Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment

Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment

There was yet another mass shooting spree recently, the horrific shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy, and only God’s healing spirit can provide comfort in this most difficult time. The kids who marched on Tallahassee and Washington, in response to this mass shooting, were no doubt feeling frustration, anger, and sadness.  The media narrative that they were marching for gun control is incorrect – those demands were reflective of adult influence or the uninformed … they are marching because they want to be protected at school.

Mass killers usually are attacking soft targets – schools, movie theaters, concerts – you know the type:  gun free zones! 

 There are many issues to resolve which can protect our kids, from heightened efforts to treat and identify mental illness and separating kids with evidence of such mental issues.  You can arm teachers, use metal detectors, add armed guards … you harden, not soften, the target.  Do you want someone to confront and eliminate the threat, or just cower in their room praying the police arrive on time?

Many did not waste a single moment before they immediately politicized this tragedy, calling for (A) immediate gun control legislation, and (B) mocking the call for prayer and support for the victim’s families.  It is their default position to immediately attack in the political realm as opposed to considering the pain of those enduring the tragedy first hand.

Left off the list was a number of things that are no longer common – child rearing, punishment for bad behavior, respect for other people, respecting the value of life, being taught the permanency of death, parental responsibility, video game addiction … all of the above have a greater impact on why kids are acting out more often through the use of violence.

Make no mistake – guns are a central feature in our culture wars.  Passing legislation to limit access to guns is an ongoing political objective of many.  Of course, no one seems to get the irony that the same government we want to take control of our weapons and to get rid of the 2nd Amendment was tipped off (the FBI) dozens of times regarding the Parkland shooter and did nothing.  This is the same government who ignored these advance complaints regarding the shooter among other high-profile failures …the same government who could not protect the school in the first place … a government bankrupt and awash in debt … these are the same people we wish to give control of our guns to, right???

Spurred once again by national tragedy, the gun control debate is raging … what are the key points on the opposing sides of gun control?

I. Arguments in favor of more gun control legislation:

  1. 2nd Amendment not an unlimited right to own guns. Gun control proponents point to the “well-regulated militia” language found in the amendment to argue that the language only guarantees the right to those who are members of a militia.  However, the courts have interpreted it consistently throughout history as a personal right of ownership.  The most recent Supreme Court rulings have stated as much:
  • District of Columbia et al. v. Heller (2008).  US Supreme Court majority opinion stated – “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes….”
  • McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010).  The Supreme Court ruled “…that the Second Amendment is an individual right. The Founders understood that the right to own and bear a weapon is as fundamental and as essential to maintaining liberty as are the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom of religion and the other protections against government encroachments on liberty delineated in the Bill of Rights.”
  1. Other countries have gun control and it has worked.  Switzerland and Finland among others both have high gun ownership rates, yet their death rates by gun are much lower than the US.  They maintain a strict licensing and background check regime which many suggest is far more extensive than here in the US.  The data, however, does not reflect mass shootings, and only refers to overall gun deaths.  Further, it does not control for mental illness, disease, or homicide committed by other means.  The US has a licensing and background check system, so having those in place does not ensure yourself from being free of gun violence.
  2. Civilians should not own military-grade weapons. No one needs to own an AR-15, so goes the argument.  You don’t need it for hunting purposes, and it is an assault weapon whose only use is for mass-scale slaughter.  At least, that is the narrative.  An AR-15 is no different than most hunting rifles and the ammunition for a .30-.30 traditional hunting rifle is larger in diameter and can cause much more damage to the target.  The only difference in most cases is the AR-15 is painted black.

 

 II. Arguments against additional gun control legislation:

  1. What other countries do is not comparable to the US system and American society. Countries of a few million people, with a mono-ethnic population, are not comparable to the United States.  Further, there are trade-offs in personal freedom that US citizens enjoy than many Europeans do not.  Homicide rates everywhere else – Latin America, Russia, Asia – all are either police states or do have comparable homicide rates as in the US.  Lastly, mass killing is not limited by gun restrictions – as seen with the number of deaths caused by knives, blunt instrument and vehicular homicide.  Mass public shootings, per one million people, the US is NOT number one, but 11th … behind France, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, and just barely ahead of Canada (14th), England (15th) and Germany (16th).  In England, mass stabbings have surged 21% since 2015, and gun crime is up 15% even with strict gun control laws.  In other words, even with 2nd Amendment gun rights, we are no worse off than other modern Western countries contrary to mainstream media reporting – and better off than many.
  2.  The very purpose of the 2nd Amendment is the right to own military grade weapons. The language is quite familiar to most:
  • “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

 It can be both – protecting the right to a militia and, after the comma, the right of the people to keep and bear arms so they can easily join the militia … it could be that the right to keep and bear arms must exist in order to have a militia … it explicitly says the right cannot be infringed upon … but the bottom line – it is not about protecting against crime or a mass shooting, but it is about how to maintain your freedom.   This suggests we find other ways to protect our children, not by taking away fundamental Constitutional rights.

