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Pithy reminders of economic and other truths
on August 7, 2011
The book reprints several years of Williams' newspaper essays. As a result, it is a series of short expositions of the folly of our modern government, both of Democrats and Republicans. His main objection, though, is to the misunderstanding by most of our citizens of the meaning and value of individual liberty. Some of his arguments are cast in general terms, but at least half are based on a careful use of hard economic data, such as his pointing out that very few people who completed high school, married and stayed that way, and avoided activities that would put them in jail are poor, at least past their 25th birthday. When controlling for factors such as this, there is no difference in income between whites and blacks.
He makes several arguments based on a clear understanding of basic economics and politics. For example, he points out that it would be much cheaper for the government simply to pay steel workers displaced by foreign competition $100,000 a year to sit on the beach than to impose costs of $800,000 per saved job on the rest of the economy. But, of course, we wouldn't do that because then we would have to face these costs directly.
Perhaps half of the essays essentially rehash material from earlier ones, so reading can be a bit tedious. Still, his several basic points are worth repeating, so read the book, but don't expect organizatinal brilliance.