This Week In Quotes: Jan 1, 2014 – Jan 9, 2014


But while upper-middle-class voters are happy to support higher taxes on 1 percenters – not least because they’re tired of trying to compete with them for schools and real estate – they don’t necessarily want a program that would require their own taxes to rise substantially. And this is a problem for the populist left, because to build the kind of welfare state – European, Scandinavian – that seems to really level incomes, you need lots of tax dollars from the non-rich. Yet the current Democratic coalition has been built on a promise to never raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000 … or maybe $400,000 … or possibly $500,000, the threshold de Blasio chose. That promise has made it safe for many well-off voters, in New York and elsewhere, to cast votes for liberal populism. But it’s also made it impossible for the populist war on inequality to ever actually be won. — Ross Douthat

As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out. — Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates

In 1964, 19.0 percent of Americans fell below the federal poverty level. But they were not equally distributed demographically. Members of families were less likely to be in poverty (17.4 percent) than Americans overall. But Americans in families headed by a female with no husband present were far more likely to be in poverty (44.4 percent) than Americans overall.

Since 1964, the poverty rate for people in families headed by females without husbands has never dropped below the 28.5 percent it hit in 2000. In 2012, it was 33.9 percent.

Could differences in family structure contribute to differences in family income?

In 2012, households headed by females without a spouse had a median income of $30,686. Households headed by a male without a spouse had a median income of $42,358. Households with married couples had a median income of $75,535.

What about children? Could they make a difference?

Single women did better if they had no children. The median income for a female householder who had no children was $42,147 in 2012. The median income for a single woman who had one or more children 18 or younger was $25,493.

But married couples did better with children. The median income for a married couple with no children under 18 was $70,902. The median income for a married couple with one or more children under 18 was $81,455. — Terry Jeffrey

Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution writes in the journal National Affairs, “Census data show that if all Americans finished high school, worked full time at whatever job they then qualified for with their education, and married at the same rate as Americans had married in 1970, the poverty rate would be cut by around 70 percent – without additional government spending.” — Rich Lowry

The breakdown of marriage, in particular, drives impoverishment. The poverty rate is about six times higher for single-parent families than two-parent families. About 70 percent of all poor families with children are single-parent families. According to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, if single mothers were to marry the fathers of the children, about two-thirds of them would no longer be poor, in a stupendously effective anti-poverty program. — Rich Lowry

Then there’s education. A college degree is a rocket booster on income mobility. Among children from families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution, 84 percent of those who go on to get a college degree will escape the bottom fifth, and 19 percent will make it all the way to the top fifth, according to Haskins. Among kids from those families who don’t get a degree, 45 percent will remain in the bottom fifth. — Rich Lowry

(34% is) The unemployment rate for Americans ages 16-17. The unemployment rate for teenage Hispanic Americans is 48%, and the rate for teenage Black Americans is 60%. — Numbers USA

To say that amnesty is a civil right is to effectively declare to the world the right to enter the United States without permission, to bring one’s family, and to receive all of the financial benefits our nation provides. To say that one has a right to freely violate our immigration laws is to deny the very idea that a nation can establish enforceable borders. — Jeff Sessions

Rhetoric lags behind reality. Many in Washington argue that we must urgently pry loose the ports of entry, seemingly unaware that those ports of entry have long ago been flung wide open: The U.S. admits more immigrants each year than any other country on earth. In fact, the number of immigrants to the U.S. has quadrupled over the past four decades, and more permanent residents were admitted in the past ten years than in any previous ten-year window. Just last year the U.S. admitted over 1 million mostly lower-skill permanent immigrants (who can apply for citizenship) in addition to roughly 700,000 guest workers, 200,000 family members of guest workers, and 500,000 students. — Jeff Sessions

Socialism states that you owe me something simply because I exist. Capitalism, by contrast, results in a sort of reality-forced altruism: I may not want to help you, I may dislike you, but if I don’t give you a product or service you want, I will starve. Voluntary exchange is more moral than forced redistribution. Socialism violates at least three of the Ten Commandments: It turns government into God, it legalizes thievery and it elevates covetousness. Discussions of income inequality, after all, aren’t about prosperity but about petty spite. Why should you care how much money I make, so long as you are happy? — Ben Shapiro

The president thinks America has inequality issues. What it has – what he has – is an envy problem. — Brett Stephens

Big Climate is slowly being crushed by a hard, icy reality: if you’re heading off to university this year, there has been no global warming since before you were in kindergarten. That’s to say, the story of the early 21st century is that the climate declined to follow the climate ‘models’. — Mark Steyn

Less than 3 percent of the workforce earns the minimum; more than 60 percent of those who do earn it get a raise within a year; more than half of minimum-wage earners are students or other part-time workers from households with average incomes of $53,000. — George Will

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