Children dying in Accidental Shootings and in Hot Cars

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Accidents happen.  And people die.  Even children.  Some of these accidents we are more willing to forgive.  While some accidents we are not quite so willing to forgive (see Another Day, Another “Accidental” Child Shooting Death by Justin Peters posted 5/31/2013 on Slate).

On Wednesday, a two-year-old Texas boy named Trenton Mathis accidentally shot and killed himself with a handgun he found sitting on his great-grandfather’s nightstand. According to the website of KLTV, Mathis had gone into his great-grandparents’ bedroom in search of chewing gum. Instead, he found a loaded 9 mm handgun, which he used to shoot himself in the face. Mathis was pronounced dead at a Tyler, Texas hospital. He would have turned three years old in July.

Trenton Mathis didn’t have to die. His senseless death is a direct result of this country’s baffling indifference toward the basic principles of gun safety. As I’ve written before, “accidental” child shooting deaths are almost never truly accidental. They happen because parents and guardians keep their guns loaded and unattended in unsecured locations where children can easily get to them. Mathis’ great-grandmother told KLTV that her husband thought he had locked and closed the door to the room where he kept his handgun. He was wrong.

He goes on to note how many accidental deaths there were.  So far this year he noted 6 accidental shootings.  All tragedies of epic proportions.  Devastating all those connected to the tragedy.  But note the differences in tone when talking about accidental gun deaths.  And some other accidental deaths (see Child deaths in hot cars soar in May by Jayne O’Donnell posted 5/31/2013 on USA Today).

Summer hasn’t even arrived and the number of children who have died after being left in hot cars is nearly double the average for May, the advocacy group Kids and Cars said Friday.

Seven children died in hot cars during a 16-day period in four states. All but one was left by a family member, the group says…

“The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them, that they are not capable of inadvertently leaving their child behind,” says Kids and Cars founder Janette Fennell. “This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents.

That’s 7 accidental deaths in a 16-day period.  Compared to 6 accidental gun deaths in a 5 month period.  So children run a greater risk of being forgotten in a hot car than being accidentally shot.  Yet the adults in the less common accident, the gun accidents, might as well have pulled the trigger themselves.  For they are such horrible and irresponsible people.  But when it comes to the more common accident, forgetting a child in a hot car, we are much more forgiving and say these accidents can happen to anyone.

Any accident that results in the death of a child is a sad tragedy.  And no one knows that better than the person who might have prevented that accident.  Whose life will never be the same.  Whether a great-grandfather left a loaded handgun in his nightstand because the neighborhood isn’t as safe as it once was.  Or someone forgets that they have their child on a day they normally don’t.  Accidents do happen.  And it takes so little for them to happen.  The smallest irrelevant thing can distract your attention for a fraction of a second.  And in that fraction of a second events can unfold that will forever change your life.  Leaving you to live your remaining days knowing that it was your accident that caused such a horrible thing.

People need to be more careful.  As children are an awesome responsibility.  But accidents are accidents.  And you really can’t say one is worse than another.  Or one is better than another.  Even if more children die in hot cars than in accidental shootings.  For the people responsible for these accidents will no doubt feel the same anguish and depression for what they allowed to happen.

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Bad Liberal Democrat Policies chased the Industrial Base out of Detroit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

A growing population is to government coffers what growing revenue is to business.  More money.  Governments at all levels collect their money by taxing the population.  The greater the population is the greater the amount of taxes they collect.  So a growing population increases the money coming into a government’s coffers.  While a shrinking population gives you a Detroit (see How to save a city by knocking down thousands of its buildings by Tim Fernholz posted 5/31/2013 on Yahoo! Finance).

The problem with Detroit, which could soon host the largest municipal bankruptcy in the country’s history, is its shrinking population. With its industrial base decimated by automation and outsourcing, a city of 1 million people in 1990 dropped to 700,000 this year, with 200,000 people leaving the city since 2008. That reduced the taxe base to fund public services. Fewer public services coupled with lower population density weighed on crime, public health and the economy.

