Monday, April 29, 2013

Stop the Senseless Pretense That BGCs Stop Criminals

"One difficulty with that argument: As Cook and Ludwig note, most people who use guns to commit crimes—including almost all mass shooters—could have passed a background check. But what about the rest? Would they be thwarted by a broader screening requirement?

"Probably not. Forcing private sellers at gun shows to arrange background checks with the help of licensed dealers is relatively straightforward. But in that 2004 inmate survey, less than 2 percent of respondents said they had bought weapons at gun shows or flea markets.

"Three sources accounted for almost nine out of 10 crime guns: "friends or family" (40 percent), "the street" (38 percent), and theft (10 percent). It is hard to see how any notional background check requirement, even one applying to all private transfers, can reasonably be expected to have a significant impact on these sources. As usual with gun control, the attempt to enforce such a requirement would impose costs and uncertain legal risks on law-abiding gun owners while leaving criminals free to go about their business."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Minimum Wage Delusion

"A minimum-wage law is simply a form of price control preventing anyone from selling his labor below a certain price. Whenever a minimum price is established above the natural market exchange rate for labor, some portion of the labor market will not find a buyer/employer. It is a simple supply and demand question; the higher a wage you must give, the more people seek the wage and the less number of higher wage jobs will be offered. A minimum wage inevitably creates a surplus of labor and thus higher unemployment, especially among unskilled workers for which the wage laws are supposed to help. These facts can't seem to overcome delusional wisdom as minimum wage laws have been around for almost 100 years.

The first minimum wage, enacted in Washington D.C., was struck down in 1923 by the Supreme Court, which said the law was unconstitutional because it "restricted the worker's rights to set the price for his own labor." The precursor to the modern minimum wage law began in 1931 with the Davis Bacon Act; which allowed whites to discriminate against blacks in the workplace because it protected the wages of unionized white construction workers from competition with black workers. Stunningly, this remnant of Jim Crow is still on the books. The first federal minimum-wage law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed in 1938 under FDR."

As H. L. Mencken observed, “There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.” Minimum wage laws score extremely well on all three counts."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Red States

Perhaps this is how economic liberty can be saved in the USA.
"Among the 10 fastest-growing metro areas last year were Raleigh, Austin, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. All of these are in low-tax, business-friendly red states. Blue-state areas such as Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Providence and Rochester were among the biggest population losers.
"This migration isn't accidental. Workers and business owners are responding to clear economic incentives. Red states in the Southeast and Sunbelt are following the Reagan model by reducing tax rates and easing regulations. They also offer right-to-work laws as an enticement for businesses to come and set up shop. Meanwhile, the blue states of the Northeast, joined by California, Minnesota and Illinois, are implementing the Obama model of raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy to fund government "investments" and union power.
"The contrast sets up a wonderful natural laboratory to test rival economic ideas.
"Consider the South. We predict that within a decade five or six states in Dixie could entirely eliminate their income taxes. This would mean that the region stretching from Florida through Texas and Louisiana could become a vast state income-tax free zone.
"Three of these states—Florida, Texas and Tennessee—already impose no income tax. Louisiana and North Carolina, both with bold Republican governors and legislatures, are moving quickly ahead with plans to eliminate theirs. Just to the west, Kansas and Oklahoma are also devising plans to replace their income taxes with more growth-friendly expanded sales taxes and energy extraction taxes. Utah, while not a Southern state, leads the tax-cutting pack under Republican Gov. Gary Herbert."

Robinson Stories

Received in an email from:

Baseball was the theme last night at the White House, where POTUS
screened "42," the new movie about Jackie Robinson. The president warmly greeted the pioneering ballplayer's widow beforehand.

Robinson broke baseball's color barrier 66 years ago this April.

The first week of April in 1947, as the Dodgers prepared to break camp and head back to New York for the start of the season, Brooklyn's general manager, Branch Rickey, had a great deal on his plate. He and manager Leo Durocher had managed to squelch a petition by five Southern players to keep Jackie Robinson off the roster.

Durocher, as was his wont, had cussed out the players; Rickey had traded one of the ringleaders, South Carolina-born Kirby Higbe, to the Pirates. But then slugging outfielder Dixie Walker, Brooklyn's most popular player, asked to be traded.

Rickey also learned that Major League Baseball was investigating Durocher's association with gamblers - Leo the Lip would be suspended for the 1947 season - and as the GM prepared to integrate the team he was increasingly dependent on star shortstop Pee Wee Reese, a Kentuckian whose attitudes on race were unknown.

Reese had grown up under the apron of segregation. But he'd served in the Navy in World War II, and he developed a pretty good idea of where rampant racism could lead. The team's captain, Reese refused to sign the petition, explaining later that he simply thought Robinson "had a right to be there."

Jackie Robinson debuted in the big leagues on April 15, 1947, playing first base against the Boston Braves in the Dodgers' home opener at Ebbets Field. Since Branch Rickey had signed Robinson in 1945, the two men had been planning for this moment. Rickey had warned Jack - that's what his friends and family called him - that the worst kind of race-baiting would come his way, and that he'd have to keep his cool.

Are you looking, Robinson asked Rickey, for a black man "who is afraid to fight back?"

"I need," Rickey replied, "a player who has the guts not to fight back." Robinson had fortitude aplenty, but that first year he also needed a friend. He found it in the well-regarded shortstop of the team known by its fans as the "Brooklyn Bums."

Recollections differ as to what exactly happened - or even where. Most Dodgers thought it was in Cincinnati, although Duke Snider thought it was Boston, but during one road game the heckling got louder, the racial epithets more vicious. It got to Robinson, and his teammates could tell - one teammate in particular.

"Pee Wee kind of sensed the sort of helpless, dead feeling in me," Robinson told biographer Arnold Rampersad. Suddenly, Reese was on his side of the baseball diamond, standing beside Robinson in solidarity. Some said Pee Wee put his arm around the rookie. Others said he was just standing close to him, as a silent rebuke to the racists.

Miraculously, it must have seemed to Robinson, the taunts died down.

"I remember Jackie talking about Pee Wee's gesture the day it happened," Rachel Robinson recalled in 2005. "It came as such a relief to him, that a teammate and the captain of the team would go out of his way in such a public fashion to express friendship."

"He didn't say a word, but he looked over at the chaps who were yelling at me and just stared," Jack Robinson told Rampersad. "He was standing by me, I could tell you that. I will never forget it."

In that simple way, in that season, Brooklyn's beloved Bums did their part to chip away at the imposing, but essentially empty, edifice known as Jim Crow.

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Editor
Twitter: @CarlCannon