Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: October 26, 2011


“You can’t make the poor rich by making the rich poorer”

That’s a quote from attributed to Abraham Lincoln* as delivered by Richard Epstein in his discussion of economic inequality (a meme that is all the rage right now). Interestingly enough, this interview was conducted and broadcast by PBS (as tree hugging sister notes “I’m sure whoever’s idea it was has been sacked. Along with all the llama trainers”).

In any event, this is as good a retort to the #OWS nonsense as you’ll likely find. Enjoy (HT: Insty):

Watch Does U.S. Economic Inequality Have a Good Side? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

ADDED: Although Epstein doesn’t say it explicitly, essentially he describes “economic inequality” as a benign effect, rather than a malignant cause. Understanding the difference leads to understanding why allowing for the greatest number of opportunities works better at increasing everyone’s wealth instead of trying to equalize outcomes.

* Thanks to DWPittelli for pointing out this misattribution in the comments (“It was the Reverend William John Henry Boetcker (1873–1962) who wrote “you cannot help the poor by destroying the rich” and 9 other related aphorisms in 1916. A printing error in 1942 led to the confusion between some Lincoln quotes and these Boetcker quotes.”).


Wheels come off the campaign to ban handguns

For years there’s been a concerted effort to get handguns banned in the US (not to mention the best efforts of the DoJ with “Fast and Furious” to aid that effort).  And war of words has been fierce, the propaganda unrelenting and the hope eternal that the effort would succeed.

Well, it looks like the American people have looked at both sides of the argument and decided, at least for now, that those wishing to ban handguns have no case:

A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.

And there’s more:

For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.

Why? Because, I think, concealed carry laws haven’t brought the mayhem that the advocates claimed they would.  In fact, quite the opposite.  And its always nice for the bad guys who may be thinking about taking you on for whatever evil reason to have to guess.  Deterrence is the best form of self-defense.

Secondly, it may sound trite, but people have accepted the cliché “guns don’t kill people, people do” as a truth.  It isn’t the tool that’s the problem, it’s the person using the tool.

Finally, I also believe most Americans have finally realized that self-protection and self-defense are inherent responsibilities they must discharge and can’t outsource to government.  The best tool for that, ye olde equalizer, is a hand gun responsibly used.

And then, of course there’s that pesky Constitutional amendment and all.

My guess is that the dream of gun confiscation is pretty much a dead issue for right now.  Obviously that doesn’t mean it won’t again arise or, like health care, a certain party won’t simply ram something through Congress if they ever get the chance again.  But according to this poll, American’s don’t support it now and most likely wouldn’t support it if that was tried.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 26 Oct 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association reports that mortgage applications bounced back from the short Columbus Day week, rising 4.9%.

Durable Goods Orders look sluggish, with a headline report of a -0.8% drop, but ex-transportation, orders rose   1.7%.

New home sales jumped 5.7% in September to a 313k annual rate, but the increase comes at the expense of a 3.1% drop in prices.

~
Dale Franks
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When controlling cost becomes primary, the care given becomes secondary

The concept in the title isn’t a difficult one to grasp, yet it seems to be one that eludes any number of people who think government can cut medical care costs and improve care simultaneously.

A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

So what does that mean?  Well, it’s a vicious circle that ends up costing more, because of one tiny problem:

In Arizona, hospitals won’t discharge or refuse to admit patients who medically need to be there, said Peter Wertheim, spokesman for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. "Hospitals will get stuck with the bill," he said.

That will most likely be the case for all hospitals.

And the result?

Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients.

Econ 101.

And what will happen?

Cost will continue to spiral upward for everyone.

And continue to do so.

Meanwhile:

For fiscal 2012, the association estimated state Medicaid spending will rise 19%, largely because of the end of the federal stimulus dollars.

The program served 69 million people last year.

That number will go up as millions are added under ObamaCare.

Your “cost cutting” government at work.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Only government can save you from having to be self-reliant

Read this lead sentence and weep for this country:

At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America.

A “painful era of self-reliance”? Self-reliance is a negative thing?  Well yes if your ideal is a social welfare state.  The trait that helped build this country into a great nation is now a negative according to Barack Obama:

“The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel.

Oh, man … that would just be terrible.

You mean I’d have to take care of myself?  I’d have to do what is necessary to ensure I had a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in the pantry? 

Oh, no.

You mean I wouldn’t have to put up with intrusive regulation and government involvement and control in every aspect of my life?

Please, say it ain’t so.

Would I be treated to a government that took less of my money in taxes because it was smaller, less intrusive and costs less?

How horrible.

Whatever happened to American pride in self-reliance for heaven sake?  Whatever happened to those who sought this place out because it was peopled with the self-reliant?  Now the possibility of having to be self reliant is to be feared?  Now only government can “save” you from having to be “on your own”?

What a pitiful mess this place has become.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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