  1. 2nd Amendment is a protection from the government … not an issue related to school shootings and mass crime. As stated, the 2nd Amendment is not designed to allow gun owners to hunt, or even protect their homes from intruders, but to overthrow the federal government if it becomes tyrannical (these were the wishes of the Founding Fathers, NOT radicals).  The United States is a revolutionary nation, born from its de-colonial roots, and its anti-monarchial creed.  Centralized power was to be resisted, as the Founding Fathers exclaimed commencing with the Declaration of Independence.  The 2nd Amendment is what guarantees all of the other amendments.

(Just as an FYI – these countries established gun control, you can see how well it went:

 *             In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

 *             In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

 *             Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

 *             Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

 *             Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

 *             Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.)

Gun control laws and banning guns is unconstitutional and goes against how Americans ensure they can keep their God-ordained, Constitutionally enshrined and protected freedoms.  That’s what the 2nd Amendment is for.  Hardening the site, adding armed guards, arming teachers, bullet-proof glass, hardened doors, restricting ingress and egress, force deployment around campus … those actions and more could have prevented the assault at Stoneman Douglas High School.

This may not have a direct effect on your money, but the fraying of the social fabric does.  We are living in difficult times, and safety should be a top priority in planning out your everyday life.   Our kids deserve the same consideration.

Trump Budget: Deficits as Far as the Eye Can See?

Trump Budget: Deficits as Far as the Eye Can See?

President Trump and the GOP released their current budget proposal which will now be taken in Congress.  Despite the media knowing the final budget bill from Congress will be quite different than what the President has proposed, that has not restrained the critics in their assault on the President’s fiscal requests.

“Catastrophic…”

“A moral problem…”

“Divorced from reality…”

And those were comments from Republican leaders.

The biggest concern for conservatives, specifically the Freedom Caucus – who were mostly elected in 2010 on a Tea Party platform focused on deficit reduction, is the massive increase in federal debt this spending plan would create.

Surprisingly, most Republicans in Congress have succumbed to “Inside the Beltway” numbers crunching … meaning static scoring of reduced taxation.  Tax less, spend more, then yes, you will go into the debt and deficits – rapidly.  However, static scoring does not take into account increased tax revenue from economic expansion.  Furthermore, the Trump budget requires $3 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years.

But the left also has a point: (1) Trump’s spending cuts are already ignored by the bi-partisan budget committee; and (2) the increased spending could outstrip gains in tax revenue, and the increased spending is substantial.  While Democrats in Congress may have no leg to stand on, since the largest deficits in U.S. (world) history occurred during the Obama years, they make an important point in the budget debate that Republicans used to care about deficits.  Do they still?

Top Highlights of the Trump Budget Proposal:

  1. $716 Billion in defense spending – massive increase. This massive increase in U.S. defense spending comes at a time of renewed great power conflict while terrorism remains a global threat.  The world was radically altered for the worst over the last 8-9 years, and the Budget Sequester prevented increased defense spending.  This will be a welcome change.
  2. $13 billion for the Opioid Crisis. A scourge in many economically hard-hit communities, the Opioid epidemic reached epidemic proportions during the last administration, but finally, some federal coordination and help will be made available.
  3. Over $200 billion for infrastructure. Will this be another “shovel-ready project,” “bridge to nowhere,” or “Solyndra?”  The nation’s infrastructure is strained, but not collapsing.  It is older than some modern developments in other countries, but you can find a regional airport in every backwoods town in the country … venture outside a major city in China and you are driving on mud roads.  Nonetheless, this was a campaign promise made by President Trump, and we do have critical infrastructure needs this funding should address.
  4. $85 billion for Veteran’s Programs. Another campaign promise, taking care of our Vets.  If this money helps improve response times at the VA, and the money gets to those truly in need, this is a worthy investment that has been a long-time coming.
  5. $23 billion in border security … including funding for a wall Make no mistake, the left has gone all the way to the position of Open Borders, and that is NOT what Americans support.  The failure to enforce our border for the last decade has created untold damage to the nation’s cultural cohesiveness and the economic hopes and dreams of millions of Americans.  The lost jobs, the lower wages … everyone supports the immigrant story of “Coming to America,” but rational people want the arrival to be legal.  If we must abide by the law, so should everyone else.  Trump’s election is the result, in no small part, in voting Americans seeing the rich and the powerful get away with breaking the law, with non-citizens getting away with breaking the law, and the average citizen getting fed up with it.

Static scoring and all of the commentary have suggested this spending plan will create soaring deficits for years to come, with the average number settling at around $7 trillion in new debt by the end of Trump’s first term.  That, if true, is not a conservative spending plan.  But, most of the scoring of the budget proposal is the same ol’ static model which always gets the revenue side wrong.  Tax reform, for example, will increase tax revenue collection.  But more revenue cannot off-set even more spending, so why are the Republicans in favor of such a budget?  It’s pretty simple – the Republican Party only believes the deficit can be tamed through entitlement reform.  And since very few voters or Democrats will go along with that plan, at least not today, we are stuck in a constant feedback loop of debt and deficits as far as the eye can see.

