Does rise in Knife crime call for Knife-Control Legislation?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2013

Week in Review

Every time there is a killing involving a gun the left tries to revive the gun control debate.  But they say nothing about box cutters (see Teen ‘infatuated’ with murdered teacher by Bob Fredericks posted 10/24/2013 on the New York Post).

The 14-year old accused of fatally slashing pretty math teacher Colleen Ritzer may have been infatuated with her and snapped when she spurned his advances, according to a new report Thursday…

Chism confessed to cops that he slashed her throat with a box cutter after following her into a women’s restroom at the school, a Boston TV station reported Thursday.

Or knives (see 5 Dead in Brooklyn Stabbing by EMMA G. FITZSIMMONS posted 10/27/2013 on The New York Times).

Five people were killed in a stabbing in Brooklyn on Saturday night, officials said.

Does the left try to restrict box-cutter and knife ownership?  No.  Yet there were probably more knife deaths in New York this past week than gun deaths.  Of course they would say it wasn’t the box-cutter or the knife that killed these people.  It was the people using these implements that killed these people.  For the vast majority of box-cutter owners and knife owners use these cutting implements responsibly.  Just like gun owners.  But gun owners will never get that consideration.

If these victims had a gun these grisly murders might not have been.  For a gun takes away the advantage of a bigger and stronger assailant.  So someone of a smaller physical stature doesn’t have to be a victim.  And it lets them engage a person with a knife BEFORE the knife-wielding attacker can get close enough to use that knife.  Giving the advantage to the defender in a knife attack.  Which gun control legislation will take away.  Giving the advantage back to the bad guy.

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Young Obama Supporters take a Knee to the Crotch under Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2013

Week in Review

First it was the government shutdown.  Then it was the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website.  Both diversions to a bigger tragedy lurking beneath the surface of their rosy predictions of how great Obamacare was going to be.  The truth of how bad Obamacare already is (see Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out by Chad Terhune posted 10/26/2013 on the Los Angeles Times).

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.

Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.

“This is when the actual sticker shock comes into play for people,” said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “There are winners and losers under the Affordable Care Act…”

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

Nearly 2 million Californians have individual insurance, and several hundred thousand of them are losing their health plans in a matter of weeks…

A number of factors are driving up rates. In a report this year, consultants hired by the state said the influx of sicker patients as a result of guaranteed coverage was the biggest single reason for higher premiums. Bob Cosway, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman Inc. in San Diego, estimated that the average individual premium in 2014 will rise 27% because of that difference alone.

Individual policies must also cover a higher percentage of overall medical costs and include 10 “essential health benefits,” such as prescription drugs and mental health services. The aim is to fill gaps in coverage and provide consumers more peace of mind. But those expanded benefits have to be paid for with higher premiums…

“It has the effect of benefiting people in their 50s and 60s and shifting costs to people in their 20s and 30s,” said Patrick Johnston, president of the California Assn. of Health Plans. “Benefits are being increased for all, but it’s not government subsidies for all. Some will pay more.”

Do you have a strange feeling of déjà vu?  I do.  That feeling of already experiencing this before.  But where?  Hmmm.  Oh yes.  Now I remember.  This is exactly what the Republican opposition had warned us about since the Democrats first brought forth the Affordable Care Act.  Guess the Republicans were telling the truth all along.  While the Democrats were lying through their teeth. 

Guess we CAN’T keep the insurance we like after all. 

It is ironic that the people who are some of the biggest Obama supporters, the young people, will get hurt the most under the Affordable Care Act.  Just so the people they’re rebelling against, those stuffy uptight old folks from their parents’ generation, benefit the most.  Imagine that.  The thanks they get for being so supportive of the president is to pay the health care bill of their parents’ generation.  All in the name of fairness. 

What the young must feel reminds me of an episode of SNL with Michael Myers’ Sprockets featuring Germany’s most Disturbing Home Videos.  In particular the home video titled Kicked in the Testicles.  Where the pain is so intense the man must vomit.  That must be how the young supporters of President Obama feel now.

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The Qualified Mortgage Rule to restore Good Lending Practices destroyed by Government

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2013

Week in Review

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were largely responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis.  Because they removed risk from lenders, allowing them to sell more risky mortgages.  Something lenders wouldn’t have done if they had to carry the risk of these loans.  But once they could sell those risky loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac what did they care?  So they earned their money with loan origination fees.  Not by servicing these loans.  As had been the tradition in the lending industry until the government intervened to stimulate the housing market.  Which they did.  By putting people who couldn’t afford houses into houses.  Giving us the subprime mortgage crisis.

