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Archive for January, 2013


What Entitlement to Address First

Let’s start with the easiest entitlement to deal with. This is social security. Instead of increasing the retirement age, let’s go back to the beginnings of social security. I do not believe that it was initially intended to be a welfare program. Furthermore, many social security recipients do not believe that it has become a welfare program. They think they have earned the right to receive the payments they receive. However, this is not the case on average. So what I propose is to turn the social security program into a financially sound annuity program. In order to pull this off, I suggest a new and a specialized type of government bond. Of course, such a program could be phased in or introduced only for people of a certain age or less, say 55. I like annuities and hope that social security can be made coherent.


Guns and Hammers

Gun issues are front and center in the news. The social engineers who seek to address gun issues are like the proverbial man with a hammer to whom everything seems like a nail. Of course the statists believe that it is more regulation that will reduce gun violence. The gun lobby believes that armed officers in schools would solve the problem. The psychiatrists think that we need to be more attentive to mentally ill people. I hope that the economists would think about what the costs and benefits might be for any proposed solutions. I’m not sure that we have heard from the architects yet, but surely it is obvious that we don’t want schools to have entrances that encourage shooters to shoot their way in. Perhaps steel doors at entrances and atriums for recess are good ideas. Those who decry the immoral behavior exhibited in computer games are quick to point out that the mass murderers might be emulating the violent aspects of these games. Similarly, those who do not like the tone of movies from Hollywood gloat over the inconsistency of the denizens of Hollywood being horrified by the mass murders while blithely producing films that glorify similar violence.

So what kind of ideas are emerging from this babble? Well, the statists are pushing such things as limiting the size of magazines and eliminating rifles that look like assault weapons. This has been tried before and no data has emerged that suggests that gun violence decreased with the regulation or increased with the ending of the regulation. So it appears that the purpose of this regulation would just be a sharp stick in the eye of gun enthusiasts who enjoy going to the range and shooting a target rapidly and repeatedly.

One of the big ideas is that individual to individual sales, whether at gun shows or through newspaper advertisements, should involve checks of the buyers’ worthiness. This would be relatively easy to achieve for long guns at gun shows, but more difficult elsewhere. However, this would essentially close down sales of pistols where there are waiting periods except sales to dealers. What would be the problem if the government would require that all auto sales had to be to dealers? Of course, the seller’s price would suffer. The same is true for guns.

There has been quite a bit written lately about gun free zones. These zones would include theaters that do not permit concealed-carry and cities like Chicago where regulations are already very extensive. Some observers have noted that gun violence is actually higher in gun free zones. Statists will argue that the higher violence is simply the result of not having sufficiently extreme restrictions. Critics will point out that it appears that those who carry out gun violence appear to be purposefully selecting gun free zones.

Some in the prosecutorial community have begun to talk about the vigor, or lack of it, in prosecuting gun crimes. But of course, this will not deter the insane individual who will commit only one gun crime . . . but a big one. On the other hand, this might partly address the larger problem of drug related shootings.

One of the recent mass shootings was apparently stopped because the gun jammed. Perhaps this suggests that only poor quality guns, prone to jamming, should be allowed.

Let’s keep in mind that the largest category of the 30,000 shooting deaths per year is suicides. What would you like to do about that? Do you prefer suicide by prescription drugs? Refusing hydration?