Thomas Sowell
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Random thoughts on the passing scene:

They say that people mellow with age. However, the older I get, the less patience I have with cleverness.

If increased government spending with borrowed or newly created money is a "stimulus," then the Weimar Republic should have been stimulated to unprecedented prosperity, instead of runaway inflation and widespread economic desperation that ultimately brought Adolf Hitler to power.

Just days after Colin Powell informed us that the American people were willing to pay higher taxes in order to get government services-- and that Republicans therefore needed to stop their opposition to taxes-- California voters resoundingly defeated a bill to raise taxes in order to pay for the many government services in that liberal state.

Who was it who said: "I cannot tell what powers may have to be exercised in order to win this war"? George W. Bush? Dick Cheney? Donald Rumsfeld? Actually it was Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a "fireside chat" broadcast on September 7, 1942. He understood that survival was the number one right, without which all other rights are meaningless.

They say adversity concentrates the mind. Now that Republicans have been badly beaten in two consecutive Congressional elections, what Republican leaders in Congress are saying today makes more sense than what they said when they were in power.

When my sister's children were teenagers, she told them that, if they got into trouble and ended up in jail, to remember that they had a right to make one phone call. She added: "Don't waste that call phoning me." We will never know whether they would have followed her advice, since none of them was ever in jail.

One of the most important talents for success in politics is the ability to make utter nonsense sound not only plausible but inspiring. Barack Obama has that talent. We will be lucky if we escape the catastrophes into which other countries have been led by leaders with that same charismatic talent.

When I think of the people with serious physical or mental handicaps who nevertheless work, I find it hard to sympathize with able-bodied men who stand on the streets and beg. Nor can I sympathize with those who give them money that subsidizes a parasitic lifestyle which allows such men to be a constant nuisance, or even a danger, to others.

How surprising is it that Barack Obama, who spent decades hanging out with people who spewed out their hatred of America, did not say anything in the presence of foreign rulers like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega, when they spewed out their hatred of America?

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Thomas Sowell

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

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