Walter Williams's blog

Teacher education to blame for failing schools

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American education is in a sorry state of affairs, and there’s enough blame for all participants to have their fair share.

They include students who are hostile and alien to the education process, uninterested parents, teachers and administrators who either are incompetent or have been beaten down by the system, and politicians who’ve become handmaidens for teachers unions. Read More»

The minimum wage and common sense

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Let’s work through an example.

Suppose 100 yards of fence could be built using one of two techniques. You could hire three low-skilled workers for $15 each, or you could hire one high-skilled worker for $40. Either way, you get the same 100 yards of fence built. If you sought maximum profits, which production technique would you employ?

I’m guessing that you’d hire one high-skilled worker and pay him $40 rather than hire three low-skilled workers for $15 each. Your labor costs would be $40 rather than $45. Read More»

Lincoln and the slaves

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Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” has been a box-office hit and nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best picture, best director and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrayed our 16th president.

I haven’t seen the movie; therefore, this column is not about the movie but about a man deified by many. My colleague Thomas DiLorenzo, economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, exposed some of the Lincoln myth in his 2006 book, “Lincoln Unmasked.” Read More»

Cultural deviancy, not guns

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There’s a story told about a Paris chief of police who was called to a department store to stop a burglary in progress. Upon his arrival, he reconnoitered the situation and ordered his men to surround the entrances of the building next door.

When questioned about his actions, he replied that he didn’t have enough men to cover the department store’s many entrances but he did have enough for the building next door.

Let’s see whether there are similarities between his strategy and today’s gun control strategy. Read More»

Women in combat

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A senior Defense Department official said the ban on women in combat should be lifted because the military’s goal is “to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field.”

I’d like to think the goal of the military should be to have the toughest, meanest fighting force possible. But let’s look at “gender-neutral playing field.”

The Army’s physical fitness test in basic training is a three-event physical performance test used to assess endurance. The minimum requirement for 17- to 21-year-old males is 35 pushups, 47 situps and a two-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. Read More»

Our deviant society

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Here’s one usage of the term gentleman: The gentleman helped the fallen lady to her feet. Here’s another, one we might hear from a newscaster or a police spokesman: Tonight we report on the arrest of two gentlemen who raped, sodomized and murdered an 80-year-old woman.

During earlier times, to be called a gentleman meant one was honest, brave, courteous and loyal. Today “gentleman” is used interchangeably in reference to decent people and the scum of the earth. Read More»

Things you can’t say

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Jon Hubbard, a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, has a book, titled “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative.”

Among its statements for which Hubbard has been criticized and disavowed by the Republican Party is, “The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” Read More»

A modest proposal

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California was once the land of opportunity, but it is going down the tubes. Several of California’s prominent cities have declared bankruptcy, such as Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino. Others are on the precipice, and that includes Los Angeles, California’s largest city.

California’s 2012 budget deficit is expected to top $28 billion, and its state debt is $618 billion. That’s more than twice the size of New York’s state debt, which itself is the second-highest in the nation. Read More»

The Census and the Constitution

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The Census Bureau estimates that the life cycle cost of the 2010 Census will be from $13.7 billion to $14.5 billion, making it the costliest census in the nation’s history.

Suppose you suggest to a congressman that given our budget crisis, we could save some money by dispensing with the 2010 census. I guarantee you that he’ll say something along the lines that the Constitution mandates a decennial counting of the American people and he would be absolutely right. Read More»

Black opportunity destruction

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“Do you mean he is taller than me am?” sarcastically barked Dr. Martin Rosenberg, my high school English teacher, to one of the students in our class.

The student actually said, “He is taller than me,” but Rosenberg was ridiculing the student’s grammar. The subject of the elliptical (or understood) verb “am” must be in the subjective case. Thus, the correct form of the sentence is: He is taller than I.

This correction/dressing down of a student, that occasionally included me, occurred during my attendance at North Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School in the early ‘50s. Read More»