Yes, its industrial base was decimated by the loss of all those manufacturing jobs.  But the real question is why businesses left Detroit.  And there is only one reason why a business leaves one location for another one.  Because of a more business-friendly environment elsewhere.

Detroit became a liberal Democrat bastion.  Supported by high taxes.  Including a city income tax.  And costly regulations.  These are what chased businesses out of Detroit.  After decades of this nonsense the regulations for doing work in the city grew so great that business just went elsewhere.  Or cheated the regulations.

Money flowed into city coffers.  And the public sector grew.  Including generous pay and benefit packages for their public sector workers.  Paid for with wealth they transferred from the private sector to the public sector.  Until the private sector said enough is enough.  And left the city.  For a more business-friendly environment somewhere else.  Taking all of those jobs with them.  And with no jobs people left the city.  Looking for jobs.  But as the tax base shrunk the public sector remained bloated.  Which was a problem.  A big problem.  As more and more money went for those pay and benefit packages.  Including generous pensions and health care benefits.  And less to city services.  Causing urban decay.  In time this accelerated.  With fewer and fewer people paying the taxes to support the public sector.  And when they could no longer support the public sector the city started running deficits.  Pushing it towards the “largest municipal bankruptcy in the country’s history.”  All because of an unfriendly business environment.

So this is what decimated the city’s industrial base.  Anti-business liberal Democrat policies.  For if the city wasn’t so anti-business the industrial base would still be there going strong.  Attracting new businesses from other anti-business locations.  Instead of what they have in Detroit.  A city half the size it once was.  Where they talk about tearing down houses and turning these old neighborhoods into farmland.  In what once was the automobile capital of the world.  Amazing what bad liberal Democrat policies can do.

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A Mining Boom has caused Gold to fall while Gasoline continues to Rise

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Gold and oil share something in common.  We price both of these commodities in U.S. dollars.  Which makes it difficult to hide inflation in these commodities.  Food companies can shrink package sizing to keep from having to raise their prices to factor in inflation.  But you can’t do that when you sell oil by a fixed quantity.  A barrel.  Or gold.  Which we sell by the ounce.  Which means if you depreciate the dollar (with quantitative easing where we print money to buy bonds to increase the money supply so as to lower interest rates to encourage people to borrow money and buy things) you have to increase the price of these commodities.  Because if you make the money worth less it will take more of it to buy what it once bought.

But gold and oil also have a major difference.  While an increase in the price of gold encourages gold mines to bring more gold to market environmental concerns have prevented people from bringing more oil to market.   It is because of this that the price of gold has fallen while gasoline prices are rising again (see The Gold Standard by SARAH MAX posted 6/1/2013 on Barron’s).

Gold prices rise in times of economic malaise—hence its 23% rise in 2009 and 27% rise in 2010. When prices are rising, mining stocks have historically outperformed the physical asset. Yet gold-mining stocks have lagged over the past few years, even before the price of gold plummeted from its August 2011 high of roughly $1,900 a troy ounce to less than $1,400 today. “The main reason is cost inflation,” says Foster, explaining that a global mining boom has driven up the costs of labor and materials, while forcing miners to look farther afield for new gold deposits.

As the government inflates the money supply it reduces our purchasing power.  This erodes the value of our savings.  Making the money we worked hard for and put in the bank to pay for our retirement unable to buy as much as we hoped it would.  This is why people buy gold.  Because gold will hold its value.  If they increase the money supply by 20% the price of gold should rise, too.  Close to that 20%.  So when the Federal Reserve finally abandons their inflationary policies people can sell their gold and put their retirement savings back into the bank.  Adjusted, of course, for inflation.

The price of gold has fallen despite the Fed’s quantitative easing still going strong.  So if the dollar is worth less how come it now takes fewer of them, instead of more of them, to buy a given amount of gold?  Supply and demand.  With the high gold price people mined more gold and brought it to market.  Increasing the supply.  And lowering the price.  But because the Fed is still depreciating the dollar costs continue to rise.  Making it more costly for these mining companies to mine and bring gold to market.  Reducing their profits.  And the cost of their stock.

