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Second quarterly spelling/punctuation/grammar rant on the misuse of it’s for its (and other apostrophe abuses)
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This is my second quarterly grammar/spelling/punctuation rant of the year, the first one since National Grammar Day on March 4 here. Last year, I posted seven quarterly rants, so I’m running a little behind this year.
Below are 14 new examples collected from CD comments and other sources on the Web that illustrate what I think is the most common spelling/punctuation/grammar/orthographic mistake in the English language — the misuse of it’s (or its’) for its. And the bonus graphic above is an example of a related apostrophe abuse — adding an unnecessary apostrophe for a plural noun. I guess my one-person campaign to bring attention and awareness to this common grammar error is failing….
1. The year 2008 is when China started it’s massive campaign of exponentially increasing the money supply and massively subsidizing industry.
2. This Lasko model #2535 fan is made of plastic and is not stable with it’s design.
3. If less trade means that the US is a little poorer, but it’s strategic rivals are much weaker, then I would say that’s a pretty good trade.
4. At it’s peak, there were several thousand protesters at the Oceti Sakowin camp and they left behind more than garbage it turns out:
5. Ironically, this will eventually make it’s way into the water supply.
6. Why did the author exclude the amortized costs of a fossil fuel plants site and it’s construction?
7. The firm may be part of an industry that happens to be expanding globally for reasons outside of the control of it’s executives.
8. I saw the cord to the lamp swaying back and forth on it’s own.
9. Fox has always presented it’s female staff in the most positive and professional manner. Other networks could take lessons from them.
10. This is where OTT falls on it’s face.
11. If a frog had wings, it wouldn’t bump it’s ass.
12. At it’s heart, I don’t really see this as being about football or gender norms
13. Amazon send it’s trucks to post offices near the delivery
14. Delta would have cut the price to defend it’s routes….
MP: There is some grammar/spelling/punctuation help available now with a free add-on app called Grammarly. Once you install it, it automatically looks for any grammar or spelling errors in any window you have open, e.g., Facebook, Web-based email, blog posts, blog comments, etc. I’ve been using it for several months now, and find it very convenient and effective, especially for writing blog posts in Word Press (which has a spell check feature, but it’s not as good as Grammarly). For example, while writing this post, Grammarly highlighted all 14 cases above of “confused contraction and possessive” while Word Press didn’t find any of those errors. So far, I really like Grammarly and highly recommend it!
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1. School Choice Saved My Life. Poor students deserve just as good an education as rich students, right? So why are so many stuck in failing public schools? Denisha Merriweather, who benefited from school vouchers, explains the problem and the solution in the Prager U video above. Find out more here.
2. Black, Millennial, Female and Conservative. Antonia Okafor, a young, single, black woman, recently discovered that she’s a racist, sexist, misogynist. How in the world did this happen? Antonia Okafor explains. Find out more here.
MP: I try to watch all of the Prager U videos (“A world of new perspectives, five minutes at a time”). The two recent videos above that were released this week are especially excellent and highly recommended. You can sign up here to receive all of the new Prager U videos.
Delta doesn’t like competition from subsidized Gulf carriers but US consumers should be thankful for the foreign aid
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I traveled recently on Delta Airlines, and while reading the onboard July issue of the Delta Sky Magazine I noticed a full-page ad titled “Help Us Defend U.S. Jobs,” with a link to a Delta website DELTA.COM/OURFIGHT. According to the ad:
The nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are attempting to take over international aviation by funneling billions of dollars in subsidies into their state-owned airlines. U.S. airlines have already ceased flying to certain international destinations because they can’t compete with the unreasonably low prices of the gulf airlines. And for every route lost, 1,500 American lose their jobs. Left unadressed, the U.S. aviation industry is at risk.
Wow. What crocodile tears! On another full-page ad, Delta Airlines advertises that:
The world is changed by those out in it. 334 destinations. 62 countries. 1 airline.
So it appears that Delta does a lot of business all over the world, they dominate certain domestic hubs like Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul and it thinks the “U.S. aviation is at risk” because of some new competition from a few Gulf carriers (who aren’t allowed to offer domestic travel within the U.S.)?
