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Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene
ifihadahif Posted: Wed May 5 21:40:16 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Random thoughts on the passing scene
Thomas Sowell


May 5, 2004

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Australian economist Wolfgang Kasper has figured out the day on which the average citizen has earned money enough to pay his taxes, so that he can then begin earning money for himself instead of for the government. For Singapore, that date is March 31st, for the United States April 21st, for Germany July 1st and for Sweden August 5th.

Jay Leno says that, if John Kerry is elected, he will become the first President who can deliver both the State of the Union address and the rebuttal.

The next time you hear an alarming speech about "global warming" on Earth Day, just remember that the first Earth Day featured alarms about the danger of a new ice age.

Too often what are called "educated" people are simply people who have been sheltered from reality for years in ivy-covered buildings. Those whose whole careers have been spent in ivy-covered buildings, insulated by tenure, can remain adolescents on into their golden retirement years.

Just as members of American teachers' unions often send their own children to private schools, so unionized workers at government-run hospitals in Britain have insurance that allows them to go to private hospitals. In both cases, those on the inside realize how bad these institutions are, regardless of what they say to those on the outside.

California is where people go ballistic over having to spend a few dollars to use ATM machines, but have no problem with having to pay inflated home prices that are more than ten times what it costs to build a home, because of innumerable government restrictions that cause land prices to skyrocket.

Some ideas sound so plausible that they can fail nine times in a row and still be believed the tenth time. Other ideas sound so implausible that they can succeed nine times in a row and still not be believed the tenth time. Government controls in the economy are among the first kinds of ideas and the operation of a free market is among the second kind.

People who oppose the death penalty like to flatter themselves that they are taking a moral stance. But, since empirical studies show that executions do deter murders, contrary to liberal dogma, there is nothing moral about sacrificing the lives of more murder victims because of your own squeamishness.

It is a little much when people who are doing nothing for the poor, either here or in the Third World, complain loudly that others are not doing enough -- especially when those others are providing the poor with jobs and their communities with taxes.

During a phone conversation, I mentioned to my brother in Ohio that all the posters in my neighborhood during the Democratic Party primaries were for Dennis Kucinich. He burst out laughing and said that there were no Kucinich posters where he lived. Kucinich used to be mayor of Cleveland, where he was a disaster.

It is amazing how many people seem to think that the government exists to turn their prejudices into laws.

One of the sad signs of our times are the twisted metal "sculptures" put in front of public buildings at the taxpayers' expense -- obviously never intended to please the public, and in fact constituting a thumbing of the artist's nose at the public.

Recently I learned of yet another boy whose parents had once been urged to put him into a class for retarded children, and who now -- years later -- has done so well in school that he is being assigned to a class for very bright children.

"Tell all" autobiographies sometimes tell more than all.

The easiest way to get people to accept nonsense -- and even to sacrifice themselves for it -- is to flatter their egos. Hitler called Germans a "master race" and made them virtually his slaves. Race hustlers today likewise salve the egos of those blacks who follow them and sacrifice their interests just as ruthlessly.

Under the terrible stresses of war, there are some in every country who commit atrocities. The difference is that Americans are upset, ashamed, or angry when their troops do it, while people in some Middle Eastern countries danced in the streets on 9/11 and when the bodies of dead American civilians were dragged through the streets in Iraq.





 
DanSRose Posted: Thu May 6 09:42:16 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  It's an article about 'random thoughts'. It can't be taken serious there is no purpose, other than to complain about those sneaky, evil liberals.

Oh, and the death penalty doesn't work, really.

