“Tax Cuts for the Rich”

Thomas Sowell pops out of retirement long enough to address this, once again.

The hardest of these hard facts is that the revenues collected from federal income taxes during every year of the Reagan administration were higher than the revenues collected from federal income taxes during any year of any previous administration.

How can that be? Because tax RATES and tax REVENUES are two different things. Tax rates and tax revenues can move in either the same direction or in opposite directions, depending on how the economy responds.

But why should you take my word for it that federal income tax revenues were higher than before during the Reagan administration? Check it out.

Official statistics are available in many places. The easiest way to find those statistics is to go look at a copy of the annual “Economic Report of the President.” It doesn’t have to be the latest Report under President Trump. It can be a Report from any administration, from the Obama administration all the way back to the administration of the elder George Bush.

Each annual “Economic Report of the President” has the history of federal revenues and expenditures, going back for decades. And that is just one of the places where you can get this data. The truth is readily available, if you want it. But, if you are satisfied with political rhetoric, so be it.

The true secret of the NRA’s success | New York Post

Source: The true secret of the NRA’s success | New York Post

<blockquote>In the wake of the horror in Las Vegas this week, countless politicians, journalists and commentators are insisting that the National Rifle Association has a “stranglehold” on the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton claimed that the GOP-controlled Congress simply does “whatever they are told to do” by the NRA and the gun lobby.

{….}

The New York Times listed total NRA donations to certain GOP politicians alongside their statements offering condolences and prayers for the victims in Las Vegas. And the op-ed pages have been suffused with claims that the NRA has bought Republicans with blood money, stifling the popular will and thwarting democracy in the process.

There’s just one problem: It’s not true.

Oh, it’s certainly the case that the NRA and related groups have given a good amount of money to Republican politicians (and quite a few Democrats) over the years. But in the grubby bazaar of politician-buying, the NRA is a bit player.

Consider that $3.5 million in donations over nearly 20 years the Washington Post made such a fuss about. According to Opensecrets.org, the legal profession contributed $207 million to politicians in 2016 alone. Fahr LLC, the outfit that oversees the political and philanthropic efforts of billionaire anti-global-warming activist Ton Steyer, gave $90 million (all to Democrats) in 2016.

{….}

Some people, even when they know these numbers, still can’t let go of the idea that opposition to gun control is bought and paid for.

Tim Mullaney, a writer for Marketwatch, wrote a richly detailed essay in which he chronicled just how minuscule the NRA’s financial support is — and how small the entire gun industry is — and yet he still concluded it has to be about the money. He writes that “it’s shocking when you realize that it costs only $2,500 per each of the 22,000 or so gun-murder victims of the last election cycle to make Congress cower and refuse to tighten gun rules.”

Part of the problem, I think, is that people who hate guns and gun rights cannot believe that people disagree with them in good faith. There must be evil motives, chiefly greed, that explain everything.

The simple reality is that the NRA doesn’t need to spend a lot of money convincing politicians to protect gun rights. All it needs to do is spend a little money clarifying that a great many of those politicians’ constituents care deeply about gun rights.

{….}

Politicians may be craven (it’s often the safest assumption), but their priority is winning elections. Money-grubbing is a means to that end. And so is vote-grubbing. Maybe some politicians secretly favor stricter controls on guns. But what keeps them from pursuing such restrictions isn’t cash from the NRA; it’s votes from their passionate constituents.

In other words, don’t follow the money, follow the votes.</blockquote>

 

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – The Washington Post

Source: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – The Washington Post

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

CBS Still Pushing False Narrative About ‘Right-Wing’ Terror

Source: CBS Still Pushing False Narrative About ‘Right-Wing’ Terror

Fake statistics die hard, especially when they’re being pushed by the so-called “real news” cartel.

Take, for instance, CBS News host Norah O’Donnell, who claimed on Twitter earlier today that so-called “right wing” terrorism is a greater threat than Islamic terrorism:

Between the end of ’01 & Dec. ’16 there were nearly 3 times as many fatal attacks by right-wing extremists than Islamist extremists in U.S.

The first clue that you’re being manipulated? O’Donnell begins counting terror incidents AFTER the 9/11 attacks, the most lethal terror attack in modern history. Understandably, people grinding an agenda to push “right wing” terrorism as some great threat to Americans HAVE TO exclude 9/11 to make such a point.