To add some balance to the discussion, let me present the viewpoint of the millions of consumers/travelers on this issue by revising the title of Delta’s full-page ad and doing some pro-consumer editing of some of the text on the Delta website:
Help Us Defend
U.S. JobsDelta’s Profits
Emirates Airline. Etihad Airways. Qatar Airways. These three airlines, also known as the Gulf Carriers, are state-owned enterprises that are subsidized by their countries’ governments citizens and taxpayers. This means that they have a constant flow of money, and they can set ticket prices as low as they want, to the great advantage of Americans who fly internationally on these airlines. Travelers from America and other countries should be grateful to the citizens of Qatar and UAE for their generous gift of foreign aid to citizens of other countries in the form of lower airline fares.
So while the Gulf Carriers are quickly expanding international services, high-cost U.S. airlines can’t compete with their unreasonably extremely competitive low prices and are having to stop flights to international destinations. While that might be bad news for Delta Airlines and its employees, that is great news for millions of other Americans, who now have more travel choices and will save millions of dollars when they fly internationally. Those cost savings from lower airfares on Gulf Carriers will be spent on other goods and services in America, supporting hundreds of thousands of unseen US jobs.
Bottom Line: It would probably be fair to say that Delta Airlines really doesn’t like any competition, whether it’s from domestic airlines or foreign carriers. In the new protectionist, pro-American, pro-US jobs era, it makes sense politically for Delta to sell its call for protectionism as a pro-US jobs policy. But what gets overlooked in protectionism, as usual, are the significant benefits to American consumers from the increased competition and savings from lower airfares offered by the Gulf carriers. And what also gets overlooked are the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of US jobs that are created or supported by the cost savings. Finally, while Delta Airlines might think it’s unfair that the citizens of UAE and Qatar provide subsidies to American consumers in the form of lower airfares on the Gulf carriers, that’s really a generous gift of foreign aid that American consumers should be very grateful for. I am.
Chart of the day: Drug overdose deaths per million persons. Can the US learn something from Portugal?
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Maybe the USA can learn something from Portugal, where all drugs were decriminalized in 2001? Compared to Portugal, drug overdose deaths per million in neighboring Spain are 2.5X as high, 3.5X as high in the EU, 10X as high in the UK and 31X as high in the USA.
Related: See Chris Ingraham’s June 2015 Washington Post article “Why hardly anyone dies from a drug overdose in Portugal.”
Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it — Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program — not jail time and a criminal record.
Whenever we debate similar measures in the U.S. — marijuana decriminalization, for instance — many drug-policy makers predict dire consequences. “If you make any attractive commodity available at lower cost, you will have more users,” former Office of National Drug Control Policy deputy director Thomas McLellan once said of Portugal’s policies. Joseph Califano, founder of the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, once warned that decriminalization would “increase illegal drug availability and use among our children.”
But in Portugal, the numbers paint a different story. The prevalence of past-year and past-month drug use among young adults has fallen since 2001, according to statistics compiled by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which advocates on behalf of ending the war on drugs. Overall adult use is down slightly too. And new HIV cases among drug users are way down.
Now, numbers just released from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction paint an even more vivid picture of life under decriminalization: drug overdose deaths in Portugal are the second-lowest in the European Union.
MP: The chart above is based on updated data on drug overdose deaths in Europe from the European Drug Report 2017.
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…. is the title of an excellent article in Vox by German Lopez, here’s the opening:
What if the media covered alcohol like it does other drugs? What follows is a satirical attempt at capturing that same type of alarmist reporting, but for a substance that really causes widespread and severe problems.
NEW ORLEANS — An ongoing drug epidemic has swept the US, killing hundreds and sickening thousands more on a daily basis. The widespread use of a substance called “alcohol” — also known as “booze” — has been linked to erratic and even dangerous behavior, ranging from college students running naked down public streets to brutal attacks and robberies.
Federal officials suggest this drug has already been linked to 88,000 deaths each year across the country, including traffic accidents caused by drug-induced impairment, liver damage caused by excessive consumption, and violent behavior. Experts warn that it can also lead to nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, cognitive deficits among children and teens, and even fetal defects in pregnant women.