Fannie and Freddie are still active.  In particular helping rich people who can take advantage of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing.  Who are the only people doing well as median household income falls in the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression (see US extends backing for higher-priced mortgages by Diana Olick posted 10/24/2013 on CNBC).

Federal regulators will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to continue funding higher-priced mortgages, at least through the middle of next year. President Barack Obama had called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the conservator of the two mortgage giants since September 2008, to lower the limits by the end of this year in order to shrink their role in the market. FHFA acting director Ed DeMarco, however, said the timing is not right just yet.

“We are not making a change there in the immediate term,” DeMarco told reporters. “I recognize and understand that the industry is very busy right now making implementation of other regulations that take effect the first of next year, and that’s enough.”

DeMarco is referring to new mortgage regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, requiring lenders to prove a borrower has the ability to repay a loan. The so-called “Qualified Mortgage rule,” goes into effect Jan. 1, and lenders are scrambling to make sure they will be in compliance with all its requirements.

The Qualified Mortgage rule?  You know what we used to have before we had to have the Qualified Mortgage rule?  Good lending practices.  Where lenders carried their loans on their balance sheets.  And serviced those loans.  Holding on to all the risk from their lending decisions.  Which prevented them from making loans to unqualified applicants.  The way a good banking system should operate.  The way it was before the government destroyed it with their manipulation of interest rates.

Now the government wants to do what it was doing before the subprime mortgage crisis.  Putting as many people into homes who can’t afford them.  Only this time they’ve added a law to prevent lenders from qualifying the unqualified.  Even while the government is pressuring them to do so.  Just like Bill Clinton did with his Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending that kicked off subprime lending in earnest to qualify the unqualified.  Because the Clinton administration called any denials of loans to the poor/minorities as discriminatory lending practices.  Of course, back then lenders had only good lending practices to hang their hat on.  Now they have a law to use to defend themselves against charges of discriminatory lending practices.  Which basically takes the lending industry back to where it was before the government destroyed it and gave us the subprime mortgage crisis.  Things would have been a whole lot easier and less costly if the government had just stayed out of it in the first place.

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UN Climate Chief cries because Future Generations will be Dead thanks to our Manmade Global Warming

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2013

Week in Review

The end of the world is coming.  Again.  Because of manmade global warming (see UN climate chief’s tears over future generations by Matt McGrath posted 10/22/2013 on BBC News Science & Environment).

The head of the UN body tasked with delivering a global climate treaty broke down in tears at a meeting in London as she spoke about the impact of global warming on coming generations.

Christiana Figueres told the BBC that the lack of an agreement was “condemning future generations before they are even born”.

Ms Figueres said this was “completely unfair and immoral”.

You know we’ve been hearing about all the horrible things that will befall us if we don’t act right now since the Nineties.  We did nothing then.  Didn’t even ratify the Kyoto Protocol.  And nothing happened.  How do we know this?  Because they’re still warning us if we don’t act right now horrible things will befall us.  As late as 2007 after the predictions of the Nineties failed to happen Al Gore was still talking about the melting polar ice cap.  And a study that said the Arctic would be ice-free by the summer of 2013 if we didn’t do something right then in 2007.

The summer of 2013 has come and gone.  And the polar ice cap is still there.

They were wrong again.  As they are always wrong.  Because their science is flawed.  Even their most basic premise that higher levels of carbon dioxide cause global warming.  For temperatures rose first then the levels of carbon dioxide rose.  As noted by esteemed economist and smart guy (that knows how to read empirical data) Thomas Sowell.

There is no manmade global warming crisis.  It has been manufactured by intellectuals who make money from warning people of the impending crisis of manmade global warming.  For even Al Gore got so rich from warning us about manmade global warming that he could afford a villa on the beach.  Even though those melting polar ice caps will submerge all coastal cities as early as last summer.  Apparently when it comes to an ocean view for Al Gore there is no such thing as manmade global warming.