Also, note that O’Donnell refers only to the number of incidents — not how lethal they were.

Why is that? Because Norah O’Donnell is trying to avoid having to say this: Since 9/11, Islamic terrorists have killed CONSIDERABLY MORE than “right wing” terrorists.

Jihadist: 95 killed.

“Far Right Wing”: 67 killed.

The only way to conjure up a “right wing” terrorism bogeyman is to count “by fatal incident,” and not by the actual number of people killed.

That being said, as I noted here at PJ Media more than a year ago, there are serious issues with how New American counts acts of terrorism:

Since when are bank robberies acts of terrorism? They aren’t, unless you’re trying to inflate your “right wing” terror stats to mislead the public for political motives.

I also noted that — in addition to 9/11 — several Islamic terror attacks are simply left out of their count, such as the D.C. sniper case.

….

 

Will Repealing Obamacare Kill People? | Manhattan Institute

Source: Will Repealing Obamacare Kill People? | Manhattan Institute

ABSTRACT

The best statistical estimate for the number of lives saved each year by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is zero. Certainly, there are individuals who have benefited from various of its provisions. But attempts to claim broader effects on public health or thousands of lives saved rely upon extrapolation from past studies that focus on the value of private health insurance. The ACA, however, has expanded coverage through Medicaid, a public program that, according to several studies, has failed to improve health outcomes for recipients. In fact, public health trends since the implementation of the ACA have worsened, with 80,000 more deaths in 2015 than had mortality continued declining during 2014–15 at the rate achieved during 2000–2013.

GUN WATCH: Scientist Responds to Claim that John Lott is Responsible for Mass Murder

Source: GUN WATCH: Scientist Responds to Claim that John Lott is Responsible for Mass Murder

A writer at Pacific Standard, Peter Moskowitz, assigned a measure of responsibility for a few of the latest mass public shootings ( Orlando Pulse Jihadi attack, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood Jihadi attack, Navy Yard shooting, Aurora Theater shooting, and Charleston Church shooting) to John Lott. Why?

It appears to be because John Lott conducts research that shows that more legally armed citizens reduce violent crime, and that gun free zones attract mass shootings.

Moskowitz admits that he is ill prepared to judge Lott’s work. From psmag.com:

I will not be able to debunk Lott here and now. I am not an academic. I—and 99 percent of people, I’d venture to guess—am not as good with statistics as Lott. What I can tell you is what the people who do have that skillset say. There are many people who agree with Lott—especially in the fields of criminology and economics. But it appears the majority of researchers who work in the field say Lott’s wrong: that his analyses are misleading, that they skew data to favor certain outcomes, and that his research methods don’t stand up to scrutiny. If they did, his critics say, Lott would still be published in academic journals, or doing his research out of a university instead of a non-profit called the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Every person is faced with the problem of confirmation bias when determining how to evaluate various claims. People selectively prefer claims that confirm their perception on disputed subjects. Scientists are trained to fight this tendency. It was with interest that I read another scientist’ evaluation of Lott’s work. It was posted in a series of comments on Mosqowitz’ article.

The commenter with the screen name of Dan N agreed to the publishing of his comments. Daniel sent me an updated copy. The arguments and data presented are essentially the same:

This article is written in reaction to a piece published on June 1, 2017 by Peter Moskowitz entitled “Inside the mind of America’s Favorite Gun Researcher”. To give the reader some perspective, I never fired a firearm until I was 36 years old and did a year of research before bringing one into my house. I was firmly on the fence about owning a gun until I did this research. I took it seriously and did not give much credence to opinions that were not thoroughly supported by statistics. I have a Ph.D. in a science that requires me to be at conversant, however not fluent, in statistics. I take the frustrating stance that people need to validate what they read. If the statistics are too confusing, as Moskowitz says, then you need to learn some basic statistics, not just trust what someone else tells you.