Excessive consumption of alcohol “is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the US,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention principal deputy director Ileana Arias said in a statement. “We need to implement effective programs and policies to prevent binge drinking and the many health and social harms that are related to it, including deaths from alcohol poisoning.”
Here in New Orleans, the horror of the drug was particularly prominent in the city’s French Quarter, where hundreds of young adults could be seen roiling from the effects of the drug. Some collapsed on the ground, dazed from alcohol’s effects. Others could be seen vomiting in public — a common result of drinking alcohol. Many could be seen limping and clumsily walking down the street, showcasing the type of impairment that public health officials warn can lead to accidents, especially when someone is behind the wheel of a car.
According to federal data, alcohol is already the second deadliest drug in the country — topped only by another legal substance called “tobacco,” which causes an astonishing 480,000 deaths each year by some estimates and 540,000 by others.
No other drug comes close to the staggering fatalities of these two. Heroin, which has consumed widespread media attention in the past few years, was linked to fewer than 9,000 deaths in 2013, and marijuana — another drug that federal lawmakers, including President Obama, have warned is dangerous — reportedly caused zero overdose deaths in the past few thousand years.
Read the rest here.
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In today’s The Gartman Letter (subscription required), my friend Dennis Gartman featured an excerpt from a January 2013 article by Forbes energy contributor David Blackmon titled “Horizontal Drilling: A Technological Marvel Ignored.” Here is that excerpt:
We often hear spokespeople for the oil and natural gas industry talk about how the massive new shale gas and oil resources discovered in recent years were made possible by the wedding of two technologies: Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking” in media parlance) and Horizontal Drilling. Once that statement is made, the conversation with news reporters, at townhall meetings and in public speaking engagements then quickly focuses on the “Fracking” part of the equation, leaving Horizontal Drilling to sit largely ignored and unappreciated by the media and the public at large.
This is a shame, because the truth is that, of the two technologies, Horizontal Drilling is the real marvel of engineering and scientific innovation. While impressive in its own right, the main innovations in “Fracking” in recent years have been beefing up the generating horsepower to accommodate horizontal wells rather than vertical ones, and refining of the fluids used to conserve water and create better, longer lasting fractures in the target formation.
This is all great stuff, and all necessary to create our ongoing shale boom, but the real marvel is the innovation that has taken place in the realm of Horizontal Drilling. Think about what this advancement has meant just in terms of access to the resources: When drilling into a hydrocarbon bearing formation 100 feet thick, vertical drilling would allow an operator to contact 100 feet of rock, which would limit your potential recovery to whatever oil or gas would flow into that length of pipe.
Horizontal Drilling now allows these same operators to drill and set pipe for a mile or more horizontally through this same rock formation. You are now contacting and “Fracking” 5,200 feet of rock rather than 100 feet, which multiplies expected well recovery rates many times over. The technology employed is so advanced and exacting that drillers today can hit a target at the end of a drill string that is 10,000 feet vertical with a mile long horizontal section that is no more than a few inches in diameter. Drillers also use sensors to detect particularly promising rock intervals within the formation, and are able to move the drill string up or down, left or right as they drill through the horizontal section to target those intervals.
These extraordinary technological achievements enable operators to maximize returns from each well, which in turn means higher royalty payments to mineral owners, and higher tax revenues for local and state taxing authorities.
Advanced horizontal drilling technology also produces positive results for the environment. A single horizontal well can replace the need to drill a dozen or even more vertical wells to access a similar level of resource. For the environment this means far less air emissions, far less water usage and disposal needs, and far less land impacted to produce a similar amount of oil and natural gas.
Add to all of that the fact that the industry’s ability to access natural gas in shale formations, and the supply abundance that has produced, has enabled the conversion of dozens of older coal-fired power plants to cleaner-buring natural gas. That has led directly to the lowering of US greenhouse gas emissions to levels not seen since the early 1990s, a result not matched by any other industrialized nation.
MP: Since David wrote this article in early 2013, greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector have fallen by more than 11% and were lower last year than any year since 1988, nearly 30 years ago, see chart above.
