Appearing recently on Fox News with Neil Cavuto, Thomas Sowell touched upon the debate surrounding the topic of an increasing number of American’s becoming dependent on government, in the form of food stamps, or other welfare programs. Citing the increase in able bodied Americans on food stamps from 1.9 million in 2006, to 3.9 million in 2010, Sowell remarked “it’s a question of what point the safety net becomes a hammock”, and went on to point out that the current administration has gone so far as to send people into grocery stores to inform shoppers about the availability of government assistance.
“I don’t think there’s anything callous about wanting able bodied men to work, what I think is truly callous is having a set of policies that hurt the poor” Sowell said commenting on the recent 47% remarks of Mitt Romney. Sowell also takes issue with minimum wage laws, which he says unfortunately Romney supports, referencing 1949, a recession year, when black youth unemployment was a fraction of what it is now, or ever has been since, even in the most prosperous years. He says that by 1949 the minimum wage had been out-sprinted by inflation, therefore rendering it basically void; some years in the 40’s had black unemployment rates of 16 year olds under 10%. When the minimum wage was raised to catch up with inflation, “then you began to get the 20, 30, 40 percent unemployment rate among black teenagers… the question is not whether you are empathizing or not, the question is whether your policies are ruining people.”
Much of what Sowell is concerned over is that Americans seem to listen to the rhetoric of politicians, without examining the consequences of their policies. It is enough for many that Obama claims to sympathize with poor black Americans, yet the unemployment rate of blacks under Obama is greater than it was under Reagan, whose policies, but not necessarily rhetoric, reflected that he really did care about the poor, or at least enacted policies which helped the poor. Sowell finished the interview with the statement, “I think Barack Obama’s worse than Jimmy Carter… Carter had many foolish policies domestically as well as internationally but I think Barack Obama has outdone him in both respects”. To see the entire interview click here.
In the following interview with Thomas Sowell from some years back, he explains what he believes are the basic differences between Conservatives and Liberals in our society. He claims that liberals try to help people that are disadvantaged to show their “moral superiority”, while conservatives want to stop people from being disadvantaged in the first place, and have no interest in using the poor as tools for political gain.