Gun and Knife Violence in UK Despite Ban on Gun Ownership

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2012

Week in Review

The American Left loves the United Kingdom.  Not for their rich history of farming advances, representative government, laissez-faire economics, the Industrial Revolutions, etc.  No.  In fact, they’re not big fans of what made the English-speaking world some of the best places to live.  And for those of us lucky to live in that world we say thank you for making us English.  No, what they like is their National Health Service (NHS).  Which they hope to turn Obamacare into one day.  Despite the NHS suffering from massive costs, long wait times, shortages and rationing.  As a national health care system is wont to do.  And the other thing they love about the United Kingdom are their gun control laws.  In the UK the average person cannot own a gun.  Which, of course, according to the Left results in a safer and a less dangerous society (see Knife Crime: Funding To Tackle Youth Violence by Niall Paterson posted 12/27/2012 on Sky News).

The government has announced extra cash to help tackle youth violence and gun crime.

Half a million pounds [about $808,500 US] will be given to the voluntary sector, charities and other organisations working directly with young people at risk of becoming violent offenders and those already involved in knife and gun crime.

In addition, the Home Office intends to expand the “priority areas” in which its Ending Gang and Youth Violence frontline team works from 29 to 33.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Serious youth violence has a devastating impact on communities and needs to be stopped.

“We need to change the life-stories of the young people who too often end up dead or seriously injured on our streets or are sucked into a life of violence and crime.

Imagine that.  No guns but there is gun violence.  And a lot of knife violence.  Guess there is more to ending violence than just taking away weapons.  Some areas sound so bad that they could be the south side of Chicago.  Which is a city with very restrictive gun control laws.  And where there is a lot of gun crime.  Where the criminals have the guns to commit the crimes.  But the citizens subjected to this violence cannot own a gun to protect themselves from these crimes.

Guns aren’t the problem.  It’s people who are intent on hurting others.  Whether it is with a gun.  A knife.  Or pure blunt force trauma like that poor woman in India that just passed away after a vicious gang-rape on a bus (see Body of India rape victim arrives home in New Delhi by Adnan Abidi posted 12/29/2012 on Reuters).  People who are intent on hurting others will use the weapon available to them.  Whether it be a gun, a knife or a metal rod.  The choice of weapon may change.  But their intent rarely does by a simple weapons ban.

If they want to hurt someone they will find a way to do so.  Which is why new gun control legislation is a bad idea.  For it won’t change the intent of these people.  For unless we can change or interdict these individuals intent on doing harm they will find a way to do harm.  Perhaps even in a more harmful and indiscriminate way.

What we need is not new gun control laws.  We need a way to prevent these people from wanting to hurt others.  And the root cause for most of these people going astray lie in the policies of the Left.  Their attacks on religion and families (especially ‘predatory’ men) have left our inner cities virtually fatherless (see Fathers disappear from households across America by Luke Rosiak posted 12/25/2012 on The Washington Times).  And Godless.  Without a father to provide a positive male role model a lot of kids turn to the streets.  And gangs.  Inoculating them into violence.  While inoculating them from the Golden Rule.  Where they commit acts of violence with the ease and nature of an animal in the wild.  Who are also raised by a single mom.  And have no concept of the Golden Rule.

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Insurance and Risk Management

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 2nd, 2012

Economics 101

By collecting a Small Fee from Many Policy Holders Insurance Companies can Afford to Pay for the Large Losses of a Few

Insurance has one purpose.  To protect wealth.  People work hard accruing wealth.  Buying a house.  Cars.  College fund for the kids.  Retirement 401(k)s and IRAs.  It takes a long time to earn the money that lets us have these things.  And they take a constant stream of payments to sustain them.  And we are always at risk of losing them.  Something can interrupt that stream of payments to sustain them.  An accident or illness that prevents us from working.  Burying us in a stack of unexpected bills.  A tree could fall onto the house during a bad storm.  You could total your car while driving to work in a thick fog.  A wife could lose her husband leaving her to raise their children on her own.

