>In the debate about illegal immigration, there are questions that are not explicitly asked but can be answered with a straight "yes" or "no": <span class="column--highlighted-text">Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country? Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border?</span> The reason those questions are not asked is that one would be deemed an idiot for saying that everyone in the world has a right to live in our country, that Americans don't have a right to decide who lives in our country and that foreigners landing at our airports have a right to just ignore U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 31, 2018</p> 0a2f6e394b4b0e29d910d8804f82c70e We Don't Need Bad Law for 01/24/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/01/18/we-dont-need-bad-law Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump said, "We are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts." The president was responding to statements made in Michael Wolff's new book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Our nation does not need stronger laws against libel. To the contrary, libel and slander laws should be repealed.</span> Let's say exactly what libel and slander are. The legal profession defines libel as a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation. Slander is making a false spoken statement that is damaging to a person's reputation.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 24, 2018</p> a415f1d9eaf96ecb8ae3039560a4fb8b Constitutional Ignorance -- Perhaps Contempt for 01/17/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/01/18/constitutional-ignorance-perhaps-contempt Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Hillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, "What Happened?" Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics. Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.</p> <p>To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election. Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the U.S. House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people. California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people. Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 17, 2018</p> 83e50512f3b627213f4aa9da3f5b634f Dirty College Secrets for 01/10/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/01/18/dirty-college-secrets Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A frequent point I have made in past columns has been about the educational travesty happening on many college campuses. Some people have labeled my observations and concerns as trivial, unimportant and cherry-picking. While the spring semester awaits us, let's ask ourselves whether we'd like to see repeats of last year's antics.</p> <p>An excellent source for college news is Campus Reform, a conservative website operated by the Leadership Institute (<a href="https://www.campusreform.org" target="_blank">https://www.campusreform.org</a>). Its reporters are college students. Here is a tiny sample of last year's bizarre stories.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 10, 2018</p> 3b0e9af93589a016b840df4847af3398 Dangers of Government Control for 01/03/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/12/17/dangers-of-government-control Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>We are a nation of 325 million people. We have a bit of control over the behavior of our 535 elected representatives in Congress, the president and the vice president. But there are seven unelected people who have life-and-death control over our economy and hence our lives &#8212; the seven governors of the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board controls our money supply. Its governors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate and serve 14-year staggered terms. They have the power to cripple an economy, as they did during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Their inept monetary policy threw the economy into the Great Depression, during which real output in the United States fell nearly 30 percent and the unemployment rate soared as high as nearly 25 percent.</p> <p>The most often stated cause of the Great Depression is the October 1929 stock market crash. Little is further from the truth. The Great Depression was caused by a massive government failure led by the Federal Reserve's rapid 25 percent contraction of the money supply. The next government failure was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which increased U.S. tariffs by more than 50 percent. Those failures were compounded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation. Leftists love to praise New Deal interventionist legislation. But FDR's very own treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, saw the folly of the New Deal, writing: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. ... We have never made good on our promises. ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot!" The bottom line is that the Federal Reserve Board, the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and Roosevelt's New Deal policies turned what would have been a two, three- or four-year sharp downturn into a 16-year affair.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 03, 2018</p> 3010d4b214136374090c7ad0a0fce09a Educational Rot for 12/27/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/12/17/educational-rot-6cca6 Wed, 27 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>My recent columns have focused on the extremely poor educational outcomes for black students. There's enough blame for all involved to have their fair share. That includes students who are hostile and alien to the educational process and have derelict, uninterested home environments. After all, if there is not someone in the home to ensure that a youngster does his homework, has wholesome meals, gets eight to 10 hours of sleep and behaves in school, educational dollars won't produce much.</p> <p>There's another educational issue that's neither flattering nor comfortable to confront. That's the low academic quality of so many teachers. It's an issue that must be confronted and dealt with if we're to improve the quality of education. Most states require prospective teachers to pass a certification test. How about a sample of some of the test questions.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 27, 2017</p> 755958fda035d9098aa913b0421607ce Fascism and Communism for 12/20/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/12/17/fascism-and-communism Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Before the question, how about a few statistics? The 20th century was mankind's most brutal century. Roughly 16 million people lost their lives during World War I; about 60 million died during World War II. Wars during the 20th century cost an estimated 71 million to 116 million lives (<a href="http://tinyurl.com/ya62mrqa" target="_blank">http://tinyurl.com/ya62mrqa</a>).</p> <p>The number of war dead pales in comparison with the number of people who lost their lives at the hands of their own governments. The late professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book "Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900." Some of the statistics found in the book have been updated at&#160;<a href="http://tinyurl.com/y96tqhrl" target="_blank">http://tinyurl.com/y96tqhrl</a>.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 20, 2017</p> d3fc99050a32059b40651bbf4de491d0 Moral Values and Customs vs. Laws for 12/13/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/12/17/moral-values-and-customs-vs-laws Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I'm approaching my 82nd birthday, and my daughter will occasionally suggest that modernity is perplexing to me because I'm from prehistoric times. As such, it points to one of the unavoidable problems of youth &#8212; namely, the temptation to think that today's behavioral standards have always been. Let's look at a few of the differences between yesteryear and today.</p> <p>One of those differences is the treatment of women. There are awesome physical strength differences between men and women. To create and maintain civil relationships between the sexes is to drum into boys, starting from very young ages, that they are not to use violence against a woman for any reason. Special respect is given women. Yesteryear even the lowest of lowdown men would not curse or use foul language to or in the presence of women. To see a man sitting on a crowded bus or trolley car while a woman is standing used to be unthinkable. It was deemed common decency for a man to give up his seat for a woman or elderly person.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 13, 2017</p> a403584a65ba23833f8ea47ee6c5907a Independence Hypocrisy for 12/06/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/12/17/independence-hypocrisy Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Officials in Catalonia, Spain's richest and most highly industrialized region, whose capital is Barcelona, recently held a referendum in which there was a 92 percent vote in favor of independence from Spain. The Spanish authorities opposed the referendum and claimed that independence is illegal. Catalans are not the only Europeans seeking independence. Some Bavarian people are demanding independence from Germany, while others demand greater autonomy. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ruled: "In the Federal Republic of Germany ... states are not 'masters of the constitution.' ... Therefore, there is no room under the constitution for individual states to attempt to secede. This violates the constitutional order."</p> <p>Germany has done in Bavaria what Spain and Italy, in its Veneto region, have done; it has upheld the integrity of state borders. There is an excellent article written by Joseph E. Fallon, a research associate at the UK Defence Forum, titled "The Catalan Referendum, regional pressures, the EU, and the 'Ghosts' of Eastern Europe" (<a href="http://tinyurl.com/y8dnj6s6" target="_blank">http://tinyurl.com/y8dnj6s6</a>). Fallon writes that by doing what it's doing in Bavaria, "Berlin is violating international law on national self-determination. It denies to Bavaria what it granted to the 19 states that seceded from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In fact, Germany rushed to be first to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia." It did that, according to Beverly Crawford, an expert on Europe at the University of California, Berkeley, "in open disregard of (a European Community) agreement to recognize the two states under EC conditionality requirements."<p>Updated: Wed Dec 06, 2017</p>