>
>
Worsnop, Richard L. "Death Penalty Debate." Congressional Quarterly Researcher. V.5 n.9 p.198. (1995)

According to the recent survey of police chiefs and sheriffs, the death penalty ranks last as a way of reducing violent crime. "Police chiefs would rather spent their limited crime-fighting dollars on such proven measures as community policing, more police training, neighborhood watch programs and long prison sentences," Patrik V. Murphy, former police chief of New York, Washington and Detroit, wrote in USA Today.
Some experts argue, in fact, that the death penalty actually encourages homicide in some circumstances. "The threat of capital punishment raises the stakes of getting caught," wrote author Michael Kroninwetter. "Anyone already subject to the death penalty has little to lose by killing again and again. The potential sentence cannot be made any worse than it already is. This makes criminals who already face death for a previous crime more likely to kill in order to avoid being captured ... to silence any witnesses against them."


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 12:23:16 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  DanSRose said:
>It's an article about 'random thoughts'. It can't be taken serious there is no purpose, other than to complain about those sneaky, evil liberals.
>
>Oh, and the death penalty doesn't work, really.
>
>>
>>
>Worsnop, Richard L. "Death Penalty Debate." Congressional Quarterly Researcher. V.5 n.9 p.198. (1995)
>
>According to the recent survey of police chiefs and sheriffs, the death penalty ranks last as a way of reducing violent crime. "Police chiefs would rather spent their limited crime-fighting dollars on such proven measures as community policing, more police training, neighborhood watch programs and long prison sentences," Patrik V. Murphy, former police chief of New York, Washington and Detroit, wrote in USA Today.
>Some experts argue, in fact, that the death penalty actually encourages homicide in some circumstances. "The threat of capital punishment raises the stakes of getting caught," wrote author Michael Kroninwetter. "Anyone already subject to the death penalty has little to lose by killing again and again. The potential sentence cannot be made any worse than it already is. This makes criminals who already face death for a previous crime more likely to kill in order to avoid being captured ... to silence any witnesses against them."
>
This recent article from Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe tends to dispute you:

The foes of capital punishment have denied for years that putting murderers to death has a deterrent effect on other potential killers. That has always flown in the face of common sense and history -- after all, wherever murder is made punishable by death, murder rates generally decline. But it also flies in the face of a lengthening shelf of research that confirms the death penalty's deterrent effect.

A recent study at the University of Colorado, for instance, finds "a statistically significant relationship between executions, pardons, and homicide. Specifically, each additional execution reduces homicides by five to six." A paper by three Emory University economists concludes: "Our results suggest that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect. . . . In particular, each execution results, on average, in 18 fewer murders -- with a margin of error of plus or minus 10."

Comparable results have been reached by scholars at the University of Houston, SUNY Buffalo, Clemson, and the Federal Communications Commission. All these studies have been published within the past three years. And all of them underscore an inescapable bottom line: The execution of murderers protects innocent life.




 
Christian Posted: Thu May 6 14:06:14 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  south africa and america the only two "free" countries with the death penalty...and...some of the highest murder rates....go figure


 
Zacq Posted: Thu May 6 14:44:58 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Murder rates in the country may have gone down - however, murder rates in states with the death penalty are consistently higher than those without it.

Also, in Texas it costs 2.3 million dollars to have someone executed. It costs about 760,000 dollars to put someone in jail for life. Couldn't the money saved be used to increase the capabilities of the police?

And if the government really cared about homicide rates, they would acknowledge the fact that it has been proven that as the gap between the wealthy and the middle class rises, homicide rates go up. It would do A LOT more good to stop letting corporations force legislators to give them tax exemptions and also raise tax rates for the rich back to how they used to be earlier in the 1900s.


 
Mesh Posted: Thu May 6 14:54:10 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  one word- amputation.


steal a stick of gum- amputation

beat someone up- amputation

so on and so forth.




No just kidding :)


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 19:25:34 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Zacq said:
>>
>And if the government really cared about homicide rates, they would acknowledge the fact that it has been proven that as the gap between the wealthy and the middle class rises, homicide rates go up. It would do A LOT more good to stop letting corporations force legislators to give them tax exemptions and also raise tax rates for the rich back to how they used to be earlier in the 1900s.
>
umm, the vast majority of the monies collected thru taxes come from the wealthy now. That means they pay most of the bills.
You can say what you want about the gap between the middle class and the wealthy but what I actually see with my own eyes is this:
Unskilled factory workers able to buy two hundred thousand dollar homes with usually three vehicles in their gigantic garages and one is almost always a gas guzzling SUV. These guys also usually have a place at the lake where they can relax on their summer weekends in that really expensive fishing boat they are also able to purchase. And during the summer they usually take their families to Florida for a one or two week vacation.
This is what I see with my own eyes and this is in Kentucky where the standard of living is not the highest.


