Time to bury the guns … or to load them?

It’s hard to write about politics of any kind in a “straddler” column — one keyboarded in early October to appear on most newsstands the week AFTER a national election.

As I write this, the autumn 2008 global stock and financial swoop is well underway. The problem was caused, first, by reckless expansion of credit and the currency supply, encouraging the final “bubble” which caps every boom-bust business cycle under an inflationary, fiat-currency system tied to the accompanying legalized fraud known as “fractional reserve” banking. (Read Ludwig Von Mises or — far easier to digest — Murray Rothbard.)

Guilty party? Everyone in power in Washington since 1912, but especially presidents Roosevelt, Johnson, and Nixon, for taking us completely off “hard” gold and silver money, which used to limit such balloons by allowing our great-grandparents to expose fraudulent expansion by demanding “payment in specie,” which is to say bullion: real money.

The secondary cause was bank regulators — no, U.S. banking was not “de-regulated” in the past eight years — pressuring banks to make bad loans to non-creditworthy borrowers (mostly “racial minority” borrowers — that was the whole point) under the Democrat-birthed Community Redevelopment Act of 1977, as beefed up by the Clinton Democrats in 1995.

Guilty parties? Bill Clinton, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama — everyone who favors making all our banks essentially part of “one big bank” via one-size-fits-all federal regulation and the Federal Reserve Board. So of course, October’s financial crisis led more folks to say they’d vote Democratic, in search of “change.” (Feel free to insert your own “sourpuss” version of one of those “smileys,” here.)

The final cause? The best solution would have been precisely to “do nothing,” allowing mis-invested banks to fail and better managers to buy up their remaining good assets at auction — during which time we all might indeed have had to live for a few months essentially “without credit” (Oh, the horror; what do you suppose grandpa’s “credit line” was in 1938?) In fact, in his recently re-issued book “The Mystery of Banking,” my late friend Murray Rothbard insists allowing mis-invested banks to fail isn’t a sign that the free market is “failing” — it’s a VITAL AND NECESSARY PART of any free market.

But, terrified that the Democrats would point fingers and call them “do-nothings” and make them cry, the Federal Reserve’s Bailout Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Shifty Paulson ran around doing their best Halloween imitation of the relentless interventionist Herbert Hoover, assuring everyone “Things will be fine! We’re continuing to plow more fake Monopoly Money into the system! The first trillion dollars didn’t work, so we’re going to do it some more!”

Guilty Party? George W. Bush, who’s supposed to be providing adult, “conservative” supervision to this gang of highly credentialed idiots, not merely reading their scripts on TV.

So the winner of the Nov. 4 election — as you doubtless know by now, but as I could hardly know when this was written — was the only presidential candidate to join Texas Republican Ron Paul in roundly condemning the whole “bailout” follies . . . Libertarian nominee and former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr. Right?

I didn’t think so
Let’s wrap up a few other matters:

# # #

I have my ongoing differences with the National Rifle Association, whose executives have met far too many unconstitutional gun regulations they think are “just right.”

But I appreciated their press release of Sept. 10, responding to a rally in rural Lebanon, Virginia, where “Barack Obama made another one of his empty election-year promises not to take away shotguns, rifles or handguns if elected president.”
Chief NRA lobbyist Chris Cox responded: “He has supported bans on handguns and semi-automatic firearms, and he has voted to ban possession of many shotguns and rifles commonly used by hunters and sportsmen across America. And we will remind voters every single time he lies.”

In 2003 while serving in the Illinois State Legislature, Obama voted in favor of a bill in the Judiciary Committee that would have made it illegal to “knowingly manufacture, deliver or possess” a so-called “semi-automatic assault weapons,” the NRA researchers learned. “Under this bill, a firearm did not actually have to be semi-automatic to be banned. According to definitions in the bill, all single-shot and double-barreled shotguns 28-gauge or larger, and many semi-automatic shotguns of the same size, would be banned as ‘assault weapons.’

“This definition would have banned a large percentage of the shotguns used for hunting, target shooting and self-defense in the United States. The bill also would have banned hundreds of models of rifles and handguns.

