Thomas Sowell and His Opinion on the Wall Street Hooligans

A nationally renowned economist and thinker, Thomas Sowell’s column appears weekly in the Press Enterprise.

Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a libertarian perspective. He is currently a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Sowell was born in North Carolina, but grew up in Harlem, New York. He dropped out of high school, and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He had received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1958 and a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1959. In 1968, he earned his doctorate degree in economics from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell and University of California, Los Angeles, and worked for “think tanks” such as the Urban Institute. Since 1980 he has worked at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of more than 30 books.

Dr. Sowell writes:

The current Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama’s America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroythe lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.
It is an America where history is rewritten to honor dictators, murderers, and thieves. It is an America where violence, racism, hatred, class warfare, and murder are all promoted as acceptable means of overturning the American civil society.

It is an America where humans have been degraded to the level of animals: defecating in public, having sex in public, devoid of basic hygiene. It is in America where the basic tenets of a civil society, including faith, family, afree press and individual rights, have been rejected. It is an America where our founding documents have been shredded and, with them, every person’s guaranteed liberties.
It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the American people, but the rulers like Obama, Michelle Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi,

Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, liberal college professors, union bosses and other loyal liberal/Communist Party members will live in opulent splendor.

It is the America that Obama and the Democratic Party have created with the willing assistance of the American media, Hollywood , unions, universities, the Communist Party of America, the Black Panthers and numerous anti-American foreign entities.

Barack Obama has brought more destruction upon this country in four years than any other event in the history of our nation, but it is just the beginning of what he and his comrades are capable of. The Occupy Wall Street movement is just another step in their plan for the annihilation of America .
“Socialism, in general, has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell: Democracy vs. mob rule in ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests Published Nov 8, 2011

• In various cities across the country, mobs of mostly young, mostly incoherent, often noisy and sometimes violent demonstrators are making themselves a major nuisance. Meanwhile, many in the media are practically gushing over these “protesters,” and giving them the free publicity they crave for themselves and their cause — whatever that is, beyond venting their emotions on television. Members of the mobs apparently believe that other people, who are working while they are out trashing the streets, should be forced to subsidize their college education — and apparently the President of the United States thinks so too. But if these loud mouths’ inability to put together a coherent line of thought is any indication of their education, the taxpayers should demand their money back for having that money wasted on them for years in the public schools.

Sloppy words and sloppy thinking often go together, both in the mobs and in the media that are covering them. It is common, for example, to hear in the media how some “protesters” were arrested. But anyone who reads this column regularly knows that I protest against all sorts of things — and don’t get arrested. The difference is that I don’t block traffic, join mobs sleeping overnight in parks or urinate in the street. If the media cannot distinguish between protesting and disturbing the peace, then their education may also have wasted a lot of taxpayers’ money. Among the favorite sloppy words used by the shrill mobs in the streets is “Wall Street greed.” But even if you think people in Wall Street, or anywhere else, are making more money than they deserve, “greed” is no explanation whatever. “Greed” says how much you want. But you can become the greediest person on earth and that will not increase your pay in the slightest. It is what other people pay you that increases your income. If the government has been sending too much of the taxpayers’ money to people in Wall Street — or anywhere else — then the irresponsibility or corruption of politicians is the problem.

“Occupy Wall Street” hooligans should be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Maybe some of the bankers or financiers should have turned down the millions and billions that politicians were offering them. But sainthood is no more common in Wall Street than on Pennsylvania Avenue — or in the media or academia, for that matter. Actually, some banks did try to refuse the government bailout money, to avoid the interference with their business that they knew would come with it. But the feds insisted — and federal regulators’ power to create big financial problems for banks made it hard to say no. The feds made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. People who cannot distinguish between democracy and mob rule may fall for the idea that the hooligans in the street represent the 99 percent who are protesting about the “greed” of the 1 percent. But these hooligans are less than 1 percent and they are grossly violating the rights of vastly larger numbers of people who have to put up with their trashing of the streets by day and their noise that keeps working people awake at night. As for the “top 1 percent” in income that attract so much attention, angst and denunciation, there is always going to be a top 1 percent, unless everybody has the same income.

That top 1 percent has no more monopoly on sainthood or villainy than people in any other bracket. Moreover, that top 1 percent does not consist of the “millionaires and billionaires” that Barack Obama talks about. You don’t even have to make half a million dollars to be in the top 1 percent. Moreover, this is not an enduring class of people. Nor are people in other income brackets. Most of the people in the top 1 percent at any given time are there for only one year. Anyone who sells an average home in San Francisco can get into the top 1 percent in income — for that year. Other one-time spikes in income account for most of the people in that top 1 percent. But such plain facts carry little weight amid the heady rhetoric and mindless emotions of the mob and the media.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is

13 responses to “Thomas Sowell and His Opinion on the Wall Street Hooligans

  1. This is ture, this Wallsteet groups has zero and I mean zaro direction for what they are doing. They are almost playing in the dark.

  2. Most people do not realize that they are the root of the debt problems. Obama and future presidents can continue to make some kind of bill or agreement to “lower the debt” but it all comes down to whether the people will actually take action.

  3. it is crazy how big the gap is and how it keeps getting bigger and bigger. I never would have thought this is what was really going on.

  4. I did not know the income gap was this wide. We really need to find a way to fix the economic state that this country is in ASAP!

  5. It is ridiculous that the income gap keeps on widening and people don’t think that it is a problem. I believe that we need to stop wasting our energy and focus on things that will actually better our economy and society.

  6. Its crazy to see how our world is falling apart and no one is stepping up to fix all the problems.

  7. This is so sad because our economy is so bad and nobody knows how to fix it.

  8. this new occupy things just gets me mad because they do not know what they are talking about and just making themselves look stupid.

  9. wow its crazy how the rich will keep on getting richer, and the poor will be getting poor. Is there anything we can do to change that??

  10. Things happen and so does change but right now our country is in a struggle, and we dont know how to get out of it and the rich will countinue to be rich and the poor will be come poorer.

  11. i agree with the perspective of fiscal responsibility as well, or as they call it “wall street greed”. companies and individuals need to take responsibility and stop pointing the finger.

  12. This gives an interesting perspective on the fiscal responsibility of the so called “Wall St Greed.” Individual responsibility is the true issue. More and more we look to blame instead of accept our part in the mess.

  13. It’s true the occupy wallstreet group has no direction and is pushing for socialist governement policies weather they know it or not.The people that need to pay are the major banks that recievied bailouts, the current congressman and senators. The people are paying now for not caring before.

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