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Williams on legalized theft

Posted by Richard on November 29, 2006

If I were really conscientious, I’d link to every column, article, interview, or other commentary by Walter Williams as soon as it became available. He’s a national treasure — brilliant, insightful, principled, articulate. And funny. If you’ve ever heard him — for instance, filling in for Rush Limbaugh — you know how clever and funny he can be.

Since I’m not very conscientious, I’ll urge you to bookmark his column archives either at Jewish World Review or at Townhall.com and drop by there regularly. And if, like the vast majority of people, you’re woefully ignorant of the basic principles of economics (I know — it’s not your fault; in fact, you were probably fed a sizable amount of misinformation on the subject in high school and college), I strongly recommend Williams’ 10-part Economics for the Citizen course. It’s very readable and brief — each part is about a screenful of text — and will put you ahead of about 95% of the population in terms of understanding economics.

Williams’ Nov. 29 column, Why we love government, addressed a theme that’s a favorite of his — calling theft theft, even when committed via Congress (emphasis added):

At least two-thirds of the federal budget represents forcing one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress.

The supreme tragedy that will lead to our undoing is that so far as personal economic self-interests are concerned, it is perfectly rational for every American to seek to live at the expense of another American. Why? Not doing so doesn’t mean he’ll pay lower federal taxes. All it means is that there will be more money for somebody else.

In other words, once Congress establishes that one person can live at the expense of another, it pays for everyone to try to do so. You say, "Williams, don’t you believe in helping your fellow man?" Yes, I do. I believe that reaching into one’s own pockets to help his fellow man is both laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pockets to help his fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

Read the whole thing. Read Do the Right Thing: The People’s Economist Speaks and More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well. Read all the Walter Williams you can get your hands on.
 

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