Thomas SowellThomas Sowell, (1930- ) Writer and economist

Thomas Sowell Quote

“A recent poll showed that nearly half the American public believes that the government should redistribute wealth. That so many people are so willing to blithely put such an enormous and dangerous arbitrary power in the hands of politicians -- risking their own freedom, in hopes of getting what someone else has -- is a painful sign of how far many citizens and voters fall short of what is needed to preserve a democratic republic.”

Thomas SowellThomas Sowell
~ Thomas Sowell

Ratings and Comments

Byron, Fort Collins

There you have it, from the clear mind of Thomas Sowell. For another interesting trend in America, Google "U.S. Obesity Trends Trends by State 1985-2009". Not only are many of us OK with giving up our freedom to get what someone else has, we are getting fatter in the process. As a country, we Americans are surrendering our freedom and our responsibility for convenience--for entitlements and for bad food. If we won't take responsibility for our bodies, I can't see us taking responsibility for anything more abstract.

Byron, Fort Collins

I believe there's a clear relationship between the increasing obesity and the growing passivity of our citizenry. In Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 190195, Shakespeare's Caesar exclaims, "Let me have men about me that are fat, /Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. /Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, /He thinks too much; such men are dangerous."

DanielVincentKelleyOnYoutube, Newport Vermont

Billionaires are paying 17% taxes while their secretaries are paying 30+% taxes. OBVIOUSLY that's not fair tax policy. US citizens are interested in justice, not wealth redistribution. Devoid of context this quote is meaningless and it's conclusion baseless.

Byron, Fort Collins

To read the entire article from which this gem of a quotation was taken, Google its first sentence, "A recent poll showed that nearly half the American public believes that the government should redistribute wealth.".

Byron, Fort Collins

Billionaires have much of their wealth in offshore tax havens (Google "tax haven countries"). Obama's efforts to use U.S. tax policy to redistribute wealth will have no effect on "the rich"--the really filthy rich. Obama knows this, and this illusory "justice" is merely another of his talking points.

J Carlton, Calgary

Decades of welfare policy have lead us to this point. I wonder if our "rulers" will be so generous once the Police State has fully manifested...I doubt it. End the Fed - Restore the Republic

Tony Trimarchi, Hancock

Thomas Sowell is 100% right on target about the slothful stupidity of the general American public! His insightful publications should be required readings in American schools. He is a true patriot!

J. Allen, Arlington, Va

A sad commentary on America. Once the land of opportunity for those willing to work. Now too many expect the rewards of those that pursued opportunity to simply be handed to them. It tells me nearly half the population has no self respect and is no better than a panhandler.

  • Reply
Anonymous    7/8/11

As a compassionate professional, I was excited to be part of "welfare reform. Providing opportunities for those who were below the poverty line so that they could leave welfare become their personal best. Most were unmarried mothers. In short they todd me and the teachers, counselors leave then the "f..." alone and just give then the money. Their only require ment was to attend class for 20 hours per week. They were transported to class and their children received daycare 40 hours per week free. This is how government destroys motivation and personal responsibility. Needless to say as a divorced mother raising my two children on a small salary I was devastated by the olivine of what I had envisioned as a life changing opportunity.

David, Baltimore

Redistribution means confiscating property and giving it to your partisans. It is a divisive political strategy that destroys our common wealth and national unity. We all lose.

jim k, Austin,Tx

Daniel of Newport, there is no such thing as a "fair tax policy". Taxes are legalized theft to begin with and while some are less onerous than others they are still plunder, The income tax being the worst of the lot.

jim k, Austin, Tx

I expected our Commie friend Reston to give it a thumbs down, but, Daniel, you ought to know better.

Dr. Tom LaMar, K

America's wealth had already been "redistributed" upward to the top 1% long ago in case you missed that; just time for a "correction" cycle which should include if not nullifying, at least lessening the damage to the working classes of this country since especially the civil war ! Just read Lysander Spooner and Smedley Butler for a start... "all the traffic will bear" and all that; the absolutley demonic elitist classes at their worst and now especially so since the fall of their only true potential rivals, the USSR; remember the big changes with Reaganomics? That's why a few good men in his cabinet quit...and were taken to task for it ! Eliot Spitzer, where are you ? I hope he's safe at least; one of my best "good/bad dogs" who is fully capable of taking on wallstreet, the federal reserve, NWO, IMF, WB, but NOT the DOES Petraeus sleep at night? One of the Harvardites/Princetonians RULING class of which we are their "subjects", no longer citizens. When such a man can put up with loss of things, ie, habeas corpus and such, I hold no hope for most "Americans", as we slip into being just "north-americans".