It is clear that Moskowitz of has not thoroughly read the source material. I have read Lott’s updated “More Guns, Less Crime” (3rd edition, 2013) and some of Hemenway’s reports and other leading anti-gun reports.
I cannot comment on the original 1997 publication; however Lott has updated it extensively with new data and did additional permutations in response to the criticisms of Hemenway and others. In some of Lott’s responses to criticisms he added additional permutations, the results are more dramatic. In other permutations, it’s less.
Lott gives a tremendous amount of detail on how he handles the data sets. None of it appears outlandish. It is mostly for mathematical purposes.
For example, he can’t compare a county gaining right to carry in 2006 that had 0 murders in 2005 and 1 in 2006, as that is essentially an infinite increase. Likewise, 1 murder in 2005 and 0 in 2006 it would be a 100% decrease. He admits that the two things that do increase are property crimes and aggravated assaults.
Such changes are rationale and justifiable, but this type of data filtering is exactly what Lott is often criticized for. For anyone who has read the actual source material, Lott makes no obscene claims. Effects are quite modest. However, a modest 5% difference in homicide rate is all the difference in the world to someone able to live to tell about it.

Mr. Moskowitz made some errors in his critique. For example, he mentions the white urban men owning guns and the permits while urban minorities are often the perpetrators and victims of crimes, but this criticism does not hold water.

Lott polled over 3,000 counties. The trends he calculates most of his work on are within counties, not within states. He goes to extreme length to specify this, and it is something the author has miscategorized.
As far as his critics are concerned, Ayres and Donohue published a piece entitled “Shooting down the more guns, less crime hypothesis.” Despite their criticisms of Lott’s data analysis, they have faults of their own. For example, the authors do not use defined periods before and after the passage of concealed carry laws and compare that to violent crime rates as Lott does. Instead, states are lumped together in the same time frame where one state could have passed RTC early and another late. Furthermore, anti-gun papers rarely conclude that guns make crime rates any worse when viewed at a national level. At best they claim that Lott’s numbers are more dramatic than reality. For a better idea of errors, please refer to Lott’s own work as his dissection of methodological errors is superior to anything I’ll write here.

Please remember that Lott has done 20,000 regression analysis in his reports. Yes, some of them will be wrong. If you are reporting at 95% confidence (meaning a 5% error rate, common in statistics) you are looking at 1,000 of his 20,000 measurements wrong. Cherry picking the studies which do not pan out over the years, as is frequently done to discredit Lott, does not disprove the data set in its totality.
Using the Ayres paper again as a reference, they criticize Lott’s use of arrest rates as a mechanism of judging crime levels. While it is true that this is not perfect, Lott uses multiple comparisons and collectively concludes the benefits of gun ownership from the totality of evidence, not just single regressions. I’ve personally downloaded and done my own longitudinal studies from publicly available FBI reports (https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245). I’ve come to the same conclusion as Lott with independent data collection.

I publish heavily in peer reviewed journals, some of the top journals in the world in fact (nothing to do with criminology). I know editors of these journals. That world is, unfortunately, extremely liberal and highly politicized. I have viewed the Ivory Tower of Academia from within and without, and I assure you it can be an ugly place. It is so liberal and politicized, my wife has insisted I do not bring up my hobby of trap shooting around academics because she thinks it will negatively impact my career. In fact, my name here is a nom de plume. While I cannot comment on the specifics of Lott’s exit from academia, it does not surprise me in the least.

And now for a quick peek inside the world of statistics. It will delve a bit off topic, but the point is to illuminate how the author can pull the wool over your eyes. Part of what I do for a living as a scientist is to analyze data sets. If I ever published data in the manner these gun control groups academics did, my career would be over. It can be trivial for me to debunk them and is a guilty pleasure to do so.
Few, if any, do longitudinal studies. By this I mean that they do not study a region before or after an event (passage of RTC). Far to many are taking data sets from a single year. A particularly egregious error was made by Kalesan and Galea published in the very prestigious Lancet last year. They claim that ballistic fingerprinting/microstamping to be one of the most efficacious laws on the books. However, California simply passed a law mandating microstamping but not a single firearm is commercially available capable of microstamping. Maryland’s ballistic fingerprinting program was a colossal waste of taxpayer’s money and police efforts failing to solve a single case in 15 years. So how can Kalesan and Galea find them to be such influential laws?
It simply means that there are variables beyond that law that dictate crime rates in those states. Many arguments disintegrate once suicide is separated from homicide. Having a best friend that killed himself with his father’s gun, I find this dishonesty especially infuriating. For example, one cannot compare the high gun ownership of Alaska with the low ownership of Hawaii and claim any causality with suicide. Many in Alaska suffer from depression due to the lack of sunlight for several months and there are far fewer women than men, Hawaii suffers from neither of these problems. I cannot recall anyone, other than Lott, distinguish legal gun ownership from illegal gun ownership despite the fact that as much as 80% of homicides are gang and drug related. I’ve critiqued numerous top studies, and I’ve never found any that come close to the comprehensiveness of Lott’s.

