Saturday, June 6, 2015

Who Needs Cops?

Under President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder the police became the enemy. Obama was the first to criticize the police anytime they interacted with a black man in a way that made headlines. Not one to wait for the facts - nor to let local authorities handle local matters - Obama and Holder were always quick to step in. From the criticism of the Cambridge Police Department for arresting Professor Gates, to calling for an overhaul of the Ferguson Police Department following the Michael Brown incident, to Obama's new AG seeking federal control over the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, the police are always the problem.

So now, the 5/13/15 Investor's Business Daily reports an 89% increase in the killings of police officers: from 27 in 2013 to 51 in 2014. Let me state two realities. First, the police, as with any other profession or group of people, is going to have some "bad apples." Second, once you start with the demagoguery - at which Democrats excel - there will be consequences. When the Democrats and mainstream media engage in demagoguery against Republicans, the result has been expressions of hatred against Republicans. And the same applies when we demean the police - it leads to hatred of them.

While every killing of a black by a police officer makes the news, the IBD points out that very few killings of police officers by blacks makes the news. But according to the IBD, "42% of officers murdered in the line of duty over the past decade were shot by black suspects..."

As for Baltimore after Freddie Gray, IBD reports that the number of murders in May more than doubled from what they were in May of last year. (Article by Thomas Sowell in 6/2/15 IBD.) But Sowell also reported that the number of arrests was down by over 50%.

When former federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani became Mayor of New York City, he instituted two policies that helped bring about a significant reduction in crime. One was "stop and frisk," and the other was "broken windows policing." The idea behind "broken windows" was to discourage and prevent even minor offenses, because when there is widespread minor criminality it encourages more criminality - including major offenses. Under Giuliani the murder rate in NYC dropped to a level unseen in decades. Admittedly, no one politician or policy can get all the credit for a drop in crime, as there can be multiple causative factors.

But two things are certain. First, if you make the police the bad guys, people will feel that they can take the law into their own hands. Second, the police will back off from enforcing the law if the politicians no longer have their backs. Let's take a look.

Heather MacDonald reports in the 5/30-31/15 edition of the Wall Street Journal, that Baltimore's gun violence is up over 60% from last year. She reports that Milwaukee has experienced a 180% increase in homicides through 5/17, compared to last year. Los Angeles saw a 25% increase in shootings and other violent felonies. New York's murder rate was up 13%. Chicago's murder rate was up 17% with shootings up 24%. Atlanta had a 32% increase in murders through mid-May. And in St. Louis murders were up 25% and shootings were up 39%.

How would "broken windows policing" have worked in Ferguson and Baltimore? For starters, the rioters would not have been given "space" to engage in their illegal activities of looting and vandalism. The police would have stepped in to prevent such violence, knowing that the political leaders had their backs. Instead, we had the Governor of Missouri immediately calling for a "vigorous prosecution" of the police in Ferguson - not a vigorous "investigation." Because Dem. Governor Jay Nixon had already convicted the police.

And we had Democratic Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake explain that she needed to give "space" to those "who wished to destroy."

So the question is not just who needs cops? But what kind of politicians do we need to elect if we care about crime? Time will tell if the likes of New York's new Democrat Mayor Bill De Blasio is the answer.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Fox News reported on 6/5/15 that Hawaii's health care system under the Affordable Care Act, known as Hawaii Health Connector, is "unable to generate sufficient revenues to sustain operations." That, from the office of Governor David Ige. The $200 million provided by the Feds (which is really the taxpayers) did not seem to make a difference. While the prior Governor, Neil Abercrombie (Dem) predicted enrollment would reach 300,000, it actually topped out at 37,000.

Fox also reported that the Fed's overall investment of $4.5 billion given to the state run exchanges did not prevent other states from closing their exchanges - including Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Nevada. As for California, the 5/14/15 LA Times reported: "After using most of $1 billion in federal start-up money, California's Obamacare exchange is preparing to go on a diet." But no matter, the state still plans on spending $121.5 million on "outreach, sales and marketing."

So how are other states doing? The 5/28/15 Investor's Business Daily reported that BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee is seeking a 36% premium rate hike, while Care First in Maryland wants a 30% hike and Moda Health in Oregon wants a 50% increase. Other states report similar requests. What's the problem? With all the mandates imposed on carriers by the ACA, the carriers have raised deductibles and co-pays in order to keep premiums generally affordable. Two problems. With high deductibles and co-pays people avoid going to the doctor, making the idea of affordable healthcare illusory. The second problem? Not enough people are signing up to help pay for all of this.

But some Democrats have a solution - force insurance carriers to lower deductibles and co-pays. Excellent. Then premiums will shoot up even more. Or insurance companies will be forced out of the healthcare business altogether resulting in: single payor. This writer has believed that to be the Democrat's goal all along. Given how well we are doing already with government involvement in healthcare, I am sure that total government control would work just fine. Right?