Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Guns Saved These Americans From Assault and Robbery in July

In the wake of tragic mass shootings, such as those occurring in recent days in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, it’s understandable that the nation would search for answers.

It’s easy to blame the tools used in the killings and call for measures that would broadly restrict public access to them, instead of focusing on the more complex reality of why these individuals committed such horrible crimes in the first place. 

Communities are grieving, and everyone with a beating heart and an ounce of humanity grieves with them. We cannot, however, allow our grief to blind us to the important role firearms play in defending the rights and liberties of law-abiding Americans.

Yes, firearms can be used to carry out horrific acts of violence, and we should absolutely pursue ways of ensuring that individuals who pose serious risks of danger to themselves or others are disarmed long before they can commit these types of atrocities.

But the vast majority of lawful gun owners will never use their firearms for unlawful purposes. In fact, they are much more likely to use their firearms for self-defense than criminals are to use firearms to harm innocent people.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in a 2013 report, almost all national studies of defensive gun uses have found that firearms are used in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times every year in the United States.

Even the center’s own internal data indicates that firearms are used defensively about 1 million times a year.

And, of course, this doesn’t include the countless number of times that tens of millions of Americans use their firearms for other lawful purposes, such as hunting or recreational target shooting.

In an effort to keep the national conversation grounded in this important context, every month this year we’ve highlighted just a handful of the many times law-abiding citizens have used their firearms in defense of their rights or the rights of those around them.

Here are the January, February, March, April, May, and June examples. July was no different.

In recent weeks, while firearms were used to commit several high-profile, heinous acts against innocent people, they were also used by many innocent people to fight back against those seeking to do them harm.

July 3, Summerville, South Carolina. Concerned neighbors went to check out loud noises that they thought might be someone breaking into the local church, only to discover a very drunk trespasser roaming through a nearby backyard.

The drunk trespasser began attacking one of the neighbors, who then shot the drunk man in self-defense after his warning shot went unheeded.

Law enforcement officers determined the neighbor acted justifiably, and the drunk man is facing charges related to the incident.

July 5, Danville, Kentucky. A homeowner held a would-be thief at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived, after investigating why his gate intercom rang at 4 a.m.

The homeowner looked outside and saw that his vehicles had been moved, then found the cars parked away from the house, with the thief still inside one of them.

July 10, Summerfield, Florida. A disabled 61-year-old homeowner kept his AR-15 loaded by his bedside after a suspicious interaction earlier in the day with a man who was looking through the sliding glass door on his back porch.

When the homeowner awoke to loud noises that night, he grabbed his rifle just in time to defend himself from four armed men who had broken into his home.

He killed two of the armed intruders and sent the other two fleeing, until they were tracked down by a police K9 unit. Despite being outnumbered and wounded himself, the homeowner survived. 

July 11, Tampa, Florida. A pastor, joined by a deacon, held an intruder at gunpoint for nearly 10 minutes after responding to the church’s alarm system and discovering a man who had used a brick to break in. The intruder was in the process of stealing electronics from the place of worship.

July 15, Phoenix. A retired military law enforcement officer acted quickly to defend himself and his family against a home invasion, drawing his handgun from his bedside table and chasing the intruder out of the house.

After running, the suspect broke into another home and attempted to sexually assault a woman before being arrested by police, who the first homeowner had called.

July 16, San Diego. A man armed with a knife broke into a home and began stabbing the 54-year-old homeowner until the homeowner’s son was able to intervene, shooting and killing the attacker with his father’s gun.

The home invasion caused some residents to question the logic of a proposed local ordinance that would require gun owners to keep their firearms locked in a safe or left inoperable when not on their person.

July 17, Oneida, Tennessee. A man rushed to his mother’s home after receiving a phone call from the mother’s caretaker about hearing suspicious talking from other parts of the house.

He discovered a woman in the process of burglarizing the home who was armed with a pocket knife, and held her at gunpoint until police arrived.

July 24, Rochester, New Hampshire. A father, whose two young children were in the car with him, spotted a would-be burglar while pulling up in the driveway of his home.

The father confronted the man and held him at gunpoint while waiting for law enforcement. He told reporters that while he wished he had not needed to draw his gun in the presence of his children, he hopes it taught them a valuable lesson.

“I don’t carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to neutralize threatening situations,” he said.

July 27, High Point, North Carolina. A woman fatally shot an ax-wielding man who broke into her property and charged at her. The man had assaulted the same woman earlier that night but was able to elude police.

July 29, Prospect, Kentucky. A homeowner brandished his handgun to chase away a man attempting to break into his home. The incident was captured by a security camera, and the homeowner believes that the presence of the firearm allowed him to scare off the suspect without putting himself in danger.

July 31, Nashville. An Uber driver defended himself and his passenger by shooting a man who opened fire on the driver’s vehicle. The man—who had a long history of violent crimes, including armed robbery—said he had felt “disrespected” by the Uber driver’s passenger and followed the car to exact revenge.

Neither the passenger nor the Uber driver was harmed, but the perpetrator was later treated at a local hospital for wounds to his chest and arm.

These types of everyday, lawful gun uses are not something we can afford to forget in our desire to just “do something” about mass public shootings, which, while statistically incredibly rare, still strike terror into our souls and break our hearts.

Every day in this country, law-abiding gun owners rely on their Second Amendment rights to stand up against the very types of evil that have so deeply horrified us in recent national headlines.

Neither these Americans, nor their firearms, are the enemy of a free nation. They are, rather, an important and regular deterrent to those who would infringe on the inalienable rights of others.



Trumponomics is no flop

Back in the summer of 1982, about 18 months into the Reagan presidency, the Washington Post wrote an editorial that sneered, “Reaganomics is now a failure for all to see.” Two months later began one of the strongest and longest economic revivals in American history, with growth rates that surged above 7 percent.

Whoops! The timing of the Washington Post editorial could hardly have been worse. I framed that old editorial and kept in my office for many years. Reagan used to say joyfully, “I knew our economic plan was working when they stopped calling it Reaganomics.”

I was thinking of that editorial the other day after someone sent me a recent column in the New York Times by the economist Paul Krugman entitled, “Why was Trumponomics a flop?” It is fair to say that Krugman has never been anything but a savage critic of the economic agenda of President Trump, and he has rooted against the economy ever since Election Day 2016. The day after Trump beat Hillary Clinton, the Nobel prize winning economist predicted a stock market collapse, which was slightly off the mark, given that the stock market is up near 50 percent and $10 trillion in wealth has been created since Trump was elected.

But that did not stop the Krugman screed from going viral, as liberals celebrated the news that Trumponomics has crashed and burned. What struck me about the column, and the joyous response to it, is just how divorced it is from the reality that most normal people see and feel every day. We have today the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, low and stable inflation, the biggest wage gains in a decade, the highest stock market ever, and a record 7.5 million unfilled jobs. Those blue collar jobs in construction and manufacturing that President Obama declared would never come back are up by almost 1.2 million jobs in less than three years.

Recent Commerce Department revisions in income gains during 2017 show 5 percent gains for the middle class, which is significant given that inflation is almost nonexistent outside of education and health care. So is Trumponomics really a flop? Only in the sense that “Gone with the Wind,” “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, and LeBron James can be called flops.

This is not to say that we have an A+ economy. Krugman is right that the trade war with China and other tariffs have subtracted from growth this year. Business investment, which is greatly incentivized under the Trump tax cuts, has been decent but not as strong as we had hoped so far. Federal deficit spending is way too overboard. Still, if Obama had ever produced economic prosperity as we have today, he would have led an entire marching band down Pennsylvania Avenue playing “Ode to Joy.”

Krugman grudgingly admits the obvious that unemployment is lower and growth is higher under Trump than under Obama. But he ascribes the Trump prosperity to high budget deficits and easy money Federal Reserve policy. This is absurd for two reasons. First, government spending and printing money does not cause growth. If it did, Venezuela would be the richest nation on the planet. Second, the budget deficits under Obama were almost twice as high as a share of gross domestic product during his first term than they have been under Trump. Big federal borrowing and “shovel ready” projects should have sent the economy out of this world under Obama. Instead, we got the flimsiest recovery in half a century.

A recent Gallup poll found 70 percent of Americans rating the economy as good or great, roughly double the number during the Obama presidency. The disparagement of the Trump record by Krugman reminds me of the old joke about an eternally joyful fellow who is always full of cheer, and the miserable people grouse, “He thinks he is happy, but he really is not.”

Why the Republicans are so incompetent in trumpeting this blockbuster economy is one of the great modern mysteries of life. Their unwillingness or incapacity to take credit for good times and defend the tax cuts that have helped families only lends credence to the curmudgeonly Krugmans of the world. If Republicans do not change their message soon, Trump may lose to one of the Democratic socialists, and then Americans will know what a real belly flop economy feels like. Finally, about 24 hours after the Krugman piece about Trumponomics flopping was published, the latest jobs report came out with 160,000 more jobs added. Whoops!



How much would 'Medicare-for-all' REALLY cost the middle class? The answer is shocking

Justin Haskins

During the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates, nearly all the leading candidates reiterated their commitment to transition the U.S. health insurance industry to a "Medicare-for-All," government-run model. Some promised to do it more quickly than others, but in the end, the result would be the same: the federal government would control health care within a decade.

Single-payer health care systems are plagued by countless problems that should make them an unattractive option for lawmakers—including rationing, service shortages, and bureaucratic inefficiencies. But perhaps the question most important to many 2020 voters, especially those with full-time jobs, will be how Democrats plan to pay for a gargantuan government takeover of health care, one that would include paying for nearly all health care services, reproductive care, and even pharmaceuticals.

Many of the leading presidential candidates—from Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker to Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren—have repeatedly and adamantly denied their single-payer plans will raise health care costs for the middle class. In fact, they have promised it will save middle-income earners thousands of dollars.

However, my new analysis of the costs of single-payer health care, which is based on well-established existing studies from think tanks on both sides of the aisle, shows that tens of millions of American families would end up paying significantly more for health care under a model similar to the "Medicare-for-All" plan proposed by Sanders and endorsed or slightly modified by most of the other leading presidential candidates.

My analysis is straightforward. Using IRS data, I calculated how much in additional taxes each IRS income bracket would need to pay to cover the costs of "Medicare-for-all" in 2022, the first year of full implementation under the legislation previously proposed by Sanders. I assumed Democrats would require tax filers to cover roughly the same proportion of the costs for "Medicare-for-All" as they paid for total federal income tax revenues prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I also assumed businesses would pay $400 billion in new taxes in the first year of implementation, a figure that’s in line with Sanders’ own estimates.

If "Medicare-for-All"’s total cost for the first 10 years is in line with projections produced by the American Action Forum, Mercatus Center, and Urban Institute—roughly $32 trillion to $38 trillion—I estimate 40 million to 60 million households would end up paying more in new taxes than they would receive in health care benefits. Millions of these households would lose more than $10,000 annually, even if it is assumed they would otherwise need to pay a full health insurance deductible and some out-of-pocket expenses under a private health insurance model.

Contrary to the claims made by the leading Democratic candidates, millions of middle-class earners would be hit particularly hard under "Medicare-for-All." For example, filers earning $50,000 to $75,000 would likely need to pay on average $7,773 to $9,171 more in new taxes. Those families earning $75,000 to $100,000 would pay $12,612 to $14,880 more. Most households with more than $100,000 income would pay close to or more than $20,000 in additional taxes.

In many cases, these costs far outweigh the projected average employee contribution for employer-provided health insurance—about $1,965 for individuals and $6,752 for families.

Although some proposals would offset these costs by imposing wealth taxes and additional business taxes not included in my analysis, I found that these would have a relatively small effect on the tax burden imposed on individuals and families. The wealthy and businesses simply do not have enough money to cover the massive costs of single-payer health care.

To illustrate this reality, consider the following: Even if the federal government were to confiscate every penny belonging to every single one of the richest 400 Americans—including billionaires like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos—it would only amount to less than $3 trillion, which is less than 10 percent of the cost of single-payer health care in the first 10 years alone, even under the most optimistic scenarios.

"Medicare-for-All" wouldn’t only create significant problems for the health care industry, it would financially decimate millions of middle-class households, many of whom already have access to health insurance plans they like.

So, why would Democrats support such a disastrous policy? The answer should be obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention to the Left’s array of recent radical policy proposals: because they are primarily concerned with increasing the power of the elites in Washington, D.C., not providing people with affordable health care.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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