Charles, Andalusia

Does this mean that the top 1% should have an even larger share of America's wealth? Give the top 1% ALL the wealth and then they can spend their time defending the borders from their wheel chairs.

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Anonymous    7/8/11

This what I have always said. Sacrificing free will won't bring anything but more pain and suffering, as well as giving the nation's 2 percent benefits that aren't rightfully there's.

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    Abigail    7/8/11

    As always, Thomas Sowell understands the truth of the nation...and of those willing to hold out their hand for what belongs to their neighbors rather than accept the freedom and liberty that comes with self reliability, self responsibility, self sufficiency, and self respect.

    Carol, Georgia

    The Takers have no idea what is in store for them and for this nation once the transition is complete. There will be no more handouts, but there will be fighting in the streets for a mouthful of bread. Those who have depended (some, all their lives) on the distribution of others wealth (livelihood) will find one day find they do not even know where to begin in taking care of themselves and the government won't be able to.

    Carol, Georgia

    Thomas Sowell deserves a constellation of stars for his ongoing contributions. His body of work is incredible.

    E Archer, NYC

    Yes, 50 years of solid propaganda have created too many Reston's and Daniel's who merely parrot what they have been told by their socialist party leaders. Hey, 17% of a billion is 170 million dollars -- while 30% of 30,000 is $10,000 -- the billionaire is already paying more than his fair share, in fact he is paying 17,000 TIMES more!! And what kind of world are we putting up with where the government, its minions, and the millions of parasites that vote themselves their neighbors' property set up a system whereby every single time two people exchange something the government takes a cut? How is it that the government has placed itself into every single detail of our lives in order to take 50% of all production of the people? And for what?! Now I am not a billionaire so I am getting tired of this old argument that a billionaire is only paying 5% while the common man pays 40% -- whenever the libs want to "tax the rich" more, I end up with more taxes and loss of freedom. And if Warren Buffet wants to pay more taxes (which is BS) he can simply donate whatever more he would like to. It is called charity and society has always had private benefactors -- and who is to say what the billionaire does with his money? What arrogance for a weiner like Daniel to tell someone who has earned his billion what he can do with his money! But the worst feature of the so-called 'progressives' is that they ignore the rich among them who profit from all this taxing and regulations. Gore is positioned to make a fortune with fluorescent bulbs and carbon credits, Pelosi is worth over 50 million dollars made from government contracts -- and they are not alone, far from it, because that is what government has become, a big racket for stealing the wealth of the people. You forget that the super rich are never touched by this system of taxation because it is into their hands that our taxes go, in fact they are so rich that they OWN every 'dollar' in Bill Gates pocket -- and yours, too! If only the ignoramuses would strike at the root instead of the branches.

    TheMANwithNoName, Tampa, FL

    Methinks this 'opinion' of nearly half of the US public is the result of a flawed survey. I certainly would not like to see the government redistribute MY wealth, but I also feel strongly that one of the few legitimate functions of government is to provide a level playing field for all citizens. That means for example, a flat tax on gross income (if we must tax income at all), NO preference for corporations and especially corporations with operations outside the US that allow them to 'cook the books' to reduce their US tax obligation, and no legal inequalities based on income level or anything else. Most people wouldn't be callling for a redistribution of weath if the ability to accumulate and keep wealth were equal for all.

    Mona, Phoenix

    E Archer, couldn't agree more, couldn't have said it better! The problem is that too many young people are not learning what makes America so different as a nation. Why is our standard of living so much higher than most other nations? Why is there so much more wealth? Why is this one of the few countries a poor child from a tough background can grow up to be wealthy and/or a prominent politician - Bill Gates, Obama, John Boehner, Marco Rubio? Why are we the most generous nation - whenever and wherever there is a need, we are the first ones there. We are not teaching the next generation of leaders that the only way America can continue to provide opportunity, charity, and wealth production is to simply allow risk-takers, innovators, and hard-workers to do there thing - just get out of their way and allow them to produce products, jobs, and wealth for ALL around them! So many benefit from these innovators - they create MORE and higher tax payers! Do not demonize and punish them. Do not teach the public to envy and hate them. And, lastly, for the scum on Wall Street who took TARP funds to bail them out for the horrible decisions THEY made, I see them as no better than welfare recipients who "play" the system - just on a much larger scale! People should suffer the consequences of their actions - whether that is bankruptcy or (IMO) jail for defrauding the public. "With great power comes great responsibility." This country will fail if our leaders and decision-makers do not have high morals and solid ethics.

    dick, Fort Worth

    Income and wealth have long been "redistributed" in this country. The rich and powerful accomplished this by stealing all the gain from the increase in productivity over the last 50 years. Robin Hood's ass. It's been rob the poor, reward the rich throughout history. And it's been made possible through the ignorance and acceptance of complete brainwashing by the majority of responders such as are represented here.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Redistribution is at law, THEFT. Measure yourselves accordingly. The sovereign's servants need no financial support from the individual sovereigns for the continued operations known as government. Amerika is a criminal endeavor almost entirely aloof from the principles of the constitutionally defined representative Republic once established for sovereign peoples of law, justice, inalienable rights, truth, freedom and liberty.

