Thomas Sowell

Household income data are presented in ways which suggest that there is very little real improvement in the American people's standard of living over time, and innumerable editorials and television commentaries have elaborated that theme. But per capita income data show far more improvement over time. The difference is that households have been getting smaller but one person always means one person.

Just by deciding what kind of data to present in what way, the Census Bureau has become, in effect, an adjunct of the liberal establishment, even when conservative Republicans are in control of the federal government. This is not necessarily deliberate political sabotage, just liberals being liberals.

Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has for years repeatedly exposed the fallacies of the inferences drawn from Census data. Yet when Republicans controlled the federal government-- as they did for 12 consecutive years, beginning in 1981-- did they try to appoint someone like Robert Rector to a position where they could put an end to tendentious statistics that promote misconceptions with political implications? Not at all.

Too many Republicans don't even know their own party's history. One painful consequence is that too many Republicans act as if they have to apologize for their party's civil rights record-- which is in fact better than that of the Democrats.

A higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was Republicans whose "Philadelphia Plan" in the 1970s sought to break the construction unions' racial barriers that kept blacks out of skilled trades.

Just as boxers have to do training in the gym and roadwork before they are ready for a boxing match, Republicans need to do a lot of homework before they are ready for their next match against the Democrats.


Thomas Sowell

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

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