 
Zacq Posted: Thu May 6 20:25:38 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Krap, I'm moving to Kentucky. Oh, and the rich still pay a ridiculousy small amount of taxes considering the money they make. Got to go pack.


 
Asswipe Posted: Thu May 6 20:55:23 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  yeah, i'm coming to kentucky also. by me there are no factories, but unskilled workers, IE. puerto ricans working at mcdonalds, make 6 bucks an hour at one job, stay up all night mopping floors, and pull in about enough money to sustain a family of cockroaches on mac-n-cheese


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 21:57:49 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Asswipe said:
>yeah, i'm coming to kentucky also. by me there are no factories, but unskilled workers, IE. puerto ricans working at mcdonalds, make 6 bucks an hour at one job, stay up all night mopping floors, and pull in about enough money to sustain a family of cockroaches on mac-n-cheese
>
yeah, we've got that here as well, but we also have automotive assembly plants, meat packers, tobacco companies, utilitiem etc., they all employ unskilled labor and they all make enough money to enjoy the above posted amenities.
most of our Puerto Ricans are roofers. Probably more Mexicans than Puerto Ricans.
When you add in the skilled labor such as electricians, iron workers, steel workers, and such, most of the journeyman in those trades make as much as the average lawyer or even more. Where is the growing gap you speak of ?
Just two generations ago, amenities such as these were reserved for the truly wealthy and now they are available for most anyone who can manage a budget and a line of credit.


 
Zacq Posted: Thu May 6 22:31:44 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  A brief look at income inequality before a well-deserved nap:

Income inequality has been statistically proven by numerous groups to have a direct correlation to - rates of unemployment, rates of incarceration, percentage of people receiving income assistance and food stamps, percentage of people without medical insurance, money spent on people for education, money spent on books for education, educational performance, rates of high school completion, proportions of babies born with low birth rate, homicide rates, rates of other violent crime, proportion of people unable to work because of disability, rates of tobacco and drug usage, costs per medicare, and costs per person for police protection, to name some things.

So while it may not seem to matter that the number of gagillionaires has skyrocketed, but yea, it matters.


 
Zacq Posted: Thu May 6 22:54:27 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I was trying to fall asleep but I gotta respond. Ifihadahif, if that is your real name, you seem to have a limited perspective. The people that surround you in Kentucky, at least the ones your aware of, don't represent the whole nation. You can just say that anyone should be able to 'manage a budget' and that there isn't really a growing gap, but that's not true.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? It's pretty amazing up close, especially if you get the boat ride right up to the falls. It's better if you don't wear the ponchos and just get wet. The school there I saw is ginormous (yes, ginormous), bigger than any I've ever seen, and a good part of the city is very well off. There is also a section you don't see. If you'd met the little kids who came to the soup kitchen in the afternoons while they're parents are working, and played kickball with them in the alleyway by a playground littered with bongs, you'd know that there are some places a person can be born where they will not have the chance to make it to middle class. The jobs are simply not there. You can't just look at one area and decide that any decent, hard-working person is guaranteed the American Dream. Now I go to bed.


 
marsteller Posted: Sat May 8 03:07:33 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Asswipe said:
>yeah, i'm coming to kentucky also. by me there are no factories, but unskilled workers, IE. puerto ricans working at mcdonalds, make 6 bucks an hour at one job, stay up all night mopping floors, and pull in about enough money to sustain a family of cockroaches on mac-n-cheese


yeah.....fuckin spics. happy belated cinco de mayo


 



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