Hopefully this encourages whoever reads this to dig into primary data for themselves and not to put blind trust into pixels on a screen, print on a page, or a talking head on a screen.

I have read Trump’s books, and quite a few of his papers. I am a trained scientist, (retired out of the DOD). I find the statistical methods used intimidating, but understandable.

One thing stands out: No one is credibly claiming that violent crime is increased by the increase in people legally carrying firearms. You see this reflected in the arguments used to oppose gun reform legislation. Instead of people claiming that a reform of restrictions on carry will increase murder and robbery, you see more and more of the argument shifted to the claim that a reform of gun law will “not make us safer”. Some make the unsurprising claim that more guns will lead to more suicides committed with guns.

It is not a persuasive argument. Our society is based on the model that if it is not prohibited, it is allowed, instead of the totalitarian model that if it is not allowed, it is prohibited. While the rate of suicide with guns has risen, it has risen less than the rate of all suicides.

None of the people pushing for more controls are using the county level of data to analyze the effects of guns on crime. My suspicion is when data is analyzed at the level of counties, the anti-rights researchers are not getting the results that they want.

It is credible that Dan N is not interested in having his understanding of the debate over the effects of legal firearms carry published in his name. His wife fears for his career. It is a real fear, based on real potential consequences.

I was downgraded in my career for a number of years, based on my willingness to push for less restrictions on firearms use. Two separate supervisors both told me that was the reason I was downgraded, in separate conversations, years apart. They were sympathetic, and appreciated that I did not hold them responsible. As I recall, one of them volunteered the information, the other responded to a carefully worded neutral question.

As a white male who had no reasonable claim to membership in a specially protected group, I judged it best to forgo legal challenges.

There can be a price for integrity and/or activism. It is wise to pick your battles and chose your favored field of action. I do not regret my decisions.

Consider what Peter Moskowitz is preaching. Because John Lott has published work that John reasonably believes to be true, John Lott is judged to be complicit in mass murder. It is hard to see the causal connection. It seems that John Lott’s real “crime” is disagreeing with Peter Moskowitz, and challenging his world view.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

‘Equal Pay Day’ this year is April 4 — the next ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’ will be on January 21, 2029 – AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas

Source: ‘Equal Pay Day’ this year is April 4 — the next ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’ will be on January 21, 2029 – AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas

Every year the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) publicizes its bogus feminist holiday known as Equal Pay Day to bring public attention to a completely spurious apples-to-oranges comparison of incomes by gender. According to the NCPE, Equal Pay Day will fall on Tuesday, April 4 this year, based on a 20% unadjusted difference in median annual earnings for women and men in 2015 (most recent data available) when absolutely nothing relevant is controlled for that would explain income differences like hours worked, marital status, number of children, education, occupation, and the number of years of continuous uninterrupted job experience.

Therefore, Equal Pay Day on April 4 this year misleadingly represents how far into 2017 a typical woman will allegedly have to continue working to earn the same income that her male counterpart earned last year for doing the exact same job. That’s not only illegal, it’s completely out-of-touch with reality. How many organizations today have a dual pay scale with a different wage for the same position based on gender? Probably none.

Inspired by Equal Pay Day, I introduced Equal Occupational Fatality Day in 2010 to bring public attention to the huge gender disparity in work-related deaths every year in the United States. Equal Occupational Fatality Day tells us how many years into the future women will be able to continue working before they will experience the same number of occupational fatalities that occurred for men during the previous year.

Based on the most recent data on workplace fatalities by gender from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2015 (and assuming that 2016 data will be comparable) the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day can be calculated. As in previous years, the chart above shows the significant gender disparity in workplace fatalities in 2015: 4,492 men died on the job (92.9% of the total) compared to only 344 women (7.1% of the total). The most recent “gender occupational fatality gap” was again considerable — more than 13 American men died on the job for every woman who died while working.

Accounting for those significant differences in fatalities by gender, the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day won’t occur until almost 12 years from now ­­– on January 21, 2029. That date symbolizes how far into the future American women will be able to continue working before they experience the same loss of life that men experienced in 2016 from work-related deaths.