“Any Illinois resident who possessed one of these commonly used guns 90 days after the effective date would have had to ‘destroy the weapon or device, render it permanently inoperable, relinquish it to a law enforcement agency, or remove it from the state.’ Anyone who still possessed a banned gun would have been subject to a felony sentence.

“Obama may argue the bill was poorly drafted,” said Cox. “But Barack Obama — who brags about being a constitutional law professor and the former president of the Harvard Law Review — voted for it. That’s pathetic.”

# # #

B.R. writes in from Pahrump, Nevada:

“I moved from California eight years ago. … I haven’t researched its current gun laws, but I doubt that they have become more lax since I left. In your column, you refer to prohibited ‘loaded guns in parks’ unless locked in a trunk, etc. I believe that’s an error.

“When I lived there, you couldn’t carry a loaded weapon locked in a car trunk anywhere in the state. Loosely interpreted, the law stated that ammunition had to be stored completely separate from the weapon, with three distinct acts required to combine the two. That basically meant that one component had to be in the glove compartment or other locked container, and the other had to be in the trunk, or locked box if in the back of a truck, etc. The three acts would then be comprised of unlocking the glove box to access the gun or ammo, exiting the vehicle, and unlocking the trunk to get at the other component.

“I know that some cops were relaxed about enforcing such strict laws. I personally had a cop find a loaded 9 mm pistol under my seat during a routine traffic stop. (No, I didn’t prevent him from searching my vehicle. I usually try not to piss cops off.) He asked why I had a loaded weapon hidden from view. I explained that I worked graveyard shift in downtown L.A. and didn’t want to be defenseless. He said he understood, but that he could arrest me. He didn’t, but he advised me that other cops might not be so understanding, so please follow the law.

“Anyway, I love your column. Keep up the great work.”

# # #

Finally, returning to an earlier topic, I recently stumbled on an economist whose advice might prove useful in Washington, these days, even though he’s not a pure laissez-faire capitalist, more’s the pity.

“Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion,” this fellow explains.

“To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about; because we are suffering from a misdirection of production, we want to create further misdirection — a procedure that can only lead to a much more severe crisis as soon as the credit expansion comes to an end,” he continues.

“It is probably to this experiment, together with the attempts to prevent liquidation once the crisis had come, that we owe the exceptional severity and duration of the depression. We must not forget that, for the last six or eight years, monetary policy all over the world has followed the advice of the stabilizers. It is high time that their influence, which has already done harm enough, should be overthrown.”

The fellow’s name is Friedrich August von Hayek, author of the 1944 classic “The Road to Serfdom,” a title meant to refer to the kind of economic policies being promoted these days by Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, George Bush, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and — it gives me no joy to report — John McCain.

He spoke these words during an earlier presidential campaign, in which Americans faced an equally unappetizing choice between a small field of misguided socialist meddlers, in June of 1932.

F.A. Hayek shared the Nobel prize for economics in 1974. He died in 1992. Not that it matters. If he were still alive, he’d still be waiting for anyone in Washington — with the possible exceptions of Ron Paul and Bob Barr — to listen to him.

See Congressman Ron Paul’s warning on where the “bailout” will lead at: http://nalert.blogspot.com/2008/10/ron-paul-warns-of-bailout-will-lead-to.html.

3 Comments to “Time to bury the guns … or to load them?”

  1. Donkeyrock Says:

    About the CRA causing the financial crisis we’re in now, Barry Ritholtz offers a convincing argument against this theory:


  2. AlanR Says:

    B.R. of Pahrump, Nevada is mistaken about transport of a firearm in California. There are not “three separate actions.” It must be unloaded, meaning ammunition cannot be in a position from which it can be fired or attached to the firearm, ie loaded magazines cannot be in the mag well. Handguns (“firearms capable of being concealed on the person”) must, *if concealed*, and and no CCW is possessed, be in a locked container. A locked box or bag is okay, even in the passenger compartment. The trunk counts as a container but glove boxes and center consoles do not. A weird bit of case law makes magazines a firearm so if they are concealed so they must be locked also. Loaded magazines and handguns MAY be stored in the same locked container.

    There are other laws that apply but those are the basics.

  3. Freeman Says:

    CRA and the rest of the Liberal tax and spend programs are THE reason, along with fractional reserve banking that we are in the mess we are in.