If only the oil business was free to operate like this.  For with the Fed depreciating the dollar they’re raising the price of a barrel of oil.  Making it attractive to bring more oil to market.  But wherever it can the federal government has shut down oil exploration and production.  To appease the environmentalists in their political base.  So, instead, gasoline prices continue to rise.  While gold prices fall.  And the dollar continues to depreciate.  Which will one day ignite a vicious inflation.  Much like it did in the Seventies.  And then it will take a nasty recession to get rid of that vicious inflation.  Like we had in the Eighties.  But at least in the Eighties we had one of the strongest and longest economic expansion follow that nasty recession.  Thanks to a strong dollar.  Low taxes.  And a reduction of regulatory costs.  Something the current administration clearly opposes. So we’ll probably have the inflation.  And the recession.  But not the economic expansion.  For that we may have to wait for the next Republican administration.

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North Korea turning to Free Markets to End Famine and Abject Poverty

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Our public schools are teaching our children that capitalism is evil and unfair.  That government is needed to prevent business owners from making too much profit at the people’s expense.  Our public schools teach our kids this because the left controls our public schools.  And the left hates capitalism.  They would love to replace capitalism with socialism.  An egalitarian system that puts people before profits.  Because putting people before profits is the only way to truly increase the quality of life.  Unless you actually live in a place where they put people before profits (see NKorean farmers planting rice with profits in mind by AP posted 5/31/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Farmers say they have begun working under the new policies, which are designed to boost production by giving managers and workers financial incentives. Foreign analysts say the moves to spur North Korea’s moribund economy suggest Pyongyang is taking cues from Beijing on how to incorporate free market ideas within its rigid socialist system…

Impoverished North Korea suffers chronic food and power shortages and has not released economic data for decades. South Korea’s central bank estimates the North’s gross national income, an indicator of the average standard of living, was $1,250 per person in 2011 compared with $23,400 in South Korea.

In the past, the North Korean state set workers’ salaries. Under new measures announced April 1, the managers of farms, factories and other enterprises have been given leeway to set salaries and offer raises to workers who help drive up production…

Beijing dismantled its centrally planned economy slowly. In the 1970s, it began allowing farmers to keep more of their harvests, giving them an incentive to grow more to sell on newly permitted free markets. Food production soared.

In the mid-’80s, the government gave state enterprises the authority to link bonuses and salaries to better performance. Those changes were mostly aimed at managers, but they cracked a communist-era preference for egalitarianism.

New rules in the early 1990s gave state enterprises full flexibility to set wages, widening the use of performance incentives. In that decade, China truly broke away from its centralized “iron rice bowl” system of guaranteed employment and state-set incomes…

At the Tongbong farm in the eastern city of Hamhung, farmers are in the midst of a busy rice planting season after a long, cold winter.

A long, cold winter?  Guess there’s no global warming in North Korea.

North Korea’s “rigid socialist system” has impoverished and starved her people.  As well as left them in the dark as they don’t have the energy to light up the night.  This is egalitarianism.  Everyone’s life is equally miserable.  This is what socialism gets you.  Countries like North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union and China under Mao.  Countries notable for their abject poverty.  And occasional famine.  This is what the left wants America to be.  Egalitarian.  Where we put people before profits.  Where no one has any incentive to do anything.  Because working harder than the next guy doesn’t improve your lot in life.  So you don’t work harder.  You do the minimum.  Because why work harder when the outcome is always the same?  Misery.

No doubt the American left disapproves of North Korea’s introduction of market forces.  And the profit incentive.  For it puts profits before people.  They’d rather see another layer of bureaucracy.  And another 5-year plan.  Where brilliant government elites think brilliantly to solve the nation’s problems.  Instead of leaving it to the chaos of the free markets.  For what did the chaos of the free markets ever do for the people?  Other than give them an obesity problem while socialism gives her people famine.  Free markets give her people smartphones and the Internet.  While Socialism can’t even light up the night.  And free markets give her people peace and happiness.  While socialism gives her people fear and intimidation.