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Alan Greenspan blames Irrational Risk-Taking and not his Keynesian Policies for the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2013

Week in Review

Since the Keynesians took over monetary policy we’ve had the Great Depression, the inflation racked Seventies, the dot-com bubble/recession of the late 1990s/early 2000s and the subprime mortgage crisis.  It’s also given Japan their Lost Decade, a deflationary spiral that started in the late Eighties that they are still fighting today.  As well as the sovereign debt crisis still ongoing in Europe.  So Keynesian economics has a record of failure.  Yet governments everywhere embrace it.  Why?  Because they love having the power to create money.  Especially when it’s ostensibly for helping the economy.  Which it never does.  As efforts to do so resulted in the carnage noted above.  But it always gives a good excuse for another surge in government spending.  And Keynesians love government spending.

Why does Keynesian economics fail?  Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve whose policies helped create some of this carnage (dot-com bubble and subprime mortgage crisis), explains (see Greenspan ponders the roots of a financial crisis he failed to foresee by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press, posted 10/21/2013 on The Star).

Now, Alan Greenspan has struck back at any notion that he — or anyone — could have known how or when to defuse the threats that triggered the crisis. He argues in a new book, The Map and the Territory, that traditional economic forecasting is no match for the irrational risk-taking that can inflate catastrophic price bubbles in assets like homes or tech stocks.

This is why the Soviet Union lost the Cold War.  Because their managed economy failed.  As all managed economies fail.  Because it is impossible to know the decisions of hundreds of million people in the market.  These people making decisions for themselves result in economic activity.  But when governments try to decide for them you get Great Depressions, debilitating inflation, bubbles and nasty recessions.  As well as the collapse of the Soviet Union.

People only took irrational risks when the Federal Reserve (the Fed)/government interfered with market forces.  The dot-com bubble grew because the Fed kept interest rates artificially low.  So was it irrational for people to take advantage of those artificially low interest rates and make risky investments they otherwise wouldn’t have made?  Yes.  But if the Fed didn’t keep them artificially low in the first place there would have been no dot-com bubble in the second place.

Was it irrational for people to buy houses they couldn’t afford when the Clinton administration forced lenders to qualify the unqualified for mortgages they couldn’t afford?  Was it irrational behavior for people to buy houses they couldn’t afford because of artificially low interest rates, ‘cheap’ adjustable rate mortgages, zero-down mortgages, interest only mortgages and no-documentation mortgages?  Yes.  But if the Fed/government did not interfere with market forces in the first place to increase home ownership (especially among those who couldn’t qualify for a conventional mortgage) there would have been no subprime housing bubble in the second place.

The problem with Keynesians is they call anyone who doesn’t behave as they hope to make people behave with their policies irrational.  That is, people are irrational if they don’t think like a Keynesian and therefore cause Keynesian policies to fail.  But before there could be irrational exuberance there has to be a climate that encourages irrational exuberance first.  For if we went back to the banking system where our savings rate determined our interest rates as well as the investment capital available there would be no bubbles.  And no irrational exuberance.  What kind of a banking system would that be?  The kind that vaulted the United States from their Founding to the number one economic power in the world in about one hundred years.  And they did that without making money.  Unlike today.

Q: The size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet stands at a record $3.7 trillion, reflecting all the Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities the Fed has bought to push long-term interest rates down. You have expressed concerns about this size, which is more than four times where the balance sheet stood before the start of the financial crisis. What are your worries?

A: My basic concern is that we have to rein this thing in well before the demand for funds picks up and makes it very difficult to rein in. (Inflation) is not immediate. It is down the road. But historically, there are no cases where central banks blow up their balance sheets or where countries print money which doesn’t hit (with higher inflation).

The balance sheet is four times what it was before the Great Recession?  That’s an enormous amount of new money created to stimulate the economy.  And yet we’re still wallowing in the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  I don’t know how much more you can prove the failure of Keynesian economics than this.  About five years of priming the economic pump with stimulus stimulated little.  Other than rich Wall Street investors who are using this easy money to make more money.  While the median household income falls.

Keynesian economics attacks the middle class.  While enriching the ruling class.  And their crony friends on Wall Street.  These policies further the divide between the rich and everyone else.  Yet they continually say these same policies are the only way to reduce the divide between the rich and everyone else.  The historical record doesn’t prove this.  And those familiar with the historical record know this.  Which is why the left controls public education.  So people don’t learn the historical record.  Because once they do it becomes harder to win elections when you’re constantly lying to the American people.

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