David Blackmon writes about energy for Forbes on a regular basis, below are links to some of his most recent Forbes columns, and you can follow David on Twitter here:
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It has become an annual tradition at CD to feature one of my all-time favorite singers, pianists and performers — Ray Charles. When it comes to singing America the Beautiful, it doesn’t get any better than this – Ray Charles above performing in 1999 at a live fundraising event for the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. Except maybe the 1991 version below with some guests including Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald and Michael Bolton, and the 1984 version below at the Republican National Convention. Happy Birthday America!
In a tribute to Ray Charles following his death on June 10, 2004, Imus in the Morning played this clip below of Ray Charles singing his version of “America the Beautiful” at the 1984 Republic National Convention. Ronald Reagan (who died on June 5, less than a week before Ray Charles) was in attendance and greeted Ray Charles following the song.
Based on median salaries, gender pay gap at Trump White House is almost 2X (37%) what the media are reporting (20%)
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As required by Congress since 1995, the White House annually delivers a report to Congress on July 1 listing the title and salary of every White House Office employee. Here’s the latest 2017 salary report from the Trump White House, which was released to the public last Friday. Based on the 2017 White House salaries, several media outlets have reported that there is about a 20% gender pay gap at the Trump White House, based on the difference in average salaries: $84,500 average for female staffers compared to a $105,000 average for male staffers. See reports here from Roll Call and CNN.
But the gender pay gap at the Trump White House is actually much, much larger by a factor of almost 2X greater than the 20% reported by Roll Call and CNN when median salaries by gender are compared. The top chart above shows that the gender pay gap based on the median salary for women ($72,650) working at the White House and the median salary for male staffers ($115,000) is almost twice as large as what the media is reporting using mean salaries – it’s nearly 37% using median salaries vs. slightly less than 20% using the average salaries.
To be as statistically accurate as possible, almost all reports on pay differences by gender compare median wages, income, or salaries and not differences in average (mean) pay (the same statistical approach applies when home prices are reported). For example, the Roll Call article cites the “Pew Research Center’s most recent statistics on gender pay disparity in the American workforce, where women earn 83% of men’s median hourly earnings.” The CNN report cites a “national average [gender pay gap] of 82 cents on the dollar, according to the Labor Department,” and that gender pay gap is based on gender differences in median weekly earnings. The Census Bureau also reports gender differences in earnings based on differences in median annual earnings.
Therefore, the media reports from Roll Call and CNN correctly report gender differences in pay at the national level using median earnings, but then incorrectly report the gender pay gap at the Trump White House using mean earnings instead of the median salaries. And in the process, both Roll Call and CNN under-estimate the gender pay gap at the White House by almost 50%: 19.6% based on average salaries versus 36.8% based on median salaries.
Here is a summary below of my analysis of White House salaries. Note that the White House only provides names, salaries and position titles for each employee. The gender of each employee then has to be determined from each employee’s name using Internet research, e.g., Facebook, news reports, image searches, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. Based on that research:
1. There are 374 staffers at the Trump White House who are paid employees: 176 women (47.1%) and 198 men (52.9%).
2. The average (mean) salaries are $84,676 for women and $105,373 for men (these figures are almost identical to those reported by Roll Call).
3. The median salaries are $72,648 for women and $115,000 for men. That is, of the 176 women working at the Trump White House, half of them (88) make more than about $72,650 and half (88) make less than that median salary. For men, half of them (99 out of 198) make less than $115,000 and the other half (99) make more than $115,000. From a statistical standpoint, it’s those median salaries that would most accurately reflect what a typical female staffer at the White House is paid compared to what a typical male staffer is paid.
4. The table above helps to illustrate the significant gender pay gap at the Trump White House by graphically displaying the gender disparities in the highest-paid top positions at the White House and the lowest-paid positions. Of the top 101 highest-paid employees at the White House, nearly three out of four (73.3%) are men, and that percentage holds pretty closely for the top 23 (74% male), top 48 (77% male) and top 60 highest-paid staffers (73%). In contrast, of the 102 lowest-paid White House employees, nearly six out of ten (59.2%) are female. It’s those gender disparities, especially for the top 100 highest-paid staffers, that help explain the 37% overall gender pay gap in favor of men.