These are very real risks that we must manage.  Because we need to protect our wealth.  We buy house and car insurance so we can keep or replace our houses and cars because we can’t afford to buy new ones should we lose the old ones.  We buy life insurance to provide for our families should we die.  We buy health insurance so an accident or disease doesn’t wipe out our savings, college fund and retirement investments.  Because we do do these things we can manage the risks in life.  So that something unexpected and incredibly expensive doesn’t take everything away that we worked so hard for.

Managing our risks allows us to live our lives.  To plan for the future.  A future that has a price tag.  A future that takes a lifetime of accumulating wealth to pay for.  And to protect the wealth that provides for our families and our retirements we buy insurance.  Groups of people join together and pay a small fee for an insurance policy that will protect a very large amount of wealth.  So if we have an unexpected and very expensive event in our lives our insurance will protect our wealth by paying for our losses.  By collecting a small fee from hundreds of thousands of policy holders insurance companies can afford to pay for the large losses of a few.  Allowing life to go on.  As best as it can following these  unexpected events.  So even in the worst of events families can keep their homes.  Keep their kids in their schools.  Protect their kids’ future by keeping their college fund intact.  Replace their property.  Allowing life to go on as close to what it was before the event.  All thanks to insurance.

Bad Insurance Risks have an Advantage over Insurance Companies due to Asymmetric Information and Adverse Selection

Insurance companies provide this valuable service.  But it isn’t easy.  Because insurance isn’t a science.  But statistical analysis.  And risk analysis.  Which is how they determine the cost of their insurance policies.  A critical part for the survival of insurance companies.  So they can continue to provide this valuable service.

Insurance companies are at a disadvantage because of asymmetric information.  Meaning their customers know more about how great a risk they are than the insurance company.  For example, reckless drivers don’t offer that information when someone is quoting a policy for them.  For they want a low price.  Not a high price that reckless drivers normally get charged.  This is a problem mostly with young drivers.  Older drivers have a driving record.  If it’s a safe record they get a low quote.  If the record includes many points and at-fault accidents they will get a high quote.  Young drivers, though, don’t have a driving record yet.  This is where the statistical analysis comes in.  On average young men drive more recklessly than young women.  Based on the statistical evidence.  So they charge young men higher rates than they charge young women.  Problem solved.  But this causes another problem.

Not all young women are good drivers.  But by charging young women lower rates some bad women drivers are getting a rate lower than their risk warrants.  Which means insurance companies will lose money insuring these drivers at rates below their risk level.  In fact, this will attract more high-risk drivers.  Thus increasing an insurance company’s risk exposure.  And as they pay out claims that exceed the premiums they collect they have to raise insurance rates for all women drivers.  Thus discouraging some good drivers from buying insurance because of the higher premiums.  Thus increasing the percentage of high-risk drivers.  Which forces the insurance companies to raise their premiums again to cover these higher losses.  We call this problem adverse selection.  Where pricing plans to manage risk ends up increasing risk.  One way around this is by group coverage.  Like in health insurance.  Where everyone at a company buys insurance in exchange for a lower group rate.  Including the high-risk people.  And the low-risk people.  Thus avoiding adverse selection.

Economic Growth is the Creation of Wealth and our Insurance Protects that Wealth

When is insurance not insurance?  When it is health insurance.  At least as it is today.  It still acts like insurance for the unexpected and catastrophic accident or illness.  But it is anything but insurance for most everything else.  The latest example in the media these days being birth control.  Which is neither an unexpected nor a catastrophic expense.  For there are few expenses that are more expected and more affordable than birth control.  Unlike, say, chemotherapy.  Or trauma care in the emergency room.  Both of which are unexpected.  And very, very expensive.

When insurance pays for everything for everybody it is no longer managing risk.  Insurance companies are no longer collecting a small fee from all policy holders to pay for the large losses of a few.  Instead they’re collecting a large fee from everyone to pay for the costs of everyone.  Or more precisely, they’re collecting a large fee from the employers who provide health insurance to their employees.  So the recipients of all those free health care goodies don’t see their costs.  Which is how they’ve been able to include everything but the kitchen sink in today’s health care insurance policies.  Causing the price of health insurance to soar.  Hurting families.  Businesses.  And the economy as a whole.

