Thomas Sowell

Eventually, over the years, it finally dawned on me what the distinction was. People who make no provision to feed themselves, but expect others to provide food for them, are those whom politicians and the media refer to as "the hungry."

Those who meet this definition may have money for alcohol, drugs or even various electronic devices. And many of them are overweight. But, if they look to voluntary donations, or money taken from the taxpayers, to provide them with something to eat, then they are "the hungry."

I can remember a time, long ago, when I was hungry in the old-fashioned sense. I was a young fellow out of work, couldn't find work, fell behind in my room rent -- and, when I finally found a job, I had to walk miles to get there, because I couldn't afford both subway fare and food.

But this was back in those "earlier and simpler times" we hear about. I was so naive that I thought it was up to me to go find a job, and to save some money when I did. Even though I knew that Joe DiMaggio was making $100,000 a year -- a staggering sum in the money of that time -- it never occurred to me that it was up to him to see that I got fed.

So, even though I was hungry, I never qualified for the political definition of "the hungry." Moreover, I never thereafter spent all the money I made, whether that was a little or a lot, because being hungry back then was a lot worse than being one of "the hungry" today.

As a result, I was never of any use to politicians looking for dependents who would vote for them. Nor have I ever had much use for such politicians.


Thomas Sowell

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

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