Of course, the American left doesn’t have a problem giving fear and intimidation to some people.  As the IRS persecution of conservatives shows.  Which is perhaps why the American left admires socialism so much.  Why they insist that we put people before profits.  Because when we do we move closer to a police state like they have in North Korea.  Something the American left no doubt would like.  For it would make it easier for them to persecute their political enemies.

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Obamacare will Double Insurance Premiums in California

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

The proponents of Obamacare say it will lower the cost of health insurance, give health insurance to the poor who can’t afford it and cover people with preexisting conditions.  That is, we’ll get more for less.  In all of recorded history there have been few examples of getting more for less.  Usually you have to go to scripture to find them.  Such as when Jesus fed about 4,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish.  This is what the proponents of Obamacare believe Obamacare will do.  A miracle.  Even though a great many of them don’t even believe in Jesus Christ.  Or miracles.  And for Obamacare to do all that they say it will do will take a miracle or two (see Rate Shock: In California, Obamacare To Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums By 64-146% by Avik Roy posted 5/30/2013 on Forbes).

Last week, the state of California claimed that its version of Obamacare’s health insurance exchange would actually reduce premiums. “These rates are way below the worst-case gloom-and-doom scenarios we have heard,” boasted Peter Lee, executive director of the California exchange. But the data that Lee released tells a different story: Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent…

That Obamacare more than doubles insurance premiums for many Californians is especially ironic, given the political posturing of the President and his administration in 2010. In February of that year, Anthem Blue Cross announced that some groups (but not the majority) would face premium increases of as much as 39 percent. The White House and its allies in the blogosphere, cynically, claimed that these increases were due to greedy profiteering by the insurers, instead of changes in the underlying costs of the insured population.

Soon after, WellPoint announced that, in fact, because of lower revenues and higher spending on patient care, the company earned 11 percent less in 2010 than it did in 2009. So much for greedy profiteering.

This is no surprise.  Because you can’t just give health insurance to those who don’t have it without someone paying for it.  And you just can’t let people who don’t have health insurance buy a policy when they come down with a costly medical condition without someone paying for it.  Before Obamacare these people didn’t have health insurance.  After Obamacare these people will.  But someone has to pay for it.  And guess who that will be?  Those who pay for health insurance.  Who will now have to pay more as more people will be consuming health care benefits without paying for it themselves.

This is no mystery.  And most people seem to understand this when it comes to income taxes.  As they will vote to raise taxes on rich people so the government can afford to give them more free stuff.  People understand this.  They say the rich should pay their fair share so those who don’t can get stuff for free.  They understand the principle that for some people to get something for free other people have to pay for it.  When it comes to taxes, at least.  But somehow they act surprised when the very same thing happens in health care.

Allowing people with a preexisting condition who didn’t bother to pay for health insurance to buy a policy at the same price as everyone else is unfair.  Because when they were healthy they did not contribute to the health care system by paying an insurance premium.  But now that they are sick they expect others to chip in and help pay their medical expenses when they refused to do it when they had a chance.  And with no annual or lifetime limit to benefits those other people will have to pay even more.  This is what Obamacare will do.  So it was never going to lower the cost of health care.  Because you can’t get more for less.  Unless you’re Jesus Christ.  So, yes, prices will soar for the responsible people who pay for health insurance.

As the Obama administration tries to change the United States into a social democracy like all those European states suffering debt crises and recessions there will be a strong incentive NOT to do well.  For those who do well and prosper get rewarded by paying the bill for those who do not.  From those according to ability to those according to need.  It sounds so utopian.  But what happens in socialist countries is that people try to show as little ability as possible while showing as much need as they can.  Because that’s how you prosper under socialism.  Have other people work hard while you enjoy the fruit of all their labors.  And never show ability.  Because if you do you will only work harder than the guy that doesn’t.

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