A healthy economy allocates scarce resources to where we use them most efficiently.  When we do we create the most goods possible from these scarce resources.  Making society as a whole better off.  By improving the standard of living for society as a whole.  But by turning health insurance into a welfare program it increases the cost of doing business.  Which puts downward pressures on wages.  Preventing real wages from keeping pace with the rise in consumer prices.  Leaving workers with less disposable income.  Which translates into weak economic growth.  And a stagnant or declining standard of living.

Economic growth is the creation of wealth.  And our insurance protects that wealth.  When we convert that insurance into welfare, though, we put our wealth at risk.  By putting greater pressures on that stream of payments to sustain our wealth.  Our future plans.  And our families.

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According to a New Study only when Women Satisfy their Sexual Desires can they Earn Higher Wages

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 1st, 2012

Week in Review

Apparently women need sex just as much as men say they do.  At least according to a new study showing a direct link between a woman’s earnings potential with the amount of sex she is able to have.  That is, birth control pills have been responsible for closing the income gap between men and women (see Birth-control pill access contributed to women’s wage increases, study says by Elizabeth Flock posted 3/30/2012 on The Washington Post).

New research has found that the early availability of the birth control pill is responsible for about a third of women’s wage increases relative to men since the 1960’s, Live Science reports…

“As the pill provided younger women the expectation of greater control over childbearing, women invested more in their human capital and careers,” study researcher and University of Michigan economist Martha Bailey said in a statement, according to Live Science.

Using data from a longitudinal study of women, Bailey and her colleagues found that there was a crucial difference for women who lived in states where women could get the pill without parental permission at age 18, and states where the age was 21.

Women in early-access states, researchers said, no longer had to choose at 18 between investing in their career or investing in a husband. They could do both, without the fear of pregnancy…

By the 1980s and 90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making 8 percent more each year than those who didn’t, according to the study.

And they say men have too much sex on the mind.  So the only thing that had been holding women back all these years from higher earnings was their out of control sex drive?  Interesting.  A sex drive that was so intense that before birth control pills the only choice a woman had was to get married and start having babies to satisfy her burning sexual desires.  But the birth control pill freed her from that.  Now she could do both.  Have a career.  And satiate that all but insatiable sexual appetite of hers.  By having lots of sex.  Without the “fear of pregnancy.”  At least, according to this study.

Really?  By that logic then only men who were getting regular sex have ever earned a decent living.  Funny, as I’ve worked with a lot of men who weren’t getting any.  Nerds.  Geeks.  The beautiful only on the inside.  The short, balding fat guys.  These guys weren’t tearing it up every weekend.  No.  They played video games.  Read comic books.  Went to topless bars.  Or watched Internet porn.  The kinds of things that make women say, “Eew.”  The same women these guys hoped to date.  But never did.  So, no, these guys weren’t getting any.  Yet they were making a pretty decent living.

Women can do, and have done, what these guys have done.  Not have sex.  And still have productive careers.  So I’m not buying that degrading conclusion that women are slaves to their sexual desires.  And can only earn a decent living when they can have on-demand sex.  Perhaps a more reasonable explanation for the shrinking of the earning disparity is this.  Women began earning more when they were forced to work longer before starting their families.  Because of the high cost of raising a family.  And were forced back to work soon after having children because of the need for two incomes to raise a family.  It fits the data.  For LBJ’s Great Society increased taxes greatly in the Seventies.  And the inflation of the Seventies made everything cost more.  Making paychecks not buy as much as they once did.  Hence the need for two incomes to raise a family.  Which has kept women in the workforce longer than they wished.  To afford the families they wanted to raise.  And because they worked longer they began to earn more.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #81: “Gross pay is a myth.” – Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 30th, 2011

The sooner Kids don’t Believe in Santa Clause the sooner they get Clothes as Gifts

When we were young the world had unicorns.  A jolly fat man in a red suit gave out toys once a year.  The Tooth Fairy paid us for our baby teeth.  Thankfully after they had fallen out.  And an Easter Bunny left hardboiled eggs for children on Easter morning.  Because kids love hardboiled eggs.  As well as the occasional piece of chocolate.

But that was once upon a time.  In a far distant land.  Our childhood.  And as we left our childhood we learned some hard truths.  They weren’t real.  Except unicorns, of course.  But Santa Clause?  The Tooth Fairy?  And the Easter Bunny?  Just childhood myths.  Existing only in our childhood.  Until the day our parents killed them.  Just to save a buck. 

