Thomas Sowell

 Notions of menial jobs and dead-end jobs may be just shallow misconceptions among the intelligentsia but they are a deadly counterproductive message to the poor. Refusing to get on the bottom rung of the ladder usually means losing your chance to move up the ladder.

 Welfare can give you money but it cannot give you job experience that will move you ahead economically. Selling drugs on the streets can get you more money than welfare but it cannot give you experience that you can put on a job application.  And if you decide to sell drugs all your life, that life can be very short.

 Back around the time of the First World War, a young black man named Paul Williams studied architecture and then accepted a job as an office boy at an architectural firm. He agreed to work for no pay, though after he showed up the company decided to pay him something, after all.

 What they paid him would probably be dismissed today as "chump change." But what Paul Williams wanted from that company was knowledge and experience, more so than money.

 He went on to create his own architectural company, designing everything from churches and banks to mansions for movie stars -- and contributing to the design of the theme building at Los Angeles International Airport.

 The real chumps are those who refuse to start at the bottom for "chump change." Liberals who encourage such attitudes may think of themselves as friends of the poor but they do more harm than enemies.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate