Gun and border control are distractions from the growing and impending emergency the US is facing: a national debt topping $22 trillion.
February 25, 2019
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
The US is currently on a “shutdown hiatus”, with a few weeks left to sort out the particulars regarding Trumps demand for greater border security. Trump has relented on there being a FULL border wall, calling for strategic placement of “smart walls” in areas of vulnerability.
On February 15th, the president called the southern border a “national emergency”, whereby he would by declaration or executive order, get the funding needed to get the border protection he wants.
Meanwhile, the Democrats introduced a resolution to overturn Trump’s executive emergency.
People need to step back, take a deep breath, and get some perspective; or as Rudyard Kipling instructs, “keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you”.
It seems the border is to Republicans what gun control is to Democrats. Both advocacies are predicated on the presumption that respective violations are on the rise, and both would be sorely mistaken.
It’s quite a time to be alive, with technology bringing with it a tremendous amount of transparency. The question is often posed: if we are seeing more of X, is X on the rise? Or are we just seeing more of what has always been?
We didn’t always have 24-hour news cycles, and countless media outlets relentlessly covering the same issue from every angle. That’s a fairly recent phenomenon.
Despite the browbeating and constant coverage, illegal immigration is not on the rise from the south, and violent crime is at an all-time low. This is politically inconvenient, as careers are built (and pockets lined) on this sort of senseless fearmongering.
The important thing to remember is that gun control and border walls are NOT indicative of a free society. In fact, they are characteristic of very tyrannical societies such as North Korea, Venezuela, China, and the historic trope East Germany.
A recent story out of Venezuela, indicates that the Venezuelan army shot at a group of civilians killing two and injuring 14, at their southern border while humanitarian aid was being delivered. Regardless of what you think about US intervention in Venezuela, these were civilians, and it was humanitarian aide being delivered. The fact that powdered milk and toilet paper are considered contraband in that country should serve as a benchmark for how dire the circumstances are there.
This is no different than the US border agents kicking over bottled water left for migrants in the desert by humanitarian volunteers. The laws are the laws… but the people caught in the crosshairs of those laws and policies are suffering the consequences.
Likewise, despite the gun laws, real people use guns to defend themselves daily from would-be violent actors. Again, the law is the law, and those same people who decry illegal border crossings, are yelling “from my cold dead hands” at the possibility of further gun control legislation.
What seems to be a common theme is that individuals are willing to do what it takes to keep themselves and their families safe… the laws be damned. I’m surprised at the lack of empathy between these camps given the common ground they share.
While Democrats and Republicans get into a pissing match about who has the bigger emergency, time marches forward, and the problems change.
For example, never mind when the funding for the wall(s) comes, how long do you suppose it will take to complete Trump’s vision for the southern border? A few years?
The immigration trajectory for the United States is that within three decades’ time, Asians will outpace Latin American migration. Moreover, without any real interference from the US government, Latin American migration is at net negative. All this panic over the southern border is going to be made irrelevant over the next few decades, according to Pew Research.
This alones disqualifies the southern border as a national emergency, given that the migration numbers have been and continue to fall from that region without Trump’s wall(s).
The same goes for gun control: the numbers don’t bear out the panic. Violent crime has been precipitously dropping over the past several decades. That there is more coverage of existing violence, only gives the illusion that it is rising, but the numbers are what they are. The majority of gun related deaths are linked to suicide and criminal activity: two categories that require a different solution than simply “ban the guns”.
When the problem is really drilled down, the majority of gun crimes can be isolated to 2% of US counties. To hear it from the Democrats, you’d think people care being shot left and right. When in fact 54% of counties in the US see no murders at all. That’s a LARGE geography when you consider how big the US is in population and size.
The real national emergency isn’t guns and immigrants or even opioid use for that matter. Those problems are all just results of prohibitionist policies… and easily corrected whenever the government decides to get out of the business of controlling people through them.
The real emergency is the national debt. The US recently topped $22 trillion in debt. This figure only refers to borrowed money, not unfunded liabilities. States around the US, such as California and Illinois, are realizing the true costs of unfunded liabilities. Puerto Rico defaulted on its debts not that long ago. It relies on national emergencies and the obligation of FEMA to eventually pay out to keep itself going. That’s how ridiculous things have gotten there.
The Brookings Institute wrote an opinion piece back in 2007, that is as relevant now as it was then:
“The inability of elected officials to curtail deficits in relatively good times shows lack of leadership at every level. No one likes higher taxes or reduced spending, but these are the only ways to bring the government’s budget back into balance. We can pay for government now or we can pay for it later, but we cannot avoid paying for it indefinitely. Choosing to spend now and pay later asks our children and grandchildren to bear the cost of what we have consumed. Burdening future generations with higher interest costs or lower incomes as the result of our fiscal irresponsibility is simply immoral.”
The US is being propped up economically by what basically amounts to smoke and mirrors, and some foreign borrowing. The US has monetized its debt making the US taxpayer the largest holders of US debt, next being foreign countries such as China and Japan. While Japan remains a timid ally, China makes no bones about its efforts to leave the US high and dry at its soonest opportunity.
The insistence upon low interest rates in a time of relative prosperity discourages much needed foreign investment.
Basically, the US is ruining itself with overspending on things like prohibitionist policies and interventionism around the globe. It cannot account for its spending and debts. But Americans along the entire political spectrum are allowing themselves to be distracted by shrinking problems like immigration and gun violence?
When you look at stories about the Titanic, it’s rather obvious that luxury came before safety, and the passengers aboard that ship paid dearly for that. In the case of the United States, the illusion of economic prosperity takes priority over fiscal responsibility, and the passengers aboard this economy show it. I will leave you with this excerpt and observation from Peter Schiff’s contribution to Seeking Alpha:
“And yet nobody seems concerned. The president didn’t even mention the debt in the State of the Union address. According to a tweet by ABC White House correspondent Tara Palmeri, when asked if Trump was going to talk about the deficit, the president’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said: ‘nobody cares.’”
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