Walter E. Williams
Latest from Walter E. Williams
International trade figures heavily in the presidential race. Presidential candidate Donald Trump said, "Hillary Clinton unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible trade deal after another - from NAFTA to China to South Korea." And adding, "A Trump Administration will end that war by getting a fair deal for the American people. The era of economic surrender will finally be over."
One of the unavoidable consequences of youth is the tendency to think behavior we see today has always been. I'd like to dispute that vision, at least as it pertains to black people.
What economists call an ability to make "compensating differences" is a valuable tool in everyone's arsenal. If people are prohibited from doing so, they are always worse off. You say, "Williams, I never heard of compensating differences. What are they?"
A guiding principle for physicians is primum non nocere, the Latin expression for "first, do no harm." In order not to do harm, whether it's with medicine or with public policy, the first order of business is accurate diagnostics.
President Barack Obama and his first attorney general Eric Holder called for an honest conversation about race. Holder even called us "a nation of cowards" because we were unwilling to have a "national conversation" about race. The truth of the matter is there's been more than a half-century of conversations about race. We do not need more. Instead, black people need to have frank conversations among ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable and embarrassing the topics may be.
A recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce dramatically increased tariffs on some Chinese steel products, such as cold-rolled steel, which is used to make appliances, cars and electric motors. Tariffs were raised by 500 percent on some other Chinese steel products. President Barack Obama and the major 2016 presidential aspirants, particularly Donald Trump, believe this measure will protect jobs in the U.S. steel industry.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism has "utterly failed," adding that it was an illusion to think Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side." The failure of multiculturalism is also seen in Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European countries. Immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle East refuse to assimilate and instead seek to import the failed cultures they fled.
In 2008, Barack Obama promised a fundamental transformation of America. Where that promise has gone unfulfilled the most is in areas of sexual and racial discrimination. What's worse is the official sanction given to such discrimination. Let's look at some of it.
According to a New York Post article (May 22, 2016), in just two years, Hillary Clinton -- former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state -- collected over $21 million in speaking fees. These fees were paid by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, UBS, Bank of America and several hedge fund companies.
A basic economic premise holds that when the price of something rises, people seek to economize on its use. They seek substitutes for that which has risen in price. Recent years have seen proposals for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Some states and localities, such as Seattle, have already legislated a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Last year, I declared myself a springbok trapped in a human body. A springbok is a highly agile individual who is among the “least concern” species and resides in the southeastern part of the African continent. With such a declaration, some people will suggest that I am suffering from a condition known as species dysphoria, in which one thinks he is a wild animal trapped in a human body. Species dysphoria is similar to gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes he is a woman trapped in a male body or a man trapped in a female body.
Many people will argue that I am in need of psychological counseling. I’d dismiss such a suggestion as animalphobia.
Most black politicians, ministers, civil rights advocates and professionals support Hillary Clinton's quest for the presidency. Whoever becomes the next president, whether it's a Democrat or Republican, will mean little or nothing in terms of solutions to major problems that confront many black people. We've already seen that even a black president means little or nothing. Politics and political power cannot significantly improve the lives of most black people and may even be impediments.
Last month, I celebrated the beginning of my 81st year of life. For nearly half that time, I have been writing a nationally syndicated column on many topics generating reader responses that go from supportive to quite ugly. So I thought a column making my vision, values and views explicit might settle some of the controversy.
Here is what presidential aspirant Sen. Bernie Sanders said: "I believe that health care is a right of all people." President Barack Obama declared that health care "should be a right for every American." The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Every person has a right to adequate health care." President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his January 1944 message to Congress, called for "the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health."
Professor Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He recently wrote an article titled "The hypocrisy behind the student renaming craze." Students, often with the blessing of faculty, have discovered that names for campus buildings and holidays do not always fit politically correct standards for race, class and sex.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know. Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV's "Judge Judy," is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal. But it is little mystery why so many college students are illiterate, innumerate and resistant to understanding. Let's look at it.
George Washington, our first president, is probably our greatest and most decent statesman. We celebrate Washington's Birthday each February. But March 16th marks the birthday of probably the second-most important and decent American, James Madison.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump promised, "I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created." To assist in accomplishing that goal he has vowed to impose a 35 percent tariff on imported Ford vehicles from Mexico. More recently, he threatened to impose tariffs on Carrier air conditioners because its parent company, United Technologies Corp., announced plans to move to Mexico.
Trump's battle is not against Mexico, Ford or United Technologies. Instead, his real battle is against American people who would buy goods made abroad.
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders seek to claim the "progressive" mantle. Both claim the other is not a true progressive. Clinton teased Sanders as being the "self-proclaimed gatekeeper for progressivism." Bernie Sanders said that Hillary Clinton can't be both a moderate and a progressive and that most progressives don't take millions from Wall Street. But let's talk about the origins of progressivism. It's only historical ignorance that could explain black affinity for progressivism.
George Orwell said, "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." Gore Vidal elaborated on that insight, saying, "As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate." And John Milton predicted, "When language in common use in any country becomes irregular and depraved, it is followed by their ruin and degradation." These observations bear heeding about how sloppy language is corrupting our society.