Economist and conservative public intellectual Thomas Sowell announced his retirement in his final column Tuesday.
“Even the best things come to an end. After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long,” Sowell wrote.
Known for his wit and engaging social commentary, Sowell’s words have been quoted by others for decades. Here are 50 of his greatest thoughts that he shared with the public over the years:
- “If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.”
- “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”
- “The biggest and most deadly ‘tax’ rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits—food stamps, housing subsidies and the like—if their income goes up.”
- “The real minimum wage is zero.”
- “Elections should be held on April 16th—the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”
- “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”
- “Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life.”
- “The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.”
- “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”
- “The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.”
- “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”