Bottom Line: Unlike Obama, Trump has not made the gender pay gap an issue and he has never made outrageous (and false) claims like Obama did that “Women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” Further, Trump ignored Equal Pay Day in April this year and didn’t follow in Obama’s eight-year tradition of bringing attention annually to that bogus feminist holiday with a presidential proclamation. So I can’t criticize Trump this year like I have called out Obama in past years for hypocrisy about the gender pay gap, see last year’s CD post here when there was about an 11% gender pay gap at the Obama White House (based on median salaries).
But Trump’s daughter Ivanka has been vocal about Equal Pay Day and the gender pay gap (see her Tweet here and below), as both Roll Call and CNN pointed out.
For Ivanka Trump: If you are going to promote the statistical falsehood behind Equal Pay Day — that gender discrimination is the main explanatory factor for any aggregate, unadjusted gender differences in earnings — then you might want to investigate the whopping 37% (and $42,350) gender pay gap at your father’s White House. If gender differences in median earnings at the national level reflect “unequal pay for equal work,” then wouldn’t that also be the case at the Trump White House? If so, Ivanka should be working really hard to help her father “close the gender pay gap” at the White House, like she pledged in her Tweet above.
For the media: If you report gender differences in median earnings at the national level, then shouldn’t you report differences in median earnings at the Trump White House?
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One of my all-time most favorite economists — Thomas Sowell — turns 87 tomorrow, he was born on June 30, 1930. Here is Thomas Sowell’s webpage and here is his Wikipedia entry. Milton Friedman once said,
1. Knowledge. “The cavemen had the same natural resources at their disposal as we have today, and the difference between their standard of living and ours is a difference between the knowledge they could bring to bear on those resources and the knowledge used today.”
2. Obamacare. “If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs, in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government-run medical system?”
3. Economics vs. Politics I. “Economics and politics confront the same fundamental problem: What everyone wants adds up to more than there is. Market economies deal with this problem by confronting individuals with the costs of producing what they want and letting those individuals make their own trade-offs when presented with prices that convey those costs. That leads to self-rationing, in the light of each individual’s own circumstances and preferences.”
4. Economics vs. Politics II. “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
Politics deals with the same problem by making promises that cannot be kept, or which can be kept only by creating other problems that cannot be acknowledged when the promises are made.”
5. Predicting the Future. “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.”
6. Politicians as Santa Claus. “The big question that seldom— if ever— gets asked in the mainstream media is whether these are a net increase in jobs. Since the only resources that the government has are the resources it takes from the private sector, using those resources to create jobs means reducing the resources available to create jobs in the private sector.
So long as most people do not look beyond superficial appearances, politicians can get away with playing Santa Claus on all sorts of issues, while leaving havoc in their wake— such as growing unemployment, despite all the jobs being ‘created.'”
7. Health Insurance. “Whatever position people take on health care reform, there seems to be a bipartisan consensus— usually a sign of mushy thinking— that it is a good idea for the government to force insurance companies to insure people whom politicians want them to insure, and to insure them for things that politicians think should be insured. Contrary to what politicians expect us to do, let’s stop and think.
Why aren’t insurance companies already insuring the people and the conditions that they are now going to be forced to cover? Because that means additional costs— and because the insurance companies don’t think their customers are willing to pay those particular costs for those particular coverages.
It costs politicians nothing to mandate more insurance coverage for more people. But that doesn’t mean that the costs vanish into thin air. It simply means that both buyers and sellers of insurance are forced to pay costs that neither of them wants to pay. But, because political rhetoric leaves out such grubby things as costs, it sounds like a great deal.”
8. Diversity. “If there is any place in the Guinness Book of World Records for words repeated the most often, over the most years, without one speck of evidence, “diversity” should be a prime candidate. Is diversity our strength? Or anybody’s strength, anywhere in the world? Does Japan’s homogeneous population cause the Japanese to suffer? Have the Balkans been blessed by their heterogeneity — or does the very word “Balkanization” remind us of centuries of strife, bloodshed and unspeakable atrocities, extending into our own times? Has Europe become a safer place after importing vast numbers of people from the Middle East, with cultures hostile to the fundamental values of Western civilization?
