Some conservatives will readily admit that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has his share of flaws as a candidate. But he is still much more preferable than the alternative, President Barack Obama, according to Hoover Institution scholar-in-residence Thomas Sowell.
“I don’t think Mitt Romney is going to be sparking riots against the American embassies around the world,” Sowell, the author of “Intellectuals and Society: Revised and Expanded Edition,” said said in an appearance on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto” on Thursday. “[I]t’s not a question of whether they love you or not. The question is whether they respect you. You know, I’m sure the Iranians did not love Ronald Reagan. But the fact is they’ve made it their business to get those hostages loose before Ronald Reagan took the oath of office — in fact, hours before Ronald Reagan took the oath of office.”
Responding to Romney’s much-publicized 47-percent remarks about those living off the government last week, Sowell said you want to make that point with your policy proposals and not necessarily just rhetoric, as Reagan managed to in the 1980s.
“Undoubtedly, I think that’s one of the reasons they don’t come out and say what they want to say,” Sowell said. “I don’t think there’s anything callous about wanting able-bodied men to work. You know, what I think is truly callous is having a system and a set of policies that, in fact, hurts the poor. I mean, most — you mentioned Reagan. Now, I came across an old real copy of The New York Times, which had the front page headlines that the black-white income difference had narrowed slightly during the 1980s. Now, that’s the Reagan administration. More recently, the black-white income difference has widened greatly under Barack Obama. And yet, Reagan is never regarded as being someone who’s for the poor or for what not. And Obama is.”
“So the real question is not what is — how does he talk, how does he come across,” Sowell continued. “The question is what do his policies do to people? And I think, for example, minimum wages — I was shocked to hear Romney say he’d be for it. Minimum wages have done enormous damage to young blacks. If you back to the mid-1940s, the unemployment rate among black teenagers was a fraction of what it is has been — it was a fraction in 1949, which was a recession year, of what it has been and even in the most prosperous years since then.”
“And the difference was that in 1949, the minimum wage law had not been upgraded since 1938. So for all practical purposes, it had been destroyed by inflation. Once you start reinstating the minimum wage with increases, then you begin to get to 20, 30, 40 percent unemployment rate among black teenagers. But in the late 40s, there were years when a black 16-year-olds had unemployment rates under 10 percent. Now, the question is not whether you’re empathizing or not. The question is whether your policies are ruining people.”
Cavuto later asked Sowell if he thought Obama is like Reagan’s 1980 opponent, little-loved former President Jimmy Carter.
“I think Barack Obama is worse than Jimmy Carter,” Sowell said. “Carter had many foolish policies internationally as well as domestically. But I think Obama has outdone him in both respects.”