  What Will Higher Deficits Mean for the Larger Economy?

  1. We could have a debt crisis sooner rather than later. According to former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, the last 8 years fiscal and monetary policies, combined with more debt on the fiscal side, is creating the potential for “…debt crisis in this country sooner rather than later.”  It is an ominous warning.  If a stock market bubble bursts and the bond market follow suit, he will be right.
  2. Dollar value could continue to drop … affecting domestic price levels. In plain English?  Inflation is on the rise and could continue.  Anyone living in the late 70s and early 80s remembers the “stagflation” of that era.  It may not be upon us, but it is coming sooner or later.
  3. Productivity growth has been between 0-0.5% for a decade and will only worsen. American productivity used to be the envy of the world, averaging over 2% increases in productivity, or more, every year since the end of World War II.  The slowdown has been defined in many ways by economists on both the left and the right, but the most common theme is that easier access to social welfare support and disability has decreased the need to produce more to retain a worker’s job … lost employment sends you into one or more of many support mechanisms.  That is more spending, more debt, but also keeps growth slower than it could be, also worsening the GDP outlook and therefore tax revenue collection.

In conclusion, the Trump budget represents a positive change for national defense, an end to the sequester, and a pro-sovereignty position on border enforcement.  These changes were needed and necessary.   The money spent is in response to years of neglect.  But the deficit hawks have a point – we will face a day when we pay the piper, and markets will react accordingly.

Call our expert Advisors at Ty J. Young Inc. today and learn how you can have your money protected from stock market fluctuation and growing at the same time. 877-912-1919

Stock Market Takes A Wild Ride

Stock Market Takes A Wild Ride

The final week of January, and the first few days of February were brutal for stocks.  The Dow finished in triple-digit losses for 4 of the 5 trading days for the week and started this week in negative territory as well.

The VIX has been up 300% in the last month, the highest rise ever (VIX measures stock market volatility).  And the sell-off is not just in the U.S., but stocks are heading south globally.  Is this cause for alarm?  We have been predicting a correction for years, yet the market has simply absorbed any short-term setback and continued to set new highs year after year.  The Trump election seemed to elevate the “animal spirits,” provided substance to actual economic expansion, and the upswing in the market simply accelerated!

But the current downturn feels more natural and tolerable, than the collapse of 2008.  If it continues, it will best be described as a healthy correction in a return-to-normalcy business cycle … not the unnatural government induced collapse of the real estate market from 2008.

  

I. What’s driving the current market volatility?

  1. Computer algorithms. Algorithmic trading is always following a trend and has long served as the boogey-man of stock market volatility.  In truth, most programs are designed to follow trend lines, so they can accelerate gains and losses exponentially.
  2. Natural correction. Because we have returned to a natural business cycle since the Trump election, market forces, as opposed to government intervention, is driving decisions on stocks.
  3. Deleveraging – people taking winnings off the table. Again, a natural reaction to a record-setting bull market … we normally see 3-5% corrections at the top end of a healthy bull market and this may be where we are heading.
  4. Inevitable – nothing goes up forever. For this reason, we agree with Stuart Varney, who said on his FOX show on Tuesday morning – “if you are nearing retirement you should be looking to move 50% of your portfolio” into safer investment vehicles.

II. Should people be worried about their portfolio?

  1. No, don’t over-react. But given your investment time horizon, principal protection should be your highest priority right now.  We have ended government intervention into the marketplace. This bull run started with: (A) QE; (B) Money Printing; (C) Zero interest rates; and the result was below 2% growth and a doubling of our debt.  This was ARTIFICIAL price appreciation.  To repeat the good advice of Stuart Varney – 50% of your money should now be in a safe product.
  2. Trump bump is fundamentals-based. Market technicals are fundamentally sound; wage growth is increasing; traditional GDP numbers are above 3% and rising.  If this is a correction, you should move quickly to avoid the downside bottom. If it’s not, your money should still be in a safe investment vehicle that still has market growth participation for when the correction does come.
  3. The market is now operating on traditional free-market signals. Free market business activity … wage growth … fear of inflation … this represents a healthy correction and not unexpected volatility.  In most cases, people are just taking their winnings off the table.  You should only be worrying if you are not taking steps to protect those gains.

You know, hindsight makes many a genius:

In hindsight, the 2008 banking collapse seems obvious:

  1. Awful government policy
  2. Awful government intervention into real estate markets
  3. Foreclosures throughout Florida and Arizona in 2006
  4. Recession Fall 2007
  5. Bear Stearns goes down January 08
  6. Government seizes Fannie and Freddie in Summer 08

But instead of enacting bad policy, and fixing the problems with bad policy, as we did in 2009-2017, we are now in the early stages of unwinding all of the bad policy.  Traditional market signals – GDP growth + wage growth = inflationary pressure will cause markets to react.  This is not bad, it is a healthy, functioning free market.

One of the ways to limit the heartburn over the wild market swings of the last two weeks is to move some of that portfolio where it should have been in the first place – in a principal protected product.  Call Now! 877-912-1919