Friday Five

Here are my Friday Five for April 4, 2014.

The tragic shooting at Fort Hood this week highlights two important truths that our society is not willing to accept: A) you can’t stop or predict a person from committing their first homicide. In other words, first-time shooters rarely broadcast their intentions and even more rarely are seen by others as having the potential to commit heinous crimes, and B) the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun. Now, in theory, if we could rid the entire nation of guns, then this *might* be an acceptable solution – getting rid of all guns. But the thorny truth is that those who really want to get a gun and use it will be able to do so. The criminals always have guns. So the great equalizer is for the good guys to have guns too. Have you ever noticed a common thread in all of these mass shootings? They occur in places where guns are significantly restricted or totally banned. You don’t hear about mass shootings at gun ranges or gun shows. You hear about them at schools, movie theatres, military bases, government buildings and so forth. IMHO, we’d be more safe if the good guys were allowed to carry in currently designated gun-free zones.

The entire Affordable Care Act’s future rests on young, healthy people signing up for insurance that is overly costly so that their premiums pay for the sick and the elderly. The ACA is a huge wealth transfer program from the middle and upper classes as well as the young and healthy to the health insurance companies, the poor and the sick. And as with any government enforced wealth transfer program, the costs go up because the government’s action distorts the market. I work with a late 40’s individual who doesn’t see the need for health insurance. This individual isn’t alone in our society. Many are opting to accept more personal risk than pay the much higher premiums created by the ACA.

The U.S. Supreme Court this past week heard a challenge of the new national health care law in which two businesses argued that for religious reasons they should not be required to provide health insurance with free contraceptives for their women employees. Voters by a 49% to 40% margin agree that a business should be allowed to opt out of providing coverage for contraceptives if it violates the religious beliefs of the business owner.

Not all pranks are well thought-out. This mother is likely to lose her job and have difficulty finding other work after her bone-headed text to her daughter.

Our nation’s total outstanding debt is over $17.5T ($17,585,625,829,197.83 to be exact as of April 2, 2014). Does anyone really care? I do. Every baby born today in America is handed a debt equal to $56,021. Yep – we care about our children so much that we’re handing them over $56,000 of debt. And this number continues to rise as we continue to spend more than what we take in. The apathy of Americans on our debt is astounding. It will catch up with us and will result, eventually, in our nation’s bankruptcy.

Bill English