    J. B. Wulff, Bristol, CT

    The quote is both right on and scary. Look at the bright side. As has been mentioned, the wealthy have the skills and the means to safeguard much of their wealth and do so, as ever. That's part of how and why they became wealthy. When and if the gov't does manage to redistribute some of the wealth to the best of its limited ability to do anything well, the process of accumulation by the more able will continue. The animal spirit that drives us all and the bell shaped curve of distribution will win out in the end as it always does. The Bible reminds us that the poor will always be with us after all.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    Thanks Dick, for representing the Communist point of view. We'll see ya'll some other time. :)

    Harry, Norwalk

    It shows the present state of the average "American" voters' mind! GIMMME, GIMMME!! On the east coast there is a statue of liberty, here on the west coast we need a statue of responsability!

    Mike, Norwalk

    Daniel, "OBVIOUSLY that's not fair tax policy." Larceny and theft at any percentage is not fair. Larceny is theft no matter what you call it ! A rose by any other name . . . Larceny is the felonious appropriation (secretly, by force, or otherwise) of personal goods with intent to convert them to the taker's own use. Theft is the felonious abstraction of ones property by another for sake of lucre, without the ones consent. To enforce a constant state of larceny and theft is by any stretch of any definition slavery. Governmental redistribution of wealth is larceny, theft and slavery. Those patrons of the statist theocracy infesting this land, supporting those most malignant and heinous criminal dogmas of redistribution are the worst form of immoral despots and tyrants.

    Waffler, Smith

    I gave it a star because the writer correctly used the term "DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC". So many particularly on this site forget to use the term democratic. There is nothing sacred about who has money or who doesn't. We loose site of that. The important thing is that society function well for the greatest number. If taxes are bad period as Carlton contends we can go back to a feudal society. The English learned back in 1850 that if they did not act the nobility would own the country. Lets get rid of ideololgy and start worikng with pragmatism. Political philosophy should be about what is best, what works well etc. not about absolutist mentality. But how many have the strength of character or open mindeness to pursue honest debate and compromise. The conservatives say "No" to compromise which is a way of saying they prefer a dictatorship to a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, what an ever so nice and extremely sick concept. A Democratic Republic does not imply a democracy. There is no society without individuals. (The more Perfect Union of We The People is the recognition of the individual sovereign - individually or in concert) In the Representative Republic (as guaranteed Article IV, Section 4) as declared free in 1776, was to be a body of sovereign's servants, representing that immutable law inalienable to each individual that was recognized as the law of nature and of nature's God. Man can not make law, he can only form codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. as tools in harmony or, at odds with the law. A democracy claims the ability to make law by the will of the many (unjust dictatorship). The de jure U.S. democratic republic was to allow the many a method of how best to harmonize with the law. The important thing is that society (individuals united) function well for the greatest benefit for each and every, any and all individual(s). I agree with you, let's get rid of the ideology and let's start working with lawful pragmatism. "Political philosophy should be about what is best, what works well etc. not about absolutist mentality." (by the way, you can't compromise with the law - if you step off a cliff, gravity takes over unless you use another law. - compromise is only beneficially prosperous, for the good of mankind, in the application of law) The law we have with us always, let's use it so we can return to a land of order, prosperity, a land where a pursuit of happiness is possible, ownership is possible, justice, inalienable rights are recognized, freedom and liberty; AND, where larceny, theft, and slavery are not accepted as a norm.

    Harry, Norwalk

    Democratic republic or nation without democracy, I was going to say interesting Mike but thought better and say twisted.

    • Reply
      Publius    7/11/11

      I tremble for my country when I think that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever.

      J. Allen, Arlington, Va

      Waffler somehow equates protecting individual liberty with dictatorship. It is a dictatorship of one where each person is his own master. To reference another quote: "Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him?" Thomas Jefferson

      Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

      If a populous arrangement is not equally distributing wealth in a situation where individuals are not sharing the resources in equal regard and equal respect you have a nothing but a blatant stark criminal worthless arrangement of destruction and death. National housing, national transportation, national goods and services are the only alternative. Socialism is the challenge of social abilities to create responsibility.


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