Raising kids is expensive.  And these things just added to the cost.  Especially in large families.  The sooner your kids didn’t believe in Santa Clause the sooner you could wrap their clothes as gifts.  And skip the expensive toys.  Because Daddy worked hard enough.  And the money from that second job could buy Mommy some nice things for the house.  Or a new car.  Besides, there are only so many hardboiled eggs Daddy can eat.

Progressivism replaced Rugged Individualism with the Feminization of Men

Speaking of myths, there is another one many of us remember from our childhood.  Daddy’s paycheck.  He may not have earned a lot.  But he kept almost everything he earned.  And he could raise a large family.  Kids grew up with lots of brothers and sisters.  But then something happened.  And Daddy couldn’t do that anymore.

Government began to grow.  You can probably blame this on a war.  But probably not the one you’re thinking about.  Unless you’re thinking about the American Civil War.  For that war killed a generation of fathers.  Leaving a lot of children fatherless.  To be raised by widows.  During the 1870s and 1880s.  Some who would go on to enter politics.  And served in the federal government.  Joining the Progressive Party.  Which began the ending of rugged individualism.  And the feminization of men.

This was the founding of the nanny state in America.  Boys who lost their fathers in the Civil War had no male role models in their lives.  They were surrounded by women.  And went from rugged individuals to refined dandies.  In the Northeast, at least.  Overly sensitive to other people’s feelings.  Overflowing with empathy.  And filled with a mothering instinct.  Learned from their own doting mothers. 

(These Civil War widows went through unspeakable hardships.  Losing husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.  The Civil War killed approximately 2% of the population.  Some 620,000 people.  That same percentage of today’s population would equal some 6,000,000 people.  They lost so much that they doted on their remaining children.  As any parent would.  This is not a condemnation of their parenting.  These widows should be held up in the highest regard.  It’s just a story of numbers.  Such a large generation of fatherless children was destined to change the body politic.)

The Term ‘Gross Pay’ has gone the way of the Unicorn

The fatherless children of the Civil War began the growth of the federal government.  Where the best and brightest would make everything fair.  And better.  Woodward Wilson greatly expanded the federal government.  Then it was FDR‘s turn.  And then LBJ.  Every time government grew so did the cost of government. 

Wilson gave us the first income tax since the Civil War.  And gave us the Federal Reserve System.  FDR gave us the New Deal (including Social Security).  LBJ gave us the Great Society (including Medicare and Medicaid).  All expensive programs.  All requiring heavy taxation.  And where did those taxes come from?  Daddy’s paycheck.

During this period of expanding government a new term entered the American lexicon.  ‘Net’.  As in ‘net pay’.  If you got a pay raise or a bonus, your wife didn’t ask how much your raise or bonus was.  She asked how much will you ‘net’.  After taxes.  That part of the check you actually got.  Because by this time the term ‘gross pay’ went the way of the unicorn.  (Yes, I know unicorns don’t exist.)  Gross pay is a myth.  It may have existed at one time.  But now the term is meaningless.  Because of all the taxes taken out of your paycheck.

High Taxation and Inflation make it difficult for Daddy to Raise a Large Family Today

The gap between ‘gross pay’ and ‘net pay’ is now very large.  It is a very big part of the reason that Daddy can’t raise a large family anymore.  Even with working nights for a little extra money.  Now it takes two full time wage earners to raise a large family.  And a booming child care industry.

But this growth of government took spending to such heights that taxing alone could not pay for it.  So they borrowed a lot of money.  And printed a lot.  In fact, they were printing so much that President Nixon took us off the ‘gold standard’.  Which was the only real restraint on printing money.  And once he did, they printed away.  Giving us permanent inflation.  And a faster growing CPI.  Which shrank our shrinking paychecks even further.

It’s the one-two punch of high taxation and inflation that makes it difficult for Daddy to raise a large family today.  On a single paycheck.  Thanks to an ever rising CPI.  And an ever shrinking net pay.  It’s gotten so bad that kids often get socks and underwear for Christmas.  From Santa Clause.  Even when kids still very much believe in him.

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