“When in Rome do as the Romans do” was once a common saying. Today, after generations in the West have been indoctrinated with the rhetoric of multiculturalism, the borders of Western nations on both sides of the Atlantic have been thrown open to people who think it is their prerogative to come as refugees and tell the Romans what to do — and to assault those who don’t knuckle under to foreign religious standards.
It has not been our diversity, but our ability to overcome the problems inherent in diversity, and to act together as Americans, that has been our strength.”
9. Greed. “Someone pointed out that blaming economic crises on “greed” is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. Certainly, planes wouldn’t crash if it wasn’t for gravity. But when thousands of planes fly millions of miles every day without crashing, explaining why a particular plane crashed because of gravity gets you nowhere. Neither does talking about “greed,” which is constant like gravity.”
10. The Anointed Ones. “In their haste to be wiser and nobler than others, the anointed have misconceived two basic issues. They seem to assume: 1) that they have more knowledge than the average member of the benighted, and 2) that this is the relevant comparison. The real comparison, however, is not between the knowledge possessed by the average member of the educated elite versus the average member of the general public, but rather the total direct knowledge brought to bear through social processes (the competition of the marketplace, social sorting, etc.), involving millions of people, versus the secondhand knowledge of generalities possessed by a smaller elite group.
The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society.'”
11. There’s No Free Red Tape/Obamacare. “Do you seriously believe that millions more people can be given medical care and vast new bureaucracies created to administer payment for it, with no additional costs?
Just as there is no free lunch, there is no free red tape. Bureaucrats have to eat, just like everyone else, and they need a place to live and some other amenities. How do you suppose the price of medical care can go down when the costs of new government bureaucracies are added to the costs of the medical treatment itself?
And where are the extra doctors going to come from, to treat the millions of additional patients? Training more people to become doctors is not free. Politicians may ignore costs but ignoring those costs will not make them go away. With bureaucratically controlled medical care, you are going to need more doctors, just to treat a given number of patients, because time that is spent filling out government forms is time that is not spent treating patients. And doctors have the same 24 hours in the day as everybody else.
When you add more patients to more paperwork per patient, you are talking about still more costs. How can that lower medical costs? But although that may be impossible, politics is the art of the impossible. All it takes is rhetoric and a public that does not think beyond the rhetoric they hear.”
12. Helping the Poor. “It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.
Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing “compassion” for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about.”
13. Income Mobility. “Only by focusing on the income brackets, instead of the actual people moving between those brackets, have the intelligentsia been able to verbally create a “problem” for which a “solution” is necessary. They have created a powerful vision of “classes” with “disparities” and “inequities” in income, caused by “barriers” created by “society.” But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the “barriers” assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia.”
14. Giving Back. “All the high-flown talk about how people who are successful in business should “give back” to the community that created the things that facilitated their success is, again, something that sounds plausible to people who do not stop and think through what is being said. After years of dumbed-down education, that apparently includes a lot of people.
Take Obama’s example of the business that benefits from being able to ship their products on roads that the government built. How does that create a need to “give back”? Did the taxpayers, including business taxpayers, not pay for that road when it was built? Why should they have to pay for it twice?
What about the workers that businesses hire, whose education is usually created in government-financed schools? The government doesn’t have any wealth of its own, except what it takes from taxpayers, whether individuals or businesses. They have already paid for that education. It is not a gift that they have to “give back” by letting politicians take more of their money and freedom.
When businesses hire highly educated people, such as chemists or engineers, competition in the labor market forces them to pay higher salaries for people with longer years of valuable education. That education is not a government gift to the employers. It is paid for while it is being created in schools and universities, and it is paid for in higher salaries when highly educated people are hired.
One of the tricks of professional magicians is to distract the audience’s attention from what they are doing while they are creating an illusion of magic. Pious talk about “giving back” distracts our attention from the cold fact that politicians are taking away more and more of our money and our freedom.”
15. Government Assistance. “Do people who advocate special government programs for blacks realize that the federal government has had special programs for American Indians, including affirmative action, since the early 19th century — and that American Indians remain one of the few groups worse off than blacks?”
Bonus: In the video below from 2009, Thomas Sowell discusses Obama’s proposed (at that time) health care reform: