Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Saturday, June 11, 2005
Oh look, yet
again the anti-gun folks have turned out to be 180 degrees wrong.
"Recently released data from the FBI clearly show that the dire predictions by anti- gunners last fall over the end of the so-called "assault weapons ban" have proven to be groundless, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) noted today.

The FBI reported that for the first time since 1999, homicides declined last year 5.4 percent in cities with more than 1 million people, and overall, murders fell 3.6 percent nationwide.

"Anti-gun hysterics have once again been proven wrong in their fear mongering," said SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb. "Their forecasts of blood running in the streets were baseless, and they knew it. However, when you're in a war to crush a Constitutional right, one class of firearms at a time, truth is typically the first casualty."

The ten-year-old Clinton Administration ban on certain semiautomatic firearms expired last September, amid alarmist warnings that violent crime would escalate, including violence against children."
Now, granted that summary is biased, but the numbers are right there for the checking. Gun control doesn't cut the crime rate but it does make committing all manner of injustice appear to bear a much smaller personal risk. As the history of gun control movements clearly illustrates.

posted by Rachel 6/11/2005
. . .
This is what we call a perfect
storm. Hundreds of millions of individual decisions that appear justified, yet when taken collectively appear more lemmingesque. On the other hand, it might be another 3 years before the bottom drops out, simply because no one wants to believe that it can. What do you call the buildup of potential energy over the course of 7 years?

On the third hand, I know a lot of looney fringe types expect things to deteriorate in october (both for seasonal/cycle reasons and because the new bankruptcy rules go into effect then,) and are thus keeping their money in the market until then. The real question is whether there's anyone out there in the meanwhile who's both willing to pay these prices and can qualify for financing. 12.5% annual appreciation in real estate? This is merely the hidden hyperinflationary consequence of the generational absence of fear of debt. The idea of owing 100% of the value on a $250,000 mortgage would have horrified our grandparents, as would the idea of saving only 4 of every 1000 dollars earned. A quarter of a million dollars for a house?!? Ever wonder why they called 'em the roaring twenties? (My generation may yet come to be marked by a phobia of banks and credit. Which would then choke growth for the rest of our economic years.)

When it gets to the point where you depend on the good times continuing as they have been in order to justify and maintain your behavior, you should realize that you're entirely vulnerable to the next rainy day. What happens to all those homeowners dependent on two incomes to finance a 30 year loan, on an asset that they've then refinanced to turn around and "invest" in their asset (read: gone deeper into debt on,) in the form of Viking stoves and granite countertops? What happens when those features are so common as to carry no cachet or perceived value?

I hope I'm wrong but I think we may be looking at a situation of choosing between hyperinflation and deflation. You just can't screw with the boom/bust cycle. It's the heartbeat of a functioning economy. Attempting to prevent the inevitable brutality of survival of the fittest doesn't work for the economy any better than it works in nature. Instead of allowing the market to clear the deadwood (money in stupid hands evaporates, to put it baldly,) the risk from the imbalanced stock market has now been socialized to everyone who owns property or participates in the banking and financial systems.

Even our very own Fed Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan recognized the inevitable trajectory of the dollar long before he got where he is now. (Yes really.) Considering those past statements, squaring his behavior over the past decade is enough to start all sorts of fevered conspiracy theories and Occam's razor applications. But I'll say it now to get it on the record: Greenspan inherited this mess he didn't create it. Whether he dampened or amplified the oscillation is another question, I lean toward the former though it seems plausible that he's deliberately engaged in the latter to prevent the government from being able to respond through inflation, thus forcing the necessary but much postponed depression phase of the cycle. I dunno. Interesting times.

I know this is a link-dense post, but these (especially the last 3, even though they're long,) are worth reading because the issues affect you.

posted by Rachel 6/11/2005
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