February 11, 2008

Excerpt of the Day: Thomas Sowell on Economic Fallacies

The accomplished economist, prolific author, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow lists some “Economic Fallacies” in his latest Townhall column:

1. Government programs are needed to create “affordable housing.” (Actually, government intervention is what has made housing so unaffordable in places where even hovels are expensive.)

2. Employer discrimination is the main reason for differences in income between women and men. (Tons of evidence point in other directions.)

3. College tuition is going up so fast because of rising costs. (Only if you call voluntary increases in spending “rising costs.”)

4. Foreign aid helps poor countries become more prosperous. (Only if you don’t look at the evidence.)

5. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. (It all depends on whether you are talking about flesh and blood human beings or statistical brackets.)

Economic Facts and Fallacies(Sowell’s latest book — Ed.) also brings out some facts that seldom get much attention in the media.

1. The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994.

2. The average income of the elderly is several times their earnings, and their wealth is far higher than among younger people.

3. Just as blacks are turned down for mortgage loans more often than whites, so whites are turned down more often than Asian Americans. (What does that do to racism as an all-purpose explanation?)


Related, from November 18, 2007: Top Five Myths about the current economy. Sowell’s fifth item above is a large portion of that post’s Myth Number 1: “Income inequality is growing, the rich are getting richer, and they aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.”


1 Comment

  1. Excellent! I love stuff like this. I will use this in my classes.

    Comment by Libertarian Jason — February 11, 2008 @ 9:55 am

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